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18

W W W . E T O W N . E D U

A D U LT L E A R N E R S E M B O D Y E X C E L L E N C E

Schanz, who hails from a large family, also en-tered the workforce directly after earning her di-ploma in the late ’70s.

“I was a middle-of-the-road student in a quag-mire of nine kids. I went to a fairly large high school and sort of slipped through the cracks,” she said from her chair in the conference room at Horizon, situated on Lancaster (Pa.) County’s Lititz Pike in a historic Tudor-style home. An elegant gold-tone Elizabethtown College coaster rests on the table; a service-oriented company mission statement adorns the wall.

In high school, Schanz attended McCaskey for part of the day, the other part, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center’s distributive edu-cation program—better known to students as mar-keting and management. After graduation, she married, had a son and went right to work. She ap-plied for a job with a local insurance company and, after not scoring high enough on the typing test, she was placed in an entry-level position.

“It sounds cliché, but I literally started in the mail room of the insurance industry,” she said, adding that she quickly moved up within the field, which presented quite the Catch-22.

“Every time I was considered for a promotion, people asked if I had a degree. I had advanced so much without a degree and this caused a little bit of curiosity. It opened some doors, but it closed oth-ers.”

Schanz spent 17 years in the insurance industry and, in 2002, became chief operating officer of an independent insurance company. In the span of her career, she never stopped taking classes, whether they were credit classes at a local community col-lege or professional advancement courses—but she still was lacking that degree.

The Road to E-town

Both Frey and Schanz continued their educa-tion primarily for career advancement. Although Schanz enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle and success-ful career, by age 40 she began to grow weary of hearing about her degree situation. She inquired at several colleges but did not feel the warmth and friendliness she expected as a consumer of educa-tional services. Then Schanz attended a CCEDL open house and was impressed with the attention she received and the quality of the educational pro-grams presented.

“The academic standards were high but not unrealistic,” she said, adding that the EXCEL pro-

I definitely

think a degree

is helpful in making you well-rounded.

Timothy Frey, Lancaster City Bureau of Police

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Elizabethtown College