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Girl Scouts helped point Germanna ‘Women of Distinction’ in right direction

Two current Germanna Community College leaders and a former GCC professor were honored at the Commonwealth of Virginia Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Awards Thursday night at the University of Mary Washington’s Jepson Center.

Retired Germanna Prof. LaZalia Richardson with her husband, Xavier Richardson, at Thursday night’s Women of Distinction Awards.

Dr. LaZalia Richardson, who retired from teaching English at Germanna a year and a half ago after a stroke, talked about the joy of teaching students at all levels “to read and to write and to develop their cognitive skills.”

She noted that her daughter Christina has become a teacher and often texts her excitedly: “’Mom! She got it! He got it! They got it!’ She understands that she grows taller metaphorically each time she reaches down and teaches a child.”

Dr. Patti Lisk, Germanna’s Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies, said Girl Scouting pointed her in the right direction career-wise, even though she hated camping out.

She joked that after spending a week camping out as a Girl Scout, “I can remember going home, soaking in the tub and wondering why did people camp? I learned that vacation for me is not camping.  Vacation for me is a resort with sheets and fine food.”

 Dr. Lisk recalled that her Nancy Nurse Doll helped her earn a Girls Scout First Aid badge.  “The Nancy Nurse Doll had a button in its stomach and you would push it and she’d say ‘”My tummy hurts,’ or cough. The job of the child was to make the doll feel better. Then the doll would say ‘I feel better now.’ “

 Now, she said, she works with high tech human simulators in Germanna’s Virtual Hospital  that mimic human illnesses and respond to treatment by either getting well or “dying,” depending on the knowledge of the students.

“The Girl Scouts started to prepare me for my adult life and helped me recognize things I would be good at and things I wouldn’t,” Dr. Lisk said.

Dr. Jeanne Wesley, Germanna’s vice president for workforce development  and community education, noted that three women from college were being honored Thursday night and that a past honoree, former GCC Dean of Nursing Jane Ingalls, was in the audience.

“You can see that Germanna Community College can handle strong women,” she joked. “And we need to be strong because of what we do.

“We send students from this area to the top universities in the nation, including some in Virginia,” Dr. Wesley said.

“We train technicians… we provide apprenticeships.. . We change lives. We break cycles of poverty and we’re very proud of it.”

 Dr. Wesley joked that the Girl Scouts helped her find her career path when “I sold truckloads of cookies.”

 She also had a camping story.

   “We were camping somewhere in the middle of the night, and we began to hear howls, screams, and then out tents started flapping.

“And the Boy Scouts who were doing it, “she said as the crowd laughed, had lived up to their credo by being prepared to wreak havoc on the Girl Scouts. “But the experience only made us stronger.”

Since 2000, Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia has honored women “for their stellar accomplishments, tireless endeavors, and selfless service to the Greater Fredericksburg community.”

Others honored Thursday night were Amanda Talbert of GEICO, Ana Garcia Chichester of UMW,  Marjorie R.Tankersley of Hugh Mercer Elementary School,  Beth Black and Joy Crump of FOODE, Anne Little of Tree Fredericksburg and Rebecca Adamson of First Peoples.

Honorees at Thursday night’s Women of Distinction Awards pose for a group picture.