Here are a few highlights of life in the Lococo household over the past year.
We know we have a young woman named Jessica Lococo in the family; we just can’t seem to keep track of her this year. Jesse started her year in Cork, Ireland as part of St. Norbert College’s study abroad program. She spent the summer in Western Wisconsin and the fall student teaching in Green Bay.
Jesse intentionally avoided studying abroad with fellow students from St. Norbert College. This gave her an opportunity to meet new friends and have new experiences. This proved to be a great idea as she now has friends across Europe. While studying in Cork, Jesse also travelled to England, Germany and Sicily. As part of Jesse’s visit to Sicily, she got to see the house where Grandpa Lococo grew up in Porticello.
Helen and Dan visited Jesse in April, just to make sure she was really studying. The trip was an adventure from the very start. They planned to fly to Shannon, Ireland on United Airlines via Newark. Somehow they ended up arriving in Shannon on an Aer Lingus flight through Boston.
Jesse had a chance to show Helen and Dan around Cork and to introduce them to some of her friends. Helen took many pictures (which can be found on Facebook) and Jesse and Dan made a pan of lasagna (go figure) as the main course for a dinner party with her friends.
On Jesse’s 21st birthday (4/9) the trio travelled to Galway. They used Galway as a base for the remainder of the trip. The days were spent exploring the region and the nights were spent exploring the streets, and pubs, of Galway. The time included: trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, the Burren region, and an excellent Literature Festival. If Helen and Dan were to do the trip again they’d spend more time in Cork and less in Galway.
Jessica returned home on May 31 and barely had time to do her laundry. While in Ireland, Jesse landed a summer job working as a Garden Specialist at Lake Valley Camp (LVC) in Western Wisconsin. She left for the camp four days after coming home.
LVC is a residential camp that exposes inner city kids to the great outdoors. Each group of campers comes in on a Sunday afternoon and leaves the following week on a Friday. This gave Jesse about 36 hours off every two weeks for the eight week run of the camp. Jesse spent her time showing the young people (grades 5-9) about gardening and how to grow and enjoy nutritious foods.
On August 21 Jesse took the family car up to Green Bay to start a semester of student teaching in the Green Bay area. She spent the first quarter of the (K-12) academic year teaching Reading, Language Arts, and Forensics at St. Bernard Middle School. She is currently teaching freshmen Language Arts and Advanced Placement English at Green Bay Southwest High School. Jesse will complete her student teaching rotation in January and will graduate from St. Norbert College in May of next year. Yikes! Where did that time go!
To follow some of Jesse’s adventures go to: http://jlococo.tumblr.com/
Rachel Continues On
Rachel started her second year of studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay this fall. Although her freshman year yielded a less-than-satisfying GPA, this semester she is proud to boast a 3.25 average, receiving A’s in all classes except chemistry. She continues her focus on environmental studies but has also declared an art minor. The creative freedom of her photography classes is a good counter balance to the tedium of her core science courses.
Rachel has also taken an artistic focus in the way she has earned money this year. This spring she started figure modeling for the art department on campus. She has posed for a variety of classes, clothed and not, and is considered to be one of the best models at the school. In the fall, Rachel started a part-time job working at the Lawton Gallery, a small art gallery on the UWGB campus. This summer, she also formalized her craft business by starting ArtCat Creations (www.facebook.com/ArtCatCreations), through which she sells handmade jewelry.
Though Rachel did not share the international experiences the rest of her family enjoyed, she found the year to be full of many personal journeys and adventures. In addition to school and art, this year Rachel had a small heart tattooed on her wrist, celebrated her one year anniversary with the man she loves, and got a buzz cut, just to say she has.
Dan Goes to School
On June 16 Dan arrived at Cardinal Stritch University’s main campus for what is known as Summer Institute. Summer Institute is a sixteen day long intensive program for Doctoral students. It was a very exciting way to start a three year course of study that will end with the degree of Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service. Fortunately for Dan he’ll just hang the letters “PhD” at the end of his name when he is done.
The doctoral Leadership program at Cardinal Stritch offers a curriculum with an annual progression of leadership, learning and service with a liberal application of research theory and practice thrown in for good measure. In addition to the course work the doctoral program requires a comprehensive dissertation including original research. Dan is planning to focus his dissertation on the perceptual challenges associated with the inclusion of professionals with disabling conditions in work and community life. If everything goes according to plan, Dan and Rachel will both graduate from college in May of 2014. Hopefully, not on the same day.
Who Does Helen Work For?
Helen continues to work for the Department of Children and Families: a job she has had for almost seven years now. It just isn’t clear who she works for though. Unfortunately, Helen’s job is one of those that has become a part of the political theater going on in Madison this year.
Helen started working for Milwaukee County in February of 2005. The State of Wisconsin took over management of her work area in 2010 but Helen remained employed by the County through a contract that expires at the end of this year. The State of Wisconsin decided to end the contract Helen was working under on September 30th. Since the two employers have very different compensation packages and since none of the County workers were given a choice in being “appointed” to the State, the whole thing is in Court. We do know for sure that Helen will be working for the State of Wisconsin as of January 1, 2012.
We knew Jesse would need to drive to get to her student teaching experiences (see Nonstop Jesse) this year but didn’t happen to have an extra car sitting around the house for her. On August 21st public transit became Dan and Helen’s primary mode of transportation.
On the whole, it has not been a big deal to go without a car this fall. We have found a need for a car just about once every three or four weeks. There have been a couple of occasions when we borrowed a car but we generally just hold our “need a car” chores until Jesse comes home for a weekend.
Helen has found the break from the daily battle with traffic refreshing. It takes her a little longer to get to and from work but she has adopted the goal of meeting one new person every day and the bus is the perfect vehicle for attaining her goal. Dan and Helen are considering what it would be like to not own and insure a $20,000+ machine that sits idle 90% of the time. Maybe they will just go with a bus pass and a “Granny cart.”
Best wishes from our home to yours. We hope that 2012 will be filled with many blessings for you and for all you love and hold dear.