Friends plan college future together |

Friends plan college future together

by Lisa Gavon
R-C Alpine Bureau
Shannon O’Connor, Dianne Deadrich, Jessica Gurney—Photo by Lisa Gavon

From the time she was 7-years-old, Dianne Deadrich knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. It made for an easy transition from Cal State Hayward, where Dianne received a degree in Human Development to then follow through with a master’s in Library Science from San Jose State. Applying for positions all over California, we were lucky to have her choose to live here in Alpine County. She was Librarian from 1979 to 1989: a wonderful period for the community.

Dianne made the library a welcoming, warm, and enriching place for all the residents of the “smallest county in California.” Her research and organizational skills were unsurpassed and she enhanced the lives of locals by providing personal and professional resources in an open and friendly manner. She hosted the first Potluck Lunch to celebrate National Library Week and created programs for children and adults that drew us all together. Although we were saddened when she left to be with her two sons, we knew it was because she also was an amazingly dedicated mother who brought the same love and insight to her role as a parent as she brought to her work at the library.

She started back as Librarian at Meneley in 1997, and was there for 19 years. That was when she met Shannon O’Connor and Jessica Gurney, who had been best friends since the second grade. Since they were both always ahead on their studies, teachers would let them leave early to help Dianne shelve books. They would sing the alphabet together and have fun with the tasks at hand, bringing a real sense of joy to their projects. All three are voracious readers and share a love of stories and books.

Even as a little girl, Dianne reports that Jessica was always the one to ask “why?” She wanted to know how come something could not be done another way. She said that Shannon was leveled-headed, organized, and a true planner. She states that “What I really love about both of them is how they are not at all pretentious, but honest and straight-forward.”

Shannon and Jessica have maintained their friendship while sharing similar career plans and world views. However, they each have their own very unique interests and personalities, and hold a high level of respect and acknowledgement for those differences. Their families have become close over the years and Shannon’s mother is like a second mother to Jessica, and Shannon’s sister is like a sibling.

Graduating in June from Douglas High School, they have already arranged to be roommates in the dorms. Both are majoring in engineering: Shannon is undecided about the specific area, and Jessica is entering into electrical engineering. Jess has been inspired by her father, an architectural draftsman who works with engineers. Growing up, she loved playing with electricity: taking covered wires and attaching them to a light. She likes practical applications of concepts, and wants to work towards greener energy use.

Shannon has completed five AP classes and five honors classes during the last four years, in addition to her life long involvement in Girl Scouts. Her mother is her wonderful and inspiring Troop Leader. She received the Society of Women Engineers Young Women in STEM Certificate of Achievement, is in the National Honor Society, and Historian for Psi Mu Epsilon. Her father works in Alpine County, and Shannon went to preschool here. She is one of a handful of our Alpine County residents who has commuted into Douglas for high school.

Her grandmother lives with the family and kindled a love of art within Shannon. Using graphite and scratchboards to make realistic drawings are Shannon’s favorite. She has been a dedicated dancer in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theatre, and hip-hop for over thirteen years. She has also spent a lot of time volunteering on Fishing and Clean-up days all around the community. Shannon states that “I would like to find easy and efficient ways to solve problems in order to make the world a better place. Additionally, I hope to inspire and help younger generations to find new interests they would not have been exposed to or tried otherwise”.

Jessica spent six years in the same Girl Scout Troop with Shannon. In middle school she became one of “the band kids”, dedicating herself to the trombone. It was only after she made her choice that she found out her grandmother and great Grand Uncle had played the same instrument. She is in the Jazz, Concert, and Marching Bands.

Jess and her father spend a lot of time off road racing, and though they have different favorites, both she and Shannon enjoy video games. Jessica likes to draw also, especially Disney characters or random objects. They both have a crochet project going all the time. Jess was involved in “Project Lead the Way” program at Douglas, taking classes in the medical/engineering fields to receive career and technical education certification.

Shannon is a big fan of Southern California. She has spent several weeks every summer there with her grandparents since she was little. Her dream job would be to design Disney rides. That may fit into her future, but it is a big world out there. Both have a deep love for their families and for the friends like Dianne that they have made along the way. Dianne says “I am just so happy for the girls and all they have accomplished thus far. I expect great things from them in the future.” Wherever their journey takes them these connections will remain a constant.