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Posted: Sunday, June 1, 2008 10:00 pm

A look at former Lodi valedictorians.

Loretta Hans (Teske)

1989 Valedictorian, Lodi High School

Proud mother and wife

Age: 37

Where do you live now: Lodi

Family: I've been married almost 13 years to my husband, Paul. I have a 10 and-a-half-month old daughter, Lierin. It's the best job I've ever had.

Profession: Stay-at-home mother

Proudest moment: I have two. One is when I was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness on July 11, 1987, and the second was when my daughter was born on June 27, 2007.

Keys to success: First, to find happiness, you need to surround yourself with loving family and friends. Second, happiness is found in having a life of giving, of doing things to help others. There is so much truth in the Bible's statement that "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving."

Hobbies: I used to love to read. I don't have time anymore. I love playing with my daughter. That's my first priority. She makes me happy and makes me laugh. Also, I'm a piano player! I love to play the piano - it is so relaxing. And I love to swim. I could live in the water.

Most memorable high school experience: There are so many. I would say I had my select group of friends and just being with them. We always laughed and had a great time.

Do you stil talk to them? I do. We still try to to get tother.

If it were 1985, how would classmates describe you? Very studious. I was very focused.

Do you have regrets: I look back and I think, I don't know why I had to totally excell. I doing sometimes think I kind of missed out. I missed out on more fun activities. I stressed myself out. If I had to do it over, I would be focused and studious but not so anul becaue you're only in high school once.

If you met up with a friend who hadn't seen you since high school, what would she say? She would say that she probably could not believe that I would ever be a mother. It was a big joke that I would never be a mother. She would probably make fun of me and say, "I can't believe you're doing it and you love it so much."

Future goals: I still have two major goals. First, is to always be very dedicated to my Bible ministry. Second is to be very dedicated to being the best mom I can be. To me, nothing else matters.

What's your idea of the perfect weekend: Being at home with my family, just talking, kicking back, not having to do anything at all. We love to be at home - because we're never home.

Most memorable Lodi High teacher: I had a teacher, Mr. Stroh, that I just thought was great. He taught English at the time.

Favorite things to do in Lodi when you were a teenager: We would always swim in the summer. Back when I was in school we still had the roller skating rink. I remember going there. I love lodi. I was born and raised here - and still stuck here, as the song goes.

Pet Peeve: I am a germophobic. I'm very anul about cleanliness.

Best show on TV: "Lost" is my No. 1 favorite show of all time. I also watch "Smallville."

Heidi Muther was a 1995 Lodi High School Valedictorian. She is now a vice president of the mens and young mens division for Ross Stores. (Courtesy photo)

Heidi Muther

1985 Valedictorian, Lodi High School

Vice President, Ross Corporation

Age: 41, but who's counting?

Where do you live/work now? I live in Orange County, specifically Laguna Niguel. I work in downtown Los Angeles at the California Clothing Mart.

College: I received my bachelor's from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1989, majoring in Business Economics.

Family: I have three very energetic and happy dogs: Katie (Merle Sheltie), Meika (Boxer) and Ellie (rescue mutt)

Past jobs: I was recruited by May Company Department Stores right out of college. I worked there for seven years in the mens, womens accessories and young mens departments as a clothing buyer.

In 1996 I joined Pacific Sunwear (surf/skate company) as a senior buyer of young men's (clothing). I became a divisional merchandise manager and was later promoted to vice president/GMM.

After 10 years at Pacsun I joined Ross Stores as a vice president/DMM of the mens and young mens division.

Proudest moment: Earning a starting position on UCSB's Division 1 women's basketball team, as a walk on.

Keys to success: Honesty, hard work, and a great sense of humor (one should never take themselves too seriously). Also, surrounding yourself with talented and intelligent people is imperative to success.

Hobbies: Traveling is one of my true passions. I also enjoy golfing and collecting fabulous wines.

Most memorable high school experience: When my boyfriend and I were selected as prom king and queen. Wow, what an exciting night that was!

If you were to sit down with a high school girlfriend you haven' seen since graduation day, what would he or she say about your life now? That I continue to approach life with enthusiasm, a positive outlook and a passion for success. Or, they might say that my haircut is better now that the big feathered '80s look is gone.

Was high school good or bad: For me, high school was a wonderful period of my life. I am lucky to still stay in contact with my best friends from high school and we often laugh about all the fun times we had playing sports, attending school dances and, of course, toilet papering each other's houses.

Future goals: I will be in retail management for another five or six years, but ultimately would love to get involved in the wine business. On a personal level, I would like to become much more involved in charities such as the Special Olympics, Humane Society and the Human Rights Campaign.

What's your idea of the perfect weekend: Relaxing at a spa resort, laying by the pool, working out, getting massages and having fabulous meals and wine.

What do you wear to work: Our company policy is business casual on most days, but my favorite day is the newly instituted "Jean Monday".

Most memorable high school teacher: Most memorable to me were my coaches: Rick Marks (basketball Coach) and Toni Miller (volleyball coach), who both taught me about hard work, tenacity and leadership. From an academic standpoint I thoroughly enjoyed Frau Deberry, my German Teacher, who exuded positive energy and really cared about her students.

Favorite Web sites:,,

What you'd do with a spare $1,000: Give it to charity.

What makes you laugh: My niece Amelia. She is 2 years old and already wise beyond her years.

