A new kind of celebrity

Temple Grandin and local chef Richie Hirshen are examples of a new breed of celebrity—one whose popularity is based on making the world a better place

Temple Grandin (left front) and Rose Scott Open-Structured School director Cindy Carlson (right front) with Rose Scott School students on Feb. 16.

Temple Grandin (left front) and Rose Scott Open-Structured School director Cindy Carlson (right front) with Rose Scott School students on Feb. 16.

PHOTO Courtesy of cindy carlson

Grandin stands for social justice
The day after she delivered two sold-out Chico State lectures—one on animal agriculture and animal rights, and another on her life as a person with autism—widely known author and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin made an impromptu afternoon visit to Rose Scott Open-Structured School, a local first- through 12th-grade private school specializing in individualizing teaching of students who “maybe just do not fit on the bell curve"—children with ADHD, autism and Asperger’s syndrome are among those students.

“One thing I loved seeing was the way Temple Grandin took to [one student with marked artistic ability who is diagnosed with Asperger’s], because she told me no one showed her any respect [as a child] until they saw her drawings,” said Rose Scott director Cindy Carlson of Grandin’s hour-long visit. “Temple was just fascinated by her.”

Carlson noted that teaching other students to keep from teasing this particular student is an ongoing issue: “We try to get the other kids to recognize that someday she’s going to be a famous artist! Having Asperger’s is just part of who we are, like wearing glasses or hearing aids.”

This same student, she said, is exceptionally skilled in math, something that Grandin commented on. Grandin encouraged Carlson “to promote math and science with our kids, and especially with our girls.”

During her visit, Grandin autographed Xeroxed copies of the cover of her popular book, Thinking in Pictures, for students, staff and volunteers. She also made recommendations of websites—such as www.khanacademy.org and MITOpenCourseware (http://ocw.mit.edu/ index.htm)–where students with particular areas of interest and level of skill can go for a top-notch, stimulating education in a wide variety of disciplines, from architecture to finance to physics and more, and for free.

Local chef-celeb Richie Hirshen

Photo By christine g.k. lapado

“She was very encouraging,” said Carlson. “She said to look in areas where kids can get apprenticeships, where they can use their areas of strength to get jobs when they get older.”

Carlson said that Grandin “talked to all of the kids while she was here. I felt that she really gave of herself to us.

“What was so cool is that our two girls in junior high and high school who are on the [autistic] spectrum already knew who she was—they saw the movie [Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes] and knew the book. And they were so thrilled to see her!”

For more information about Grandin, go to www.templegrandin.com; for more about Rose Scott School, visit www.rosescottschool.com.

R featured in O
Our very own local celebrity chef Richie Hirshen, who heads up the cooking/gardening program at Sherwood Montessori K-8 charter school, just made it onto the pages of Oprah Winfrey’s ezine, www.oprah.com. Hirshen’s advice is featured in a recent article by writer Leigh Newman called “End the Winter Blahs: 7 Indisputable Signs of Spring.”

In a section called “Strange French Greens,” Hirshen (pictured) advises that raw sorrel “has a strong, distinctive flavor, both lemony and a little bitter.” He suggests using it in minestrone soup: “The soup has so many flavors that the sorrel doesn’t overpower it.”

Go, Richie!

“Get people back into the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food.” —Andrew Weil