Yoder wins Constitution Day photo contestMar 9, 2021
Aug. 18, 2020 marked the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment – women’s right to vote. A month later was Constitution Day on Sept. 17, commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
While Rockingham Early College High School and Rockingham Community College had been planning a big celebration of the 19th Amendment, the coronavirus pandemic stopped most of the plans. An annual Constitution Day contest, however, was still held.
Valencia Abbott has been involved in the contest throughout the eight years she has worked at RECHS, which is located on the campus of RCC.
“It started out as an essay contest, but getting students to write another essay wasn’t going well,” Abbott said with an understanding chuckle. “It morphed into a photography contest.”
This was the first year the contest had a focus: to interpret the 19th amendment and women’s suffrage.
Tracy Yoder won the contest, with a photo showing women from early elementary school-aged to mid-60s standing behind a sign that says “Women weren’t given the right to vote – they had to fight for it.”
Yoder is a part-time adjunct instructor working with RCC’s first-year Nursing program, and is employed full-time with United Healthcare, as she approaches 27 years in the nursing profession this May.
“When I saw the email [about the contest] come up, I thought, I can’t delete this and not do something. Even if it’s something I don’t win, it’s something to make me feel better to know that it matters,” she said.
Yoder turned to her women’s gym class at Team ROC (“Reality of Combat”) on The Boulevard in Eden.
“It’s a class for kickboxing, and they teach other things like self-defense. We got together and decided we needed to incorporate a quote from 100 years ago, and also incorporate the younger generation, to let them know what women went through,” Yoder said. “Women being able to vote is something somebody really had to fight for.”
She said they all train together, and had fun with the photo shoot – first taking a black and white photo, and then a color version. “Everything came together. We wanted everyone to feel like they were important and to understand that what women DID 100 years ago really helps us today,” Yoder said. “No matter where you are in society, we all count. And voting is just so important. Whether our person wins or loses, or if it’s something small on the local level, just vote, get your voice out because you have to start somewhere.”