April 6, 2010

The Amherst Club

April 6, 2010

Rosalie Pedalino Porter has lived in Amherst since 1962 and today gave us glimpses into her life as well as her life's work.  The title of her autobiography, American Immigrant,  says a great deal about her and has shaped her role as an advocate for immigrant children.  She came to this country speaking no English and learned the language without any special help or support from the schools.  She married David Porter, the noted Dickinson scholar at UMass, and raised a family of three boys.  She had put her aspirations for college  aside while devoting her energies to her family, but finally at age 43 achieved her undergraduate degree.

She spoke amusingly about the women's movement in Amherst in the early 70s, which both shocked and stimulated her.  She became a bilingual education teacher and then head of the bilingual education program in Newton, and there developed strong opinions about the importance of teaching immigrant students in English rather than their home language.  Since then she has been  a national advocate for this point of view, as well as a strong proponent of making English the official language of the United States.

Following her talk, there were both questions and testimonials of support for Lee's position.

No guests today.  A reminder that the April board meeting will be held next Tuesday following lunch.

Michael Greenebaum, Note-taker