Olivia Dudenbostel. Forever a farm girl. Passionate about giving kids the love they need. Early Childhood Education student. Member of Student Ambassadors.
Olivia grew up near small town Seneca on the family farm. Like many farm kids, she spent her time riding around on her four-wheeler, having fun outside with her older sister, Amanda; older brothers, Ian and Evan; and younger brother, Damien; and then strolling inside to make cookies. As a young girl, Olivia couldn’t decide between starting her own bakery and becoming a teacher when she grew up.
Olivia’s parents decided to homeschool their five children. They wanted to invest in their children’s lives and be a part of the education process.
"I enjoyed being homeschooled because there was such an incentive to get your studying done. Instead of being in class for a set period of time, once we completed our work we had free time to explore the outdoors, work on our 4-H projects, or just have some fun."
Olivia landed her first job at eight years old watching over her baby cousin under her mother’s watchful eye. As she got older, her love for children grew and she continued babysitting for other families during her spare time throughout high school.
"I used to wish for baby brothers and sisters because I just love kids. Babysitting was one way I could connect with them and be a part of their lives."
When Olivia accompanied her mom on a mission trip to an orphanage in Columbia, her compassion for children continued to develop. She saw how big of a difference one loving person can make in a child’s life.
In high school, Olivia was also very involved in 4-H. She showed sheep and beef cows at the county fair, receiving first place in showmanship several years in a row. Olivia also began her photography business, OSD Photography, in high school. She enjoys taking senior photos, family photos, and, of course, pictures of kids.
As graduation drew near, Olivia started looking into her options for college. She wanted to work with children and be a part of their development to enhance their childhood.
"I knew a technical college would be the best option for me because I’ve always learned best through hands-on experience. When my older sister and brother graduated from Southwest Tech, they were both happy with the experience, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Maybe someday I’ll move far away, but for now, I love being so close to home."
Being homeschooled, the classroom setting was new to Olivia.
"Some people would be nervous, I guess, because of the new setting and adjustments that were coming, but I just couldn’t wait to get started! I love trying new things and I knew the class sizes would be small enough that the teachers would available anytime I needed help."
Olivia will be graduating with her associate degree in May of 2015. Over the summer, she plans to travel on a mission trip to Europe. From there, she might try her hand as a nanny or continue to work in a daycare setting.
"Southwest Tech has been great for me. Through my classes and as a student employee in the campus daycare I’ve learned so much about caring for children and running a business. Maybe someday I will open up my own daycare. For now, I’d like to continue gaining experience with kids and see what opportunities life brings me."
In her spare time, Olivia still enjoys trying out new recipes, helping on the farm, and spending time with her family and friends.