I’ve been married to an amazing man named Brian since May 2005. We met on a spring break trip to Florida with our church in 2002. I was stuck in a 15-passenger van with Brian and his obnoxious friends for two whole days while they did all of the weird guy things that I will never understand. Even though I couldn’t stand Brian’s friends, we became the best of friends on this trip. Since then we have continued to be the best of friends.
Brian and I just recently bought a house in Firestone Park. We looked at 45 different houses and only liked the one that needed the most work. This house was from the twilight zone. So we spent 2 months completely renovating our house all on our own. It was the greatest adventure and most rewarding thing we have both ever done in our lives, so far. Previously, we lived in an apartment in West Akron.
Education after MHS:
I spent the last 6 years of my life getting a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Kent State University.
My senior year of high school I started volunteering at a Suburban Crisis Pregnancy Center. I helped counsel teens who thought they were pregnant or infected with STDs. While I was at SCPC I was asked to speak for a program called Abstinence the Better Choice, Inc. In January 2002, I became a paid employee and have worked there ever since. From fall 2001 to spring 2005 I was the motivational speaker for the program. I traveled all over Ohio and even to Pennsylvania speaking in schools, churches, conferences, health organizations, and even the Ohio Senate. I have spoken in 80 different school districts across Ohio. Through this program I have learned how much I love teenagers, especially helping them to make wise, healthy choices for their lives. I could tell you so many horrible stories about girls who get pregnant in middle school, teenage boys with STDs, rape, molestation, and even suicide, but I can also tell you stories of hope and success…just like mine.
I had to take a leave of absence from Abstinence the Better Choice, Inc. to student-teach at Wadsworth High School. When I returned in fall 2007 I took a new position as a RSVP (Responsible Social Values Program) teacher. Every week I am in a different school system either in Summit, Portage, Stark or Medina County. I teach 6th, 7th and 8th graders about making wise choices when it comes to sex, drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The 6th graders are so funny when I teach them puberty. I have even had a student pass out. I love my job. It can be very difficult and there are some weeks I want to give up, but then I hear a story about a 6th grade girl who’s pregnant and I know I cannot give up, they need me too much.
Through RSVP I had a chance to return to MMS. It was great to be back, as well as give back, to the school I went to.
My husband teaches 6th grade Math at Green Local Schools. He is the most amazing teacher. His 6th graders are so cute and innocent. I actually get to go to Green through RSVP, so I get to teach his students about Abstinence, which is so much fun.
Did your MHS education or experiences influence your career direction?
Everything I do at Abstinence the Better Choice, Inc. was directly affected by my experiences at MHS.
Interesting things you’ve done since high school:
I worked at Ligonier Camp and Conference Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, living with middle school girls for 12 straight weeks. I went whitewater rafting, caving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and backpacking. I killed a spider that was 6-inches in diameter with a baseball bat, I started a fire without matches, and a snake fell from the rafters of my cabin onto one of my campers’ beds. Also, I had to lead a group of middle school girls whitewater rafting on the biggest rapid in the eastern United States. For all of you who remember me at MHS . . . I was a “high maintenance” kind of girl. Well when I worked at camp Ligonier I learned a lot about the outdoors and realized how much fun I was missing.
My husband and I also got a Chocolate Labrador retriever named Belle.
I went on a mission’s trip to the Northern Territories. Also, I have been all over the Unites States.
Current Hobbies / Activities:
Hiking with my husband, step aerobics, painting
Things you’d definitely like to do in the future:
Travel, have kids, travel, spend time with my husband, travel, spend time with my family and friends, and travel.
Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:
Mr. Ankrom and Mr. Johnston, only because my best friend Carrie (Toth) Brown and I loved to bug him.
Favorite subject(s) at MHS:
Socializing in the hallways.
Favorite Manchester memories:
Playing basketball. I loved being on the girls basketball team. I will never forget practices, bus rides, games, and all of my teammates. I sometimes have dreams about playing basketball in high school . . . I miss it.
Other H.S. activities / clubs you enjoyed:
My senior year of high school I participated in Current Issues. I learned a lot about myself in this class. I learned how much I like teaching and speaking in front of people, especially about important topics.
Did you have any favorite high school “hangouts?”
My senior year a group of girls went to Bob Evans for breakfast every Friday, which was really fun. I also loved my best friend Carrie’s house and Starbucks on the Strip in Canton.
I recently saw Blood Diamond. I loved this movie because I learned about the diamond trading in college and met a real life survivor of the war in Sierra Leona.
If you could re-do or change one thing, what might that be…?
I would have gotten to know more people in high school and wouldn’t have wasted so much time on trying to fit in.
Do you still have family living in Manchester?
My parents still live in the same house in Manchester. I visit them once a week.
Siblings who are also MHS alumni?
Brother Eric (’79), is a TV writer/producer in Cuyahoga Falls; and brother Chad (’94) owns his own contracting business in Ellet. Two other siblings, Jaclyn and Todd, are not MHS grads.
You can contact Cristina by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org