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Storytelling: Cynthia Yager, Candidate for District 4 Alderman, City of Lake Geneva

“Growing up, my family always had a boat. Lakes have always been a part of my life. My grandfather fished like crazy and we would rent a cabin in Minnesota for a week every summer to go fishing. His rule was, if you can't put the worm on your hook, or take the fish off of the hook by yourself, you're not on my boat. I learned very quickly how to bait a hook. I wanted to be on the water.

I went to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and got a degree in Family And Consumer Science Education, which is Home Ec to us oldsters. I was very happy when the title changed from ‘Home Ec’ to ‘FACE’ because, in college, when people would ask, ‘what's your major?’ I would tell them English. I didn't want to tell them I was a Home Ec major because if I did, they would say, ‘Oh, you just want to find a man and get married. Right?’ That wasn't my plan. I wanted to teach and I really liked my subject matter. Back then, the nickname for the Home Ec teachers was, ‘Suzy Homemaker’. I made them call me ‘Becky Home-cky’ because I didn’t want to be a homemaker. That's not what I was gonna be.

I got my master's in administration. I taught middle and high school for 25 years and then went into administration. I was liaison to the Illinois State Board of Education and served school districts around the Rockford area. I helped them receive over a million dollars in grant work within the five school districts all in Career Tech Ed.

I retired early from the Rockford School District in 2013. In the summer of 2013, my husband and I were relaxing on the lake while I looked through the classified ads. There was an ad for Delavan School District, looking for Career & Tech. Ed. Administrator. I showed it to my husband and he told me to call them right away. I called when we got home and interviewed with them the next day. I was hired during the interview. My role was to build their Career and Tech. Ed. program to become more innovative with internships, job shadowing, and business relationships in the community. I worked there for five years developing and expanding their Career Tech. Ed. program before I retired again for a total of 39 years in education.

Anybody that knows me through my years teaching or in administration knows that I've always been an ‘idea person’. I like to throw out ideas to my team and ask, ‘what do you think about this? Would you like this idea? Would this work for us?’ If it’s not a good idea, I don’t take offense, I move on to the next idea. I try to look at all sides of every story and figure out what's the best option and where to go from there. And I have a lot of fun working through the process.” - Cynthia Yager, District 4 Alderman Candidate, City of Lake Geneva

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