Janice Stoettner was the oldest girl out of eight children in their modest Evergreen Park home. “My parents had no money for college, but I had seen billboards for Moraine Valley; I read stories in newspapers, and I just knew I really wanted to go,” she said. “So one day I drove to Moraine Valley. I registered for classes. I bought books. Then I went home and said to my parents, ‘Guess what I did today?’”
Stoettner, who serves as the director of Career Technical Education housed at Prairie State University, graduated in 1970—the first graduation for students who started at Moraine Valley in 1968 and completed two years. “I always thought how special and magical Moraine was when I was there. It still has some aura of magic for me,” she said.
She remembers with joy taking psychology classes from the Fruendenthals. “It was a married couple, and they were both so equally talented. One class wasn’t enough, so I did more,” Stoettner said. When she wasn’t in class, she enjoyed meeting with friends in one of the Quonset huts designated as the student lounge. “It had a foosball table and some vending machines. Very modest surroundings,” she said.
Stoettner has been back on campus quite a bit since graduating, some days while she was employed as an aide in the literacy department, some days volunteering for a Starry Starry Night or a golf outing and other times at her children’s graduations. “I sent all three of my kids to Moraine Valley, and all three have done well because of it,” she said.
Affectionately called a “community college cheerleader,” Stoettner says she loved her days at Moraine Valley whether a student or an employee. “Are you kidding? I love Moraine. My blood flows green.”