YWCA honors 'Women of Achievement'

Bremerton High School senior Tessie Goheen (right) thanks her mother during her acceptance speech. Goheen was one of 14 women honored during the 17th YWCA of Kitsap County Women of Achievemnet luncheon Tuesday at the Kitsap Conference Center. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton High School senior Tessie Goheen (right) thanks her mother during her acceptance speech. Goheen was one of 14 women honored during the 17th YWCA of Kitsap County Women of Achievemnet luncheon Tuesday at the Kitsap Conference Center.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Among them was an ambassador of hope, a woman of vision and an information missionary.

Fourteen women were honored Tuesday at the Kitsap County YWCA’s 17th annual Women of Achievement luncheon at the Kitsap Conference Center.

Faith Ireland, retired Washington Supreme Court Justice, was keynote speaker for the event.

The 2006 award recipients were Marcia Brixey, Rosemary Tracy, Lisa Stirret, Ellen Nakata, Jill Robinson, Wanda Moore, Helen Pendergraft, Patricia Peterson, Lorinne Lee, Ellen Newberg, Patty Sleasman and Peggy Iversen, Jane Miles and Teresa “Tessie” Goheen.

“I cannot imagine being in a more exciting place than where I am today,”’ said Linda Joyce, the YWCA’s executive director before presenting each woman with a plaque.

Goheen, a Bremerton High School senior, left hardly a dry eye in the audience after her heartfelt acceptance speech.

“I want to thank my mom. She is so inspiring. She is the reason I wanted to do all these things,” Goheen said. Her goal is to provide a better life for her mother, who takes care of her two sisters, both of whom suffer from cancer.

As part of her mission, Goheen founded and became president of Students Against Destructive Decisions. She has been a state ambassador for the American Cancer Society, is a student defense attorney for the county’s youth court program and is president of the BHS band. She also works two jobs and produces the family newsletter.

Carolyn Frame, of CFA Mortgage, presented Goheen with a $500 scholarship from the YWCA.

Goheen joins an ever-growing list of women who have contributed volumes to the community.

Marcia Brixey, president for Money Wi$e Women Educational Services has spent the past three and a half years helping women get financially fit. In 2002, she retired from a 26-year career with the Social Security Administration to create her non-profit organization. She has since authored a book based on her forums and makes guest appearances on local television and radio shows.

Rosemary Tracy, a community volunteer and Kitsap Mental Health Services advocate, has used her experience with breast cancer to help others in their fight. She was diagnosed in 1990 and recorded her feelings and experience on videotape. For the past eight years she has helped other breast cancer victims through treatment.

“Rosemary has opened new paths of possibilities,” Joyce said.

Tracy, as with all of the honorees, said she was humbled by the recognition. In her brief speech she shared her reasoning behind helping others.

“My motto has always been you take what life throws at you, absorb it and learn the lessons ... and give it back,” she said.

Lisa Stirret was recognized for her contributions to the art world and the community. Her artwork is on display at the Bremerton Transportation Center, the Kitsap Conference Center and Anthony’s restaurant. She has supported Central Kitsap Alternative School and having a fundraising event for tsunami victims.

“You exemplify the richness of life,” Joyce told her.

An “ambassador of hope” Ellen Nakata has been the driving force behind local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure efforts. Part owner of Town and Country Market for more than 35 years, Nakata was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. The following year she led a team in the Race for the Cure. Since then that team has grown exponentially raising thousands of dollars for cancer research.

Jill Robinson, a “woman of vision,” serves as director for Peninsula Services. Under her leadership she has created employment opportunities for the disabled. This has included contracts with the Navy and starting independent businesses.

“There’s no doubt Jill has transformed the lives of many people, the lives of their families and the community,” Joyce said.

Wanda Moore, region manager for Kitsap Credit Union has spent the past 25 years with the company and immersed herself in the community. She’s a board member with the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the West Sound Tech advisory board.

“It’s not a coincidence that I walked into Kitsap Credit Union 25 years ago and have been there ever since,” she said. She compared her tenure with the credit union to a marriage where “We strive to help out the community in anyway we can,” Moore said.

If you can believe it, you can achieve it is the mantra of Helen Pendergraft, a longtime volunteer for the Poulsbo Police’s Citizens on Patrol.

“Thank you to my family. They’ve never looked at me as a handicapped person,” she signed to an interpreter. Pendergraft lost her hearing at the age of nine, later graduated with honors from the Oregon School for the Deaf and graduated from Gallaudet University in Washington DC.

She has met with lawmakers about legislation that supports deaf and developmentally disabled people. She also evaluates interpreters as part of their certification and trains 911 dispatchers in responding to TTY calls.

Patricia Peterson, a test engineering technician for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and IMF, she works with the Bremerton Food Line writing grants. She is president of its 2006-07 board of directors. She also leads annual school supplies drives and is a member of the Tugboat Tolers who create memory boxes for parents who have lost children.

Olympic High School art teacher Lorinne Lee has taught more than 8,000 students in her 30-year career. Many of those students have gone on to pursue their artistic endeavors and become some of her close friends. She is a believer in collaboration among all subjects, even those not typically thought of when it comes to art. She recently finished a two year term as the National Art Education Secondary Director.

Just retired from a 40-year career in the library field, former Kitsap Regional Library Director Ellen Newberg is credited with improving access to information. She led the library system’s move to a wireless system and gave more than 30,000 citizens access to e-mail.

‘It’s been fun,” Newberg said. She recalled typing cards for the card catalogs and a time when women made 59 cents on the dollar. She offered this advice: “Believe in yourself and always remember to give back to your community.”

Patty Sleasman and Peggy Iversen were honored for their dedication to the Silverwood School, which they founded more than 20 years ago. Sleasman has shared with her students her love for science, technology and the outdoors. Iverson has honed her talents to help hundreds of children learn to read.

Jane Miles, founder for Kitsap YWCA, has blazed trails since the 1930s. She and husband Bill moved from Wall Street to Tracyton in 1942. Prior to being a wife and mother of two children, Miles graduated from the University of Washington and Columbia University in New York with degrees in Librarianship. She became a librarian for Wall Street companies and General Motors. In Kitsap, she was a librarian with the North Kitsap School District for 20 years. She was a charter board member for the YWCA of Kitsap County and other community involvement included: being a member of the League of Women Voters and the Women’s Democratic Club, she is a founding member of the Olympic College Foundation and played a key role in forming the Kitsap Regional Library system.

“Jane, you are a woman who saw over the horizon,” Joyce said.

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