Northeast PA ESU Alumni Annual Summer ‘Fun-Raiser’

Spend a fun day on the greens with your fellow Warriors!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 2021

Mountain Laurel Golf Club 
White Haven, Pa. 
12 noon shotgun start
Four Person Scramble

  • Format: Flighted captain and crew
  • Cost is $300 per foursome, $75 per player  
  • Registration cost includes green fees, cart, light lunch, outdoor steak dinner, prizes, beer at the turn

CLICK HERE for golfer registration form and further details regarding COVID-19 restrictions.

Registration deadline is August 6, 2021.

Mount Laurel Golf Club is located at 100 Mountain Laurel Drive, White Haven, Pa. 
For information and directions, visit https://www.mountainlaurelgolfclub.com/.

For further information, reach out to the  
Northeast PA ESU Alumni Summer ‘Fun-Raiser’ Committee:

Frank Johnson ’74 essc308@ptd.net 
Paul Scheuch ’71 skipat718@aol.com

CLICK HERE for sponsorship opportunities. For more information or questions, please contact the ESU Office of Alumni Engagement at (570) 422-3613.

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Recognizing Outstanding Alumni

The Alumni Association is seeking to renew its pool of candidates for the annual Alumni Awards. Nominate your classmate at https://www.esualumni.org/awards. Deadline for nominations is May 31st!

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ESU Alum’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Shines Through Despite Pandemic

At the start of 2020, JD Wilson was earning around $75,000 a year operating his “dream” business, an events company called Lead U that hosts empowerment workshops at schools across the country.

The idea for the company sprang to mind in 2016, when Wilson was a teacher in New Jersey watching the Dribbler, a former Harlem Globetrotter, perform at an assembly for his fourth grade students. Why stick to teaching math when he could craft experiences that would teach students life lessons they would remember for years to come? Wilson thought.

He resigned from his teaching job at the end of the school year, and from 2016 to 2020, Wilson built Lead U, reveling in the energy and enthusiasm of the students he visited and empowering them to “find the leader within.” Life was good: The company was pre-booked throughout 2020 and Wilson was traveling to Canada and England to host assemblies and workshops. He felt fulfilled helping kids gain confidence.

“The money started coming in, and I loved what I was doing,” Wilson says. “I felt like I was really, really making an impact on the kids.”

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Lead U lost all of its business since the company relied on in-person workshops and presentations. Like millions of others in the U.S. and across the world, Wilson’s life changed seemingly overnight.

Having lost his mother a few months earlier, and now his business, by mid-March Wilson was at his “lowest point” in years, he says. He knew he needed a change of scenery.

With a teaching degree and experience to fall back on, he began applying to schools in Hawaii, where teachers are often in high demand. In such high demand, in fact, that Wilson was offered a job teaching third grade when he cold-called a school — if he could start in three days.

Wilson packed a single bag, had a goodbye luau with his family and moved to Kailua, in Oahu, Hawaii, in July of 2020. Hawaii is significantly more expensive than New Jersey, he says, and he’s making $47,000 per year, a little more than half as much as he used to.

But despite the drop in income, he loves the island and its energy. When he first moved, he says he was shocked that people in the community who didn’t know him took time to drop off food during his two-week quarantine. It’s helped him gain perspective on how he really wants to live his life and treat others.

“I’m learning from the culture out here. I’m learning from the people. I’m learning from my colleagues,” he says.

Still learning and growing

Wilson says he has a lot to learn, both in life and when it comes to his money.

He took a circuitous route to entrepreneurship. After graduating from high school in 2001, he attended East Stroudsburg University, graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in history and around $70,000 in student loan debt.

“It’s not the greatest thing to get after five years of schooling,” Wilson admits of his degree, noting it was difficult to find a job. From there, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was deployed to Iraq. He remained in the military until 2010.

The military “humbled me and made me realize you have to do what you want to do in life,” he says. That’s when he decided to get his post-baccalaureate in teaching at Caldwell University, which the military paid for.

Looking back, Wilson says he has made some mistakes. Perhaps the biggest was taking out so many student loans, he says. While the military paid off around $25,000, he still has around $40,000 left and pays $586 a month (he has continued to pay them each month, despite the Covid-related pause on federal student loan payments).

