Marcia Zableckis: Making a difference for kids
Marcia Zableckis, principal of St. Paul’s Academy, grew up in Barstow, moving to the city when she was in third grade.
The family moved to Barstow because her mother needed a dry climate for her asthma. After high school, she attended Barstow Community College where she met her husband in a physical education class. The couple has three children. The oldest, David, lives in South Pasadena; another, Susan, lives in Fort Knox, Ky. with her husband, who is in the U.S. Army. Another child, Barry, lives in Granbury, Texas.
Zableckis lived in Yokosuka, Japan for three years and Naples, Italy for seven years. She taught at the Barstow Unified School District for 21 years and started St. Paul’s Academy, where she teaches and serves as principal, after her retirement. In 1995, Zableckis was among two educators in California to earn the Christa McAuliffe award for creativity and innovation in the classroom. She re-opened the Desert Research Station in Hinkley and made it available for students.
Q: Describe a special memory you have in the High Desert.
A: My first sight of Barstow was the Harvey House. My mother, brother, sister and I came from Wisconsin on the train. The freeway made a difference in our traveling to Los Angeles. Before it came, we went through Route 66 and then continued to L.A. on Foothill Boulevard. Barstow Community College was started at Barstow High School, and we attended that at 3 p.m. after the high school students left for the day. I am now a college trustee for BCC.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: In my free time I read and travel. Since I have children in other states, I need to travel to see them. I also like to go on cruises and have seen many exciting places in the world.
Q: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
A: That students’ successes are very important to me. That is why I started St. Paul's Academy.
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: I would like to see people think of others and not just themselves; especially babies and young children.
Q: If you could change one thing about the High Desert, what would it be?
A: I would like to see Barstow be the seat for a new county.
Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
A: That would be Thomas Jefferson. I admire his foresight in expanding our country and sending Lewis and Clark to record the animals and plants they found while investigating the new land.
Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?
A: My husband made was a big influence on my life. He was always there supporting me and encouraging me to work with students even when it meant he was often left alone.
Q: What talent do you most wish you had?
A: I wish that I could change the world so that no child is left without food, love, and knowledge.
Q: What is your favorite quotation?
A: Do unto others as you would like them to do to you.
Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?
A: Learn from the mistakes of others. Make this country and world a better place than we have done.
Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.
A: I am president of the board for New Hope Village. This is a special place where homeless get "A hand up, not a hand out.”
Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?
A: There would be two things I am proud of. First, I received the Christa McAuliffe award and was able to reopen the Desert Research Station in 1995. The second would be my being able to start St. Paul's Academy.
Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in the High Desert?
A: I love the weather and the mountains.
Q: What is the best thing about your job?
A: My job as principal and teaching is exciting when students learn and find education worthwhile.
Q: What book had a significant impact on you?
A: I read many books, but recently enjoyed "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.
Q: Of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and why?
A: Italy would be my favorite. This is because history surrounds you. We lived a block from where St. Paul walked on his way to Rome.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
A: I have not traveled to Australia or New Zealand and I would like to do that some day.
Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.
A: I want to make a difference in the life of children.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in the High Desert?
A: My favorite place in Barstow would be Idle Spurs.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I may retire for the second time and travel.
Q: What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
A: I love dark chocolate.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
A: Barstow is a great place to live. When ever I leave it for awhile, I cannot wait to return.
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