Archive for April, 2013

An Amazing Young Woman

Posted: April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have written literally dozens of stories about interesting and successful Valley citizens and I would argue that the subject of this story could be the most impressive of them all. This individual has a good chance to one day be the most accomplished of not only anyone I have ever written about but also anyone I have ever known.

Before you dismiss my seemingly bombastic assertion when you just now discover that I am referring to my youngest child, Jacque Swanson, read just a few more lines and see if I don’t know what I am talking about. While I have a father’s bias, I am not so much bragging here as marvelling because everyone who knows Jacque, a senior at West Valley High School, would agree, as I think you will too.

The faculty of West Valley , for example, had to have thought as I do when they faced the task last year of electing one person from the entire student body to receive the first annual Chase award for outstanding character. A staff member told her later that once her named was brought up, the discussion was all but over.

Likewise, the student body itself must have held her in similar regard last spring since she was their choice as well when they were given the task of electing a new A.S.B. president. They chose her even though she had never run for any class office.

Her tennis teammates as well think she is a standout having chosen her team captain this year. Her coach must also concur seeing her letter all four years and assigning her the number one player even though she might be all of 5 feet tall and weighs less than 100 pounds.

Her boss, Pat Ferraro of Ferraro’s Italian restaurant, definitely agrees that she is a standout. He told my wife, Elaine, that Jacque, who has worked at his place 15 hours a week for two years, is one of the two best young employees he has ever had work for him in his forty two years as a boss. The other one is Jacque’s big sister Crystal.

     I know that Crystal has always been as impressed with her sister as anyone. After seeing the scholastic standard Jacque set her first quarter in high school, Crystal took her own scholastics efforts up a notch, raising her 3.6 grade average to a 3.89 by the time she graduated two years later. An essay she wrote her senior year for an assignment that required her to identify and describe the person who had influenced her life the most was about Jacque.

     Jacque has worked at her studies with the same intensity and purpose she has worked at everything she has set her heart, hand and head to. She has given it her all, sacrificing social fun with friends and snuggling with her father, not to mention sleeping in her bed. More than once I have groggily made my way to the bathroom in the wee wee hours and found Jacque asleep at the kitchen counter with her head resting on her laptop.

The amazing part is that the effort she has applied at becoming Valedictorian, team captain, class president, hostess extraordinaire among other things is that it is self-taught and continually self-motivated. As her parents, we can only take partial credit for the ordinary things and none for all this extraordinary behavior. She on the other hand has been an inspiration and example to us.

What teenager, for example, decides at 17 to become a vegetarian and then a year later to raise the bar to veganism? Especially considering that her folks were probably sitting at a bar thinking veganism was a form of pagan witchcraft. She prepares all her own food and goes so far as to make her own granola.

This wise young soul, who has paid for her own YMCA membership for two years, already understands the importance of taking care of the body as though it was the only one we would ever be given. I started working out and watching what I eat mostly because of her. Just being around the kid raises a person’s game.

If all this has not convinced you that Jacque is truly extraordinary and has unlimited potential, consider this one last remarkable thing about her which is the reason I wrote this story in the first place. She wants to go places and do things far beyond the confines of her raising and her hometown.

Last summer she found a program for travel abroad that is aimed at educating as well as broadening youth with guided tours where kids get a close up look at the culture and history and beauty of foreign countries and also spend time doing volunteer work.

Her trip to Thailand where she rode elephants and made clay bricks at an orphanage for children with HIV would have been the trip of a lifetime for myself . For my daughter, who contemplates joining the Peace Corps after college, the Far East was just the beginning. However, while it whetted her appetite, it also drained her resources.

I was dumbfounded when she told me a few months ago that she had decided to go to Peru this summer. I asked her how she thought she would pay the $4500 it costs to go on these trips and she said she would raise it through fundraising projects.

I tried to talk her out of it, afraid that she was setting herself up for disappointment though I failed to even slightly sway her. So here I am doing what little I can to try to help. How could I not as I watch her toil yet again, sending out letters and organizing car washes and garage sales. She does all this while writing her senior project and working at Ferraro’s and playing tennis and making granola and getting ready for her senior prom and getting perfect grades.

I think that just by stating the facts that I should have convinced most of you that I was being reasonable when I said in the first paragraph that Jacque has the potential of accomplishing amazing things in her life. I know that I have never seen anything like her.

They say with great figures throughout history that the people around them could tell they were destined to go far when they were still young and far from their ultimate greatness.   I cannot hope to be around to see her greatest days, but having seen what I have seen it is kind of easy, in a way, to see them from here.

It is obvious that Jacque is going places in this world and for right now that would be Peru and she needs some help to reach that destiny.

Jacque working at an orphane in Thailand

Jacque working at an orphane in Thailand


Jacque with a bird in the hand and a bird on the brain.

Jacque with a bird in the hand and a bird on the brain.


            Ways to help Jacque make it through to Peru

Raffle Tickets for Romantic Getaway  Winner recieves a Dinner for 2 at The Old Spaghetti Factory, 1 night stay at The Holiday Inn Express and a spa package from The Brickhouse.

Tickets are $1 apiece or 8 for $5.(she will be selling them outside the Argonne Yoke’s on May 4th.) Email her at  to pre order, or call me at 868-8972

Garage Sale   She will be holding a garage sale with her Aunt Lori on May 18th at 6925 east 7th.

   Car Wash  She will be at Gus Johnson Ford June 1st washing cars.

Jacque is also pre-selling photo packages from her trip to Peru:

Her favorite photo (4×6)  $10

Her favorite photo (5×7 framed) $25

Personalized album $50

Scenic (8×10 framed and matted) $150

Photo on canvas (5×7) $250

Photo on canvas (8×10) $400


If you would like to order one of these or make any other donation you can send her a check with your order to

Jacque Swanson

11518 East Alki

Spokane, Wa. 99206

You can also pay with credit card by going to this link.