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Martin Mogensen Education Lecture
Features Multicultural Storytellers

RELEASED: Feb. 4, 2008

Saskill Family Storytellers
Sadarri, Rick and Autumn Joy Saskill

EAU CLAIRE — A family of storytellers using dance and language from many cultures will be featured at the fifth annual University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Martin Mogensen Education Lecture this month.

Sadarri and Rick Saskill and their 13-year-old daughter, Autumn Joy, will present "One World — Many Stories," a series of multicultural stories suitable for all ages. Their presentation, sponsored by the College of Education and Human Services, will begin at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Phillips Recital Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center. It is free and open to the public.

The Mogensen lecture series, which is part of a collaborative leadership in education outreach effort, was established to honor Martin Mogensen. Mogensen, a 1952 UW-Eau Claire graduate became one of the first victims of school shootings in this country when, at the age of 46, he was killed by a student in the Tomah school where he served as principal. His daughters, Marti Mogensen and Margaret Mogensen Nelson Brinkhaus, both graduates of UW-Eau Claire, and other family members and friends support the lecture series through the Martin Mogensen Education Lecture Fund of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

At this year's lecture, Mogensen and Brinkhaus will award the first Martin Mogensen Education Scholarship. It will be given to a Wisconsin junior education major who has attained a high level of scholarship and who shows promise for becoming a successful teacher. Mogensen and Brinkhaus established the scholarship fund as another tribute to their father.

"We look forward to presenting the scholarship and are excited to bring the Saskill storytellers to Eau Claire," said Mogensen. "Their tales are part of an ancient art, connecting people and communities as it bridges cultures and generations. In the sense that 'we are our stories,' storytelling presents a teacher today with seemingly endless possibilities that will enrich their instruction."

The stories told by the Saskill family touch on issues such as friendship, respect, self-worth, cooperation, alcohol and drug prevention, environmental awareness, cross-cultural celebration, cross-generational relationships, peer mediation and dealing with bullies. The presentation will include ways that storytelling can be incorporated into a classroom curriculum.

"I highly encourage teacher education students to attend this entertaining and informative presentation that will enhance their skills at becoming exceptional teachers of diverse learners," said Dr. Dwight C. Watson, associate dean of teacher education.

Sadarri Saskill, a writer, educator and storyteller, has been recorded and showcased by publishing companies, schools, and museums across the country. She has shared her stories at the International Storytelling Center and the National Storytelling Festival.

Rick Saskill is a teacher at Edward Bain School of Language and Art, a Kenosha elementary school with a bilingual-dual language program. He also is president of Global Communication, which promotes literacy through creative writing and storytelling performances, workshops and residencies.

Autumn Joy Saskill is a high school junior and recent recipient of a national award for excellence in youth storytelling.

The Eau Claire Area School District, in collaboration with UW-Eau Claire, will provide workshops by the Saskills to area teachers. They will present ways to use their multicultural, multilingual approach to storytelling in the classroom.

For more information about the lecture or the scholarship, contact Watson at watsondc@uwec.edu or 715-836-2013.

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KH/JB

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