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Delphos St John

Class of 1988

1988 Class Directory

Jeff Grothouse
Bristol VA
I am currently working for Bristol Virginia Utilities-Optinet (that is the local company for cable, phone and internet). I have been doing that for a little over 3 years now. Before that I work for Dana Corporation in Bristol for 12 years (closed and moved operation to Mexico). I also spent 8 years serving in the military. Most spent on active duty.

Laura (Shaw) Conrad '88

Embedded Image for: Laura (Shaw) Conrad '88 (201731794317200_image.jpg) DELPHOS — Artisan Laura Conrad is a graduate of St. John’s High School, attended University of Toledo, holds the rank of 2nd-Degree Black Belt and is an instructor at Lear’s Martial Arts Academy. Currently, she is an administrative assistant for a local small manufacturer by day and a jewelry artist in her spare time. “My art is a hobby turned business,” Conrad explained. “I hope someday my hobbies will pay the bills. Until then, I must juggle.”

Conrad said her hobby began about 12 years ago by “playing” around with beads. She gives credit to her mother-in-law for the inspiration.

“One day while at her house, we were ‘creating’ with polymer clay and I made some really cool beads and strung them into a necklace,” Conrad said. “I received so many compliments on the necklace and people couldn’t believe that I made the beads.”

Conrad explained that her art is handmade jewelry consisting of gemstones, crystals, wire, chain, etc.

“Recently, I have been studying the energetic properties of gemstones and find it interesting that they have been used in alternative healing for hundreds of years,” Conrad marveled.

She said the information is fascinating and her customers are intrigued as well. Conrad said people are continually looking for something to improve their lives in any way and if they can get some small pleasure out of wearing gemstones, then it is very gratifying.

“I have a friend who has cancer and when she asks me to make jewelry for her, I carefully research the stones to make sure they had some healing properties that would benefit her,” Conrad detailed.

Conrad said her friend’s family and friends started asking for jewelry with the gemstones that would be beneficial to their needs. All of her gemstone pieces include a short synopsis of it’s properties.

“It takes a little more work, but my customers are intrigued by the information and come back for more,” Conrad said.

She said she was fortunate to have acquired some rough chunks of stone, including Tiger Eye, Peruvian Blue Opal and Malachite. She said each are exquisite on its own but in order to share them with others, she had to take the hammer to them.

“It took a lot of courage to make that first strike but it had to be done in order to make smaller pieces that can be transformed into a wearable piece of art,” Conrad stated. “Rough pieces are tumbled, polished and drilled, I add a bail, some accent stones and it becomes a wearable ‘piece of art’ with a story.”

Conrad said art is stress relief, art is inspiring and art is creating. She said working with exquisite gemstones and sparkling crystals is addicting.
Embedded Image for:  (201731794355969_image.jpg) She finds her inspiration in many places: nature, people, magazines, books and of course, the Internet. She said the natural beauty of stones opened her eyes to color combinations that she wouldn’t necessarily put together on her own.

“People who strive to better themselves inspire me to try new things, think outside the box and open my mind to new ideas,” Conrad explained.

Her art has evolved by learning new techniques and more about gemstones. She said her style has always been somewhat simple and will remain that way but new techniques add a bit of pizazz to a boring design.

“For example, a plain teardrop earring is transformed into elegance by a little wire wrapping,” she said with enthusiasm. “So, I continued to ‘play’ with a variety of beads.”

She said she continued with her hobby — making things for herself and gifts for her friends and family — and eventually had so much inventory, she decided to try and sell some of it.

“Finding the avenues to express art is difficult and in order to continue making art, you need to ‘put yourself and your art out there’,” Conrad explained.

She said support from friends and family is the initial key and the next step is branching out and create a following.

“I started out participating in a few local craft shows and built up a clientele,” Conrad explained. “From there, I expanded to home parties and workshops.”

She said when someone tells her about the compliments they receive when wearing one of her pieces, it puts a smile on her face.

“Receiving an order from someone because they saw my jewelry on someone else, is the best compliment!” Conrad said ecstatically. “The pride I see in people during one of my workshops when they are showing off a creation they made and the compliments they receive, is truly rewarding.”

With regard to her artistry, Conrad said the best piece of advice she has been given was to trust her intuition.

Being a member of the art community has opened a new door of opportunity for Conrad. She said she is able to reach more people and teach them how to create their very own pieces of jewelry that they are proud to wear.

“As a community member, the Delphos Area Art Guild has inspired a whole new world of creativity for me,” Conrad stated. “I am motivated by all the other artists that I am surrounded by.”

Roxlau's Present All About the Past

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Travis Roxlau ’88 grad collections director at Holocaust museum
After graduating from St. John high school in 1988, I attended John Carroll University to pursue an education to become an high school history teacher. I have always had an interest in history and I thought that becoming a teacher would give me the ability to study events of the past and share that interest with others.

During my junior year I had the opportunity to work with one of my history professors on an independent study program at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. I worked with the curator of the museum on finalizing the installation of a major exhibition on the history of Euclid Avenue, a boulevard in Cleveland that was home to more than 250 industrialists who made Cleveland one of the preeminent cities of the 19th century. The experience set me on a different career path that I really didn’t know existed.

I spent the following two summers working at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. While working in the registrar’s office and the conservation labs I began to discover that there were a number of career paths in the museum profession. Because of those experiences and the encouragement of several of my history professors, I pursued a master’s degree in Museum Studies with a focus on Collections Management and an academic concentration in American Studies from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

While I was at George Washington I began working for the yet-to-be completed United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This part-time, not to exceed sixth months position has turned into a more than 17 year career at the museum. I have worked in the registry of Holocaust survivors, the archives, collections management and I am currently the director of collections services, the division within the office of collections that has oversight for the physical and legal care of the museum’s collections. I work with a team of registrars, collections managers, and conservators on preserving and making accessible the collections.

The museum holds more than 50 million pages of documentation; 13,000 objects; 83,000 photographs; 10,000 oral histories; 1,000 hours of moving images; and an 86,000 volume library all collected to document and teach about the unprecedented tragedy of the Holocaust.

While growing up in Delphos I never thought I would end up in Washington, D.C., working for a museum, especially a museum with such a powerful mission. Many times I think back to junior religion class where we spent a semester studying world religions with Sister Mary Valerie. Learning about other faiths and beliefs exposed me to the world’s cultural and religious diversity and the necessity of respecting those differences. My catholic education at St. John’s and John Carroll prepared me well to work in a setting where hatred and discrimination are faced head-on daily.

If you happen to be in D.C. and would like to visit the museum, please send me a note at [email protected]. I always enjoy visits from home. Free timed passes for the permanent exhibition are required from March-August. For further information about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, please visit our website at
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