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Goskusky cherishes 40-year connection with IVCC

Karla Goskusky holds grandson Tucker next to her Belgian horse Blanche on the Tonica family farm.
Karla Goskusky holds grandson Tucker next to her Belgian horse Blanche on the Tonica family farm.

TONICA — When Karla Goskusky of Tonica learned of Illinois Valley Community College’s annual Paul Simon Essay Contest — a chance for students to write about how the college changed their lives — she saw it as an opportunity almost 40 years in the making.

A renowned IVCC student-athlete and coach in the 1980s and 1990s, Goskusky will graduate from the college’s therapeutic massage program in the summer of 2021.

She was a member of IVCC’s first volleyball and softball teams and still fondly remembers her initial experience on campus at a summer basketball scrimmage.

“I was waiting on the side to get in and show them what I could do,” she recalled in her Simon essay. “In the middle of a fast break, coach Ken Pyszka yelled, ‘Karla, get in there!’ I darted in from half-court, ran full-speed down the lane, caught a pass from Debbie Hall and somehow made a miraculous shot while being fouled. That was my start at IVCC.”

The former Karla Walgenbach was a three-sport captain and MVP who earned a scholarship to Loyola University Chicago to play volleyball and basketball before a broken leg suffered in an IVCC softball game cost her that full-ride.

“I was devastated, but it opened another door, one that helped mold me into the person I am today: a coach, a mentor, someone who loves to help people.”

She met lifelong friends at IVCC including Rhonda Morel, Carol Pratt, Dr. Rhonda Marty-Anderson and Mary Jesse and spent the next decade coaching IVCC volleyball; her 1986
team finished third in the state with a school record 37 wins and she was named N4C Conference Coach of the Year.

She also refereed volleyball 32 years — including being head official for the 2003 Class A state championship at ISU’s Redbird Arena.

Goskusky is a married mother of four sons, fitness trainer and former award-winning bodybuilder. She was a successful salesperson of large farm buildings for 19 years. When that job ended, she turned to IVCC. “IVCC came to the rescue again by hiring me as a fitness center instructor and by giving me a start in a new career in therapeutic massage. I’ve never enjoyed school so much as I have this time around.

“IVCC has been there for me at every stage of my life,” she wrote. “It has quietly been my rock, always there when I needed it. I graduated from IVCC in 1981 and now 40 years later will graduate again at 60.”

“I am not sure where I would be in this world without IVCC.”

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