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Akron, Ohio

 

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Manchester High School
437 West Nimisila Road
Akron, OH 44319
(330) 882-3291

  Claudia Bjerre - MHS Class of 1969
  President and CEO, HealthCare USA of Missouri
 

Claudia currently resides in Fairlawn, but commutes to St. Louis, Missouri every week. Previously, her career has forced her to put down roots in major cities like Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus. After high school, Claudia went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in History at The University of Akron; and since then, she's enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the health care field.

We sent Claudia our alumni bio-questionnaire, so we'll let her bring us up-to-date in her own words:

Your Occupation history:

  • Cashier and Supervisor at Clarkins (that's going way back)
  • Caseworker and Food Stamp Supervisor at the Summit Co. Welfare Dept.
  • Director of Patient Admissions, Huron Road Hospital, East Cleveland
  • Director of Claims & Medical Management, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio
  • Director of Provider Relations, MaxiCare of Ohio
  • Network Director, MetLife of Cleveland . President & CEO, Metlife of Illinois
  • Vice President General Motors Account, MetLife
  • CEO of NorthEast Ohio, United HealthCare
  • Currently, President and CEO, HealthCare USA of Missouri

Interesting things you've done since high school:

  • Pursue my passion for Broadway by traveling to NYC several times a year to see plays and musicals. Have attended the Tony Awards several times.
  • Known in my social circle for throwing terrific parties
  • Commute weekly to St. Louis to work for the last seven years
  • Traveled to most countries in Europe. Spent two weeks in Greece last summer (2005) and will be traveling to Brazil in June.

Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:

  • Alice MacDonald: I had Alice for two years and we read terrific books and had some very excellent discussions. Her classes were good preparation for college.
  • Lillian Williams / Ed Cowger: Their team teaching allowed for interesting discussions in 1968-69 when current events were so exciting. The skits they allowed my classmates and I to create and perform were lots of fun. Today no school would allow us to do anything like we did then because it would be considered too controversial.
  • George Bailey: What a great guy. He had left business to become an elementary teacher. He was my first male teacher. Sixth grade at Nolley School-the first year it opened-was lots of fun.
  • Carol Calhoun: Another first year teacher at the junior high, teaching American and Ohio History. She was young and very understanding of adolescents.
  • Jim Armenti: The cigarette smoke on his clothes. He had a way of treating me in a more adult-like manner that was always appropriate; and there was always something unexpected in Geometry class
  • Carol Bartels: Although I was not very good in Chemistry, she allowed me to take part in her study hall for the really smart Chemistry students.
  • Helen Kerstetter: Miss Kerstetter gave me and many others a solid foundation for grammar. I'll never forget her reaction the day we learned President Kennedy was assassinated.

Favorite subject at MHS:

Government and Art Least favorite subject at MHS: Algebra (I never quite got it.I suffer from the Bjerre Math Phobia)

Favorite memories from school:

  • I loved going to school at Manchester. The size of the school was small enough that you knew almost everyone and their families. In high school my sister Pam and brother Doug attended at the same time, so I knew many of the upper classmen because of them.
  • As time has passed, I realize how fortunate I was to benefit from a very fine public education. We had wonderful teachers who were interested in seeing us succeed.

What sports, if any, did you play at MHS?

None.it was pre Title IX. But I'm thrilled to see all the opportunities for girls in sports today. Nothing makes me happier than to read about the MHS Girls teams doing well.

Other high school activities / clubs you enjoyed:

French Club, Art Guild, Football and basketball games (even though we had losing teams)

Which H.S. reunions have you attended? And are there favorite memories from them?

  • I have attended all of our class reunions-5 year / 10 year / 20 year / 33 year (when we all turned 50)-and the picnic we had two years ago.
  • The best part of the reunions is seeing classmates and catching up. There is a connection with these people that is different than any others in my life. It doesn't matter what your occupation, how much money you have.all the pretense is gone. As we have aged, the most important things are health, family and happiness.

Any favorite school-era "hangouts?"

In Junior High."the Bow Wow"

Favorite music:

(Then) The Beatles

(Now) Broadway and most songs from the great American songbook

Favorite TV shows:

(Then) The Monkees, The Avengers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

(Now) Law and Order

Do you still have family living in Manchester?

My parents still live in our house in Manchester. They will be 85 this year. My sister Carol (Class of '63) is married to Lee Turner (Class of '62). They live in a suburb of Detroit. They have three children and six grandchildren. My sister Pam (Class of '67) works at Roadway and lives in Akron. My brother Doug (Class of '68) is a Lieutenant on the Akron Fire Department and resides in Kent. He is married has three children and three grandchildren. My sister Beth (Class of '79) also works at Roadway. She and her husband live in Stow and have two children.

Final Thoughts

I like the new alumni website, and I know it's a lot of work to keep it up. We spent many hours collecting information on our '69 classmates. Thanks to all of you for doing this.

If you'd like to contact Claudia, feel free to drop her an email at cbj1951@aol.com.

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