“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
This is the story about a woman taught and mentored as a child by a nun, returning home and giving back to her home community of Lincoln Heights. Following a distinguished career in the academic world, Pat Leigh decided to move back to greater Cincinnati to live closer to her mother. Her move from Ames, Iowa is now complete. The next chapter in her journey through life is just beginning.
Patricia Randolph Leigh, while a student a St. Simon’s Elementary School (left) and today
In the late summer of 2019, a friend of a friend, both fellow alumni of Princeton High School, told me about a book called Fly in the Ointment. Stunned by the reality of the story of segregation in the 1950s and desegregation in the 1970s within the communities that make up my high school, I was inspired to find the author. I googled “Patricia Randolph Leigh” and found her on the faculty page of Iowa State University. We exchanged emails and talked by phone in November 2019.
I met Pat in person pre-pandemic and we have become friends virtually and spiritually. Pat and I are now collaborating on a reprint of Fly in the Ointment, as we reach the 50-year anniversary of the story told. I have learned about her advocacy of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and how it can be used to see unknown truths of society and culture. CRT explains through counter-storytelling experiences of racial oppression, and suggests “win – win” scenarios become reality when the interests of the dominate race are met.
Portrait of a younger Sister Althea
Patricia Randolph Leigh grew up in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati. She attended St. Simon’s Elementary School in the 1950s, an elementary school then affiliated with St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church and a mission of the Community of the Transfiguration in Glendale. Sister Althea Augustine of the Community of the Transfiguration was one of Pat’s teachers, her mentor and her godmother.
Pat graduated from Our Lady of Angels High School (now Roger Bacon High School) in 1963. She eventually received her doctorate in curriculum and instructional technology from Iowa State University. Now retired after over 20 years as a professor at Iowa State, she brings home to southwest Ohio a gentle demeanor, many accomplishments and passionate intentions.
“Sister Althea was the only African/ Black American nun in the Glendale Episcopalian Community and was one of the nuns who taught in the St. Simon’s School. (She was) my fifth-grade science teacher,” said Pat. “After the closing of the school, she continued to be committed to the children of Lincoln Heights and the St. Monica projects that served them from those original buildings and properties.
She was also interested in the latest computer technologies, which were often gifted to her by friends of the Community. Each time I would visit my family in Lincoln Heights, we would make efforts to meet for lunch and then have tutorial sessions at the convent. I would share my knowledge on laptops, iPads, and various applications.
Sister Althea Augustine
Because of her love of technology and appreciation of how it can enrich and change lives in positive ways, and her love of the people in the Lincoln Heights community, (I have established) a new technology center that bears her name.”
The Althea Augustine Technology Learning Center (AATLC), Inc. was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in the state of Ohio in February 2018 and in March 2019 was declared as tax exempt by the IRS under section 501(c)(3). The AATLC was established to implement a vision for a 21st century technology center for children, adults and seniors in the community of Lincoln Heights.
Lincoln Heights is a historically African American community and nearly 42% of its residents live in poverty. Lincoln Heights struggles to overcome the effects of the well-documented segregation and racial discrimination that spawned the village, when valuable industrial property on which Black residents lived was denied to the village of Lincoln Heights and given to adjacent white communities. Without a strong tax base, this disenfranchised community has historically been under-served and economically oppressed, and its population is still predominantly Black.
The former St. Simon’s Elementary School building now houses the St. Monica’s Recreation Center, a ministry of the Community of the Transfiguration.
The vision of the Center is simple: to close gaps and disparities in educational resources and opportunities for Lincoln Heights residents of all ages. This vision is very close to becoming a reality and could use some help to equip the Center for Phase 1 of implementation at the St. Monica’s Recreation Center (formerly St. Simon’s School). The AATLC is registered to solicit contributions in Ohio and can receive unsolicited contributions from anywhere in the United States. For more information contact:
Patricia R. Leigh, President
Althea Augustine Technology Learning Center
10022 Chester Road
Lincoln Heights, Ohio 45215-1505
Mike Eck graduated from Princeton High School in 1972. Following a 40+ year career in Information Technology sales, he is active in the food justice movement and volunteers at VITALITY Cincinnati and Gorman Heritage Farm. Mike and his wife Denise are members of Christ Church, Glendale.