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Thomas Kroeger 1966
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About Tom: The summer of 1966 found Larry Temerowski, Art Hoch, and Tom gainfully employed cleaning boxcars. No better way to spend an August day than sweeping out a large steel box sitting in the sun. This helped Tom appreciate going off to Eastern Michigan University in the fall. As the college experience should be, he learned may things, some of which had to do with his education. Tom chose to be a teacher, inspired by the likes of Jim Newman, Patrick Sheridan, and Cindy Ruth. Charlie Foster once commented on her wonderful assets himself.

Following EMU, Tom went from student teaching on Friday to working in Wayne Memorial High School on Monday. About a month afterward he received his draft notice, and was able to delay reporting until three days after the end of the semester. He spent one year, nine months and 12 days in green clothes, returning to begin work on an M.A. in Reading. Despite the short time in the Army, he moved from Kentucky to New Jersey to New York City to Missouri and finally to Seoul, South Korea. He made friendships that continue to this day and had some amazing experiences, some of which he can even share in mixed company.

Following the military, Tom returned to Wayne High. Same job, friends, and location. In the next year he found his professional focus and his future wife. He was teaching a class in Career Awareness, and needed to get information from the local MESC office. He met Ingrid there, working as a career counselor. They married the week before Christmas in 1976 and moved to Westland, a mile from the school.

Life moved on. Tom went for another degree at EMU. In the mid-eighties, Tom and Ingrid adopted Mark Antonio Kroeger from El Salvador. Ain't nothing like doing legal work in a country recovering from an earthquake and still in a civil war. Think of giving middle school kids automatic weapons and no significant rules of engagement and you start to understand. Also, the cockroaches were the size of mice.

They moved to Livonia, close to Madonna University where Ingrid worked as a career counselor. Mark played baseball; they watched and cheered a lot, and went to work. Parents got old and died. Decisions were made that sometimes worked better than others. Pretty much the life of boomers everywhere. They lived comfortably, traveled the country, and learned about life and themselves

In 2004, Tom turned 55, eligible to collect a pension for his teaching. He had been working with at-risk freshmen who struggled with reading. That was it, all day long. He bailed before he had a third heart attack. The next year he started Optimum Reading, using the product he had while teaching. Tom continues to be a no-profit organization (vs. a non-profit). He continues to be optimistic, similar to believing that finding horse manure implies the gift of a pony. Slow learner.

Which brings us to now. Tom's wife will retire in Spring 2013, and eagerly plans to help with their granddaughter Hailey and 2.0, who will be born in February 2013.

Message to Classmates: I enjoy renewing or beginning friendships with my LHW alumni. See you 'round the block.

  This page was last updated on October 30, 2015.