Newlyweds Begin Great Adventure

Running into my former student Jessi Emmons recently, I found her brimming with news of summer adventures. A 2006 PHS graduate, Emmons has just taken her BA in Psychology from the University of Alabama. Standing at her side was her second big announcement; Emmons married 2005 PHS grad, Michael Garzarek in June.

Michael Garzarek graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Secondary Education and Language Arts. Yes, Jessi Emmons Garzarek has married an English teacher.

Eventually, Emmons plans to earn her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology specializing in autism. At PHS, Emmons wrote about her brother Josh, who suffers from Apert’s Syndrome. In her essay, “The Face of Courage,” Emmons wrote that her brother’s courage amazed her because, no matter what difficulties he encountered, “he goes on with life without fear. He never gives up.”

Of growing up alongside her brother Josh, Emmons says, “Josh taught me to persevere and put everything I have into accomplishing my goals-even when I do have fear.”

Her new husband, Garzarek, is also a fearless adventurer. Garzarek says, “During my internships, I spent time in middle schools. Teaching in a middle school classroom made me feel like I was home. I look forward to finding my own middle school classroom.”

Garzarek looks for that classroom in New Haven, Connecticut, where he and his new bride relocate for her new job. Emmons will work as a research assistant in the Autism Department at the Yale Child Study Center.

Emmons is excited to begin assisting in autism research with infants. She says, “I hope to be a part of creating opportunities. Autism used to be a sad diagnosis. Now, that’s different. Autism is not the end of the world.”

Both Garzarek and Emmons share a faith that unites them. Garzarek, who began college as a broadcast major, attended “Behold,” a spiritual retreat that changed his path. Garzarek said, “As soon as I returned from the retreat, I felt called to pursue a career in education.”

Emmons says, “I definitely feel called to my work. My strengths and talents are from God who has prepared me for this career.”

As a teacher and a researcher, the new Mr. and Mrs. Garzarek have our futures in their care. I’d say our futures rest in trustworthy hands and Pelham’s representation in Connecticut will be superb.