1979 Valedictorian: Janice (Muth) Sheppard

Janice (Muth) Sheppard is indeed a community college success story, having earned degrees from two of them in the Bay Area.  After graduating from Washington High School in Fremont, she chose to attend Ohlone because she wanted to major in Administration of Justice and it was close to home.  Janice is also a model of determination.  While taking a full load of 15 units each semester she worked full-time on the graveyard shift at Great America in Security doing patrol and dispatch.

Janice loved her two years at Ohlone and enjoyed the campus (except climbing the stairs from the parking lot!).  She met a lot of new and interesting people, and enjoyed her classes and professors.  She was especially impressed with Dr. William J. Osterloh, the founding faculty member of Ohlone’s Administration of Justice program.  Janice kept in touch with Dr. Osterloh for many years after graduation.

Janice found her most difficult class to be speech.  It was not the course content that was the problem; it was trying to fit it into her work schedule.  She got off her graveyard shift at Great America at 7:30 am and normally scheduled her classes from 8:00 am to noon, and then go home to sleep before heading back to work.  The problem with the speech class was it met from 3:00 to 4:30 in the afternoon – right in the middle of her “sleeping time!”

She persevered through the tough schedule that semester and she was eventually thankful for the effort she put in.  Janice was called to the Dean’s office one day and she couldn’t figure out why.  She was asked how she thought she was doing in her classes.  She responded by saying she thought she was doing okay with working full-time, dating and trying to get some sleep.  Janice tells us, “I was shocked to be told that I was going to graduate with a 4.0 and would be the 1979 Valedictorian!  Never in my life was I so happy to have taken the speech class!  In fact, my professor assisted me with my address.”

Janice and her identical twin sister Joyce (Muth) Cabello attended Ohlone at the same time.  One of her favorite memories was the awards ceremony during their graduation time.  Janice recalls,

Joyce… won the outstanding student in her major as did I in my major.  Her professor wasn’t able to attend the presentation.  Dr. Osterloh begged the Dean to be able to present both of our awards.  He said he thought it was the first time in the school’s history that twins won the outstanding student awards and that it was the first time an Administration of Justice student was named Valedictorian.

Janice then went on to take accounting classes at the College of San Mateo, again displaying a determination to be admired.  She was working full-time and commuting 40 miles each way.  She graduated on her 40th birthday with a 4.0 GPA!

Janice worked at Great America for 21 years (Games, Security, Facilities, Purchasing and Accounting).  She spent 1-1/2 years as Accounting Manager at a bottled water company in San Carlos.  She says she learned a lot there but the commute was too much.  She then worked for 6-1/2 years as Controller at a large sanitation company in San Jose before it was bought out.  For the past 10 years she has worked in the Accounting department at Greater Nevada Credit Union in Carson City, NV.

Janice met her husband Scott while working on the graveyard shift in Security at Great America and they have been married for 36 years.  Janice had to move from Security to Facilities because of the company’s nepotism policies.  This move prompted her redirection to a career in accounting.  Janice says, “We like to joke that his degree was in Accounting and he spent 32 years with the Palo Alto Police Department, while my major was in Administration of Justice and I’ve been in Accounting for over 30 years!”

When she was in her mid-30’s Janice learned to ride a motorcycle.  She spent about 10 years on the Board of the San Jose Harley Owners Group.  It was a great thrill as the Director to lead hundreds of bikers down Highway 17 to an event in Santa Cruz.  She and Scott also became involved in nostalgia drag racing with their own car, a 1969 Chevelle with 900 horsepower!  They were also on the pit crew for a friend with a front motor dragster.  They raced all over California and Nevada for several years.

Janice and Scott lived in San Jose from 1980 to 2006, when they moved up to Dayton, NV, not long after her twin and her husband moved there.  She says, “The pace of life is slower, there is no smog, and you can actually see the stars at night!  We bought a nice house that has room for our boat and motor home in the back yard.”  She and Scott became interested in classic cars a few years ago but ran out of garage space.  They ended up buying the house across the street, which is now the “guest” house.  Janice says she and Scott “…spend a lot of weekends ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) with friends or attending classic car shows and Hot August Nights with our 1930 Model A Tudor, 1934 Chevy 3 window coupe, 1937 Dodge sedan with suicide doors, and 1940 Willys coupe.”

Summarizing her current status Janice declares, “Life is grand!”