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Wildcat Traditions Carry On

At CWU we see a lot of students who are eager to chase their dreams and enter the real world prepared and well educated. The decision to enroll and choose a college is a difficult one, especially when you are in your youth and there are so many options to choose from. However, can you imagine making this already very tough decision when your whole family has graduated from the same institution? It seems as if this decision was a no-brainer for several Central students, whose families have a long legacy at CWU.

“I was able to visit the campus and watch the choirs perform, and I was blown away by the incredible music program at Central, which was what really drew me toward the school,” said Natalie Riggs, a third-generation Central student.

Krissy (Schupp) and Kenneth Riggs, Natalie’s parents, attended CWU in the early 90’s, studying Elementary Education and Music Education, respectively. Both received their undergraduate degrees in ’92-‘93 and both were awarded graduate degrees 1996.

Krissy’s path changed from a music career to a teaching career when she entered Central in the Fall of 1989, and sent her career into overdrive from there. “I was a singer and planned to study music. Central had a wonderful vocal music department and amazing choir. It was clear when I researched programs, Central had an education focus as well. As a junior, I came for the Student Sampler program, spent the night in a dorm, toured campus and fell in love. After I taught a couple of years, Central was the only choice to get my masters. It simply is the best place for training teachers.”

Krissy now teaches in the Tahoma School District in Maple Valley, Washington. Kenneth also teaches music in the Tahoma School District, attributing his time at Central, to his success. Both Krissy and Kenneth feel as if ‘legacy’ is an important topic in the lives of children and young adults, alike. With their experience at Central, and now their daughter Natalie, they can firmly say that it was the best choice they ever made.

A generation before Krissy and Kenneth, the Wildcat tradition started for Bill and Lynda Schupp. Bill and Lynda Schupp, Krissy’s parents, first attended Central Washington University between the years of 1965 and 1976.

Both Bill and Lynda enjoyed their time at Central, attributing their success in the real world, to their successes of getting hired right out of college (Bill to Standard Oil and Lynda starting her own preschool).

“I remember the friendships. I met some wonderful people, including my husband, Bill. We have been married for 51 years,” Lynda said.

“I loved living in Ellensburg. It was the perfect climate and afforded many outdoor opportunities that I took advantage of - I loved fishing, football, camping, friendships, the weather, the small-town atmosphere, and the school. It was at CWU where I met my wife, Lynda,” Bill said.

Krissy says of the multiple generations of Central students in their family: “To me, a legacy is what outlives you when you are gone. My fervent prayer is that my kindergarten students and my own personal children are my legacy. I hope to add something small, but significant to every person I teach, love and know. That's my lofty legacy goal.”

Natalie holds a similar thought when it comes to her rapidly-approaching time here at Central.

“Legacy is something that you leave behind that makes a difference in the lives of others and I hope to leave my own legacy at Central, while still being able to carry on the legacy of my family before me.”

Recent graduate, Marissa Anthony, is a multi-generational legacy student who came to Central after having visited the campus numerous times as young child. Marissa comes from a long line of Wildcats, starting with her great grandmother, whom attended the university when it was still the Washington State Normal School in the early 1900s. Since then, both her parents and uncle also attended Central.

As a legacy student, Marissa holds several memories and experiences close to her. Her grandmother, mother, father, and uncle’s names are engraved into a brick in the courtyard between Barge and Shaw Smyser, serving as a reminder of her lineage at Central.

“To me, legacy means continuing the story,” Marissa said. “My family started a story at Central more than 100 years ago, and I was happy to tell people about their story, while continuing the story myself. My Central story does not stop now, as I am looking into attending graduate school in the near future. I am excited to make more memories and continue the family legacy at Central Washington University for years to come.”

In the coming years, Marissa does plan to come back and visit her “second home”. The Ellensburg community is something she values deeply and believes it contributed to her positive experience here at CWU. When asked what Central means to her, Marissa remarked,

“To me, Central means home. The friendships I’ve made, the experiences I have had, and the feelings I get when I come to Ellensburg are things that I will never forget. Central has become a second home to me and I will never get tired of it. I will always feel welcome when I pass through, and I will always be excited to come back to my second home and reminisce on the memories I’ve been fortunate enough to make here.”

We love sharing stories of our current and future students and alumni. If you have a story to share, please email or connect with us on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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