My parents married straight out of high school and soon found themselves with two young children and wanting a better life for their family. It was my dad who continued working so my mother could pursue her degree in education. As far back as I can remember, my mom was attending college part-time, which set an early and lasting example of the value of education and the importance of staying dedicated to a task for my sister and me.
I watched my mother start her career in her early 30s, make several tough job decisions and eventually go back to school for her master’s degree before landing her “dream job” at a low-income school – when she was nearly 40 years old. Since then, I have truly seen the amazing woman my mother is. She has become a well-respected leader in her district, a mentor to other teachers and a “mom” to many children without stable parents in their lives. When I see her at work, I am so proud to say that I am Mrs. Schelat’s daughter.
Throughout all of this, my mother also showed me how to be an all-around good person –volunteering in the community, leading my sister’s Girl Scout troop, pushing us to always reach higher, and cheering me on from the sidelines at every game, meet or competition. She is half of a 32-year marriage, an amazingly supportive daughter and is truly one of my dearest friends.
My mom may not have changed the world, but she was shaping mine. Like many others, I see it more now than I ever did when I was growing up, especially as she has now taken in my husband and his sister after they lost their own mother, and she has been just as wonderful to them as she’s been to me. My family is blessed to have her, and I am incredibly grateful every day.