For Wilson, the student loans are a symptom of a larger issue: He’s never been good at managing his finances, he says, personal or business. At 38, he’s still learning some of the basics.

One of his main goals in Hawaii is to create and stick to a budget. He’s making progress, noting that he no longer buys single-use plastic items like water bottles, which he used to do without a second thought. In fact, he’s cut out virtually all discretionary spending and says that his lower salary actually motivates him to save more.

“I’m not good with money, and it is probably one of my biggest flaws and the thing I need to work on the most,” he says. “But I’m learning, I’m always learning, every day.”

Family ties

Wilson grew up with his parents and two older sisters, Laurie and Wendy, in Toms River, New Jersey, near the Jersey Shore. Theirs was a happy suburban household, Wilson says. His parents sent all three kids to private school and encouraged their children to pursue their dreams; Wilson says he was at the beach every day.

But there were challenges behind the scenes, Wilson says. Though his parents hid any money worries from him, finances became tighter when his mother, Diane, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late ’90s; by the time he was in high school, she was confined to a wheelchair and had to quit her job as a teacher.

To pay for her medical bills, the family had to make sacrifices, including selling their home when she was diagnosed and renting different apartments over the next few years to save money. For a few months the summer before Wilson entered high school, the kids and their parents all lived with different friends because they couldn’t afford to rent a place.

Even with sacrifice, the family struggled financially. “We didn’t have money to get all the amenities that would have made her life so much easier,” Wilson says. “But you never would have noticed it because of her attitude … she continued to maintain being such an amazing mom.”

Wilson’s mother passed away in October 2019. He credits her and his father with instilling a work ethic in all of their children and with giving him permission to put “passion over profits.” If he pursued what he loved, his parents told him, the money would work itself out.

“They always, always said…that as long as you’re doing what you love, that’s all that really matters at the end of the day,” Wilson says. “And I believe in that 100%.”

How he budgets his money

  • Rent: $1,675 (one-bedroom apartment, including Wi-Fi and utilities)
  • Food: $650 ($350 for groceries, $300 for dining out)
  • Student loans: $586
  • Car: $194 (including gas and insurance)
  • Phone: $130
  • Gym: $85 (including separate yoga classes)

Since he moved, Wilson has kept all discretionary spending low. Life in Hawaii is expensive and after paying for rent, groceries and his student loans each month, he doesn’t have much money left over. Since filming, he says he has cut his food budget significantly.

He keeps a “minimalist” lifestyle, as he describes it, sleeping on an air mattress in his sparsely furnished apartment and owning a single cup (affectionately, and appropriately, named Cup).

“There’s something about having very simple things at home that helps me emotionally and mentally throughout the day,” he says.

Currently, Wilson does not have retirement savings, and, because of his relatively low salary coupled with higher living expenses, he has depleted most of his pre-Covid savings. He moved to Hawaii with around $10,000, and now his savings account is down to around $1,100. “I ran through it,” he says.

He doesn’t plan to live this way forever. But for now, he says the situation works for him. He teaches, surfs, sleeps and eats. He doesn’t need much else at the moment.

It’s a drastic change from his life in New Jersey, when he was always on the move, seeing people and hosting events. He appreciates the slower pace.

“Back home, the first question people usually ask you is, ‘What do you do for a living?’” he says. “Here it’s, ‘What are you doing today?’”

For the past few months, as the Covid-19 vaccine rollout has accelerated in the U.S. and Americans have started envisioning returning to something of a “normal” life, Wilson has been working on restarting Lead U. He’s even already booked some events.

Going forward, he also hopes to create a healthier budget and establish savings for himself and for his company.

“The truth is, the biggest investment I’m making right now is in myself, and in the bet that, hopefully, Lead U comes back,” he says. “You have to do what you want to do in life, and you have to make it happen on your own.”

News source: How this 38-year-old earning $47,000 a year in Hawaii spends his money (cnbc.com)

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We always are…BETTER TOGETHER!

Always Better Together. Given the past year, the statement rings truer than ever for us all. As a supporter of the East Stroudsburg University Foundation, we value and miss the time we spend with one another and look forward to when we can gather and connect in person once again.

