Kim Schander, middle, her daughter Kadey Perlin, left, and Schander’s granddaughter, KimberLee Meres, right, are all current Flagler students.
April 4, 2014
While it isn’t uncommon for several generations of the same family to attend Flagler College, this semester has seen something more unique: three generations enrolled at the same time.
Kim Schander, her daughter Kadey Perlin, and Schander’s granddaughter, KimberLee Meres, are all current Flagler students.
Schander, a Fine Art major and Creative Writing minor who is considering adding a second minor in Psychology to prepare for a career in art therapy, is a long-time resident of St. Augustine. She moved to the Nation’s Oldest City in 1994 and raised most of her 11 children here.
“We’ve long been involved in St. Augustine,” said Schander. “We used to have a bed and breakfast downtown, and I’ve always loved making St. Augustine a focus in my artwork.”
While her first career was in nursing, Schander has also developed a robust career in the creative arts, and her poetry, visual art and music have made her a well-known artist in the Southeast, usually under her maiden name, Kimmy Van Kooten.
“I’ve always created art,” said Schander, who is scheduled to graduate in 2017. “But I was never formally trained. I never had the time to pursue an art education like I wanted to.”
A few years ago, a ball was set into motion that would change that.
When one of Schander’s sons, Sam Perlin, ’10, graduated from Pedro Menendez High School, he had his sights set on a Theatre Arts degree at Flagler College. He started at Flagler and immediately began singing the school’s praises to the rest of his family.
The campaign worked: he soon succeeded in convincing his younger sister, Kadey Perlin, to join him on the Flagler campus when she graduated high school.
Kadey will graduate in May with a Business degree; it was she and Sam who convinced their mother Kim to enroll at Flagler to complete the degree she’d been putting off while raising her large family.
“She is awesome,” Kadey said of her mother. “I see her on campus every day for tea or lunch. We’re very close, and I’m so glad that she is doing this for herself.”
Kadey knew that her niece KimberLee Meres, who is the daughter of Kadey’s oldest sister, had plans to attend Flagler, but she didn’t know they were in the same Child Psychology class until the first day when she looked over and saw her sitting across the room.
Meres is slated to graduate in 2015.
“Three generations, all in one semester,” Kadey said. “It’s a pretty cool thing. We’re all proud to be here at Flagler, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to share this experience not just with my mother and KimberLee, but with my brother Sam as well.”
And will there be more family members to attend Flagler in the future?
“I have no doubt,” Kadey said. “My sister Abigail is in the fourth grade, and she’s already very interested in pursuing fine art. She has announced she’ll be attending Flagler.”
Even Schander’s husband, Paul, is part of the Flagler family: Paul’s company, Van Go Custom Tile, is subcontracted through Ancient City Tile to help renovate the Flagler dorm bathrooms and showers every summer, and the company also installed the tile wall outside Hanke Hall based on designs created by the Flagler Art Department.
But big brother Sam is quick to remind his family who started the legacy.
“I couldn’t be more proud that my family continues on in the corridors of Flagler years after I graduated,” Sam said. “I always joke with them that I started the legacy, and that they’d better not tarnish my good name.”