What brings you to Education Week?

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Cindy and Fred McCormack meet up with friend Ti'i Lolota'i during BYU's Education Week.
Cindy and Fred McCormack meet up with friend Ti’i Lolota’i during BYU’s Education Week. (Elliot Miller)

BYU Campus Education Week has grown significantly since its meager beginning in 1922. It now offers more than 1,000 classes and has more than 20,000 participants. People attend from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Canada and 14 other countries, and many are repeat participants. But what brings people to come to Education Week year after year?

“It’s the way I manage to get through the next year,” Cindy McCormack said. McCormack and her husband, Fred, from St. Charles, Missouri, have attended Education Week nearly every year since 1981, missing only four times over a 33-year span.

Fred McCormack started up a conversation with another Education Week participant, Ti’i Lolota’i, in 2009 and found out they both retired from the same airline. Lolota’i and his wife, of Arlington, Texas, befriended the

First cousins, Chris Mastin and Chick Burnham, reunite for the first time since they were children at Education Week 2014. (Maddi Dayton)
Chris Mastin meets her cousin, Chick Burnham, for the first time. Mastin had been looking for Burnham for more than 30 years. (Maddi Dayton)

McCormacks, and they’ve meet up at Education Week every year since, attending many classes together.

“My friend and I, we go through a lot of the Internet classes just to know what the church is doing on the Internet and what’s coming up and how the church is using technology,” Lolota’i said.

Chance encounters have led to new friendships, but Education Week has also been host to old relationships reuniting. Chris Mastin, from Grover Beach, California, had spent 30 years searching for her long-lost cousin, who moved to Utah with his mother when he was a child. She found him through FamilySearch, wrote him a letter and they planned to meet up at this year’s Education Week. Mastin and Chick Burnham, of Park City, met for the first time on the third day of Education Week, August 20.

Melvin and Shirley Maxwell, from Sun City, Florida, married 10 years ago and have come to Education Week six times since then. They drove from Sun City to Provo, a three-day trip, to attend this year. Neither of them graduated from BYU, but many of their 15 children, combined from previous marriages, have.

“We enjoy picking and choosing instructors and, of course, having a great speaker during devotional. It’s always fun,” Shirley Maxwell said.

Education Week proves as much a social experience as a continuing education experience for participants.

 

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