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A painting by Marylou Chibirka, titled ‘Laura Leaning,’ is one of many paintings of women to be featured in an exhibit at The Gathering Place during the month of May.

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was added to our Constitution granting women the right to vote. Just one month later, Clarks Summit led the way with more than 500 women registered by mid-September, more than Clarks Summit male voters registered by that time.

One hundred years later, women in the Abingtons have not only exercised their right to vote, but also run for office, boldly led in business and taken initiative in community service.

One nonprofit at the center of the community wants to celebrate the women who serve, lead and make a difference in the lives of others.

The Gathering Place recently announced an essay contest, “Portrait in Pen.” The contest celebrates women. The public is welcome to write about a woman who has impacted them in an essay of one thousand words or less.

The essay should paint a portrait and be nonfiction, describing a real woman. Essays must be typed, double spaced and have the entrant’s name, email address and phone number. The entry deadline is April 8. Submissions can be dropped off or mailed to The Gathering Place, 304 S. State Street, PO Box 171 Clarks Summit PA 18411 or emailed to GatheringPlaceCS@gmail.com.

The winner will be highlighted at a tea party on Wednesday, May 13. History and High Tea will be held at The Gathering Place at noon. The cost is $15 to attend. The winner of the essay contest will receive a free ticket to attend the tea party and a $100 gift certificate to attend classes at The Gathering Place. The tea party will have a focus on the 19th Amendment and the 100-year anniversary of women having the right to vote.

“When you start talking to people, you realize everyone has a story,” said Dori Waters, president. “Some people can paint a picture of another person with their words. I thought it would be nice if we got some great stories about women to honor women and the one hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment.”

The Gathering Place will compile essays submitted in a chap book, a small publication that will be available for a fee.

“If you notice, our wire statue sitting out front of The Gathering Place is a woman,” Waters said. “I think it has been mostly women – although some men too – but mostly women that have moved The Gathering Place forward from classes in the basement of a church to what we are today. ... The women of the Abingtons are very resourceful, creative and brave.”

Throughout history, women of the Abingtons have risen to the occasion, doing what was needed for their families, their community and their country.

The Gathering Place has several events celebrating women in April and May. Meg Geffken will relay the story of Susan B. Anthony, Suffragette leader through oral interpretation on Wednesday, April 15 at noon. Cost is $5 at the door. Featured in The Gathering Place Art Gallery during the month of May, will be artist Marylou Chibirka of Dalton. Her exhibit will include portraits of women that she has painted.

To register for ‘History and High Tea’ or for information about other events and classes, visit bit.ly/3deJTto.

Julie Jeffery Manwarren is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys reading, writing and historical research. She has called the Abingtons home for more than two decades and resides here with her husband Phil and their two children. Reach her at jmanwarren@gmail.com.

Julie Jeffery Manwarren is a freelance writer and photographer who enjoys reading, writing and historical research. She has called the Abingtons home for more than two decades and resides here with her husband Phil and their two children. Reach her at jmanwarren@gmail.com.

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