The Tom and Bev Berberich family of Olathe, Kan., is the 2012 Pittsburg State Honorary Family. The Berberiches were honored as part of Family Day activities on Saturday, Sept. 22.
The Berberiches were nominated by their daughter Jessica, a senior English education major. Jessica and her sister, Jaimie, a junior nursing major, are both members of the Honors College at PSU and both are graduates of Olathe South High School.
David Hogard, assistant director for employer relations in the Office of Career Services, said Jessica’s letter stood out among the many nominations that the Family Day Committee received.
“She wrote about the support and encouragement she and her sister received from their parents throughout their lives,” Hogard said. “It is a story that is familiar to many outstanding Pitt State students, whose parents have played an important role in putting them on the path to success.”
Hogard added that although the committee could select just one family to be recognized, the award is a tribute to all of the supportive PSU families.
“Students who have the encouragement of their families are much more likely to be successful in their college careers,” Hogard said.
In her nomination letter, Jessica wrote that she is the person she is because of her parents.
“One of the most important characteristics I have learned from my family is the importance of hard work,” Jessica wrote. “When I was young, my parents struggled financially and they both worked multiple jobs in order to support our family.”
Jessica noted her parents’ involvement in her high school and community.
“When we were in high school, they served on the Band Boosters committee. My mother chaired the Chris Shipley Memorial Scholarship Fund...My parents also volunteered to help other organizations such as judging debate and forensics tournaments.”
Jessica wrote that her parents never doubted that their daughters would have successful college careers.
“Although neither of my parents were college graduates,” she wrote, “they have been adamant advocates of higher education. From a young age, I can remember my parents telling me that there was an order in life that I was to follow: graduate from high school, graduate from college, get a job, get married, have children, etc.”
Jessica wrote that her parents’ support extended beyond the traditional college experience to include study abroad.
“My parents have also encouraged us to expand our academic opportunities, the greatest of which was when Jaimie and I became the first Pittsburg State students to study abroad through the PSU in Paraguay program. My sister and I were hesitant to study abroad, but my parents convinced us of the program’s academic and cultural value.”
Each month, Jessica wrote, she and her sister receive packages from their mother. The packages contain food and snacks and a good-luck note.
©2012 Pittsburg State University