Class of '93
Greetings Class of 1993!
First, let me apologize for the absence of the winter letter. I have no excuse, so I won't offer one! However, for this letter I have my first guest writer in about 5 years, so I know everyone will be happy to hear from someone other than me for a change. C.J. Turner has graciously offered to write about his son, Lincoln, so without further adieu here is C.J.
For those of you who don't know where I am at these days, I am married and live in Tampa, FL. My wife Michelle and I are the proud parents of two sons, Lincoln Joseph and Grayson McKay. Our first son, Lincoln, was born on September 5, 2001. While Lincoln's birth was an obvious blessing, it also brought something into our lives that we had not expected; Lincoln was born with Down's Syndrome. Down's Syndrome, if you are not all aware, is linked to mild to severe learning and physical disabilities in those that it afflicts. In addition, there are many common physical characteristics that are attached to Down's Syndrome, although these may vary from child to child. Low muscle tone and almond shaped eyes tend to be the most common.
Down's Syndrome is linked to a chromosomal dysfunction during the fertilization stage. Instead of the chromosomes from both the man and woman splitting and one each going towards the child, in Lincoln's case, two came from one parent and one from another causing three chromosomes on the 21st Strand of DNA. Down's Syndrome is also referred to in Lincoln's condition as TriSomy 21.
The percentages of women above the age of 35 who have children are at higher risk of having children with Down's Syndrome. However, what most people aren't aware of is that the average age for Down's Syndrome mothers is still around 27 years. This often comes as a surprise to couples that feel rushed to have children due to higher risk births. The reality is that young couples too may also have children with chromosome disorders.
Lincoln's quality of life and prognosis are great, but there other difficult challenges that go along with Down's Syndrome. Often times heart problems are prevalent as well as the possibility of Alzheimer's Disease. However, many children, once through the initial medical challenges, can live long and productive lives. The quality of life and level of intelligence varies from one child to the next. We have yet to meet two children with Down's Syndrome who have been afflicted in the exact same way.
Lincoln was enrolled in a special daycare from the time that he was nine months old. It is an "inclusion" program, which simply means that there are children with disabilities sprinkled into the classroom. The great part about a program such as this is that the learning disabled children seem to strive for higher goals set by their peers. In addition, the peer group learns to become accustomed to having children with special needs in their classroom and in their everyday lives. The daycare allowed Lincoln to receive his daily therapies while keeping him involved with the class curriculum. Lincoln receives seven therapies a week including speech/oral motor therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. The individuals who work with Lincoln are a blessing in our lives and we don't know what we would do without them. Lincoln thinks otherwise and often times will cry when they walk into the room knowing what is in store for him for the next hour. By the end of the sessions however, Lincoln is smiling from ear to ear.
Lincoln will begin Pre-K in September and it is hard to believe that he is already almost three. He will attend a regular Pre-K school two years ahead of most other kids his age. This will allow for him to get adjusted to the routine of school while also allowing him to receive his therapies outside the home. We have found therapy outside the home to be much more productive as Lincoln has a tendency to slip into his own "routines" at home.
My wife and I have found out a tremendous amount about our faith and love for one another through our son Lincoln. He has taught us that everything that happens in this life is for a reason. Similarly to all children, he has taught us to look at life with a sense of humor and wonder. My wife continues to amaze me everyday with her steadfast approach to Lincoln's education and quality of life. We have worked together to ensure that Lincoln will have all of the things that he can achieve in life. Sometimes it seems very overwhelming. However, the network of support that we have received from family, friends and groups such as Ups With Down's keep us upbeat and motivated.
Our second son, Grayson, was born July 26, 2003. He is completely healthy, and we are very excited to have a little brother for Lincoln to create some friendly competition in the house. We have heard that siblings are very good for children with learning disabilities.
If you have any questions about Down's Syndrome, or just want to catch up, please feel free to contact me at:
CJ and Michelle Turner
15409 Sir Maxwell Court
Odessa, FL 33556
CJ, thank you so much for sharing your story. I know everyone will be very interested in hearing about your situation.
Okay, this wouldn't be a class letter without some Gustavus Fund information, as well as some class gossip, so don't let me disappoint. First, let me remind you that last year we surpassed our goal with 132 donors. Our goal this year is 203 donors, and while we are doing great with 128 donors, we have a way to go if we wish to reach our goal again. Please, if you haven't sent in a donation already, contact the Alumni Office at email@example.com, or call 800-487-8437. Phonorama has started and runs April 25-29. You may pledge your donation at that time if you wish. And if you wish to participate in Phonorama, please contact the Alumni Office. Anything you can do to help raise money for the Alumni Fund will be greatly appreciated!
I know you are all hungry for news since this is so late, so here you go.
- Sharon Hanifl to Michael Lee on September 27, 2003.
- Stephani Hillman to Scott Abramson on October 25, 2003.
- Kris Kolvig to Todd Prokopec on August 30, 2003.
- Kara Moller to Matt Russo on February 28, 2003.
Births (and lots of them….)
- Karin Anderson Foss and husband, Jim, welcomed son, Alexander Donald, on September 30, 2003.
- Cherrish Arganbright Holland and Matt Holland welcomed son, Wolzen David, on April 5, 2003.
- Jennifer Bowden Brickley and husband, Vince, welcomed daughter, Evelyn Grace, on September 3, 2003.
