Facebook Reunion

Facebook Reunion

Apr 11-4I survived my speech last week at Jefferson Technical Community College and everything went well.  I briefly mentioned a Facebook conversation that I had randomly received and here’s what it said (please note: I have never met, seen or heard of the person in this exchange)

Chris Wright March 21 at 2:20pm
“Hi Michelle, You don’t know me but I have to ask you a question. Your name and face kind of flew out at me when I saw it on my FB page and a rush of memories from the early 80′s came rushing back, so I looked at your pics and saw that your mother’s name was Lillian, but saw no pics or mention of your father; was your father by any chance Dr. Gary Yeager who worked at JCC in the early 80′s? If so, I worked with him at JCC during the time that you were born and remember sooooooo many wonderful stories about you as you were growing and what a proud father he was. If not, I so apologize for this intrusion. Please let me know. He was such a wonderful man. ~Chris Wright”

Michelle Yeager March 21 at 2:26pm
“Hello Chris, my father worked at JCC but his name was Thomas (Steve) Yeager. He was there from 1976 until he died in 1993.”

Chris Wright March 21 at 2:34pm
“Steve!! That’s it; Steve!!! I am so, so sorry. He worked with Gary Steedly in the continuing education dept, I was Gary’s admin at time; I mixed up their names. I am so sorry. But Michelle, I have goose bumps. I actually remember when you were born and as you were growing he would come in with some of the most awesome proud father stories. Two in particular that stay in my mind… one, the morning he came to work just laughing so hard because he said that every time he left to go to work, you would start singing “My Baby’s leaving on the train… until he comes back home….” ?? (i can’t remember that exact song, but he was just hilarious and so proud) And then… during the royal wedding of Princess Diana he said you watched every detail and were absolutely a princess and would marry the same way. Oh Michelle, it’s so awesome to have known those stories of your very early years and to have known such a wonderful man; I absolutely looked up to Dr. Yeager as a great inspiration. It’s wonderful to see you now and have those memories. May I friend you on here? My name is Chris Wright and I’m a web producer at WHAS11; that’s how I saw your exchange with Renee Murphy. I’m goose bumpy right now. hah. ;-)

Michelle Yeager March 21 at 3:11pm
“We definitely can keep in touch. He passed away my senior year of high school and my mother passed away from ovarian cancer five years ago so I cherish all stories I hear!
It’s interesting that you mentioned the royal wedding. I am actually getting married the day after Prince William’s wedding and Renee Murphy is my maid of honor”

…..And the conversation continued.  Who would have ever thought that a simple post on a friends page would connect me with someone that shared some amazing childhood memories of my father especially right before I get married.  To the tune of Walt Disney – “It’s a small world after all!”

April 2011

My Biggest Speech Yet

My Biggest Speech Yet!
I’ve been going since I was a kid.  30 years to be exact.
I was four years old when I first started attending because I was FORCED to.  There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  But, as time went on, I found that I truly looked forward to attending and would try to re-arrange my schedule in any way to attend.
I’m talking about the Student Acheivement (formerly known as Black Achievers) Program at Jefferson Community College (now JCTC).  You may question why I’ve attended this event for the most part of 30 years.  No, it hasn’t taken me 30 years to complete a degree.  I’ve been a part of the program for that long because my father, the late Thomas Stephen Yeager, created the program and the Black Affairs Advisory Council at JCC.
I can tell you, though, its a very uplifting ceremony and you hear stories of people that have overcome odds to better themselves and further their education.  The past several years there have been guest speakers and I have taken photos for OnyxLouisville.  But, to my surprise, this year I was asked to play a larger role.  I – Michelle Yeager – am going to be the guest speaker.
At first I was on cloud nine to be asked, but then all of the emotions hit me. Here’s a program founded by my father, that I’ve attended numerous times in the audience, that my mother (and then myself) passed out the T. Stephen Yeager Scholarship at and now they are asking me to be the featured speaker at the 30th Year of the event.  Whoa!!
I think for days before starting to write my speech.  I want to make it just right.  I don’t really know what to say.  Do I write about my personal accomplishments and success?  Do I talk about the great influence my parents were to me and the community?  Do I tell a bunch of knock knock jokes and hope they get it?
I finally figured out which direction to go based on a Facebook message from someone I’ve never met….  I can’t share that email with you right now because it’s the basis of my speech.  But, you’re more than welcome to come and listen to it tonight at 7:00pm at the Student Achievement Program in the new Health Science Building at JCTC.  Although I’ve given plenty of speeches, this one feels like the most important one yet – how do you say THANK YOU to people that mean so much to you?!
March 2011