1984 Valedictorian: Linda (Wiebe) Frederick

A young Linda Wiebe started out at Ohlone College because she felt it was a good school, close to home, and was reasonably priced.  When she first started classes, for the most part, she worked part-time and went to school part-time.  She then married Jim Frederick, took six years off, and returned as Linda Frederick.  Linda says, “I don’t recommend this off-and-on pattern, but it worked for me.”  Linda loved her English and Fiction Writing classes.  “I was a free-lance editor for years,” Linda states, “and I referred back to my old textbooks many, many times.”  She has a great memory of Mr. Craig Jackson, her History of Film teacher, coming to class on test day dressed as a silent film villain, complete with handlebar mustache.

For Linda, her Ohlone studies became a family affair.  Her parents, Eugene and Barbara Wiebe, were guests at her Religions of the Western Hemisphere class with Professor Joe Steinke (who Linda describes as brilliant).  When she took Microwave Cooking for some extra units, her parents and her husband, Jim, came to her final exam, a cooking lesson to the class, and enjoyed a Mexican dinner.  Jim even enrolled in a Music Appreciation class with Linda, and they attended three outside performances together.  When she needed to write a term paper about Communism, her father, who had taught Leadership Training to Admirals in the Navy, lent her the Communism textbook he had used in his classes.  Her mother, though, was the one who had always helped her study for tests.  According to Linda, “Ohlone was always a shared, supportive experience for me.  I was surprised to learn that I was Ohlone’s 1984 Class Valedictorian, but it has been one of my most cherished life events.”

After leaving Ohlone, Linda was a salesperson for a clothing shop when she first started out and worked her way to being the store manager.  She then went on to work as a secretary / administrative assistant for Safetran and Intel.  She also developed her own business as a freelance editor and researcher for more than 25 years.  Her work involved a wide variety of clients, including a mayor, high tech companies, a law firm, and many others.  Linda and her husband, Jim, have owned two real estate investment limited liability companies for several years, and she was the active manager of both.  They have since closed the Nevada LLC, and she currently manages their California company.

Linda has been a lifelong learner and has participated in an eclectic group of learning experiences over the years, but as she tells us, “…not always through the Halls of Academia.”  Relating to her career as an editor and researcher, she has had extensive training in writing and editing through the Romance Writers of America’s conventions and professional classes.  Her in-person instructors have included Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, and Catherine Coulter.  Her many online courses include a recent Master Class with James Patterson.  Linda has also judged many international writing contests and has been a finalist herself, twice in the prestigious Golden Heart for romantic fiction.

Linda took a business class at Cal State University East Bay, and she and her son, Jason, sang in the University’s Singing Society for more than 6 years.  She has taken a myriad of business and finance classes online and at the Fremont Adult School, as well as various in-person real estate investing classes.  She has also studied Music Theory.  She even participated in a “Crime Prevention” class in Las Vegas taught by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to be able to better manage her apartment building there.

In addition to being a student, Linda has also been a guest lecturer in writing and business classes at Fremont Adult School and Ohlone College.  She says, “I have never stopped taking classes and learning.  I believe it will be a lifelong experience for me.”

Linda also wound up with a “career-of-sorts” in singing.  Her first music teacher was her grandfather, Erik Johansson, who played First Chair flute for the King of Sweden.  She had the great good fortune to sing at a wedding with the late Warren Riopelle, San Francisco Ballet’s pianist.  After that, the two paired up for gigs together off and on for ten years.  In the last few years, she has been in three of movie composer Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choirs (music videos).  Whitacre is known for his choral compositions and for his work on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Linda sang first soprano on Whitacre’s 14-part “Water Night” in Virtual Choir 3, which was created for the 100th anniversary of Titanic and was played simultaneously at the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast, Ireland, Lincoln Center in New York, and online at the exact moment in April 2012, 100 years later, when the Titanic struck the iceberg.  This video was played along the Millennium Bridge in London during the 2012 Summer Olympics and at Oxford University.  It was in the documentary What would Beethoven Do? along with Bobby McFarren and The Piano Guys, and a still from the video graces the cover of the textbook The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks.

Linda also sang first soprano on “Fly to Paradise” in Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4, which was turned into a short film shown to Queen Elizabeth II as part of her 60th Jubilee celebrations at Buckingham Palace, London, England.

The World of Color Honor Choir was an audition-only choir done in collaboration with Whitacre and Disney and was part of Disney’s 2013-14 Wonderful World of Color – Winter Dreams show at California Adventure Park.  Whitacre had written “Glow,” an original carol, which tied in with the movie Frozen.  Of this Linda states, “Only the top eight percent got in, and happily, I was one of them!”

Linda tells us that while she has had some successes in her life, she has also suffered some major losses, but through the ups and downs, she has always been grateful for the wonderful people in her life.  Linda recalls taking a series of aptitude tests in her Career Planning class at Ohlone, and discovered some interesting things about herself.  The results showed her most important roles in life were that of wife and daughter (she was not yet a mother).  The test also showed she enjoyed visiting with loved ones more than any other activity.  The test results were prophetic.  Linda says, “I knew that I was fortunate while my parents and grandparents were still alive, and I know, now, that I have a great husband, Jim, and a wonderful son, Jason.  As I look back on my life, I can see where I would have done certain things differently, but in the end, it is truly the people in one’s life who matter most, and I have been deeply blessed in that area.”