- Erik Bowman and wife, Peta, welcomed daughter, Ella Grace, on October 24, 2003.
- Steve Cone and wife, Lisa (Decker '92), welcomed daughter, Madelyn Jean, on September 23, 2003. She joins big sister, Emma, and big brother, Ryan.
- Danielle Dahlstrom Coughlin and husband, Kevin, welcomed son, Aidan Dahlstrom, on December 6, 2003.
- Jeff Erickson and wife, Alana (Gustafson '97), welcomed daughter, Emilia, on January 30, 2004.
- Lauri Gates Robinson and husband, Mark, welcomed daughter, Betsy Joy, on October 8, 2003.
- Wendy Gilland Vedeen and husband, Erick, welcomed daughter, Lauren Olivia, on February 10, 2004.
- Kristin Hagerty VanBlarcom and Andy VanBlarcom welcomed daughter, Teagan Grace, in November 2003.
- Bryan Haines and wife, Michelle, welcomed son, Samuel Charles, on October 2, 2003.
- Dawn Hanson McArthur and husband, Charlton, welcomed son, Charlton Hanson, on November 3, 2003.
- Kim Harrold Campen and husband, Steven, welcomed son, Nathaniel Steven, on November 11, 2003.
- Kris Haukoos Voeltz and husband, Chris, welcomed daughter, Molly Nadine, on April 12, 2004.
- Jamie Jerdee and wife, Ann, welcomed daughter, Ella, on July 28, 2003.
- Jessica Kirtz Organ and husband, Ken'92, welcomed son, Alexander Kenneth, on October 15, 2003.
- Jill Krautkremer Keddy and husband, Matt, welcomed daughter, Taylor Jane, on February 17, 2004.
- Jenny Miller Bouchet and husband, Michael, have welcomed their third child, daughter Joy.
- Brent Newman and wife, Michelle '96, welcomed daughter, Bailey Noelle, on September 13, 2003.
- Mike Nordberg and wife, Dana, welcomed son, Caden Michael, on September 15, 2003.
- Wendy Olson Myer and husband, Rodney, welcomed son, Abraham, in May 2003.
- Dawn Parmley Hudnutt was expecting her second child on November 14, 2003. Dawn, don't forget to tell us what you had!!!
- Erica Pye Marston and husband, John, welcomed son, Nicholas Theodore, on March 26, 2003.
- Boni Olsen Berndt and Yuri Berndt '92, welcomed daughter, Linnea, on February 12, 2004.
- Danielle Dahlstrom Coughlin is a software consultant for COGNOS, Inc.
- Steve "Eller" Erlandson is the property manager for Four Seasons Lodging, Inc.
- Kirstin Erickson Mohr is enrolled in the MSA-Administration program at Central Michigan University. Her concentration is human resources.
- Erik Jelinek is a pastor at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Beloit, WI.
- Jamie Jerdee is the wellness coordinator at Abbott Northwestern Center for Outpatient Care.
- Gretchen Kittelson Jerva is the assistant director, technology, in the Department of Annual Giving at the University of Michigan.
- Janeen Laatsch works for the Natural Heritage Program in Madison, WI.
- Krisha Nielsen Crabtree is a self-employed massage therapist, and also teaches rehabilitative medical massage at Center Point School.
- Lori Pingatore earned her master's of science degree in education studies, literary specialist. Lori teaches remedial reading and English at New Ulm Senior High and occasionally teaches as an adjunct instructor of reading at MNSU, Mankato.
- Greg Trebil received his MBA from St. Thomas University in December 2003.
- Michael Weber is a freelance photographer in New York City.
Scholarships and financial assistance at Gustavus
Did you know that scholarships and financial assistance for Gustavus students totals $18M, almost 25 percent of Gustavus' annual budget? Alumni Fund gifts, including designated and unrestricted gifts, help enable students to receive a Gustavus education. Gustavus offers two types of scholarships to students -- merit awards given to recognize academic achievement, and tuition grants are used to assist students with recognized financial need. Endowed scholarships are an important part of the Gustavus grant program and currently nine percent of scholarship funds come from the endowment.
Did you know . . .
- Nearly 80% of Gustavus students graduate in four years, compared with 56% of students from other Minnesota private colleges; the national average is 17%.
- There are seven choral ensembles and 23 instrumental ensembles, two jazz, four woodwind and three brass ensembles.
- More than 40 percent of Gustavus students volunteer through the Gustavus community service center on a regular basis.
- For student safety, the campus is well-lit, there is 24-hour Safety and Security patrol and escort service, residence halls are locked 24 hours a day, and there are blue light emergency phones throughout campus linked directly to Safety and Security.
- And looking back -- during the college's early years, students were awakened by a bell at 5:45 a.m. and all lights had to be out by 10:30 p.m.
- Phonorama - April 25-29, Central Lutheran Church
- Cec Eckhoff Society Reception – May 1
- Commencement – May 30
- Alumni Fund closes – May 31
- Class reunions on Homecoming & Family Weekend – October 1 & 2
That's all I have for now. I would like to extend a huge thanks to C.J. Turner for sharing his personal story. If anyone else would like to volunteer to write their story, please let me know. If you have any news to share, please contact the Gustavus Alumni Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me at Kristen.Lamont@Genmills.com. Have a wonderful spring and don't forget to send your donations to the Alumni Fund!
Class Agent '93