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Mother/daughter Q&A with women of The Woods

Blog | 05.07.2022
Kymberli Payonk ’86 and Alli Payonk ’18, ’21G 

How does it feel to be connected by being both mother/daughter and SMWC alumni?

K: It is hard to explain to “outsiders” the love that a Woodsie has for SMWC, but Alli and I have that in common, so it is understood. In addition to being connected as mother/daughter and even friends, we are also connected in the “sisterhood” that women of The Woods feel. Honestly, it is just fun and I am proud to share this bond with her!

What does it mean to you to be able to watch your daughter go through the same traditions you are going through or have experienced?

K: I was first-generation college, so I never dreamed that I would be part of a legacy family here. I have loved the things we’ve had in common, like the Ring and living in Le Fer but I’ve also loved watching her participate in things I didn’t get to do, like the Oak Leaf Ceremony and being in Madrigals. Her new experiences have helped connect me to The Woods in new ways and that has been special also.

What is your favorite Woods memory or what is a favorite memory that you have experienced together at The Woods?  

K: Obviously, Ring Day is always going to float to the top of all special memories. But I love that we get to continue making memories together at Homecoming, Reunion, alumni events and more. It is something we will share for the rest of our lives.

Sara Boyer ’03 and Elizabeth Boyer

How does it feel to be connected by being both mother/daughter and SMWC alumni?

S: It’s an added layer to our relationship. We love talking about SMWC, what we experienced that was the same and what was different. We also love seeing the new opportunities being created for the next generation of students. It’s our hope that the legacy can be carried on in our family.

How meaningful is it to be going through the same traditions that your mom went through at The Woods?

E: It’s more than just the traditions for my mom and me. We were both non-traditional students in the campus program, moms and wives. It was amazing to relate about issues, experiences, struggles and our observations of education as an adult.

What does it mean to you to be able to watch your daughter go through the same traditions you have experienced?

S: We could identify with each other’s achievements and challenges. Watching her talents unfold and to see her take the opportunity to engage in her passion of working on theatre productions was wonderful!

Kara Leturgez ’22, Emma Leturgez  

How does it feel to be connected by being both mother and daughter and being students at SMWC at the same time? 

K: I love being able to have the interaction with Emma and Hayle. We have always been close and being able to share experiences and build memories with them at SMWC has made our bond even stronger.

E: My mom has always been my rock. She has guided me, taught me right from wrong and pushed me to be my best. Her move to SMWC was for me and that is incredibly special to me. Being able to share my college experience with the person who was my first teacher is very bittersweet and I know I wouldn’t be here without her.

How meaningful is it to be going through the same traditions that your mom is also going through at The Woods?

E: We currently go through the same traditions as we both attend classes full-time. Doing this with someone I love is extra special. We both get to share our accomplishments and are able to push each other to make it through hardships. It makes me proud to see my mom at different student events and watch her guide incoming students as she also works her full-time position in the business office.

What is your favorite Woods memory or what is a favorite memory that you have experienced together at The Woods? 

K: I am thankful that I have been able to participate in many of the traditions that SMWC has on campus. This includes being on campus when Emma and Hayle came for orientation weekend, their first day of classes, Ring Day, but mostly the times that my girls will come into the Business Office to drop off a coffee just so we can see each other. I am thankful and blessed every day for my daughters and the close relationship that the three of us have.

Valerie Grumieaux ’07 ‘13G and Madeline Sievers ‘19

How does it feel to be connected by both being mother/daughter and through SMWC?

M: I think both of us having the commonality of The Woods is just another highlight and connection of our relationship! I have many memories of traveling to The Woods as a kid when my mom had something to do on campus. It was neat to have that connection even before I was a student.  Though my mom got her education via distance ed and I was on campus, we know common individuals, locations and traditions. 

V: Madeline is the youngest of our three children, and the one most affected by my return to school to finish my degree. She literally grew up with a college student for a mom! When she made the choice to apply to The Woods, I knew it was the right choice for her, just as it was for me. In addition, it gave us the added bonus of sharing the Woods experience. We are so very proud to be graduates of SMWC!

How meaningful is it to be going through the same traditions that your mom went through at The Woods?

M: Since my mom was a student in the WED program (now known as Woods Online), she didn’t experience many of the same traditions I did. With that being said, I was so excited to share my experiences with Woods traditions with my mom! 

What does it mean to you to be able to watch your daughter go through the same traditions you are going through or have experienced?

V: I so enjoyed being able to watch Madeline experience the many traditions of being a Woodsie. Being a WED student (as the program was called prior to Woods Online), as well as being a wife and mother of three children meant that my time as a student at SMWC was different than Madeline’s, but certain traditions were shared by all.

What is your favorite Woods memory or what is a favorite memory that you have experienced together at The Woods?

M: My favorite memory is by far getting to experience Ring Day with my mom! Even though she graduated several years before me, she never got her ring. When it was my turn to get my ring, I talked her into getting hers too, and then she presented me with my ring! It was the most special day. 

V: Ring Day! I did not choose to get a ring when I was originally eligible, nor did I walk at my graduation. When it was time for Madeline to order her ring, she encouraged me to go back to the Woods to order my ring and sign up for Ring Day. I realized what a special opportunity this would be to share what I believe is the most special tradition at SMWC. Making it even more special was that once SMWC President Dr. Dottie King presented my ring to me, I was able to present Madeline’s ring to her! Having our family there to witness was just the icing on the cake! 

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