He Does Exist

by Danni Mancusi-Shreve

Director and teacher at Valparaiso Adult Learning Center

Do you recall the famous commercial with Santa Claus and the M & M guys (1996)? Red and Yellow are about to set out a plate of red and green m&ms near the Christmas tree. Yellow asks Red if he thinks Santa will appreciate the m&ms. Red responds, “I don’t know – I never met the guy.” Santa appears and Red says “He does exist!” before he faints.

Here’s my Red m&m moment thanks to Deb Sherwood (she’s Yellow m&m.)
Deb Sherwood and I (Danni Mancusi-Shreve) had the esteemed honor of spending time with Dr. John R. Craddock at a recent Adult Ed Conference at Ball State University. It was a truly inspiring weekend. Dr. Craddock is alive and well. (When Deb mentioned to me that Dr. Craddock was sitting nearby, I whispered “He’s alive!“) I was in awe to be in the same room with someone I’ve heard about during my years in IAACE.

I thought about the award that’s presented occasionally for Lifetime Service to Adult Education; Sara Gutting is the most recent recipient. Dr. Craddock was the founding father of AE in Indiana and still advocates to this day. He continues to give his life to Adult Education beyond his official retirement in the mid-1980s. He proudly told us that he’s 96 years young among other insights. And, he graciously thanked Deb and me for continuing our service in Adult Ed. I have a list of amazing mentors that includes Sara Gutting, Deb Sherwood and now, Dr. John R. Craddock – he does exist! I’m thankful for all of them. ​

Deb Sherwood, John R. Craddock and Danni Mancusi-Shreve (L to R)

“It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to speak with him!”
​-Deb Sherwood​