Michelle Radder

Associate in Arts

The second oldest of seven children Radder graduated from Sunnyside High School and began her college experience. She soon realized that she was not ready to move away from home. She left the university setting and moved to Western Washington to work and be near extended family. For the next 10 years she worked various jobs.

After meeting her fiancé, who was also from Sunnyside, the couple decided to return to the Yakima Valley. In 2011 Radder accepted a full-time position as a nanny to a local family with four children. This family has grown to hold a special place in Radder’s heart. Their daughter has Down Syndrome and after meeting her, Radder knew it was time to return to school to prepare for a job in teaching.

Radder enrolled and began taking courses at YVC’s Grandview Campus. “I chose to attend YVC because it allowed me to continue my education while still working full-time,” stated Radder. “The Grandview Campus is very convenient, personable, and offered a great education. Being older than many of the students I found myself taking on a role of big sister. I have enjoyed my YVC experience and I will be leaving here very proud of my accomplishments,” she continued.

She plans to transfer to Central Washington University and work toward a bachelor’s degree in education. “I want to continue my studies in the special education field for the specific purpose of being a part of this little girl’s educational experience and to help other children with needs like hers,” stated Radder. “She has taught me so much in the time I have been working as her nanny and she has made a huge impact on how I hope to give back to my community,” she said. Radder hopes to ultimately teach in Sunnyside. “I am also interested in pursuing a degree in art therapy. I have enjoyed art since I was young and I believe it to be a valuable tool for communicating emotions. When working with children who have special needs I believe incorporating art into their education can have huge benefits,” she continued.

Radder was honored to address the graduating class of 2015. “Being selected as the class of 2015 student speaker for commencement is unbelievable really, I am very humbled,” continued Radder. In her commencement address Radder expresses the importance of making a difference in our world and in our own communities. “We here this evening have a spark of hope, we know how to work hard, and we have a unique ability to make a difference. Now that we’ve realized how to make our own dreams come true, we possess the power to change the world by helping others do the same, starting within our own community and the people right around us,” she stated.

“The family that I work for stresses the importance of school and I hope that my success is an inspiration to them as they have been inspirational to me,” she concluded.