Board Member Spotlight: Cheryl Orkis

Board Member Spotlight: Cheryl Orkis

Question: How long have you volunteered with the Starke County Community Foundation?
Answer: In March of 2012 a group of Starke County Early Childhood Educators gathered together to discuss the importance of early educational opportunities for Starke County children. It was called the NIFC Preschool Project. It was the start of Starke County Preschool Scholarship Program. Our NJSP kindergarten teachers participated in the discussions and Preschool Fairs. The goal was to increase an awareness of preschool education. That was my first introduction to SCCF/NICF. I became a member of the SCCF Board in 2014. In 2015 I became a member of the NICF Board.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being involved with the SCCF?
A: In May 2013 I retired from the North Judson-San Pierre Schools after 45 years. It was the greatest job in the world. I can honestly say that serving on the SCCF/NICF Boards is the next best thing! By serving on the SCCF Scholarship and Grant Committees, I quickly became aware of what great things could be accomplished for the people of our county. Being a Board member has given me the opportunity to meet people in all walks of life; from all different professions; but we all want to serve our communities, our churches, our schools. We work hard, do our best and serve others well.

Q: What is something you want people to know about the community foundation?
A: To continue to let everyone know that SCCF/NICF is there for you.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: Even though I am retired, I love opportunities to be with my family and my friends. My son Brian and his wife Dana(former kindergarten student of mine!) and four grandchildren live in Lake County. On Fridays and Saturdays mornings I meet with a group of friends for breakfast at our local Fingerhut Bakery. I serve as the financial secretary for the NJUMC. On down time I love to read, work Sudoku and various math or word puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles are therapeutic for me!

Q: What do you love most about your community?
A: Small town living is a good thing! Growing up in North Judson I was surrounded by family and friends who believed in a strong work ethic. As a youngster helping out at the firemen’s fish fry, weeding the cemetery, serving at church banquets, etc.  was just a given! Whether delivering newspapers during my late elementary-junior high years; making hamburgers and sodas at Pells Sweet Shop during my high school years, college breaks, and summers; it was instilled in me by my family, teachers, employers to work hard, do your best and serve others well. In 1968 I graduated from Butler University and was offered a job to teach kindergarten in my hometown of North Judson. I planned to teach one year, save some money and possibly return to Indianapolis. I am forever grateful I changed my mind! As a local saying goes…once a BLUEJAY…always a BLUEJAY!