Diane Schacht of Kewaskum is a college student at age 53, joining the ranks of adults who pursue a degree due to layoffs or a desire to change careers.
Employed for 34 years at Amity/Rolfs in West Bend, she was a buyer and the safety director for the distribution center when it closed in 2008. “I worked with some of the best people in the whole world,” said Schacht of her former workplace. While exploring her options, she checked out Moraine Park Technical College and liked what she discovered.
“The varied courses of interest, as well as the close proximity to home, influenced me in choosing Moraine Park,” she said. “Moraine Park also offers many classes in developing computer skills, something I was in great need of.”
The Leadership Development associate of applied science degree piqued her interest. “The training the program offers in leadership skills greatly complements my years of work experience at Amity/Rolfs,” said Schacht. “Classes are in an accelerated format, which allows completion of my degree within two years. It is fast-paced and fun! I found more ‘best people in the whole world’ to be classmates.”
Her communications instructor, Dr. R. Chude Okonkwor, saw in her “a mature and highly motivated student, exceptionally lucid in thoughts and words as well as in writing.” When it was time to nominate candidates for the 2009-10 Moraine Park District Student Ambassador, Okonkwor submitted Schacht’s name. “I thought she would be a stellar representative of Moraine Park's values and ideals,” he explained.
Schacht was selected for the Student Ambassador role and will participate in a statewide recognition event for the 16 new Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) District Student Ambassadors in Madison April 15-16. She begins her term as Moraine Park's ambassador with the start of the 2009-10 academic year.
The WTCS District Student Ambassador Award program identifies outstanding students in the technical college system, with nominations solicited from faculty and staff each year. A committee of college administrators and community leaders select the ambassador based on core abilities – work productively, learn effectively, communicate clearly, work cooperatively, act responsibly, value self positively, and think critically and creatively. The Student Ambassador represents the College at numerous events and serves on the College Planning and Leadership Team as the student representative.
Being the next Student Ambassador allows Schacht to share her college experience with both traditional and non-traditional students alike, she said. “Stressing the importance of a continued education to those just graduating from high school, as well as encouraging older adults, is something I can share through my life experiences.
“The opportunity to attend college at this time in my life has been a very rewarding experience,” she added. “I have always regretted not obtaining a college education. What better time than now?”
Schacht is not only an ambassador for Moraine Park, but was also recently selected as an ambassador of KnowHow2GO in Wisconsin. Launched by the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ad Council in 2007, the KnowHow2Go campaign includes television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements that encourage students in grades eight through 10 to prepare for college using four simple steps.
Schacht also serves on the Fellowship Committee at St. Lucas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kewaskum, and volunteers with the Ice Age Center in the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the Beads of Hope Relay for Life team. She has three grown children. Her hobbies include the outdoors, photography and her garden.
In addition to Schacht, finalists for the 2009-10 Student Ambassador were Kara Lemense of Fond du Lac, Criminal Justice – Corrections, runner-up; April Mims of Fond du Lac, Graphic Communications – Electronic Prepress; and Kham Banhdith of Beaver Dam, Criminal Justice – Corrections. All four will be honored during Moraine Park’s Student Awards Banquet on May 1. The current District Student Ambassador for 2008-09 is Shelly Puckhaber of Germantown, Marketing program.
For more information about Moraine Park, visit www.morainepark.edu.