Spouse / Years married / How you met:
I was married for about 12 years, and then was pretty content being a single mom (after 10 years) when I met my future husband on a flight from Denver to Portland. I had been bumped, so ended up getting a free ticket and an incredible husband. There's a lot more to this story, but we married after six months and he was everything that was on "my dream man list."
My daughter Kim is 21 and studying Occupational Therapy in Virginia. She is very active, loves life, works out religiously and packs her days with activity. Kim loves to travel and meet people from different cultures; she has done some mission work in Mexico, on a reservation out west, and most recently spent two weeks in Ghana, West Africa.
Andrew is 19 and currently living in Oregon. He is 6'5" and we really enjoyed watching him play his senior year, along with his cousin (my sister, Susan's, son), when they won the Oregon State Basketball Championship. Both were recognized on state level, and Susan's son was the Player of the Year for the state. Andrew knows an absurd amount of sports trivia, which came in handy when he worked for the school paper on his sports column. He wants to be a journalist (definitely inspired by his English teacher) and own a sports bar.
We recently moved to Connecticut for my husband's work. Previously, I lived in Oregon (about an hour south of Eugene) for nine years. The kids and I moved there to be with my sisters, Susan and Becky. Prior to that, I lived in Atlanta for about 12 years. It's been quite a transition from southern big city, to tiny historic city, to the historic northeast.
Education after MHS:
I went to West Liberty State College in West Virginia for my undergrad, and then Eastern Kentucky University for my masters. Both decisions were driven by the opportunity to be involved with volleyball.
I'll just list them, though it's amazing how they are all connected . . . and I'm grateful to key people that thought of me for the positions. Student athletic trainer in college, waterfront director at a camp, lifeguard and swim instructor, Grad Assistant Volleyball coach at Eastern Kentucky, Head Volleyball Coach at Slippery Rock University in PA, athletic club director, manager of linen store, high school teacher and head track coach in Georgia, assistant volleyball coach at Emory University, physical and health education teacher at a middle school in Atlanta, part time instructor at Georgia State University; Assistant Competition Manager, Volleyball, for the Atlanta Olympic Committee; Competition Manager, Volleyball, for Paralympic Committee; middle school teacher, and then high school health and physical education teacher in Oregon. Who knows what's next . . . ??
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Interesting things you’ve done since high school:
Definitely, career-wise, working for the Atlanta Olympic Committee was an incredible experience. Working with people from all over the world who love sports and are connected in the sports world, traveling with them, meeting the athletes themselves, going to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and being part of the whole Olympic process for two years was just amazing. My kids and I saw every high-level competitive sport you can imagine . . . boxing, water polo, basketball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, track and field, table tennis etc.
Strangest thing you’ve done since high school:
I don't know about strange, but a pretty exciting thing occurred recently in Orlando. My sister, Gail, and I suited up in flight gear, took lessons and then flew in one of those wind tunnels at Sky Adventure. It was hysterical, and I highly recommend that and watching for the entertainment value it provides.
New York City around the Christmas holidays, the Bahamas, snorkeling in Hawaii on the "Big Island,” trips to Alaska with all the breathtaking views; Amsterdam, and then Munich for long weekends for the Paralympics.
Current Hobbies / Activities:
Actually I'm learning guitar to keep up with (sisters) Becky and Cindy, Dad, and now my daughter! I sound terrible, but enjoy it . . . so I play when I'm alone. I'm sure my son will be impressed when I can play Jack Johnson or Ben Harper.
How did your high school education / experience influence your career?
My grandmother was a physical education teacher, but definitely Mrs. (Janet) Lasater instilled a love of movement and accomplishment through her classes. She provided so many opportunities outside "the norm" of activities that it was certainly an inspiration to me. Anybody remember that she was a black-belt, and taught us how to flip someone and how to fall flat on the mat without hurting ourselves? It was a thrill for me to also work with Mrs. Lasater (who is still very inspiring) at the Olympics and Paralympics. She had a very important position and was excellent.
Mr. and Mrs. Slayman, as coaches in softball, also directly impacted me as a player and later as a coach. All of these people were examples of what they taught us. We saw their hard work and sweat, as they demanded the same from us . . . and their desire to win and be disciplined was impressive.
Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:
There were a lot of great teachers at Manchester and I often think about them as I've taught. Also great staff, with Mrs. Conley running the office, and Mrs. Hurt in the counseling office. Teachers that stand out in my first thoughts are:
Mrs. Robb, for her incredible energy, enthusiasm, encouragement and creativity. She put on a show each day and I remember her being very animated, smart and an outstanding teacher.
Mrs. Young, for her kind, yet firm discipline, for her patience, and exceptional knowledge of subject; she really pushed us and had very high expectations. I remember not wanting to disappoint her because she had such high expectations for each of us and celebrated our accomplishments. I still do shorthand and used it alot in college and later in work situations. I find it especially useful when making out Christmas lists (like my mother had done).
Mrs. Lasater, for the reasons I listed above; she made us try things outside of our comfort zone. She was tough, intense, organized and demanding, so it was especially great when we would do something and she would just laugh with us (now that I think about it, it was laughing at us!).