In the meantime, we want to share with you the impact of your generosity from Warriors who received scholarship support through the ESU Foundation. Every spring, the Foundation hosts its annual Scholarship Celebration. This year, Always Better Together, the 12th Annual Scholarship Celebration, A Virtual Experience, premiered earlier this month. Presented by event sponsors The Haverford Trust Company and PSECU, this year’s celebration reminds us that, no matter the challenges, we always have each other to lean on.

Because you matter to us, we want to share the meaningful message of thanks with all our alumni, friends and partners! Enjoy the presentation!

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Alumni invited to St. Tammany Day celebration

ESU will hold its first St. Tammany Day celebration on Friday, April 30 at 10 a.m. In partnership with the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, ESU joins this recognition of Tammany, chief of one of the Lenape clans of the Delaware Valley at the time Philadelphia was established. In 2003, the U.S. Congress ratified May 1 as a day of recognition of this lover of peace, proponent of friendship, fairness, justice and equality, which placed him in a pivotal role to establish peaceful relations among the Native American tribes and the English settlers led by William Penn.

Please join this virtual celebration via Zoom.

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Alumni Messages to Graduates

The ESU Class of 2021 is experiencing their final semester unlike any other. Join the ESU Office of Alumni Engagement in supporting these graduates as they complete their last few weeks at ESU and officially join a network of nearly 50,000 alumni who proudly call ESU their alma mater.

In 21 words or less, share your congratulations and advice for a bright future with the newest ESU Alumni.

Submit your Alumni to Graduate Message to mkoerber@esufoundation.org.

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ESU Alum Keeps Busy with Hobby Farm

Amid clucking chickens, bleating goats and roaming dogs, Orna Clum and her husband, Jerry, work to get their farm ready for another spring.

The one-acre farm on their nine-acre property in Scott Township is home to more than 30 chickens, 11 goats with kids on the way, two dogs and various cats, ducks, turkeys, pigs and bees. It all started in 2006 when Clum received a call from Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, asking if she wanted to foster a goat named Eddie.

“I must’ve said something about goats there one time, because, for some reason, they had my name written down with ‘goats’ next to it,” Clum said. Her next stop? The bookstore to buy “Goats for Dummies.”

Clum kept the farm relatively small when her children were younger, but started to expand in recent years once they moved away from home. Caring for animals helped her become happier in her life.

Her passion for her hobby farm also comes from her desire to keep learning. Every year, the Clums try to implement a new addition to the farm. Clum’s focus this year will be growing zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and garlic.

“I learned how to nurture animals from birth on, but I couldn’t grow a pepper to save myself,” Clum said.

In prior years, Clum took up beekeeping and making maple syrup. The couple even built a sugar shack — for making their maple syrup — from all recycled materials.

Clum’s life has been busy from the time she was a teenager. Growing up in Israel, she was required to join the Army after graduating high school.

After finishing her service at the age of 21, she came to the United States to live with her sister in Philadelphia. Then, Clum decided to attend East Stroudsburg University, where she majored in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. It’s also where she met her husband.

After graduating and working in hotel management for a few years, she wanted a change. She asked her father-in-law to enroll her in an H&R Block income tax course. She worked at H&R Block for nearly 10 years before opening her own tax preparation business, Summit Mobile Tax and Notary Services. She also owned a commercial sprinkler installation service with Jerry, Advantage Fire Protection Design.

During her time at H&R Block, Clum also worked at Marywood University’s School of Continuing Education. There, she coordinated the non-credit personal enrichment classes, including painting, art and languages.

“I really have a great life because I do everything I’m interested in and everything I like,” Clum said.

Aside from her businesses, Clum enjoys cooking, crafting, doing yard work, making Christmas cards and reading the occasional romance novel when she isn’t tending to the farm and its residents. She also finds time to volunteer at The Greenhouse Project in Scranton, an organization that works to educate people on how the foods they eat affect personal and public health.

“If I won a million dollars, I would be a farmer,” she said, noting she also loves doing taxes during the winter months, when the farm is quiet.

Of all of the creatures on her farm, the goats she raises have definitely stolen her heart, especially a younger one named Lucky. Of all the animals, the goats are the funniest to watch, she added.

“If goats had thumbs, they would rule the world,” Jerry Clum joked.

