September 23, 2013 10:00AM
Most parents have occasions when they question the power of their influence on their children. For Michael and Jill Chaloupka, of Liberty, Mo., any doubts they may have had were settled at Pittsburg State University’s Family Day activities.
The Chaloupkas were honored as the 2013 PSU Honorary Family, based on the nomination of their daughter, Abbey, a sophomore graphic communication major. The events took place on Saturday, Sept. 21.
“To hear what she had to say about us was amazing,” Jill Chaloupka said. “It’s hard to put into words how it makes us feel.”
Abbey said it was important for her to let her family know how much she appreciated all they had done for her. In her nominating letter, Abbey wrote of the values her parents instilled in her and her brother, Nathan.
“They have always encouraged my brother and me to be ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we’re not perfect, as long as we stay true to ourselves,” she wrote.
Abbey wrote that her parents taught her the value of hard work by insisting she earn the things she wanted.
“While I didn’t enjoy it at the time, my parents made my pay for my first cell phone, my laptop, my iPod, and now my college education,” Abbey wrote. “They didn’t just hand things to me like other parents did for their kids.”
Abbey said that leaving home and going off to college has helped her appreciate her family even more.
“I never realized how much they did for me, until I was off on my own,” she wrote. “The hours they spent cleaning, working, cooking, doing laundry, and hauling my brother and I everywhere went unnoticed. I am now so thankful for how they raised me and the values they instilled in me. I hope to one day be just as great of a parent as they have been for me.”
In her home community of Liberty, Mo., Abbey and her family have been involved in many service projects. She volunteered at the community food pantry, alongside her parents, and mentored seventh grade band students when she was a high school senior. Through her church, she participated in mission trips across the U.S.
“My parents raised my brother and me to give back to others and to use our gifts and talents to help people around us,” Abbey wrote.
Abbey hasn’t slowed down since becoming a Gorilla. She plays clarinet in the Pride of the Plains Marching Band and is a member of the PSU Honors College. She is a senator in the PSU Student Government Association, is a peer mentor for freshman students and is active in the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and Campus Christians.
Though she is some distance from home, Abbey wrote, her parents are frequently in touch and visit the campus as often as they can for athletics and special events.
“What they’ve done that means the most is their day trips to attend my Wind Ensemble concerts, despite having to work the next day,” she wrote. “My parents are selfless and inspiring - I can’t think of better role models than them.”