We are fortunate to live near this national treasure we call Lake Tahoe, enveloped by nature. I love all the creatures that thrive here—the plants, the flowers, the trees, the birds. But today I’d like to pay homage to the people.
I moved here about 25 years ago as a single mother and alas, single mother I remained. I managed to raise my three children, keep them fed, clothed and housed and even supplied with necessary gear like iPods. But college tuition was never going to be in my reach.
Education and knowledge have always been important to me and that notion was instilled in my children from the very beginning. “You will go to college, you will have a plan and you will have to find a way to pay for it yourself!” They grew up on those words.
My oldest son, Rusty, decided to join the military as an opportunity for growth and as a way to fund his education. The military has opened up doors for him, creating situations that he would not have explored on his own, giving him discipline and drive and a desire to be physically fit.
My daughter, Melanie, decided to pursue scholarships. And this town delivered. She received enough scholarships to pay for her education and keep her afloat during the 5 years she spent in college. She was careful with the money, even managing a semester in Spain and a summer semester in Costa Rica to perfect her Spanish, in which she is now fluent.
She graduated from the Orvis School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno, with Honors in December, also earning a minor in Spanish and I couldn’t be more proud. She has a job with a hospital in Reno in the telemetry department which will begin in February.
She’ll be an excellent nurse. She has compassion, is willing and able to work hard and she’s dedicated to helping others, perhaps in part because she had a special-needs younger brother growing up.
Another young lady who has been busily earning her wings with the scholarships she was awarded is Kerry Walsh. Kerry also was raised by a single mother, her father having passed away at much too young of an age. Mother and daughter fell upon hard times and became homeless. A wonderful Incline family took Kerry in, ensuring that she could finish high school.
Kerry also had to be careful with her money so she took her general education classes at Truckee Meadows Community College, transferring to the University of Nevada, Reno to finish her degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, on-line with San Jose State University, aided partly by a private scholarship from an Incline resident.
Kerry plans to pay it forward and use her public health degree to become more involved in the community through community outreach programs. Her ultimate goal is to help people in the community live happier and healthier lives.
Is this an amazing town, or what? And these are two amazing girls who overcame adversity—through hard work and the generosity of a village, these girls have achieved so much.
Success does not come without hard work. Melanie held two jobs and never had the experience of living on campus. Kerry is currently working full-time while earning her masters. But they have proven that it can be done. For those struggling with finances, encourage your children to work hard in school, maintain good grades, do volunteer work and apply for scholarships.
To all the people in this area who generously contribute to the many scholarships that are awarded each year—I send you a heart-felt thank you! I thought it might be nice to hear “the rest of the story” and see that your money is well spent.
Together we are creating the future keepers of society, the builders of bridges, ambassadors of progress. I like to think that my children and others will return to the village one day to give back to the next generation of promising students.
We’ve all heard the saying — It takes a village to raise a child. Thank you, Incline Village!