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A disarmingly modest achiever

by Ron Walker

I walk next door to meet with Megan. She greets me at the door with Leo, her 7-month-old son, planted securely on her hip. Megan is staying with her parents until July. Leo’s daddy, Mike, is a graduate of Annapolis. They are having a home built in Jacksonville, Fla., which will be ready in July. Mike is a Navy helicopter pilot.

Megan offers me a Diet Coke and we settle onto the sofa. Leo gives me a happy grin. Noah, their 3-year-old, scampers playfully around the house.

I ask about her educational background. She has a degree in psychology, and a master’s degree in elementary education. “I missed having a double major in Spanish, by one class,” she says. Megan is very humble about her achievements and puts me at ease. She is also in full control of the ever-squirming Leo.



I ask about being raised with seven siblings. “Based on the birth order, I was the first born. Mom and dad had three girls and a boy and then three girls and a boy again. In a family this size, you learn how to empathize and compromise,” she says. Leo flashes me a smile, as if agreeing with his mommy.

“How did you and Mike meet?” I ask. “We met in a calculus class in high school. But we didn’t start dating until we were in college,” she says. When she says “calculus class,” my mind snaps to attention. “Megan, I have to ask. Getting into Annapolis is no easy task. How did Mike do it? “We had a wonderful counselor. She found several scholarships for me, and she walked Mike all the way through, step by step to Annapolis. She was an amazing woman,” she says.



I probe a little deeper. As a psychology major, I’m curious and ask, “How do you deal with obstacles?” “While Mike was in flight training in Pensacola, I taught school. When we came to San Diego, I went on an interview for an educator’s job at the San Diego Zoo. They asked me to relate a time when I had a serious disagreement with a supervisor. I thought and thought, and realized I’ve never had one. I try to understand the other person’s point of view and not sweat the small stuff,” she says. “Excuse me, but did you say you were an educator at the zoo? You weren’t educating animals were you?” I ask, feeling rather foolish. She gives me a big smile and says, “No, but educating animals and children is similar, so they require a credential in education to be an educator. My job was to be a Fun Aunt.” There she goes again and ask, “Okay, what’s a Fun Aunt?” “Well first, you make friends with an animal. Then when a group comes to the zoo, or you go to a school, or retirement home, you work with the animal. If the animal needs attention, or if they get sick, you give them back to their keepers,” she says smiling.

Leo decides it’s time for mommy to give him her full attention and we part. The next day, I mention speaking with Megan to her parents. “She is amazing. Did she tell you she was valedictorian of her class? Sometimes she would stay up all night working on a project. She always had at least one job, and one time, she had three jobs,” they say. Hmm. Megan really packs a wallop, and is a charmer to boot.

Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at walkover@smithnv.com.