This fund was created in 2015 to assist graduates of West Aurora High School who are majoring in English at a two-year college or a four-year college or university.
Sandy Erxleben was gifted with the ability to communicate with clarity and great passion. Whether teaching 7th grade, high school or presenting to school administration, her passion for Language Arts, especially English, was apparent and of benefit to her audiences.
Sandy’s warm, caring personality made for many special connections with her students, many of whom say she was their inspiration to major in English during college. Sandy’s love for English and her great love for her students is why this fund has been created.
Sandy Erxleben was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated with a teaching degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Aurora University.
She taught English at both Coultrap Middle School in Geneva, Illinois and Plainwell High School in Plainwell, Michigan.
She finished her teaching career at Jewel Middle School in Aurora, Illinois teaching 7th grade English. She also was the chair of the English Department at Jewel.
Between Plainwell High School and Jewel Middle School, Sandy took on a special project while living in Marshall, Minnesota. She put her communication skills to work managing the organization that raised funds for a $10 million YMCA to benefit the city.
She followed this by working with dozens of Southwestern Minnesota area non-profit organizations teaching grant writing skills and non-profit organizational structure with the support of the Bremer Foundation, a major non-profit contributor in the state.
During her time in Marshall, Sandy served on the boards of directors of the Marshall Area YMCA, American Red Cross and Marshall Lyon County Library.
She also was a member of the advisory boards of Junior Achievement, Connecting Youth and Business, and Homelessness Prevention with Western Community Action.
In Sandy’s last pre-retirement year of teaching at Jewel Middle School, she was diagnosed with brain cancer (Glioblastoma) located within the temporal speech center of her brain. Sandy’s gift of communication was taken away, as was her mobility.
However, nothing could damage her positive, warm and loving personality, her strong fighting spirit or especially her beautiful smile. These attributes shined through all the pain of her last six months of life.
Sandy passed away on September 20, 2014. Many have said, “To know Sandy was to love her.”
Sandy had a profound influence on the students whose lives she touched, and on the teachers and administrators who called her “friend.”