It’s hard to believe that it’s been over four decades since we graduated from the familiar halls of Livingston High School. As I reflect on the journey that has unfolded since then, I’m filled with gratitude for the experiences that have shaped my life and the enduring connections we’ve shared.

Our high school years were a time of discovery and growth, and it was during this pivotal period that I met my husband, Orin Levy, from the LHS class of 1975, at a dance in West Caldwell. Little did I know then that this encounter at the age of 15 would lead to a lifelong partnership. We have been together ever since, navigating the twists and turns of life hand in hand.

After high school, I studied art at the University of Delaware, a passion that has stayed with me throughout the years. However, life often has its own plans, and I ultimately decided to become a dental hygienist to pay the bills! This decision led me to New York City, where Orin and I started our married life on the Upper East Side while he finished medical school at Mount Sinai. Working as a dental hygienist in midtown, I was able to contribute to our growing dreams.

Our journey then took us to Northern Virginia, just outside of D.C., for Orin’s residency. It was a time of hard work and new beginnings. I worked during the day and pursued an MBA from George Washington University at night. It was here that we welcomed our first daughter, Nicole, into our family.

Eventually, we made our way to Parkland, Florida, where Orin opened his practice, and I took on the role of running the office. Our family expanded with the arrival of twins, Danielle and Justin. Raising our children, working in their schools including setting up and then running the Meet the Masters art history program filled my days with joy and purpose. I also found time to nurture my love for art, working on watercolors and photography.

As the kids grew, they ventured off to college. Eventually, our two daughters settled in Denver, and our son is currently finishing medical school in Florida. Our son, Justin, got married in December of 2021 and our oldest daughter, Nicole, is getting married this August. Throughout the years, we’ve been accompanied by our beloved golden retrievers, a constant source of love and companionship.

One of the most rewarding experiences of my life has been training our last golden retriever, Sophie, to become a therapy dog. Together, we visited children and VA hospitals, an infusion center, senior centers, and various schools, bringing comfort and joy to many. In addition, we spent over eleven years working in an elementary school with second graders. Sophie would sit so patiently listening to them read. It was beyond cute watching them show her the pictures. Most times the students would be petting her or holding her paw as I provided reading strategies and encouraged their love of reading. I was also on the board of our pet therapy organization and was in charge of placing our volunteers in all the neighboring schools. In 2018, following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I organized our volunteers and their therapy dogs to provide weekly support to the students and staff. Sophie and I also worked at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for two years. Sophie’s ability to bring happiness to so many was a gift that I will always cherish. Though she passed at the age of 13, her legacy lives on as I train our new golden retriever, Sammie, who is showing great potential (pictured in the pumpkin patch!).

Life has been a beautiful journey filled with friends, travel, and memorable experiences. I’ve been blessed with a lifelong friendship with Karen Young Kupczyk since the first grade and I try to see her whenever we are in NJ. I still have family in Livingston and enjoy coming back to visit including our yearly family trips to LBI. Our travels have taken us to many fun places including Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, France, and Greece. We just visited beautiful Sicily in October with friends. Each adventure adds to our treasure trove of memories.

As I look back on the tapestry of my life, I am filled with gratitude for the foundation that Livingston High School provided and the friendships that have endured. Here’s to many more years of shared memories and adventures.