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Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - Retired alumna takes on new adventure with Peace Corps
By Katie Land, news editor

For retired teacher Bonnie Lawrence, the next big adventure has just begun.

The 1979 Oakland University alumna taught for 35 years, raised two children, built a life in the Metamora area, and recently joined the Peace Corps.

Lawrence took flight this fall on a nearly two and a half year service commitment in Lesotho, a small mountainous nation surrounded by South Africa.

“It is something different, a real challenge and a completely new experience,” Lawrence said. “The anticipation reminds me of going away to college for the first time, when everything is new and you don’t know anyone yet. Right now I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll be learning a lot of new things.”

Lawrence did not always plan to take such a journey. She graduated with a master’s degree in teaching from Oakland in 1979 and worked as a special education preschool teacher.

In 2010, her life changed. Her husband passed away and Lawrence retired. It was then that she began to consider joining the Peace Corps. 
“As a child of the 1960s, I had always thought the Peace Corps would be a great thing to do,” Lawrence said. “Then college, marriage, kids and a career happened.”

Around the same time, Lawrence’s niece graduated from college and applied to the corps. Her decision inspired Lawrence to do the same, and placed her on the cusp of a growing trend: retirees joining the Peace Corps.

During the first three months of her service, Lawrence will be fully immersed in the country’s language and culture by living with a host family in Lesotho. Soon after, Lawrence will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Lesotho, where she will live and work with the local people.

“My children are grown and I am in good health,” she said. “It is the perfect time for me to travel and have a new adventure. I’m so excited to see how my journey unfolds.”

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