Hickner Family

Hickner Family
John and I moved to Escanaba in 1978, where we lived for 22 years. John was a family physician employed by Michigan State College of Human Medicine and OSF St. Francis Medical Group. I worked part-time as a speech and language therapist for Head Start, although most of those years I was a stay-at-home mom raising our five children and volunteering for school, church and community projects.

Escanaba’s nurturing environment for children is the success story I want to highlight. Our children grew up in a town that cared about children. I witnessed many success stories every single day living, working and playing in the fine community of Escanaba, especially in Escanaba Public Schools. The superb teachers, administrators and staff worked day in and day out and cared deeply about our children. They supported educational goals, attended many extra-curricular activities and attended to the special needs of children.

Our children, Michael, Laura, Zach, Anna and Olivia are hard-working, productive, responsible, kind and caring adults, due in good measure to the supportive environment in which they were raised. We claim Franklin School as their port of send-off from home into the world. Franklin had a teaching staff second to none that included Ken Myllala (principal), Terry Hampton (principal), Bev Ladin, Mary Hughson, Bonnie Hyde, Paula Buckbee, Ernie LaFave, Kathy Miller, Michelle Bink Dykema, Kay Johnson, Terri Mileski and Vicki Shuh. Our family’s honor roll of junior and senior high school teachers includes Bob Koski (junior high principal), Jim Hansen (senior high principal), Jean King, Jean Jokipii, Doug Fix, Dick Burroughs, Terry Ellis, George Libby, Lynn Miller, Mr. Schleicher, Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Wolffer and music teachers Laura Robinson, Bruce Cassell, John Beck, Kim Beck and Anne Wood.

Escanaba is a caring community of adults that extends beyond the schools. The village cares, the streets are safe, the water is clean and the air is fresh. These factors and this environment contributed to the success of our kids and thousands of other kids.

Success is often measured in lofty achievements, but one can’t build the spires of a church without a strong foundation. We found that strong foundation in Escanaba in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools and our churches, which stressed values and service to our fellow man. We found that foundation on the tennis courts, the hockey rink, the ball fields and the beach. We found that foundation in Escanaba’s music and art programs. This solid foundation has led to the success stories of thousands of children. This foundation provided our children with the tools, skills and opportunities they need to succeed. Raising our kids in Escanaba made a difference because of the people who live and work in this great community.

John and I are grateful we raised our children in Escanaba, where we lived an extraordinarily good life in ordinary ways. Honor each and every success in ordinary daily life; extraordinary success will unfold.

Submitted by Val Hickner