1978 Valedictorian: Joyce Dicks (In Memoriam)

Joyce Dicks and her husband moved to Fremont from Iowa shortly after their marriage in 1955.  Joyce began her studies at Ohlone College in 1975 – 20 years after completing high school.  During those years, she and her husband raised two daughters, Stephanie and Dawn.  While working as an instructional aid in an elementary school, Joyce decided to take some college classes at Ohlone and later to attend full time.

She majored in Social Sciences at Ohlone and graduated in 1978 at the age of 42 with highest honors and as Valedictorian.  She transferred to Cal State Hayward where she completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History.

After completing her formal education, Joyce dedicated herself to teaching and educational administration.  She served with the faculties of Ohlone College, DeAnza College, Ottawa University, and the Fremont Unified School District.  She also served as lead teacher for the Fremont-New Haven Adult School, and the Director of the Adult Education Program of the East Side Union High School District in San Jose.

She was passionate about working with adult learners.  She taught adults at all academic levels and created programs of assessment, curriculum, use of media and computers, and in-service training.  She was a consultant to the California State Department of Education and numerous community groups.

Joyce’s community service often related to her expertise in education and social sciences.  She served as an officer with PTA boards, precinct chair for a political party, president of an organization for parents of gifted children, and prime mover in many community programs and events.  She worked with the Museum Committee for Ohlone College, was president of the History Club at Cal State Hayward and was founding editor of a publication called “The Student Historian”.

Joyce was honored as Ohlone’s Alumna of the Year in 1991.  Her introduction states, “It is reassuring to know that Joyce Dicks and people like her are bringing excellence to our schools, commitment to our profession, and quality to our lives and our community.  Joyce takes Ohlone College wherever she goes.  Joyce is a leader because of her skills and expertise, because of her energy and hard work, because of her teaching and caring about others, and most importantly because she is willing to make a difference in the schools and communities which she serves.”

After retirement in California, Joyce moved back to Plano, Iowa.  However, she was drawn back to work in education and served as Director of the Prairie Trails Museum in Corydon, Iowa for four years then on to teaching at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa.

Joyce was a voracious reader and passed her love of books and reading on to her daughters, grandchildren and students.  Throughout her life, she was a great student of history and current events.  She loved being able to share her knowledge of both with her many students.  She also enjoyed her work with the Appanoose County Democratic Committee.  Joyce considered life an adventure.  One of her greatest joys was being able to travel to other parts of the world, including West Africa, Egypt and Europe.

Joyce passed away in 2008.  Her obituary remembers her courageous spirit, intelligence, kindness and, above all, her unconditional love for her family.  Her grandchildren remember her purse was always full of quarters and chocolate for the taking.