Peggy Fenner ’63 Celebrates President Jackie Jenkins-Scott

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“Years ago in Damascus, Arkansas, the birthplace of Jackie Jenkins, a packet of invisible, inspirational seeds were hidden in the pocket of this woman’s soul. Each seed represented a challenge, an experience, or a cherished belief, which would grow in her heart and imagination. Later on, these seeds would motivate her to become the compassionate leader and agent of change that characterize Wheelock College today.”

 – Peggy Fenner ’63, from her CD, Celebrating The Life Story of Wheelock College’s 13th President Jackie Jenkins-Scott

The Summer 2014 issue of Wheelock Magazine, which celebrated Jackie Jenkins-Scott’s decade of presidency at Wheelock College, made a significant impact on Peggy Fenner ’63, inspiring her to thank President Jenkins-Scott for her inspirational era of transformative leadership by presenting her with a pencil-drawn portrait of her wearing her handsome academic regalia as featured in the magazine. Upon presenting her with her framed portrait in August, Peggy, a seasoned storyteller and CD producer, proposed to President Jenkins-Scott the idea of writing the story of her life journey and recording it on a commemorative CD.

Peggy Fenner ’63

This idea, however, began to infiltrate the former kindergarten teacher’s creative mind the previous year, when she attended her 50th Wheelock College Reunion. She says: “I was so impressed, as were my friends with whom I was enjoying the event. The changes at the College truly registered with us all. [President Jenkins-Scott] joined us for our class dinner, and she moved and impressed me as a beautifully accessible president. She was real.”

Peggy had cancer the year before her 50th Reunion, and, initially, it frightened her, temporarily interrupting the natural rhythm of her activity. But, she is now a cancer survivor, and, by the time she read the Summer 2014 issue of Wheelock Magazine, which she “devoured,” she was ready to take on a new challenge! She wanted to embark on a journey that was larger than her cancer! She admits that it was slightly daunting for her to approach the president of a college with such a proposal, but remarks that President Jenkins-Scott was warm and trusting of her with the information she shared about her life. The ultimate result was an eloquent tale of President Jenkins-Scott’s life entwined in exquisite imagery. Peggy did what she intended to do, which was to reflect the energy that President Jenkins-Scott exudes in a celebratory tone and stress the gift that she is to Wheelock College.

Peggy’s story opens with the following questions: “What if we were to imagine that each of our lives reflected intricately interconnected patterns and stories which had been woven into tapestries on invisible looms suspended in time and space? And what if we could one day retrieve them, decode the patterns and listen to the stories embedded in the fibers … each of them depicting the significant steps we took to achieve our life dreams! So just for a moment, let’s indulge in this fantasy, expand it and imagine that the tapestry of Jackie Jenkins-Scott’s life has recently been available to view.”

To purchase Celebrating The Life Story of Wheelock College’s 13th President Jackie Jenkins-Scott, you may contact the Alumni Relations Office at (617) 879-1449 or eheffernan@wheelock.edu.

Peggy was an elementary school teacher in Lexington, MA, for 38 years. In addition to being an artist and a writer, she is also a musician. Since — for most of those 38 years — she was a kindergarten teacher, it was easy to put her creative talents to use in the classroom. She wrote a musical production for her students each year. “At Wheelock,” she says, “I was taught the value of play and creativity.” Peggy fondly remembers teaching during an era in which child-centered values were fully embraced. Her teaching style reflected creativity, self-motivation, diversity, and nurture, which make up the foundational values of Wheelock College.