Some of her animals’ names include Thor, Lucky, Vivi, Yoda, Huff and Moose. A few are even named in pairs — Mike and Ike, Beauty and Beast, Prim and Rue and Jack and Diane.

“The deal on the farm is if you have a name, you don’t get eaten,” Clum said.

While she recognizes how happy she is in life, there is one thing that would make her much happier: a mini donkey. She admits it will likely be a dream she never realizes. Donkeys have a long lifespan and keeping one would require renovations on farm to ensure its proper care.

Clum said she will probably just stick to getting more chickens and goats, instead.

“There’s chicken math and there’s goat math,” she said. “You go from having one to having 20.”

News source: ‘A great life:’ Scott Twp. keeps busy with hobby farm | News | thevalleyadvantage.com

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Bucks/Montgomery County Alumni Virtual Wine Tasting

Join the ESU Bucks/Montgomery County Alumni Chapter for a virtual wine tasting. Enjoy the Napa Valley, Calif., tasting room experience with your fellow ESU alumni from the comfort of your home, featuring ONEHOPE wine. Receive four samples of their best-selling wines to enjoy by the glass for $29 + $10 shipping. After your initial purchase of the tasting flight, ONEHOPE wine will donate 10 percent of additional purchases to the ESU Foundation Warrior Fund.

Bucks/Montgomery County Alumni Virtual Wine Tasting

Thursday, May 13, 2021, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST

Once registered, an email will be sent on the day of the event with the ZOOM link to join the festivities.

REGISTER for the Virtual Wine Tasting!

Please use the link below to purchase your tasting kit:

http://www.esualumni.org/onehopewine

This event is planned by the ESU Office of Alumni Engagement and volunteers from the Bucks/Montgomery County Alumni Chapter. For more information on how to get involved, contact Christine Rohr Thompson ’73 at crthomp@comcast.net.

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ESU LEAP Program Offers Two Free Courses to Local Alumni Teachers This Summer

For the second year in a row, East Stroudsburg University is offering tuition-free courses to local educators to support the development of online instructional delivery. Professional and Secondary Education (PSED) 522: Foundations of Online Learning and Digital Media Technologies (DMT) 510: Online Tools and Strategies for Learner-Centered Instruction are two of the four courses in the ESU PDE-approved Online Teaching Endorsement (OTE) series that will be offered online this summer. The purpose for offering free coursework to local educators is to support our local K12 district partners as they continue to navigate instruction through the pandemic.

Summer 2020 saw the origination of the Local Educators Alumni Program (LEAP) as a way to achieve this goal.  “LEAP was instituted Summer 2020 to help local teachers “leap” into online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Brooke Langan, Acting Dean of the College of Education at ESU. “It was a great way for us to stay connected with our alumni and help teachers adjust to online and hybrid learning methods. It was a great opportunity for teachers to get a jump start on a Master’s degree while learning skills that could immediately be applied in their classrooms.” Students who took the first two courses, offered through the LEAP program, were able to take the remaining courses during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters if they chose to do so.

Laura Householder, a 12th grade English teacher at East Stroudsburg High School North, started the OTE program during the summer of 2020, taking advantage of the free courses offered. This semester she will complete the PDE requirements. “The courses worked around my full time teaching schedule and offered me opportunities to create lessons that could be immediately implemented in my classes.  The concepts, theories, and design practices elevated my teaching by allowing me to create material directly related to my content and students,” Householder said.  “The ESU classes provided flexibility and independent work, but there was never a time that I felt unsupported or alone.  Feedback and sharing of ideas are what pushed our thinking and daring to new levels.  Each class had a level of contagious enthusiasm and excitement that carried through in our work.”   

This summer ESU will expand its LEAP program by offering 50 slots to local teachers in newly established PET school districts in both classes, PSED 522 and DMET 510 to continue supporting the online teaching needs of K12 educators during these unprecedented times.

For more information about LEAP contact Dr. Langan by calling 570-422-3377 or email blangan1@esu.edu.

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Alumni, Submit Your Class Notes Today!

Warriors, what’s new with you? Career achievements, engaged, married, or have a new addition to the family? We’d love to know!

Share your news with your classmates through Class Notes. They will be published on our online community and in an upcoming edition of the Alumni Herald magazine. Please send to alumni@esufoundation.org and include a photo as well. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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