In November and December, we profiled a person each Tuesday who is intimately connected to Deep Root Center. As the new year begins, we are reprising the Tuesday Profile with the DRC Board Secretary.
I originally met Kara in 2005 or 2006 and was immediately struck by her ability to connect to students (youth) on deep level. So, as she mentioned when I saw her at the Brewer Bookstore in 2013, I knew she would be a perfect addition to our Board. Thankfully, she agreed to join us.
Name: Kara McLuckie
How long on the DRC Board and responsibilities?
In mid-2103, during an impromptu visit at the Brewer Bookstore Café, Maria told me about her plan to open a self-directed learning center. The idea immediately hooked me and I must have shown just the right amount of excitement for Maria to invite me, on the spot, to join the board!
Listening and transforming the verbal banter from our board meetings into accurate and succinct notes comprise my main responsibilities as the DRC Board secretary. I am also involved in developing communications and media relations for the center, but that is a work in progress.
Why do you serve on the DRC Board?
I serve on the DRC Board because I believe in the greatest number of learning options for kids, and DRC provides a non-school choice that is based on the success of model self-directed learning centers around the United States. The DRC makes homeschooling accessible to kids from a variety of economic backgrounds and family configurations, and it makes amazing use of community resources to support a kid’s education. I like what the DRC does!
What do you do for a living?
I wear three awesome hats right now: Grant Writing, Research and Education Consultant with Positive Action for Treatment Access-Nigeria, Chef at the Blackbird Café in Canton, and Test Preparation Instructor for Clarkson TestPrep, Inc. in Potsdam.
By far, the most time-consuming commute is the one to Nigeria, but that is sometimes eclipsed if I get stuck at the traffic light at the intersection of Park and Main Streets. It’s a very long light.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Right now, I am in love with squash, the racquet sport, not the starchy vegetable. My very understanding partner has been a saint when it comes to playing a few games (and very occasionally winning) with an intense and sometimes tiny bit competitive me, watching me rush out the door to play a match and barely waving good-bye, and being awoken at 2 am by the flickering light of a “How to Improve Your Backhand” YouTube clip binge. I also appreciate my partner’s total lack of jealousy when I introduce one of my squash partners as, “my partner.”
One of the things I like best about squash is the quickness with which a new player can pick up the game, and introducing people to squash is a pleasure. It is a skill and fitness adaptive sport so just about anyone can play, and the courts are wheelchair accessible. So, if anyone reading this would like to help build an army of recreational squashers get in touch with me!
Endurance sports like road biking and triathlon have kept me entertained for several years. I adore the task of setting training goals, seeing improvements in my performance, and meeting the community of athletes at local races. Many people have a mantra that they use in order to stay psyched while they train or compete, mine is, “personal best … personal best … personal best.”
Dogs, dogs, dogs. Since I basically work three jobs and spend most of my free time either playing squash or riding a bicycle, I don’t own a dog. However, I am lucky to have plenty of opportunities to play with and unofficially train other people’s dogs. Call me a self-directed dog enthusiast.
Currently, I have been working on the basics of agility, pointing and retrieving with a lovely Brittany who now has a new doggy playmate. The Britt and I have gone to two great training classes hosted by the St. Lawrence Valley Dog Club, and we have learned that training is a collaboration and ongoing process between dog and handler. The Britt’s playmate is an excellent snuggler, and is currently learning recall and sit commands.
What are you the most proud of?
I am proud of being active in the communities of which I am a member, wherever and whatever they may be.
I am the most proud of being active in the Canton community; it’s where all the pieces of life come together for me.
If you were going to play hooky for the day, what would you do?
Ski, shop and dine in Lake Placid, NY. However, if it were possible to build a St. Lawrence River Skiff, become fluent in French, do the Lake Placid trip and go to bed early (wink) all in one day, I would do that.
Name the last three books you have read.
Richard Rhor’s Falling Upward
The Lifespan of a Fact, Jim Fingal and John D’Agnata
Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird
(I am sneaking in a fourth book: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I pick up this book frequently and read a chapter, a sentence, a line or a word. It’s a troubling and fascinating work).