This has been a busy but exciting year for all the Stephensons! It is a year that has brought changes and opportunities to us all, and we are truly thankful for our many blessings!
Jenk reached an exciting milestone this year when he celebrated his 60th birthday. He now plans to work through the end of the 2007 school year and then retire! He has so many plans that he will be busy for many years to come. (One of his goals includes learning to be a blacksmith!)
Marc finished his first year of teaching at Saugus High School while continuing the university classes necessary to get his teaching credential. During the summer he taught reading literacy for 6 weeks, took two college classes and attended a conference (paid for by our school) in San Diego to prepare to teach Advanced Placement (college-level) chemistry for this school year. In his “spare time” he also bought a 2-bedroom condominium in Valencia. With the help of friends he furnished it, and now has a home of his own.
Beth is in her senior (!) year at UCLA. Some time ago she decided that she wanted to explore the field of event planning as a career. So this summer she found an internship with Sequoia Productions, one of the most successful event planning companies on the west coast. It was an exciting, yet intense summer, and culminated with her key role in putting on the Governor’s Ball for the annual Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. She continues to work for the company part-time during the school year organizing other events. Because of her internship she was not able to be in the UCLA marching band this year, so being Beth she decided to explore something new and joined the crew (rowing) team. She is now an NCAA athlete and gets numerous “perks”. In the first race of the year her boat did very well.
Patty’s year has been busier than ever. She traveled to China in March with our principal to set up the first sister-school exchange on the west coast. They visited Beijing, climbed a portion of the Great Wall and spent 4 wonderful days in Xi’an visiting our new partner in this exciting exchange. She returned to the world of teaching and began completing endless paperwork for the State Department approval needed to allow the Chinese students to come to the U.S. Then in June she traveled to France with 14 of her students who lived with French families for one month. Patty was also able to visit several friends and to stay a few days with her French family from her high school exchange program! She arrived back in time to fly to Texas to join Jenk who was visiting his family, then they drove home via New Mexico and Colorado visiting friends and family along the way. A few days later we welcomed five students and their teacher from China. The students are living with American families and Ms. Ma (the teacher) has been living with us. The intervening months have included many activities with the Chinese group, including visits to museums, Disneyland, San Diego, San Francisco, Yosemite, Sacramento and many others. The students just finished their semester at Saugus High School where they earned A and A+ grade point averages… They will all return to China at the end of December, but they will leave behind a deep impression on our school community. Now Patty begins working with the American students who will accompany her to China for 8 weeks next summer.
We all four just began our winter vacation and we join together to wish all of you Merry Christmas! May 2006 bring peace to our world and good health and much love to all of you.