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This article was prepared for the February 28,

2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Rimm’s Strong Women

I‘m not sure anyone would have predicted my future

leadership based on how I behaved as a girl," says Christine Todd

Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, now in charge of the


Protection Agency for the Bush administration. She tells how, at camp,

when her cabin didn’t like their counselor, she organized a revolt.

"I convinced my friends to take their favorite stuffed animal

and climb a tree. We climbed just out of reach of the camp counselors

and told them we wouldn’t come down unless they changed our co


It worked. Not exactly democracy in action."

Whitman reveals her obstreperous childhood in "How Jane Won: 55

Successful Women Share How They Grew from Ordinary Girls to


Women" by Sylvia Rimm, with Sara Rimm-Kaufman (Crown Publishers,

March 6, 2001). It is the sequel to "See Jane Win: The Rimm Report

on How 1,000 Girls Became Successful Women." Rimm is keynote


at the 10th annual conference of the New Jersey Association for Gifted

Children at the Princeton Marriott, Forrestal Village, on Friday,

March 2, at 9 a.m.

Rimm divides her successful women subject into seven category areas,

and the personalities she profiles include Senator Kay Bailey


Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, Mary GrandPre,


of the "Harry Potter" books, violinist Pamela Frank, and


Jacquelyn Mitchard. Opening the section of "The Lawmakers and

Adjudicators," which includes Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day

O’Connor and Wilma P. Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation, is

this revealing self-portrait of Whitman:

At age 47, she was elected the first female governor of

New Jersey and was also the first person to defeat an incumbent


in a general election in modern state history. In 1995, she was the

first governor to give the formal response to a president’s State

of the Union Address. Being first began in her childhood, where


honed her independence and leadership skills. Her father was


state chairman and worked with a major construction company, and her

mother chaired the state Republican National Committee for 10


"My parents made the biggest difference in my life. They placed

no gender barriers before me. I grew up thinking women can do


I’m probably more like my mother, who raised me. I was the youngest

of four and eight years younger than my nearest sibling, so I had

the enviable position of being treated like an only child, yet my

older sister and two older brothers toughened me up early.

"We lived in Paris for a year when I was about eight, and I went

to the American School. Mom was summoned to the headmistress’s office

and asked how she and my father got along. When she said everything

was fine, the headmistress said to her, `I have to tell you that when

he chases you around the house with an ax, it really upsets your


I’d been really bored by show-and-tell, and I’d made up stories. I

was creative that way.

"My father set very high standards — perhaps too high. He

insisted, `Anything worth doing is worth doing well,’ so when I wasn’t

good at things, I would retreat. I developed a defense mechanism,

which was `If I don’t try, it’s not that I’m dumb, it’s that I didn’t

try.’ I didn’t give myself a chance to prove myself. It’s not


I’m dearly proud of and I certainly never mentioned it to my children

when they were growing up.

"I never pictured a career in politics when I was a little girl.

I figured I’d be a surgeon, since I liked to pick up frogs, but my

parents’ experiences rubbed off on me. I wasn’t an exceptional child.

I didn’t know I wanted to be in government all my life. Things have

a way of coming together over time, and because I received such strong

support from my family, it gave me the self-confidence to succeed,

in spite of the fact that I wasn’t a good student."

"I was a prickly kid and not easy to get along with. I learned

to enjoy being alone and depending on myself. I grew up on a farm,

loved being with the animals and taking walks in the woods. I still

do. Getting away from people is perhaps the best way to get


on the day again.

"I was a late bloomer and hit my stride at Wheaton College in

Massachusetts. College got me excited about government, and after

college, I became involved. I wanted to help the Republican Party

reach out to minorities. At 22, I was traveling around the country,

talking to groups of blacks, college students, and senior citizens

to analyze their involvement with the political system. If they


involved, I tried to figure out why they weren’t. If they were, I

determined whether they were Republicans, and if they weren’t, I asked

what our party could do to attract them.

"As governor, at the end of the day, you’re the one who makes

the decisions, and you have to stand alone, particularly if the


goes south. It’s amazing how quickly the people who encouraged you

will jump overboard if it doesn’t turn out the way it was supposed

to. You can’t define yourself in terms of others if you are in a



"We now live on the farm where I grew up. Our children are 21

and 22. I couldn’t have done all this without my husband’s support,

but I was fortunate because my first job as a freeholder was


and I was able to take the kids to school in the morning and pick

them up in the afternoon.

"I hit many walls as a woman. The biggest and most obvious was

when I ran for the Senate, because I had absolutely no support in

the party. They didn’t believe a woman could defeat Bill Bradley.

With less than a million dollars we took on Bradley within two


points. A lot of people had to eat crow."

