Frances Vera-FALL 2017 BLESSONS AWARD RECIPIENT

Frances Vera-FALL 2017 BLESSONS AWARD RECIPIENT

I always believed in the saying “finish what you started” but, for a long time, I did not think that would apply to me.  Almost a year and a half after graduating from high school, I found myself dropping out yet again.  During my first attempt, my books were stolen from the back seat of my car, but this time I found myself pregnant.   At twenty-one, this was a step up for me, considering the environment in which I was raised.

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Sandra Vargas

Sandra Vargas

My name is Sandra but my family and friends call me Sand. Yes, like the sand you find at the beach. I am the mother of three wonderful, beautiful witty girls. I come from a very humble family and I am a first generation Mexican- American. Since graduating from college last May at age 35 with my first Bachelor’s degree, my life has taken a 180 degree turn for the best. 

 

 

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Marlise Fein

 Marlise Fein

Around the time I turned 16 I was up at 4:30 AM in the morning doing chores before high school. I would wake up early on the weekends to milk forty cows. A dairy farm is an operation that runs seven days a week.  Farmers have no sick days, vacation days, or holidays off from work.  However, the reward is being able to see first-hand the results of all that effort and hard work. It was also great to spend so much time outdoors instead of being stuck behind a desk for so many hours of the day!

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Melinda Howard

Melinda Howard

I was born in early 1962 in Des Moines, Iowa. My parents were very conservative politically and religiously.  I was raised in a no nonsense household that held firmly to the belief of, "Spare the rod, spoil the child."  The rod was firmly administered to excess.  I recall, even in high school wearing clothing that strategically hid bruises.  At age 22, a Senior in college, I received my last "official" spanking.  

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Kelly Haldeman

Kelly Haldeman

College was a fabulous experience and a real revelation! I was a little fish in a big pond, coming from a small private school of 61 in my graduating class to a HUGE university full of such diversity and no shortage in opportunities. I went to college at age 17, as I was very young when I started Kindergarten. It took me 5 years to finish, but I don’t have any regrets! It was my first real experience with setbacks. Looking back, I was ALWAYS able to pick up the pieces and start fresh!

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Jill Schumacher

Jill Schumacher

My name is Jill Schumacher. I am a Physician Assistant and work in sports medicine. I went to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Aside from working full time in orthopedics, my heart is really into medical missions. I have worked in several underprivileged countries in Africa and South America. I work as part of a medical team in a free clinic, providing basic medical care to patients from general medicine to dentistry and eye care. This is my heart and passion. 

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Kristine Binder

Kristine Binder

I got a job as a part time teacher upon graduation. I wanted to live in the city so I moved to Lincoln Park (the only place my parents thought was safe) and took a job working for a small graphic arts firm. I eventually left that job to go back to teaching. I taught in the UIC area for several years then met and married a man. After a few years of commuting, I had a daughter thus, I chose to take a teaching job closer to our home. A second,  third and then FOURTH(!) child meant looking for a larger home and with that, a change to another school closer to home. Somewhere in there, my stepdaughter (goodness I hate the term step!) chose to become a part of our family. Thus, I became a mom of 5!

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