Kinship, Friendship, DENship

If you’ve read the DEN blogs much, which we certainly hope you do, then you are sure to have seen the handy work of Pennsylvania STAR Discovery Educator, RJ Stangherlin. She is a prolific blogger, managing to live-blog a session and have it posted with pictures and links sometimes before the presenter has said “the end”. She amazes us all so much, that we renamed the DENny Award for “Best Individual Blogger” to “The RJ Stangherlin”.

What you might not know is that RJ has been Beating Back Cancer for several years now. In 2010, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma and has been beating it back one strategy at a time, one day at a time ever since. RJ is not fighting alone though. She has friends and family supporting and cheering her on. She also has her DEN family. That’s you.

This is RJ and fellow PA STAR Discovery Educator, Meg Griffin. Although RJ and Meg are both educators in PA, they did not know each other before becoming active in the Discovery Educator Network. A few weeks ago, this picture came across my Facebook feed and I started thinking about how members of the DEN community seem to be kindred spirits, all passionate educators eager to share with one another. Meg went to visit RJ during a recent hospitalization and brought RJ a “Hug Shawl” that she knitted.

RJ gives so much of herself to help other educators. Through that giving, she has made connections that have turned into lasting, life-long friendships. I see this everywhere I turn in the DEN, so I’m calling it DENship.

I bet you have formed DENships. Have you? Tell me about them, OK?

Put them in the comments. Post them here on the DEN Blogs if you’re on the Leadership Council. Email them to me  at Write about them and share the link with us. Put them on your STAR Blog. This year, let’s all take a moment to tell our stories to the people who have made a difference in our lives and careers. Do it. Say “OK”.

Oh, and help spread the word by clicking those little buttons down there that say “Like” and “Tweet”.



  1. RJ Stangherlin said:

    Just when you think you’ve run out of ways to describe the community and family that is the DEN, you, Porter, coin DENship. How wonderful and how true. Thank you for what you shared; I hope others share their stories. We truly are a family, a DENship.

  2. Carolyn Stanley said:

    Thanks so much, Porter, for introducing us to RJ. I saw her participation in the tech book webinar last Saturday, and I left a comment on one of her posts. She is absolutely amazing, and when she’d mentioned getting back into the saddle to start blogging again, I wasn’t sure what she was referencing. So I went to the PA Leadership Council blog and was blown away by the job that she did capturing the essence of all the sessions. She has provided us with such a terrific resource.
    RJ, you are truly an inspiration. Keep up the battle. We are all rooting for you!
    I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am going to try and post to the CT blog soon – if only to alert members to go and check out RJ’s posts.

  3. Meg Griffin said:

    What a wonderful post Porter. It IS amazing isn’t it how Summer Institutes, Virtual Conferences and all things DEN bring people together. I bet half of my facebook friends are DEN friends.

    And it goes without saying that RJ is the very essence of blogging. I have sat next to her and like watching a magician, I have no idea how she does what she does.

  4. Karen Wells said:

    R. J. was one of the first DEN members to welcome me many years ago in Silver Spring. She has an engaging personality that’s hard to beat. This past week R. J. sent Cora, my soon-to-be born granddaughter, a knitted hat she had bought for herself. When the hat arrived and R. J. realized it was too small for her to wear, she asked if anyone could use it. I took her up on the offer because I want to be able to share with my granddaughter the story of the hat and the strong woman who gave It to her.

  5. Tracy Carpenter said:

    Thanks for a great post, Porter!

    RJ – We have never met, but please know you are in my prayers. Thank you for being such an inspiration. Keep on fighting the fight!

    My DENships have become some of the strongest friendships in my life – we just ‘click’ with one another.

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