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Snapshot: Juli Pankow

Published: June 16, 2017

The Newtown Bee

Occupation: First and foremost, I’m a mom. I was a high school math teacher before I had kids, and I took a break from that to raise them. Now I work at the Reed Intermediate School cafeteria as the cook. The hours work perfectly, because when my kids are home I’m home. But being a mom is my main job, and it is the most rewarding.

Family: I have a husband, Dale, my 16-year-old daughter, Hailey, and my 13-year-old son, Jeremy. Hailey is in Girl Scouts and she is on the Math Team, Quiz Bowl, Best Buddies, and the swim team. Jeremy is involved in Boy Scouts and is also on Math Team, as well as the Chess Club, cross country, and basketball. They are both on the Young Adult Council at the library and are involved in our church youth group at Newtown Congregational Church.

How long have you lived in Newtown? Since August of 2010, so almost seven years. We moved here because of my husband’s job. He works at Duracell in Bethel. Originally, my husband and I are from Chicago, but then we’ve lived in Ohio and Ontario, Canada — then Ohio again — and now here. Because of moving, my kids are actually dual citizens of Canada and the United States, because they were born in Canada when we lived there.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like games and crossword puzzles. I also enjoy reading and spending time with my kids and husband. As a family we love to play board games together, watch movies, be outside, and go to museums. Last year we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Do you have a favorite book? I like historical fiction, especially about World War II, and the slavery era. I really liked the book The Nightingale. I also like mystery novels.

What is the best part about Newtown? The C.H. Booth Library. The whole family likes to read. My kids especially are very avid readers, so it’s been a great tool for us. Also, between activities we go there, because there are games there. It’s a great place where the kids can do homework, I can check e-mails, and overall it’s a nice community place to hang out. One of the things that we’ve liked about Newtown is that it is a small town, but there’s a lot offered.

Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? Having my kids has been the biggest influence in my life. It’s changed where my life took me, and they mean a lot to me. They’ve taught me patience and loving unconditionally. Also, my husband inspires me. He doesn’t complain about things, he doesn’t judge people, he is grateful for what he has, and he is a hard worker.

If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? My sister Jennifer. I don’t get to see her very much, because she lives in the Chicago area. I’ve always looked up to her. She’s my big sister. She’s a lot of fun to hang out with.

Who is your favorite musical genre? I like 80s music. It’s my go-to. Alternative bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Cyndi Lauper.

What is your favorite movie? Most recently we saw Hidden Figures, which is about African American women that worked for NASA, but they were highly discriminated against and had to prove themselves and come up with creative ways to overcome the stereotypes.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? How if you get rid of clutter in your house, it gets rid of clutter in your brain. I’ve come across that advice in reading different things and I have a couple good friends that like to get rid of things in their house. It’s inspired me lately to try to get rid of things. When you do, it takes a weight off your shoulders.

What is your favorite food? My family and I all like ethnic food, like authentic Mexican and Indian food.

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