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2006 WSU Mom of the Year finalists announced

Community service, being a role model and holding a family together through hard times are some of the characteristics shared by the four finalists selected for the 2006 WSU Mom of the Year.

The finalists, Karen Curry of Pullman, Debbie Daumen of Langley, Ernestina Mendez of Othello and Priscilla Speicher of Fox Island, will be honored by their nominators and university officials during the Mom’s Weekend Brunch  Saturday, April 8 at 10 a.m. in the CUB ballroom. The Mom of the Year will be announced during the brunch.

Karen Curry was nominated by her daughter Theresa Curry, a senior with a double major in communication and women’s studies. Curry, a long-time Pullman resident, is described in the nomination as a mother figure to her daughter and all her friends. “She is also a great role model and helper to many of the children in the school district,” her daughter said.

Curry is described as being very active in the community, working with students in her role as nurse for the Pullman School District, and involved in smoking cessation classes, the local United Way and Whitman County Health Department. She has also been president of her daughter’s sorority’s parent’s club.

Debbie Daumen was nominated by senior human development major Jennifer Barrow. Barrow said that after her father passed away, her mother kept her strength and positive attitude. “My mother was the spirit that helped lift my family to their feet. Her support and motivation to overcome any obstacle brought cohesion to our family and allowed us to effectively cope and learn from our life struggles.”

Daumen is also portrayed as a role model “to all who know her.” After seeing the impact that cancer had on her family, Daumen became involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Pennies for Patients. She also volunteers for the Whidbey Island Celtic Society, and at her children’s school.

Ernestina Mendez was nominated by education graduate student Veronica Mendez. Mendez’s daughter chose three words to define her mother: Loyalty, love and spirit. Mendez is portrayed as a spirit that can not be broken.

“She had to be the ‘glue’ that holds our family together,” her daughter said.

Mendez, whose two daughters received degrees from WSU, has helped at-risk migrant and low-income high school students with plans to attend college and has brought students to the WSU campus to take tours. She has also talked to migrant workers, Mexican and Mexican-American parents about her experience being a Cougar mom. Mendez is an assistant coach to the Othello High School drill team and the Little League and ASA Othello Girls softball teams.

Priscilla Speicher was nominated by Susan Speicher, a WSU freshman with an interest in pre-med. Speicher is described as “always being a mother, even before she gave birth to her children.” When her oldest daughter was born with cerebral palsy, Speicher gave up her job as a nurse to home school her daughter. “My sister is now 21 and able to walk, talk, speak, read well and has her high school diploma,” her daughter said. Speicher also supported her daughter Susan’s decision to continue her higher education at WSU after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Speicher has worked 20 years as a nurse in Washington State working with children. Her daughter said Speicher has impacted every community she has been involved in. “I have only been at WSU a year, but she has already become known as ‘mom’ by all my friends.”

The Mom of the Year Award is coordinated by the Mom’s Weekend Committee under the direction of the Women’s Resource Center. The award is presented each year to recognize the impact mothers make on their children’s lives, to honor their personal achievements and contributions to their local and WSU communities.

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