is honored with a Brick from Kristin Manning, Kari Monger, and Kim Nelson.
Our mother Lela Monger never imagined that she would someday be a single parent with three small children. Facing life alone with such huge responsibilities would have broken most women, but not our mother. She went back to school and attained her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Wichita State University in 1968. She then set her sights on her Master's degree knowing she had to have it to make a life for her children. She worked as a music teacher while attaining her Master in Special Education in 1978, also from WSU. Her life's work has been about helping special needs children discover the joys of music, and in turn, did the same for her own child too.
Her days never seemed to end between work and her family in the evening. Teaching us to love and be responsible were at the top of that list. She always had time for home cooked meals, a hug, and us. All in between lesson plans, laundry and cleaning. God blessed her with a loving husband in 1971 and a happy marriage.
She knew the power and importance of mentoring long before it became in vogue. As a music teacher at Allen Elementary in 1972, she started the Singing Hands Choir. A small group at first, it grew to over 80 students performing for various organizations across Wichita. Song, and sign language entertained many at nursing homes and churches.
The choir continued with her transfer to Caldwell Elementary through 1996. Lela became a delegate to the first International Symposium for General Music for the Handicapped held in France, and was a presenter at three Music Educators National Conference conventions. A member of SAI and her church choir, she has also taught Sunday School at Grace Presbyterian Church. She has spent her life making others' lives better, that is why she is a heroine to her children and all that know her.
Mother, thank you for your sacrifices, your courage, and your enduring love.
Submitted by Karl Monger, Kimberly Nelson and Kristin Manning
September 5, 1998