Growing up in Junction City I always thought Stevens Point was a “big city.” Once a month my parents would pack everyone into the Galaxy 500 and head out to Point for shopping, visiting the IGA, J.C. Penny's and on rare occasion, Westenberger's for a tasty treat. And my most favorite visits were those that included a visit to the Blocher Planetarium at the ever expanding university campus.
I went to J. F. Kennedy and McKinley elementary schools. In the first year that Ben Franklin Junior High opened, I started 7th grade. The first year that SPASH opened, I started my sophomore year. I never graduated from SPASH, dropping out in 1973 to get married and have my first of three children.
Even though my high school career ended abruptly, it didn't stop me from serving my community. When my children attended Plover Whiting Elementary, I was elected president of the PTO. Over my tenure we raised the much-needed money to build the new kindergarten playground. And I volunteered at St. Bronislava Catholic Church, teaching world religions to 7th and 8th grade CCD students. The hallmark of my time there was the student-led Passover Seder Meal, where students served their parents the holy meal.
After my divorce in 1989, and the years that followed, demonstrated why a lack of a degree meant my children and I lived in poverty. Low-wage jobs with no benefits led to a constant battle with housing, food and life insecurity. Debt was a constant companion. Then I was blessed with the opportunity to go to college! With a near perfect GED score, I applied for college and was accepted. Four and half years later, in 2000, I graduated with a near perfect GPA from UWGB. While it took years to climb out of the hole created by years of poverty, I kept climbing until I reached stability and security.
My life has been filled with good, bad, horrific, glorious and downright fascinating events. But during it all I had the best support system ever...my three children, Sara, Beth & Jeremy (and later my beautiful grandchildren Ellie & Coltin). In all I do, family comes first, second, third and last! I am nothing without them.