Growing up, what did you want to be? Maybe an astronaut exploring space, or a scientist curing cancer! Personally, I knew that I wanted to be a firefighter or a superhero. As it turns out however, I have a crippling fear of heights and sadly, monsters aren’t an everyday occurrence that Saturday morning cartoons led me to believe. I would hazard a guess that most of you did not know my mother, had three separate dreams as a child, one was being involved in education another was chasing dastardly desperados down, and the final was being the leader of the greatest nation on earth, President of the United States. To pursue any one of these dreams back in the 60’s would take every part of my mother’s greatest gift, her determination.
Living in rural Nebraska, my mother quickly figured out the wild west was no longer a career path, so education was her goal. She set up classrooms in my grandparents’ house teaching her dolls writing and arithmetic, which would explain why she could spend 30 Years unsuccessfully teaching my father and I table manners. Understanding that to be a good educator, you needed to be a great leader, my mother became involved with school organizations all the way through college.
Graduating with a degree in education, she applied for teaching job after teaching job in Lincoln, NE. However fate had other ideas, and sent her into management in the 80’s. Battling through unfair sexism and necessary compromise my mother forged the tenacity sitting before you today. Because of this she was (and still is) the type to roll her sleeves up and get involved in the nitty-gritty work needed to make others successful.
After a few years my mother applied for the Purchasing department at LPS. While this may not have been perfectly in line with her dream, it was still education. Discovering local and state levels for NAEOP, she became an active member and involved herself with leadership. When I was in high school she said the next goal would be president of the national association, however she didn’t want to miss a second of me. Putting her dreams on hold while I was struggling to find myself, her determination helped adjust the sails of my life and guide me to a more positive direction.
It has been a little over 5 years since I donned my own cap and gown and we are here honoring her. Her backbone has changed how I approach life in different ways, helping me achieve new and different dreams because I know no matter how difficult it is right now, there will be something better on the horizon. Determination is not something we all have, however, those who do, find their ambitions completed by their hands. As a child my mother was determined to be in education, and no matter the event, she never backed down from a challenge. With the future still open and the winds of fate still blowing, we may end up calling her Madam President by the year 2025