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Jo-Anne Student

Jo-Anne Student

Long-time Columbia Heights Resident and Community Volunteer

Born: Minneapolis, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Continue your education and do the best you can. Knowledge is something no one can take from you, ever. Like yourself first and if not, you won’t like others. Be generous with your thoughts and talents. Be generous. It enhances how important you are. Think. Trust people. You have a lot of good people in your life: in church, synagogue or mosque. Those are people you can trust. Just be a good person. You are my future. Don’t disappoint yourself or me. There is nothing more important than children. That’s the beginning and end of it for me.

Jo-Anne Student

Long-time Columbia Heights Resident and Community Volunteer

My name is Jo-Anne Student. I was born on September 8, 1936. I grew up by the University of Minnesota. My folks always lived around the university. My dad thought it was a wonderful place to live. I lived around educators and politicians. One thing we had was diversity. We had students from all over the world coming to the university. We didn’t deal with differences. We dealt with things in common like being productive and good kids.

I was born after the Great Depression. I was sort of lucky. My dad was I guess. He didn’t lose money. Most people lost all their money in the Great Depression. We didn’t feel the sting of being poor. My folks had the responsibility to help people who were. We had folks come and sit on the porch for dinner. They would come every night to have dinner.

I never went to fifth grade. Pretty hard to believe. I went to grade school, high school and college, but never went to fifth grade. When I was in school back in the 40’s and 50’s, a long time ago, we didn’t have what you kids have today. You have classes for gifted and talented kids today. You have kids with special education. They didn’t have that in my school growing up. What they did is let you skip a grade. I skipped 5th grade. I am 70 years old and still regret not being in 5th grade.

I’ve lived here for 44 years. We came when our first child was three. The reason we came here is that the schools were superior. They had wonderful education and focused principals and a community of parents involved. Many had districts where all (the students) look the same. We wanted an environment where everyone was unique. Columbia Heights had that in the early 50’s and still does. That is the best part of the district. We are different but we learn how to share and relate to each other.

One of my children was twenty-six when she died. Death is a part of life, but it is hard. Grandparents die and aunts and uncles die, but kids shouldn’t die. We miss her to this day. That’s part of growing up. You lose pets. Your favorite neighbor moves away. We are prepared. Nothing stays forever except education and things we know will always be ours.

Our second child Mike is a nifty guy. He is an artist. We knew he was talented. You see his commercials on television. Mike married Mary Ann and she was never sick a day in her life. She would run 5 miles every morning. She was a business person and doing very well and she called one Sunday and said to come over. She had decided to give up her job and go back to college and get a teaching degree. I was excited. She was an enthusiastic and a wonderful mother. On Tuesday my son’s boss called us at 10:00 in the morning and said Mary Anne died. She died in the car in front of the school waiting for the kids to come out for lunch. Again, way down deep in my bag of faith I can’t help this nor understand it. Lord help me. You don’t have time to think of yourself. There are two children without a mom. We learned a lot from her. We do the best for them everyday.

We also had Anne, whose name was Anne Student. Life was a gifted dream for her. You know she is a teacher and a real good one. My husband? There’s not a person in the world that met him who didn’t like him. I knew him as a best friend first but knew all about him. His mother and my mother knew each other. He is a good listener. He sort of likes everything and everybody. In public I call him the Silver Haired Fox.

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Honoring Jo-Anne Student

Education, Education

The good Lord knows
It opens doors for you all around the world

Don’t let anything interrupt you
from reaching your goals
Education, Education
It doesn’t matter if you’re
young or if you’re old
Education, Education
My parents always lived around the university
As a child it was a wonderful place for me
Students from around the world
lived in my neighborhood
Surrounded by diversity in life is good
Though I had it easy many did not
Back in the Depression
my parents heard the door knock
Standing on the back porch
looking for food to eat
were the poor
Be generous with your thoughts
and your talents, too
Education, Education
Knowledge is something
no one can take from you
Education, Education
I never went to 5th grade, pretty hard to believe
Yet I graduated and went on to college
Didn’t have special classes
for the gifted, Special Ed
Back when I went to school, so I skipped ahead
It’s hard to start over with new relationships
Now that I am older I regret it
We were segregated, no boys in my school
That wasn’t cool!
When you have a book
you have a special friend
Education, Education
A friend that will stay with you
until the end
Education, Education
My mother knew the mother of the man I married
We soon had a baby girl had to quit college
That’s what women did back in those days
Cleaned the house,
stayed at home with children to raise
Nothing stays forever; death is a part of life
It’s hard to lose a daughter, son, husband, or wife
With education your life will be whole
Love yourself
There are so many good people in your life
Education, Education
People you can trust, who are there day or night
Education, Education
Now I have grandchildren from 15 down
to 5
The oldest one is learning how to drive
The one who is 13 now plays guitar
There’s Charlie the fifth grader
who’s reaching for the stars
Then we have the twins,
who know everything in the world
May God be with every boy and girl
With a husband that I love,
I call the Silver Haired Fox
Life is good
Don’t disappoint yourself, you are the future
Education, Education
No matter who you are
there’s always more to learn
Education, Education

Words & music by Larry Long with Stanley Mraz’s 5th Grade Class of North Park Elementary School
(Columbia Heights, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2007 / BMI