Hear Her Story - Q & A with Sarah Crupi '95
Where did you go to school after The Elms? Any special accomplishments or experiences there that you would like to share?
I went to Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism (and shared a quad dorm with three other Elms grads!), a decision totally shaped by my Elms experience. At Elms I was editor of the Elm Leaf and very interested in writing, social activism and government. The Elm Leaf moderator at the time, Marie Ragsdale, encouraged me to learn more about writing and journalism – from “news” stories about the high school to editorials and feature stories about our plays and extracurricular. I’m so grateful I had the experience at the Elm Leaf – it started me down a career path I truly loved.
Where did you start your career? What are you doing now? What do you enjoy about your current job?
Right after college I was lucky enough to get a job in journalism, as a night copy editor at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York. During college I had worked at The Post, the daily independent student newspaper, and also interred at the Marietta Times, a daily newspaper that was owned by the same company as the Democrat and Chronicle. So journalism stayed my passion and I was lucky to get a job right out of college.
I worked for the Democrat and Chronicle for 17 years in positions of increasing responsibility, ending my career there as a Content Strategist, which meant I led a team of reporters and photographers to create content that would interest our readers and hopefully mean more engagement online and more subscriptions!
In 2016, I left journalism and started my second career path in nonprofits. I’m currently the Interim Executive Director of the Cleveland Zoological Society, a nonprofit that helps raise money for programming, operations and capital projects at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I’m in charge of strategic planning, staff management, operations and more. I love learning more about nonprofit management and the Cleveland community, and supporting an organization I’m passionate about. I’m excited to once again be in charge of a fantastic staff that is working together to support the vision of the zoo.
What are your hobbies or what do you enjoy doing when you aren't working? Do you volunteer in the community?
As a full-time working mom, hobbies have mostly fell by the wayside (for the past 10 years!). I am involved at my sons’ school on the Brecksville Broadview Heights School District Parent Student Organization, helping secure new members who can volunteer time to help in schools.
I’m still a journalism junkie who reads several newspapers and magazines a week. I enjoy skiing with my family each winter and taking advantage of the many cultural institutions and community festivals in Cleveland and Akron. We are members at several museums in Cleveland love getting the kids out in the community whenever we can.
What does an Elms education mean to you? Do you have any specific Elms memories that you would like to share? Teacher memories?
I truly treasure my Elms education. I’m grateful for my parents for providing me the opportunity, and I’m thankful for the friends I made there, many of whom I still rely on today! When I moved back to Ohio, I reached out to three Elms friends who immediately met me at the playground with my kids, took me out for Cleveland to talk about my job, and were there for a phone call when the move was overwhelming! The connections I made there – with friends, with teachers and the classes – will stay with me forever.
My favorite Elms memory was when our junior (?) English class somehow persuaded our teachers to take us to Walden Pond in Massachusetts after reading Thoreau’s Walden. Heavens know my way parents agreed to let me go on a bus to Massachusetts, but I have the best memories of walking around the pond, visiting Thoreau’s cabin, being on a bus with my classmates.
And I can’t not mention Sister Fabian, whose strong New York ascent blended with her small but mighty stature, made her government classes mixed with a good dose of social activism a fond memory for me.
You are very involved in reviving the Elms Alumnae Association. How did this come about and what are the steps in the process?
I’m so thrilled to give back to the Elms through the Alumnae Association. When I moved back to Ohio in 2016, I approached the Elms about getting involved in small ways. I donated to the February Fantasy Auction, spoke at Career Day, and offered to help with some emails or marketing tactics that play to my strengths as a communications background. That fall, I had a nice lunch with President Deb Farquhar-Jones and was really impressed with her background in women’s education and her passion for growing enrollment, capturing new families and shoring up the academic path from kindergarten through high school. Deb is very welcoming of alumnae involvement, and I think we should take her up on it! Elms “girls” in Akron and beyond are leading companies, leading foundations, being personally philanthropic to their favorite causes and institutions, all the while advocating for women’s education, leadership and community involvement. I’m thrilled to be able to help Deb and the Elms staff and Board in rallying support from our strong alumnae.
We recently redid our bylaws, which were approved by alumnae in December. We’re now actively looking for board members for the Alumnae Association, and we need many skill sets – fundraising, event planning, advocacy, networking assistance, communications, business savvy. We know of young women that got their first job from other alumnae – so let’s build those networks. We know the popularity of Author, Author and our past golf outings – so let’s find creative ways to raise money and friends for the Elms. We know now more than ever, women need to be supported to be leaders, visionaries and advocates – so let’s show our students what that can look like beyond high school.
How can Elms alumnae support you and others in reviving the Elms Alumnae Association?
We are just getting started with a revamped Alumnae Association so I encourage anyone with the interest like I had – to start giving back to the Elms in small ways – to contact me, Deb, or others to learn how to get involved. No idea is a bad one, and we are eager to build a passionate group of alumnae that can help in many ways.
What would you say about The Elms to a 7th or 8th grader who is looking at high schools? How did you make your decision to attend The Elms?
I think visiting different schools and getting a feel for the environment is important. I visited several private schools in Cleveland and Akron, and the campus and the close-knit feeling I got from my visit helped me decide on the Elms. I also hope that when my children are of that age, I (as a parent) can guide them to follow their ideas for a school that fulfills their education and extracurricular passions, regardless of it’s the most popular choice. For many 7th and 8th graders in schools around the community, they may be the only girl going to the Elms like I was. So what makes that interaction special, what does the school offer that others do not, how can we appeal to the sense of the Elms community to those parents and students. I frankly think it’s something the Alumnae Association can help with, too, once we get up and running … much like many private collages have alumnae do interviews or visit high schools to speak on the college’s behalf.
Is there anything you would like to share about your family (spouse, children, etc.)?
I live in Broadview Heights with my husband, also a former journalist, and two sons. Living in a house of men has made me even more of a staunch supporter of women’s leadership and education!