May 16, 2013
Maureen Oleskiewicz ‘06
The Bradley Teacher Education Community mourned the passing of Maureen Oleskiewicz ’06 on May 6, 2013. She was an English/Language Arts teacher at her alma mater Independence Junior High School in Palos Heights, Illinois. She also taught religious education classes at Incarnation Catholic Church. Maureen died from choking as she and her brother, Martin, watched the Chicago Cubs warm up at Wrigley Field.
During her studies in secondary education at Bradley, Maureen participated in reading research with Dr. Pat Chrosniak, and together with four other students gave a presentation about high school literacy at the Illinois Reading Council’s annual conference. She partnered with Kristen Keigley ’06 in the planning and orchestration of the 100th anniversary of Teacher Education at Bradley. Her mother stated of Maureen, “She would announce often, ‘I love my life.’”
Teacher Education also suffered a loss this fall with the passing of sophomore elementary education student, Julia Janes, from Oak Forest, Illinois. Julia was a bright and talented young woman who valiantly fought cancer and served as an inspiration to many. As a Bradley freshman, she founded the first collegiate branch of CureSearch, an organization that funds children’s cancer research and provides resources to families battling the disease. Julia belonged to Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority, which locally is committed to fundraising and raising awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
A memorial and candlelight vigil was held in Westlake Hall to honor and remember Julia. Family, friends, classmates and faculty met to celebrate the life of this remarkable young lady. Although Julia did not have the opportunity to complete her professional studies in Teacher Education, her cousin Lexie Brasen said Julia educated her family, friends and the Bradley community tremendously. “She just taught us so much about being a fighter, about never losing hope and being optimistic in the face of the worst possible thing imaginable….” She will be greatly missed by all who knew her, and her love for children and teaching will continue through all of those whose lives she has touched.