Stories of Naperville

Jul 01

[ARCHIVED] Meet Carolyn Finzer

The original item was published from July 1, 2020 10:39 AM to July 2, 2020 10:23 AM


"Our mother, a teacher, is a fourth generation 
Napervillian who shows leadership in the community through education. This started in 1953 with The Girl Scouts where she is a lifetime Member, teaching girls to make the world a better place. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1969, she taught K - 8th in Naperville School District 90 (Wheatland, Granger, Indian Plains, and Longwood). The following year District 203 opened Jefferson Junior High where she taught until 1975, empowering youth through the arts. 


In the 1990’s, ahead of her time, she took a stand to rebrand her alma-mater NCHS: Redskins mascot. She joined a group of socially-justice-minded individuals who spoke out on the issue.  We witnessed her suffer threats for her stance. The result of her activism was the mascot being replaced with Redhawks. Thirty years later and in a time of Native Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and Me Too, it is hard to see Naperville endorsing the former mascot. She stood up for what’s right, and, this is inspiring. 


Preserving nature is also a passion. Maintaining community gardens, leading public garden tours and defending trees, she applies these platforms for education on native plants and conservation.  Most recently, she was caretaker of the Ogden USPS pollinator gardens.  When USPS regulations wouldn’t allow plants taller than four feet, she organized a plant rescue and relocation effort that saw five hundred plants adopted by the College of DuPage, Camp Greenwood, Lockport, and Naperville Park District.  All supporting monarch butterfly habitats and educating folks along the way."

Nominated by Nicole Finzer and Deirdre Finzer