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Local Educator Sees New Center as Vital Community Resource

Marty Lee and Cecil Clements

Local Educator Sees New Center as Vital Community Resource

Feb 1, 2018

Photo credit: Waushara Argus. Article originally published in the Waushara Argus.

Sometimes the ink can’t dry these days when it comes to highlighting in print one success story after another at Wautoma High School. Thanks to many dual credits offered with Fox Valley Technical College, more and more young learners are hitting the workforce or college faster and with less debt.

Another FVTC blueprint to success that sometimes falls under the radar in visibility is the work the college does to help non-traditional students. No one is better equipped to tell that story in Wautoma than longtime educator, humanitarian, and lifelong learning advocate, Marty Lee. Most Wautoma residents know this champion of humanity for her passion in coordinating the Waushara County Food Pantry, part of Waushara Industries.

Lee has also been instrumental over the years in Wautoma through FVTC by helping displaced homemakers needing to re-enter the workforce. Her work as an FVTC adjunct instructor has involved a number of capacities, most notably in teaching Starting Point classes. Those courses focus on building marketability skills and employability essentials, along with good study habits.

“Technical colleges play an important role in enhancing lives,” Lee stated. “They’re so responsive to what their communities need, from workforce development to personal enrichment classes and providing customized training. Sometimes all people need is a foundation to move forward in their lives. That’s what Fox Valley Tech is all about.”

Lee recalled an example of one Starting Point student who needed to sharpen her college readiness skills so she could complete an academic degree. “She then went on to earn a master’s degree and is teaching at a university,” Lee added. Those types of customized educational services exemplify what FVTC’s new regional center will expand upon beginning this fall.

Supervisory and management training fell under Lee’s teaching repertoire as well during her FVTC career. She taught classes for career starters and incumbent workers in these disciplines at the college’s centers in Wautoma and Waupaca and even at the Waupaca Foundry.

Travel and distance have served as barriers to accessing educational and training resources in the region, according to Lee. She believes an expanded presence of FVTC in Waushara County with more educational options will help address those barriers and more. “The college is prepared to further help this area address challenges and opportunities related to seasonal workforces, agriculture, business training, and access to educational technologies,” she said.

Lee’s passion at the Food Pantry hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her award-winning work is a testament to the dedication of many volunteers. Cecil Clements is a second-generation volunteer who both rolls up his sleeves and carries on a tradition that his late father established in volunteering regularly for the organization.

The Food Pantry recently reached a point where it could purchase a refrigerated truck. Clements volunteered to drive around the state in the specialized truck and pick up food for local distribution. That experience reinforced an interest in earning a CDL at FVTC. He has nearly completed his coursework through one of the college’s renowned truck driving programs.

“This is another example of how we work together in our community,” concluded Lee. “We connect dots and take care of one another, and in the middle of those connections you’ll often find Fox Valley Technical College.”

The new center will create a sense of Wautoma as being viewed as a college town. It’s designed to offer something for everyone and dovetail Marty Lee’s spirit in building a better quality of life for those who call Waushara County home. Looking back, Lee recalled being the first woman to earn a degree in Animal Science and Vocational Education at Virginia Tech.

What “first” will Fox Valley Tech bring you in Wautoma?

Learn more about the FVTC Wautoma Regional Center >>