"It was lonely being the only woman, but the challenges were such

that I didn’t have time to think about that. I found that once I was

in a position, the men became supportive.

"When I first ran for governor and put forward the income-tax-cut

proposal, the stories were brutal, and the undercurrent was, `She

can’t have thought of this herself because she’s a woman; she must

go to her husband for help.’ I finally stopped worrying about that.

As with every woman who charts new grounds, I ran into obstacles


people were very suspicious of women. Those kinds of things take time,

but I can’t spend my time focusing on the negative. I need to get

on to the next task."

Sylvia Rimm, New Jersey Association for Gifted

Children ,

Princeton Marriott, Forrestal Village, 856-273-7530. Friday


$115; Friday Family Night, $5. Also Saturday, March 3. Friday,

March 2, 9 a.m.

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Opera Festival of New Jersey seeks three boy sopranos

for "The Magic Flute." Auditions are on Monday, March 12,

between 4 and 8 p.m. at the Woolworth Center of Music Studies,


University. Performance dates are June 23; July 1, 6, 19, 28; and

August 3. Call 609-919-1003, extension 106, for an appointment.

Paper Miller Playhouse has auditions at Millburn Middle

School for aspiring performers ages 10 to 18 to attend its Summer

Musical Theater Conservatory. The program runs from June 25 to July

and includes singing, acting, dance classes as well as workshops and

master classes with actors, directors, designers, and casting agents.

Tuition for the Junior Conservatory is $700; Senior Conservatory


is $1,250. The course concludes with the concert, "New Voices

of 2001 Celebrate Rodgers and Hammerstein." To schedule an


call 973-379-3636 x 2338.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

American Cancer Society offers daffodils, the spring


of hope, as special gifts for friends, family, co-workers, and cancer

care facilities. Donations support cancer research, cancer education,

and prevention programs in central New Jersey. Advance orders will

be taken until March 9. Daffodils will be available for pick-up during

the week of March 26 at American Cancer Society, 3076 Princeton Pike,

Lawrenceville. To order flowers or to volunteer to deliver flowers,

call 1-800-227-2345.

New Jersey Theater Alliance, the state consortium of


theaters, announces publication of the free, statewide theater


listing events from Teaneck to Cape May. The popular discount ticket

program, The Theater Sampler Series continues. Theatergoers online

may subscribe to the New Jersey E-News. Call 973-593-0189 or e-mail

Professional Writers Alliance of Mercer County has opened

its third annual High School Journalism Contest to students throughout

central New Jersey. Non-fiction entries must have been published


May 1, 2000 and April 30, 2001, in a high school, church, synagogue,

or community newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or in any other


or periodical.

Entries are judged on style, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the

students’ grasp of their subject matter. Prizes awarded in three


with first place prize of $100. Winners will be honored during a


and awards ceremony on June 7. Call Amy Rubens, contest chair, at


Jewish Community Center of the Delaware Valley is planning

a reunion of campers and staff members of the JCC camps, Abrams Day

Camp, and Teen Travel. A directory and a party are planned for next

summer. To join the mailing list, call 609-883-9550.

The New Jersey Rainbow Poets is sponsoring a religious

poetry contest with 28 prizes in all totaling over $3,000. There is

no entry fee. To enter, send one poem only of 21 lines or less to:

Religious Poetry Contest, PMB 70, 103 North Wood Avenue, Linden, NJ

07036. Or enter online at The deadline

for entering is April 20. Poems may be written on any subject, using

any style, as long as there is a spiritual inference. All entrants

will receive a winner’s list. For more information please contact

John Scribner:

Jewish Community Center of the Delaware Valleyis looking

for teams of basketball players from the corporate and professional

world to play in a spring basketball league beginning Monday, April

16, and extending ten weeks through June. Play will be at the Center,

999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing. Call Jeff Hirschman at 609-883-9550.

Easter Seals New Jersey offers a seven-day Mediterranean

cruise on the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Sea visiting Naples,

Florence, Pisa, Valletta, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo. Prices,


airfare, begin at $2,499. Call Margie Cortz at 732-257-6662.

League of Women Voters of New Jersey announces the


of the 2001 New Jersey Citizens Guide to Government. The 72-page


book contains information about voter registration, procedures,


parties, government, courts, contact numbers, and election deadline.

Individual copies are $6.80. Call 800-792-VOTE or visit

NAMI Mercer announces their free support groups for


of children or adolescents with mental health issues. The support

groups are every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the

Presbyterian Church, 1039 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville. Call


Rutgers University Academy for Lifelong Learning invites

all New Jersey residents over the age of 50 to participate in their

hassle-free, test-free, adventure in learning. Ten-week semester


begin on March 12, Monday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon

and 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Reformed Church of Highland Park. Studies

include jazz, opera and classical music, film, history, foreign


art, haiku, writing, live theater, and concerts. Call 732-932-7233.

