So who exactly is Beth Rondeau Deacon? I am just a person who wants to make a difference in others’ lives. I was fortunate to grow up with four siblings and parents who were home and involved in my life. We lived in a tiny old home in a small town called Ironwood. Dad worked in the copper mines and instilled in us the importance of a strong work ethic. Mom, stayed at home, and taught us the importance of being kind and helping others. Mom liked to volunteer at the hospital, church and county fair. She spent much of her time baking, cooking, cleaning, attending church, and playing cards. Where as Dad never attended church, enjoyed watching sports and being outdoors. He had the utmost respect for Mom, and would not tolerate any disrespect from the five of us. Education was a priority to my parents. We were expected to get good grades. I still remember being in kindergarten and my father telling me that being a good reader meant more knowledge and that would help me not only in life but in college. You see, I wasn’t given the choice to attend college, instead, my father told me I would go, at the age of five. I didn’t know there was a choice. Yet, although he did attend some cooking classes at the local junior college, his education ended at high school. His education was hands-on learning, which to me is the best education one can receive. My parents felt kids should be outside playing, studying, working or reading books. Dad always made us read books in the summer and write book reports. Perhaps that is why I never enjoy reading. It was forced on me. A lesson learned as I raised my own kids.
Life was good! I remember being so excited when we received calls saying “school is cancelled” due to snowstorms. It wasn’t uncommon for those of us in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Yoopers as we were called by other Michiganders), to wake up to an extra two feet of snow. Immediately we would bundle up and head outside to play. It was so much fun. We would make tunnels, snowshoe, have snowball fights, make snow angels and toboggan down the “big hill” by our home. All the neighbor kids would come over to play. I look back at that big hill now and realize it really wasn’t that big. We played until dark and then would curl up with a warm blanket and hot chocolate. My kids grew up in this same setting: skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, fishing, and just enjoying what the outdoors offer.
I enjoyed my high school years, playing softball, taking and developing photos for the photography club, working on homecoming events, attending school functions, tutoring kids in math and just being a teenager. Upon graduation, I applied for an internship at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. I never in my life thought I would be afforded such an incredible life experience. I applied to work in the American History Museum, taking photographs of all past and present exhibits as part of the filing system. So, this tiny town girl, got on a plane by myself, and flew to the big city where I spent an entire summer. These internships still exist today and I would recommend them. It never hurts to apply.
I remember returning from D.C. on a Saturday and heading to college that Sunday to begin classes on Monday. I was only about 130 miles from home which allowed me to go home frequently. My brother was also attending the same college, however he was a Senior when I started. College life was tough adjustment for me because I grew up in a rather strict environment. So, I let loose and I drank a lot in college, joined a fraternity (no not a sorority), skipped many classes and as a result, my grades were nothing to brag about. It took me a couple of years to realize why I was in college, but by then my grades suffered and my social life was at its peak. I did get it together and graduated. If I had it to do all over I wouldn’t change anything. Life experiences are so important and if we choose, we can learn so much from failure.
I am happy today with my career choice. Being a teacher may not come with a high salary, but it does come with the ability to make a positive impact on so many lives. I get up every day going to a job that I love. Not many people can say they love their work, but teaching is by far the most rewarding career I could have chosen. Being a teacher is priceless.