2016 Falcon Family of the Year

Columbus area family’s hard work pays off, helps daughter attend dream school

By Bob Cunningham

Nothing was going to stand in Emily Suver’s way of attending Bowling Green State University. 

Then, soon after Suver was accepted to the University during her junior year of high school, her father lost his job.

Suver’s dream of attending BGSU to become a teacher would have to wait due to financial hardship — or so she thought.

“I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to come to BGSU,” said Suver, who grew up in Pickerington, Ohio, on the east side of Columbus. “I thought maybe community college back home, but my parents told me, ‘No, this is your life, you’re going to go to BGSU.’ They pushed me to keep going with my plans, even though it was looking a little rough for a while.”

Her father worked several jobs and her mother, a BGSU alumna who had retired that same year from Columbus City Schools after 33 years of teaching, returned to the school district as an instructional assistant. 

“Both of my parents are extremely hard-working people, and I have learned that together as a family we can get through anything,” said Suver, a sophomore in the College of Education and Human Development. “I can honestly say that without my parents teaching me how to be such a hard worker, I would not be the person I am today. I have seen their struggles and experienced my own, but great things are accomplished with hard work and perseverance. My parents are always so supportive of me and my brother. They help us reach our goals and urge us to work even harder.” 

The Suvers — Emily, father Gregg, mother Beth and brother Ethan — were presented the 2016 Falcon Family of the Year Award during halftime of BGSU’s football game against Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 17 at Doyt Perry Stadium. 

“Emily’s hard work and determination are hallmarks of our great students at BGSU,” BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey said. “We are so fortunate to have Emily on our campus, and are humbled by the fine example her parents have set with their work ethic and commitment to ensuring their children are able to obtain a college education.”

Suver said she wasn’t a dedicated student early in her high school career, but once she saw the sacrifices her parents were willing to make so she could have a great college education, she improved in the classroom. 

“In high school, I started to realize I needed to step up,” Suver said. “When they made all of those sacrifices for me, I knew I had to do my best, or even better. I think it made me work harder and got me to where I am today.

“My dad had to work odds-and-ends jobs to get me through the first year of college. He wasn’t back into his field until three months ago when he got a job at Toyota Material Handling, where he sells forklifts and equipment. It was rough for a really long time — we’re lucky that he landed there.” 

In addition to carrying a 3.7 cumulative grade point average and a 4.0 in her major, Suver picked up the family trait of being a hard worker.

“I’m a cashier at Kroger for the store in my hometown,” she said. “During the summers I also work with my dad at his second part-time job — it’s called Tree King Tree Services. We go out and trim trees, do injections of pesticides, that kind of stuff. I also work at BGSU’s Office of Admissions, so I’m very busy.”   

Suver said her busy workload helps keep her focused on what’s important.

“It definitely gives me time-management skills because I’m not sitting around bored all the time,” she said. “I always have something to do, somewhere to go and assignments to turn in. It keeps me busy and keeps me focused. I knew once I got to college there wouldn’t be any slacking.”

BGSU was the only school that Suver applied to, and she’s glad that everything worked out in the end.

“I knew from day one that BGSU was going to be my home,” she said. “It’s exceeded every expectation I had. I definitely knew that this was where I wanted to be, but I didn’t realize that there were so many opportunities here to grow. I just love it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I hope to one day follow in my mother's footsteps and become a great educator just like she is. Teaching is my dream, and bestowing knowledge on children and changing their lives is what it is all about. Kids are the future and my future is teaching them.”