Rutgers’ Center of Alcohol Studies is seeking couples

to participate in the "Rutgers Couples Assistance Program,"

a treatment outcome study funded by the National Institute of Drug

Abuse. A modified form of couples therapy successful in treating


couples is used in committed, heterosexual relationships. Couples

are needed in which the male has abused drugs but does not use IV

heroin, is psychiatrically stable, and is between the ages of 18 and

75. The treatment protocol includes interviews, therapy sessions for

six months, and follow-up interviews. Call 732-445-0901.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has published a booklet

about "Conservation Trees" with information on how to plant

shade trees, how to prune them, and how to attract songbirds. For

the free booklet, send name and address to Conservation Trees,


Arbor Day Foundation, Nebraska City, NE 68410.

Quail Ridge Press seeks cookbooks published by


church groups, or individuals in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and

Washington D.C., to be considered for possible inclusion in "Best

of the Best from the Mid-Atlantic: Selected Recipes from Delaware,

New Jersey, Washington D.C." For information contact Barbara


editor, "Best of the Best State Cookbook Series," Quail Ridge

Press, 1-800-343-1583,

Charles Way Football Camp will be hosted by Charles Way

and Heisman Trophy winner, Ron Dayne, who will work with players eight

to eighteen on a daily basis to improve skill level and sportsmanship.

The program will be at East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania.

Other New York Giants attending are Greg Comella, Howard Cross, Mike

Cherry, Sam Garnes, Joe Jurevicius, Jessie Armstead, Luke Petitgrout,

Jason Whittle, and Jack Golden. Call 1-800-555-0801 or visit

Hunterdon Museum of Art seeks artists who make children’s

toys, dolls, games, furniture, clothes and children’s performers to

focus on hands-on activities, theatrical, and musical entertainment,

to participate in "Art in the Open: A Children’s Art Festival"

to be held on Sunday, June 3, in historic Clinton. Call 908-735-8415.

Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, the state


that provides grants to non-profit organization for performance


of Pennsylvania performing artists, has expanded to cover presenters

in New Jersey. For guidelines and application, call 215-496-9424 or


New Jersey Historical Commission is offering a mentoring

program for potential grant applications. They are designed to assist

organization in preparing application for General Operating Support

and Special Projects. Applicant will be paired with an experienced

grant writer or reviewer. Call Dorothy Hartman at 973-293-3684.

Reading Rainbow Seventh Annual Young Writers and


Contest, for children K to Grade 3, accepts entries through Friday,

March 16. Entries from kindergarten and first grade must contain


words and entries from second and third graders must contain 100-350

words. Winners of NJN’s regional Reading Rainbow competition will

be invited to a celebration at Barnes & Noble, MarketFair. Contact

NJN at 609-777-3991 for applications or visit:

Princeton Debutante Ball is seeking young women currently

in their senior year of high school who have demonstrated outstanding

community service, academic and athletic achievements, or leadership

skills. The Ball to benefit Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton,

will be held Friday, November 23, 2001, at the Hyatt Regency


Call Mary Lovell-Ressalei at 609-394-5181 x 154 before April 30.

Top Of Page
Volunteer Alert

Contact of Mercer County New Jersey is looking for


to maintain its free 24-hour telephone crisis hotline. Three training

courses begin on Wednesday, March 21, or Saturday, March 31. Classes

will be held at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hamilton. Call


Literacy Volunteers, Mercer County seeks tutors to help

the Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language students. Tutor

training classes are on Tuesdays, from 6 to 9 p.m., for seven


weeks beginning on March 27. Training and books are free. Three


will be held at the Hamilton Library, three at Princeton Library,

and one at Wheaton Pointe in East Windsor. Call June Vogel at


Top Of Page

Boys & Girls Club of Trenton/Mercer County needs help

in paying for instructors, supplies, and finances for their social

and athletic programs. Trenton Police Department places children,

who have gotten into trouble with the law, in the organization for

guidance and a second chance. Over the last two years, the enrollment

has grown from 200 to over 700 children. Not one child in the program

has had further police intervention. Call 609-392-3191 or send


to Boys & Girls Club of Trenton, 212 Centre Street, Trenton 08611.

Top Of Page

All Kinds of Minds announces a "Schools Attuned"

summer workshop in Princeton from Monday, August 13, to Friday, August

17. It is aimed at teachers, covers eight neuro-developmental areas

that affect learning, and uses comprehensive observations to


each child’s learning behavior. The program is based on over 25 years

of research by pediatrician Mel Levine. Tuition is $1,200. Call


or visit

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