Alumni Profile - Mae Jaggers
Bureau Valley Junior High teacher and coach Mae Jaggers looks back at her years at Sauk Valley Community College and remembers how her confidence as a college student grew during those two years before transferring on to a four-year institution.
"My neighbor was a counselor at Sauk, and I was all signed up to go directly from high school to a four-year college,” said Jaggers. “She could tell I didn’t act sure about it so she said that maybe I would want to consider Sauk. As they say, the rest is all history.”
Jaggers earned her Associate of Science in elementary education in 1988 and then transferred on for her bachelor’s degree in the same major from Illinois State University (ISU). She graduated from ISU with that degree in 1990. Any regrets about not going straight to a four-year university?
"No,” says Jaggers emphatically. “I just wasn’t ready or sure that I wanted to do that and if I had I am not sure how it would have turned out. Everything about me was small town, so, maybe that was why Sauk was so perfect – the small town atmosphere.”
Jaggers was especially pleased with her small classes and the professors’ willingness to assist whenever needed. She was also able to fine-tune her major during those two years.
"I had thought about being a P.E. teacher because I was good in sports, but after taking a pre-student teaching course, I knew that I wanted to get a K-9 elementary education degree,” she said.
Since Jaggers was a good athlete, she decided to try her luck as a “walk-on” on Sauk’s volleyball team. It proved to be a successful prospect, and she became one of Coach Jolene Leseman’s main players for the next two years. In Jaggers' 17 years of teaching, most all of those years have included some type of coaching – volleyball, scholastic bowl, track, or basketball.
"Being on the volleyball team at Sauk allowed me the best of both worlds,” explained Jaggers. “I was able to get a great education close at home while still continuing to play a team sport, which I loved. It also made it easier to meet people. I know those years have been a help to me in my own coaching experience.”
It is plain to see from Jaggers’ smile that her transfer experience from Sauk to ISU was a positive one. She said ISU’s orientation day was very smooth because she had the right courses that she needed. Not only were the academics in place, but, while at Sauk, Jaggers met her ISU roommate, which made it easier since they knew each other before hand. She says they still get together once or twice a year.
In her senior year at ISU, Jaggers had the opportunity to student teach in England. She attributes the fact that she had the courage and self-esteem to even consider this opportunity because of the growth she experienced during her time at Sauk.
"I am more introverted than most, but truly it wasn’t overwhelming. I was so ready to go to ISU and so when this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance,” Jaggers said. “It was the experience of a lifetime.”
If she had it to do all over again, Jaggers said the only thing she would change is to be more involved, probably in student government.
"Being a social science teacher now, I can see the advantage that would give to students,” she said. “I would encourage others do get involved because there is so much out there for them to do.”