After a long absence, Jody Raikowski says she is thankful to be “home” again in Arizona. Now living in Taylor, she is looking forward to eventual retirement and the opportunity to be of service to the area she loves.
Jody moved to Overgaard as a teen and grew to love the area as her own. She developed an appreciation of community service by watching her parents, Carlton & Etheline Whittle, who were actively involved in their church and doing volunteer work for the Silver Creek Senior Center and Lions Club.
Today, Jody works as a health insurance billing representative for Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center. She is mother to two grown daughters, Anita & Michelle, doting grandmother to three grandchildren ages 16, 13 and 11, and the fond “servant” of three miniature poodles. When not working at Summit, she loves reading, needlework and playing Scrabble® with the ladies at the Silver Creek Senior Center. She is an active member of Valley View Baptist Church and enjoys singing in the choir.
After graduation from Snowflake High, Jody started college at NAU, but withdrew early on. “I thought I was just not cut out to be a college student,” she says.
Yet, in his letter of nomination for Jody as the outstanding alumnus, NPC professor Barry Richins recalls her as, “a good scholar who was student of the month, a member of PTK, and involved with student government.”
Jody laughs about that. “Well, I was a stay-at-home-mom until I was 32 when I started at NPC.” Time can bring about change. Once enrolled, not only did she earn membership in Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, she also earned two associate degrees. In 1986 she graduated with an Associate of Arts in English and Communications. The following year she obtained her second associate degree in Business Management.
In 1987, Jody moved to Tonopah, Nevada, where she discovered the occupation that she has enjoyed for the past 23 years: insurance billing. “My business degree helped me get my foot in the door, and I just fell into a job that was the perfect thing for my life,” she adds. Still she is hopeful that in the next four years she will be able to fully retire and “serve the community as my parents taught me to do.”
Jody is an outspoken advocate for NPC and, on occasion, has offered unsolicited advice to prospective students, even while in line at the grocery store. “This little gal wanted to go on to a university right out of high school, but I told her how much smarter it would be to get a degree from NPC that transfers to the university. She’d save so much money in the long run!”
Jody was honored at the May 18, 2010 regular meeting of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board in Holbrook.
As an Outstanding NPC alumnus, Jody receives a commemorative plaque, a three-credit-hour tuition gift certificate, a $25 bookstore gift certificate and a pass to NPC Performing Arts events. To nominate former NPC students for the award, complete a form online.