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A Look Back: A Lifetime Partnership - Helen Siefert and Margaret Hoshor

Helen Siefert and Margaret Hoshor

In 1937, Christian Record manager, D.D. Rees, visited the school for the blind in Nebraska City to take moving pictures of the pupils attending there.  He wanted to send the films all over the world.  One particular story that he and E.L. Cardey focused on was that of Helen Siefert and Margaret Hoshor.

Here is their story:

In August, 1934, Margaret Hoshor's lifestyle changed dramatically when she accepted a challenge to train and teach seven-year-old deaf-blind Helen Siefert of Bridgeport, Nebraska.  Encouraged by Omaha World-Herald subscribers and staff, funds were raised to send the two to Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts for two years.  Then Nebraska Legislative funds sent them to Nebraska City School for the Blind for one year, and to the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind until Helen reached the age of twenty-one.  Both stayed there, where Margaret continued supervising Helen and did full-time teaching of other deaf-blind students until her retirement in 1972, and where she was supervisor of that school's Deaf-Blind Department for sixteen years.  During her years at the New York Institute, Margaret worked with at least one hundred seventy or eighty deaf-blind children.

Margaret likens Helen's early training and development to that of Helen Keller, in that the problems and behavior of both students were so similar. In later development, Helen Keller excelled in literary development, where as Helen Siefert excelled in creative achievement and general interests and knowledge.

The Omaha-World Herald and other Nebraska newspapers showed interest in Helen's accomplishments and many people marveled at her love of life and her everlasting understanding and interest in everything about her, including theater, travel, geography, human problems and conditions, and her specific interest in Bellwood activities and friends.

Margaret received the Ak-Sar-Ben Good Neighbor Award, The Sertoma Award for Service to Mankind, and various other citations.