Cheryl L. Price ’73

Perkiomen trailblazer provides guidance and support to past and future students.

In 1969, milk was $1.10 a gallon, a postage stamp was six cents, and you could fill your gas tank for under $5.00. In 1969, freshmen had to wear little beanie hats embroidered with their class year and at any time, a senior could demand them to stop what they were doing to sing the alma mater. Though not so long ago, in some ways, Perkiomen was a different place and about to undergo a big change! In 1969, Cheryl Price arrived in Pennsburg as a freshman and just one of five girls to be enrolled that year. Today, 44% of the Perkiomen’s student body are girls. In 1969, co-educational learning was brand new again after half a century! In the 1920s, the school became all-boys due to overall declining enrollment and the establishment of other institutes of secondary education for girls.

“We were pioneers!” exclaims Cheryl. She and the other girls – four in her class and one a year ahead of them – quickly learned how to stand up for themselves. The boys in her class were accepting, but the junior and seniors made it no secret that the addition of girls to their pack was a less-than-desirable change. Nonetheless, “we girls forged forth!” shares Cheryl. She, her best friend Kay Neiman, and their fellow female peers “were good students. We were smart. We worked hard. We did as much as we could to contribute.” As the years went by, she and her companions saw a noticeable change in their male counterparts. By the following year, their ranks of lady Perkiomenites increased to about 20. In her junior year, girls were permitted to be boarding students, which was perfect timing as Cheryl’s family moved to Colorado that year. She and her younger brother decided to make Pennsburg and Perkiomen their home. Indeed, all four of the Price kids earned scholarships to attend Perkiomen!

Once a freshman who fell and sprained her ankle during a peer-sanctioned trip around the tennis courts while reciting the alma mater, Cheryl eventually became Editor-in-Chief of the Perkiomenite school paper, was active in theater, and joined her peers as a cheerleader for football and basketball. Despite some social challenges, the young women of Perkiomen never felt alone. Cheryl was watched over and cared for by the likes of Beth Auxter, her German teacher and dorm parent in Ruhl Hall; Paul and Carla “Ma” Hausmann, Dean of Students and social studies teacher, respectively; Midge and George Thomas, French teacher and Chaplain, respectively; and Marian Stefano, school hostess and legend among Perkiomen students of her time; Spanish teacher John Sakalouckas, Doug (Director of Admissions) and Benita Trotter; and Jean Thornburg Thobaben, art teacher and still a close confidante to Cheryl, to name a few. Taking their lead, Cheryl herself returned to Perkiomen to become a teacher and dorm parent after she completed her college degree.

Returning to her roots in Ruhl Hall (affectionately named the Ruhl Hall Zoo), Cheryl and her new colleague, Debbie Smith served as dorm parents as a 22- and 23-year-old, respectively, for over 40 girls. “I lived in a two-bedroom apartment as a single woman because no other faculty member wanted to live there!” Cheryl exclaims with a chuckle. “We got the place back under control within a couple of years using discipline and consistency.” The girls whom Cheryl oversaw knew she meant business. She did not tolerate sneaking out, bringing alcohol back to the dorms, or any other shenanigans. But she also never turned away any student at 2:00 a.m. when that student needed someone to talk to. “They knew we were willing to spend time with them. My door was always open, and there was mutual respect. I always advocated for my students!” In turn, her once faculty members-turned-colleagues looked after Cheryl as a young adult early in her career.

Cheryl’s time at Perkiomen as a student and six years as a faculty member and dorm parent planted seeds that would serve her well throughout her lifetime. The mentorship and support she received as a student and then young professional led her to blaze trails beyond her time in Pennsburg. It inspired her to have confidence and speak her mind in meetings, persist in spite of others telling her she couldn’t, get married “late,” keep her maiden name, and advocate for herself every step of the way. Like so many did for her, she spent 40-year career guiding and mentoring students as a school and college counselor before retiring in August of 2020.

Beginning with the close bonds she and her classmates formed, Cheryl has spent her life discovering strength from those on a common path with common goals. When it came time to choose a campaign naming opportunity thanks to her generous gift, Cheryl decided to dedicate the College Counseling Resource Room to her best friend and partner in trailblazing, the late Kay Neiman Subhawong, valedictorian of their class of 1973. A room that will aid students in the trajectory of their own paths, Cheryl and Kay will forever inspire and guide future Perkiomen students to become their own kind of trailblazers.