Writing a blog is a new experience for me, one of many since my retirement from Minnesota West CTC (Worthington Community College) in 2007. Many of you know me as a Counselor in Student Services at MN West where I worked for 30 years. Because of the number of students that I worked with over the years, I think that I know the communities of Southwest Minnesota very well. My familiarity with the region and my interest in all who live here has motivated me to run for the Minnesota State Legislature as the State Representative of District 22B.
For those who have not met or heard of me, my daughter and I moved to Worthington in January 1977 when I accepted the Counselor position at Worthington Community College. This was a move that took me from southern New York State to southwestern Minnesota.
I was born in Buffalo, New York. When I was four, my parents were able to buy a home in the Town of Cheektowaga, which is just outside of Buffalo. That is where I grew up. My mom still lives in our family home, and my sister and her husband live nearby. I graduated from high school and attended colleges in rural areas in NY. My first job was in retail; my second was working on the line at Eastman Kodak making cameras; I also waitressed and was a substitute teacher. My first professional job after graduate school was at SUNY Binghamton. While there, I worked in minority programs counseling students who were first generation college students, just like I had been. From Binghamton I moved to Worthington.
I had many great role models while I was growing up. One of them was my grandmother who lived with us from the time my parents married till the day she died in 1977. She worked as a cleaning woman until she was almost 70 years old. I learned from her that there was no job too small to do right. I learned that long hours and hard work were not to be avoided. And I learned that getting an education was something to strive for and value. She told me over and over “No one can ever take an education away from you. Go to school and learn.”
It was through my grandmother and her work that I met Ms. Talsma, a teacher who became one of the first female school administrators in Buffalo. From Ms. Talsma I learned how to treat people well no matter what their job was. She treated my grandmother with respect and deference. Ms. Talsma took an interest in me and encouraged me to never stop learning. Because of the influence of both my grandmother and Ms. Talsma, I have always valued people from all walks of life and have loved learning from them.
I have lived here in Southwest MN for over 35 years. The area, the people, and the college have all given me experiences and a richness to my life. I have watched Worthington grow and change, just as I have grown and changed. I truly love my home, my community, my state and I couldn’t be prouder of where we live.