Danelle Waldow (MIller): Life After LPOHS

Class of 1999

Danelle and Luke at the ‘Colosseum’ Rome, Italy

I first attended LPOHS as a sophomore in 1996. I started school there after failing my freshman year at Sandpoint High School due to truancy issues (I found the school of life much more interesting). When it came down to graduating with my high school diploma or getting my GED, I thought it might be best to try again at LPOHS.  

My family was poor; we lived in tiny cabin with no electricity or running water in the middle of nowhere. As a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to see beyond the town of Sandpoint and daydreamed of seeing beyond the borders of our country.  Being a ‘poor girl’ traveling was going to have to wait until I could get money, so I packed my bags after graduating in 1999 and headed out of town to CDA, ID. I really had no idea what to do with my life and thought travel was far out of reach, so I did the next best thing and enrolled at North Idaho Community College thinking that was as good a place as any to find some answers.

After my two years there, I high- tailed it out to Portland, OR where I had some family. I got a job working as a cashier at a local convenient store and had a customer come in and tell me he was leaving town to work as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. He said some countries only required a two year degree (which I had), so I looked into it. Sure enough, I found a school that certified TEFL teachers called Via Lingua and had many schools based all around the world.

I still needed money to make this happen, so I took another job at Starbucks Coffee and saved every extra penny I had for a year. My fiancé, Luke, decided he was going with me and got a job on an Alaskan Fishing boat in the Berring Sea.  By the end of the year, we had both saved enough for our tuition to Via Lingua and plane tickets to the school we chose in Granada, Spain.

After we got certified to become teachers we left Granada, Spain and travelled to Myslenice, Poland to work at our first year long job. We soon found teaching English to be the best thing we’d ever done. Over the next few years we travelled or taught in Italy, Slovakia, Netherlands, France, Hungary, United Kingdom, and Taiwan.

After a few years of travelling we came back to the states to get degrees in education and start a family. Today, my husband Luke and I are Middle and Elementary school teachers in Vancouver, WA. We have a family of our own now, so travelling extensively is put on hold until our children are a little older. We hope to teach at international schools in Chile, but we’ll see what opportunities present themselves next.