Alumni Showcase: Arlene Jacobs

Arlene Jacobs Wyche – Class of 1948

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The Clarkston Education Foundation is proud to honor Arlene Jacobs Wyche, the Valedictorian of the Clarkston High School Class of 1948 in our Alumni Showcase Arlene has been influential in supporting the CEF Senior Scholarship program. She donated monies in 2009-2011 to provide additional Senior Scholarships. The recipients, Eric Goodwin, Jessica Ubachs, Tiffany Ho and Bryce James received scholarships to attend WSU, Gonzaga University and University of Washington. Arlene continues to donate to help seniors pay for the rising cost of a postsecondary education. The Board of Directors wishes to thank Arlene for her continued support and generosity in helping CEF fulfill its mission-to enhance and promote education in Clarkston schools.

Arlene lived in Clarkston from her 7th-12th grade years. She credits her Clarkston teachers and classes for her strong foundation not only during her college years, but also in her teaching work and other jobs. “Reading, Writing, and Thinking” became the basis for her life. Arlene was active in Band and Orchestra groups, International Club and Art Clubs while at CHS. Her love of music, art, travel, reading, etc. has been with Arlene throughout her life. She has had the privilege to travel in over 30 European countries, Canada, Mexico and all US states with family and friends.

One teacher in particular had a profound effect on Arlene in Clarkston. Mrs. Mae M. Burke taught Arlene English for her 7th, 8th and 9th grade years. Mrs. Burke had an uncanny ability to quiet and to interest a room full of rowdy daring-to-be-taught junior high students. Her daily pushing and pulling of ideas and thoughts, enforcing basic English mechanics and her love of literature provided Arlene with a firm foundation as well as confidence. Mrs. Burke left a huge impression on Arlene with her lessons on perseverance, literary appreciation and incentive to achieve. She wants to thank Mrs. Burke for helping her see beyond the valley to the wider world through literature and discussion.

Arlene went on to earn her BA from Washington State University and her Teaching Certificate and Master’s Degree at East Central State College in Oklahoma. Some of her jobs included working for KHG, Hanford Atomic Plant, University of New Mexico, and teaching 5th-8th grades in a rural Oklahoma school for 24 years. She particularly drew on her Clarkston experiences when teaching students to enjoy learning, to have fun reading, and writing stories, plays and poetry. In addition to teaching, Arlene also worked as a seasonal park ranger for 11 years in Platt National Park (currently known as Chickasaw National Recreation Area) in Oklahoma, was active as a 4-H leader, sponsored many activities such as art shows, music programs, science fairs, etc. In her professional organizations, she received several awards and honors.

Currently, Arlene resides in Florida in an over-55 community. She keeps busy taking care of homes and mail for some of the resident Snowbirds, and she also helps organize the park library of over 3,000 donated books. She loves having her own private library just a few hundred feet away. In addition, she helps out the elderly residents with many activities in the community club house, supports several local school programs, such as the Homeless Children and Youth program and Food-4-Kids which gives needy children backpacks filled with food for weekends and holidays. Arlene isn’t able to travel back to Clarkston anymore but has wonderful memories and pictures of her days here.

Thanks Arlene for continuing to be involved with Clarkston students through your generous scholarship donations! Your generosity towards Clarkston youth is appreciated by the community and students!