Portrait of President Dr. Christine Sobek
Christine J. Sobek, Ed.D.

For those of us who work in education, August is an exciting month. It is like January when all things are new for many people. It is like the start of sports seasons when everyone starts fresh and with the opportunity to do great things. When it comes to the start of the academic year, everyone starts fresh and has opportunities to do great things. I love to see the transformations that happen in the lives of people who take steps to grow through education. These transformations are real and have long-lasting impacts.

As an example, we recently recognized Chris Hess of Aurora, a 1987 Waubonsee graduate and standout baseball player. Chris went on to graduate from Western Illinois University and serve in both the United States Marine Corps and Army. He deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan in 1990-1991, 2003-2004 and in 2008-2009. Today he is a career counselor in an area high school.

Just as he took advantages of the fresh starts and opportunities of college, baseball seasons and the military, Chris counsels and guides young people to fresh starts and new opportunities in their lives.

It thrills me to think of the people who will start or return to college this month; many of them have clear plans and goals and many of them do not. They will all work through the challenges of life, will learn much and will then pass those lessons learned along to countless other people for years to come. They will be able to say that all the work was worth it. In the coming years and decades employers, colleges, civic groups and others will take time to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of people who will begin or continue their academic journey this month. This is why I love my job!