Mr. Biss was great with his easy-going manner and great wit.
I also really enjoyed Mr. Just, though I mostly had him as an elementary PE teacher, and then he worked with the guys at the high school. Again, he was a talented, kind person who was accepting and encouraging toward his students.
Favorite subject at MHS:
Art and Physical Education, though I did really like Mrs. Young's Stenography class and had a lot of fun with everyone while being pushed to take shorthand and type so many WPM. Anybody remember having to type a will with no errors and the stress we felt? How about the IBM Selectric typewriters which we thought were so fancy? Also enjoyed my years in Choir with Mr. Romeo. He was another intense teacher, pushing us to perfection (Terri Scherzer, Randy Young, Tim Neff had the great voices). Although I was just average, it did teach me to sing harmony, which I appreciate.
Favorite Manchester memories:
Ski trips with Mr. Biss; wearing some new dark jeans skiing, and then after falling and slipping on ice quite a ways down the hill, looking back up to see a blue streak from my jeans (which would be in style today). Split-sessions, when we went to school from Noon-5pm (research now supports a later start for high schoolers, and it makes sense to me); 26-0 State Basketball Championship in ’74; toilet-papering Mr. France's house, but getting caught when his wife came out and yelled at us (driving the big red van as our getaway car probably didn't help); alot of great activities with Brad and Suzanne McKenney, Scott Korom, Sharon VanBuskirk, John Zahler, Cheryl G. and Laurie G., Linda R., Peggy L., and Justine G. making up songs for us to sing at pep rallies and basketball games — they were really creative and fun (still remember parts of the "All Shook Up" song).
Least favorite memories from school, if any:
Probably one of my most embarrassing moments was during a girls basketball game my sophomore year. The guys’ team (26-0) was sitting in the bleachers probably waiting for the gym, and I remember backpedaling down the court—very aware of their presence and trying to do well—with no one around me . . . and tripping on my own feet, falling right in front of the guys. Also, we loved Mr. France and him coaching us our senior year, but not winning a single game was pretty tough. I remember him just kind of laughing at us, guess that beats the alternative.
Thoughts about attending Manchester schools, in general:
Looking back, it was a great place to go to school, a good size, good people, and good community. For any parent trying to pick out a school system in that area, Manchester would be a great choice.
What sports did you play at MHS?
Luckily I was able to benefit from Title IX and participate in all the sports. Track (freshman year only), which I was terrible at . . . though I remember Laura Combest, Karla Ellis and Lisa Lackey were great. I played volleyball, basketball and softball all the years we had programs at Manchester, and then in college also played the same three except for basketball my senior year. I remember reading what Rick Fausnight wrote on a graduation picture — about how I better not get a scholarship to play if he didn't, and feeling pretty surprised and excited when that did happen for me. It's such a different world now for women's athletics.
Your thoughts on being the 2nd female inductee into the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame…
First, I was very surprised to be thought of, because I no longer live in the community, had moved away and figured I was out of people’s memories. There were so many strong female athletes I followed who were great role models, and others who came along soon after, such as Cheryl, Dani and Renee Vance (inducted in ’93). Certainly, I feel honored to be in a Hall of Fame with such exceptional athletes and individuals. I remember meeting Swede Olsen and, of course, as I mentioned, was coached and "principaled" by Mr. France . . . and they are and were very fine people and exceptional coaches. My father had also been inducted earlier, so to be included was a very special honor for me. It was also a lot of fun because Bernie Conley was inducted the same year.
Favorite TV shows:
These days, I enjoy Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns, Ugly Betty, Prison Break, and a lot of the HGTV programs (we're buying a house that needs updating and so I need all the tips I can get).
If you could re-do or change one thing, what might that be…?
Learn a foreign language, pay more attention in some of my classes, and work harder in general.
Short family recap…what are your sisters up to?
Gail and her family live in Cuyahoga Falls, and Gail is a program director for a nursing home down in the Canton area. Susan teaches middle school in Oregon and is working on her administrative degree; she is married and has two sons. Becky and her husband live in Eastern Montana and have a son Noah, who just turned two. Cindy and her husband officially live in Alaska. After they married, they spent 6 months traveling all around the world with just a backpack and bike, and they continue to live exciting lives.
Your father, Jere, was the MHS principal for 14 years (1962-76). How is he enjoying retirement these days?
Dad is doing really great, and it's hard to imagine that he has his 80th birthday in March. I've always said that he works harder and is in better shape than most 40-year-olds I know; he is really amazing. He square-dances (which all of the sisters, while visiting, got a chance to experience) and it's a lot better workout than you realize, depending on how much you are laughing. Dad works out at a gym on the elliptical, lifts weights and swims about three times a week. In addition to that, he and his wife, Jean, also bike and have numerous ongoing projects around their log home in North Carolina. They travel extensively — out west, Alaska, up to Canada, down south, and (thanks to Cindy and her husband) a couple of trips to the Bahamas.
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