Pet Peeves: Lazy people and bad drivers.

Favorite book: "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Encyclopedia of Golf Techniques."

Best shows on TV: Any of the "CSI's" and, of course, "American Idol."

Best way to spend a rainy Thursday night? Take out Chinese food, a blanket and a great movie in front of the fire place.

Biggest difference between Lodi and southern California: The weather (always 75 down south), the beach, and the amount of plastic surgery … but nothing beats the nice people and small town feel of Lodi.

Mike Marini (top left) was the 1992 valedictorian of Lodi High School. He is pictured with his wife, Stacy and 7-year-old twins, Nathan and Mikayla. (Courtesy photo)

Mike Marini

1992 Valedictorian, Lodi High School

Financial Advisor for Smith Barney

Age: 34

Where you live now: Fresno

College: Fresno State. I majored in business administration with a management option.

Family: I've been married to my wife, Stacy, for 9 years. We have two children (twins), Nathan and Mikayla - they are almost 7.

Profession: I am a financial advisor for Smith Barney.

Past jobs: Software sales, wholesale produce buyer.

Proudest moment: It's got to be the birth of my kids.

Keys to success: Honesty, hard work, commitment.

Hobbies: Playing tennis and basketball and watching sports.

Favorite team: Sacramento Kings.

Most memorable high school experience: It's gotta be graduation, just being at the same place with all the people you've been with for the past years and the uncertainty of what the future holds. It was bittersweet.

If it were 1992, how would high school classmates describe you? Outgoing and involved.

What would a high school buddy say about you now? He would say that I'm very happy and family focused.

Was high school good or bad: It was great. College was a little better.

Future goals: To instill strong values in my children. Hopefully they want to pursue whatever their passion is. I want them to go to college.

What's your idea of the perfect weekend: Being home with my wife and kids, doing a lot of swimming and playing outside. Going out to dinner and getting together with other famiies for barbecues.

What do you wear to work: A suit and tie.

Most memorable Lodi High teacher: Mrs. Fritz. She was one of my buddies' moms. She was very caring and passionate.

Favorite things to do in Lodi (as a student): Going to the Delta, water skiing, hanging with friends and going to movies.

Favorite Web site:

What you'd do with a spare $1,000: Family vacation to Disneyland.

Best show on TV: I'm a reality buff - so, "American Idol."

Favorite book: The Bible.

Kirsten Culler, 1987 valedictorian of Lodi High School, is a wife, mother and pediatrician. (Courtesy photo)

Kirsten Culler (Sutter)

1987 Valedictorian, Lodi High School

Wife, mother, pediatrician

Age: 39

Where you live now: Now we live in Lodi. We just moved back about six months ago from Irvine.

College: Pepperdine for my B.S. in biology; New York Medical College for my M.D.; internship and residency at UC Irvine

Family: Husband Floyd (a pediatric endocrinologist and the best man walking the planet), daughter Grace (1 yr old and the light of our lives).

Profession: Wife, mother and pediatrician. After finishing residency, I spent the next eight years in academic medicine which was a lot of fun. Beside seeing patients, I helped train interns and residents to become pediatricians. And I met my husband at UC Irvine, so that was the best part.

Keys to success: Work hard, keep your nose to the grind, don't quit.

Most memorable high school experience: My teammates and the sports I played. And beating Grant High in basketball my sophomore year in the second round of the sections. I still remember that game. They had killed us previously in the season.

What do you wear to work: If I'm in "mom" mode, definitely jeans and a T-shirt is my favorite outfit. When I'm seeing patients, it's business casual. I don't wear a white coat, as it sometimes scares the kids. Pediatricians get away with dressing a little more casual than other doctors.

Most memorable Lodi High teacher: I have a few memorable teachers. Ken Warburton for chemistry. He was tough, and I was only a sophomore taking chemistry so he scared me! He was a great teacher though.

Joanne Gavin for English. English wasn't so much my main strength as math or science, but she made it fun. I ran into her about a month ago and she looked the same. And Don Rostomily for a few different math classes. He really was a nice human being, and he wrote me this great letter of recommendation for college. Hopefully I'll see all of them around town at some point.

What makes you laugh: My husband and daughter make me laugh. My husband is from the south (Tennessee), so with his southern drawl and bad jokes, you can't help but laugh. I think he secretly wants to be a comedian. He still calls pants "britches" and uses phrases like "right funny" and "flat excellent." Who talks like that? My daughter, Grace, can make me laugh everyday.

Pet Peeve: My pet peeve would probably be mean people. Life is hard enough. Be nice and have some compassion.

Favorite book: The Bible.

Jonathon Muhly (far right) was a 1995 Lodi High School valedictorian. He now lives in Moscow with his wife, Julie, and their two sons. (Courtesy photo)

Jonathon Muhly

1995 Valedictorian, Lodi High School


Where he lives now: Moscow, Russia.

College: Graduated with a B.S. in 1999 from Concordia University-Poland. Jon attended and graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis (2002-2006) and was ordained a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in January 2007.

Family: While studying abroad in London, he met his wife, Julie. They were married in 1999. Jon and Julie were volunteer missionaries in Cieszyn, Poland for two years. He taught English at a Lutheran high school.

They have two sons.

What he does as a missionary: He provides support to the pastors of the Russian Lutheran Church, which involves considerable travel within Russia and throughout Eurasia.

Source: Denise Muhly, John Muhly's mother



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