Schmidts named Parents of the Year

Given that all five of their children attended Northwestern College, it seems only fitting that Alan and Kim Schmidt of Arthur, Iowa, are Northwestern’s Parents of the Year for 2007. But their award has more to do with the kind of parents they are than the number of NWC alumni they produced.

The Schmidts will be recognized during the Ken Davis comedy concert on Saturday, Nov. 3, as part of Fall Family Weekend. A luncheon in their honor will be held Saturday, Nov. 10.

“We’re pretty much overwhelmed by this,” Alan says. “As a parent, you hope you’re doing the right thing, but you’re never really sure. So you pray a lot, asking God to give you wisdom when those situations come up and you have to help your child in some way.”

In letters nominating their parents for the award, the Schmidts’ four sons and one daughter wrote of their strong Christian faith, sacrificial love, unending support and wise guidance.

 “My mom has the biggest heart,” says Audra Schmidt, a senior at Northwestern. “She would do anything for absolutely anyone. My dad always seems to have the right thing to say at the right time.”

At 22, Audra is the youngest of her family. Her four older brothers are Matt, of Orange City, who graduated from NWC in 2000; Aaron, of Sioux Center, a 2003 graduate; Micah, who lives in Omaha and graduated from Northwestern in 2004; and Isaac, a 2007 graduate now residing in Orange City. Matt and Aaron are also married to Northwestern graduates.

All five siblings speak of the Christian upbringing they received in their home. “My parents made parenting their most important job and taught us to be Christ-like in all we do,” Audra wrote in her nomination. “They would discipline us in a loving manner, teaching biblical principles to go along with their reasoning.”

The Schmidts were also faithful supporters of their kids’ athletic, music and church-related involvements. “We knew that before every game, we could look into the stands, and they were there,” Aaron says.

Married 30 years, the Schmidts are both educators. Alan teaches science at Odebolt-Arthur High School. He also coached wrestling for 28 years. Kim is a special education teacher at Odebolt-Arthur Middle School and High School. In the community, Alan served on the city council for 16 years, as well as on the board of Arthur Evangelical Free Church, while Kim teaches Sunday school and is involved in Awana.

At times, the Schmidts had three children in college simultaneously—not an easy thing to accomplish on teachers’ salaries.

“As we were raising the kids, we got used to going without some things as adults to make sure the kids had the necessities,” Alan says. “So as they went into college, we kept doing that.” The Schmidt siblings also helped pay for their college educations through summer jobs, scholarships and loans.

Alan and Kim didn’t make attending Northwestern a requirement for their children. Oldest son Matt surprised his parents by choosing Northwestern after a campus visit. The rest followed his lead.

“All of them going to Northwestern was just God’s plan,” says Kim. “They all felt Northwestern was the best fit.”