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Using birthday to teach
Leap Year Stories- Rhonda Southard.jpg
Rhonda Southard, 59, is a substitute teacher. Southard says she uses her Leap Day birthday to teach students unfamiliar with what Leap Year is about its purpose and history of the four-year occurrence.

Editor’s Note: With 2020 being a leap year, the Standard will be featuring people born on Feb. 29 leading up to Leap Day.

Rhonda Southard, 59, was on the front page of the Southern Standard in 1960 with her mother and father after being born on Leap Day. Southard has been a substitute teacher for about seven years and she uses the fact she’s a Leapling to teach her students about the purpose of Leap Year. 

Q: When were you born?

A: Feb. 29, 1960

Q: How do you feel about being a Leap Day baby?

A: I love being a Leap Year baby, and it’s one of the things I use to explain to students, especially those in high school, about Leap Year because many don’t know about it. Some have never heard of it. Feb. 29 is a date that occurs every four years and is called Leap Day. This day is added to the calendar as a corrective measure since the Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days.

Q: How do you feel about being one of the only 187,000 Leapers in the U.S.?

A: I love it because my daddy always made me feel so special about it.

Q: When do you celebrate your birthday on non-Leap Years? 

A: My mama and daddy would always make a big fuss on whether my birthday was Feb. 28 or March 1 on non-Leap Years. 

My daddy and my sons felt bad I didn’t have a birthday every year so on the years I didn’t have an actual birthday, they made up for it by getting me something really nice. However, when I would have a real birthday on Leap Year, I’d get something even nicer. I adon’t go without on that. My son really makes a big deal out of it when it’s my actual birthday.

Q: How many years has your actual birthday on a Leap Year occurred?

A: This will be my 15th. 

Q: How did your parents feel regarding you being born on Leap Day?

A: It thrilled my daddy to death. I’ll never forget how excited he was when I had my real birthday when I turned 16. My daddy picked me up, took me to the old American Legion and gave me a giant surprise party. He was grinning from ear to ear, and I’ll never forget that. He called the radio station to announce my birthday and we used a transistor radio to listen while it played.