Emilyn L. Jakes                     Inducted 2012 - Library Media Specialist

A two digit phone number, livestock, and frigid cold weather were Emmie's constant companions as she grew up on a farm outside of Cobleskill, New York. With her loving parents and grandparents providing the necessary values and skills needed to succeed in a world that limited her choices, Emmie graduated from Cornell University in 3 1/2 years with a degree in biochemistry. Emilyn Jakes, affectionately known as "Grandma Jakes" at Woodward High School, met her future husband, Jerry, at a sorority dance after he crashed the party!

As a young newlywed couple, the Jakes settled in Toledo in 1955. Active in the Sylvania Public Schools with her kids, Emmie's work in the biochemistry lab at Owens-Illinois soon waned. With a growing family to nurture, Emmie left OI to become a stay-at-home Mom.

Emmie returned to college in 1985 and obtained her Master's Degree in Education and Library/Media & Technology Degree from Bowling Green State University. In the beginning of her

second professional career, Emmie worked for the Sylvania Public Schools as a Reading Specialist. Sensing a growing opportunity in the rapidly developing field of information technology, Emmie joined the Toledo Public Schools and became the traveling librarian for six elementary schools. Identifying the student’s need for the quickly changing technology, Emmie worked to bring the internet and all of its innovations and possibilities to the high school setting.

Initially, Start High School received the benefits of her expertise, before she brought her methods and teaching skills to Woodward High School. Struggling against an administration of limited means to bring the sophisticated technology and computers to Woodward, Emmie believed that her students would greatly benefit from the augmented equipment. Emmie together with Iris Szelagowski, retired Physics/Chemistry teacher and Michelle Jacobs, retired Mathematics teacher set about obtaining a grant to gain the powerful computers and programs for Woodward. The resulting publicity of Channel 11's Weather Net program and five powerful Dell computers added a whole new dimension to Woodward’s library and provided a blueprint for TPS's Administration to follow.

With her typical day starting with breakfast with her husband Jerry at 6 A.M., Emmie was at Woodward by 7 A.M. checking newspapers and preparing for students. Her student aides were taught how to answer phones, assist other students, and locate books. In return, there were always apples, bananas, bagels and an array of good nutritional munchies for her aides.

Emmie always made everyone feel extra special by being a mom, a grandmother, and a psychologist to her students on a daily basis. She considered the students at Woodward her own kids. Known as the busiest room at Woodward, teachers would copy tests and use computers with their students, and have luncheons for the Woodward Hall of Fame inductees. The National Honor Society Induction Reception, and the Senior Aide Luncheon were also held in the library. With all this activity, Emmie still maintained more than 14,000 books, journals, periodicals, VHS tapes, CD's and DVD's in the library.

The success that Emmie has learned in life has been passed down to her own adult children. Daughter, Linda, has a Master's Degree in Social Work from Bowling Green State and Ohio State Universities. Son, David, is a video communications technology major, and daughter, Cindy, has an Interior Design Degree.

Emmie credits much of her success and good fortune at Woodward to Lois, her best friend, aide and secretary for fourteen years. As Lois once said , "The teachers brought classrooms full of students to the library to work on assignments and gave the kids a great gift - Emmie".

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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