Alumni Spotlight: Joanna Holzman

Joanna Holzman started her journey with Starr at Montcalm School on our Albion campus. When she graduated from high school, she applied for a Starr scholarship, and worked hard to get her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Joanna spoke to us recently about her life after Starr and her appreciation for the program and the scholarship opportunities that were open to her, and she has graciously allowed us to tell her story.

"When I was in high school my life was spiraling out of control. I was dealing with abuse; I had been the victim of unhealthy ways and my parents decided to send me to Montcalm Boarding School at Starr Commonwealth’s Albion campus. After being blessed with a year to work on myself, I was able to return to my home high school and graduate on time in 2013."

"After high school I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where I was able to begin pursuing a career in special education. Although the first year at college was more difficult for me than it may have been for others, I was able to use the skills I had gained while at Starr to make sure I kept my academic career and emotional stability in check. Over the years I continually made the Dean’s List and was able to be active in clubs on campus as well as a sorority. I was able to attend college with the help of the Starr scholarship, which saved me from the financial burden most students in college face. It’s funny how, even now, Starr is still helping me to reduce worry in my everyday life!"

"I graduated with a bachelors in Cross-Categorical Special Education K-12 in May of 2017. I now have secured a job in a brand new district classroom working with students with cognitive disabilities. While getting to work at my dream job every day, I will also begin pursuing my masters at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders through the College of Education in the Spring of 2018. I hope to one day to return to my hometown of Chicago and work with students with behavioral needs like I had."

"I was very lucky to have been able to get help at Starr, and I hope to be able to work with kids who are not as lucky. Starr has left an everlasting positive effect on my life and I will forever be grateful for all the opportunities and doors Starr opened for me."