She was the 2014 Communicator of Achievement this year for the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. She won first place in the faculty advisor for high school or college student publications category in the NFPW communications contest. Her friends proudly tell about the honors her student publication has earned during the 26 years she has been the student newspaper advisor. Now, she is challenging others to join her in reading about the different “states” over the next year. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member, Elizabeth Granger, who excels in all she does.
Name: Elizabeth Granger
City and State: Fishers, Ind.
Affiliate and any leadership positions: Woman’s Press Club of Indiana Past president, past vice-president, current high school competition coordinator, current meeting coordinator
Years a member of NFPW: since 1999
Tell us a little about you.
I teach journalism and English in a minority high school of 2,400 students in Indianapolis. I’ve advised the student newspaper for 26 years and the yearbook for two. The paper has a long list of honors over the years – just last week we were awarded another Hoosier Star (best in the state). I am thinking about retiring in June 2015. I am open to all kinds of adventures in the next phase of my life.
I’d taught years earlier, too, right out of college. Then I was a stay-at-home mom. Returned to teaching part-time, as a GED instructor, when the kids were about 4 and 7. Made my way to a professional daily newspaper for a while – I was a reporter and then editor. Returned to teaching full-time in 1989. I had helped create a travel page for the paper, so I’ve been able to freelance as a travel writer ever since.
I’m married to Fred. I have two grown children, he has four. He also has 10 grandchildren.
Any career advice you would give?
Follow your heart. Work hard. Laugh often. Learn every day. Appreciate those who have helped you along the way, and let them know you appreciate them. Then turn around and help others.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I love being an American, so I can’t imagine being anywhere else for an extended period of time. Actually, I’d love to live all over the U.S., perhaps 6-12 months in each place. My top picks? I grew up in Michigan and Minnesota, and the Call of My North is still strong, so I’d definitely pick those two. (A winter on Mackinac Island is in my dreams.) I’d also choose Maine, Montana, Alaska, Washington, D.C., parts of Texas, and of course Hawaii.
And certainly extended visits to Canada, Ireland, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Scandinavia. I found the villages of all four of my grandparents in Croatia in 2010 – a return visit with my children accompanying me would be marvelous.
What book are you reading?
Two right now – Oprah Winfrey’s “What I Know For Sure” and Steve Hamilton’s “Die a Stranger.”
“What I Know For Sure” has me contemplating life, that’s for sure. Oprah’s put truth after truth after truth into words that have to be meaningful to every reader. It’s a fast read, but don’t read it fast. Stop often and savor the thoughts. It should be on everyone’s Christmas wish list.
I just read the section titled “Gratitude.” I think I’ll follow Oprah’s lead and make a list every night of five things I found myself grateful for that day.
Last year I marked my birthday by deciding to write and mail a handwritten note every week. I confess I didn’t quite follow the plan; some weeks I wrote nothing, but in other weeks I sent off several missives. My birthday was last week (Oct. 22); after one year, my note count is more than 52. I think I’ll continue for another year.
“Die a Stranger” is quite different. It’s Hamilton’s ninth in his Alex McKnight series. I got caught by the first, “A Cold Day in Paradise,” because it’s set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I was born, where I went to college, where my daughter went to college, where my son-in-law is from, and where I sometimes love to be. The books are fun mystery reads about a former police officer turned reluctant private eye – you can’t help but love McKnight.
Hey, who all wants to join me in reading every “state” next year? It’s an activity that some teachers do with their students – “traveling” across the U.S. by reading a book that’s set in each of the states. Our variation would have each of us picking our own choices and then suggesting them to others. I can start now – for Michigan, get any of the Alex McKnight novels by Steve Hamilton. So, who’s in? Let me know? I’m at email@example.com.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Depends on the people, I’d say. Those who know me from a particular phase in my life sometimes don’t know a different me. For example, those who know me as a teacher or travel writer may not know the “Suzie Homemaker” side of me with its sewing and knitting and canning and baking. And vice versa. I remember volunteering with a crafts group one evening each week, until it was time for school to start. When I told the group I wouldn’t be returning the next Monday night because my GED class was starting then, one of the other volunteers asked, “You don’t have a high school diploma?” She had no idea I was the teacher.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
I joined WPCI for the professional support I believed I could get. That I did, but the personal support from the members is over the top. I’m honored to be among their good friends.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.
On Facebook, find Elizabeth Granger. For Twitter, @ejgranger.