Melissa “Kobie” (Thompson) Pierce: Blossoming Into Great Beauty
As educators, the Sisters of Providence have been planting seeds in fertile minds for nearly 170 years. Sometimes those seeds have taken root quickly. Other seeds have lain dormant, needing a little more cultivation from caring teachers before they took root. Some teachers have had the opportunity to see the fruits of their labor while others may never see how their years of nurturing have blossomed.
Melissa “Kobie” (Thompson) Pierce is definitely one of those former students whose mind and life were tenderly cultivated by the Sisters of Providence. Kobie grew up with her four siblings in Germantown, Md. Her parents divorced when she was 5 years old. Finances were tight, but her mother somehow found the money to send Kobie to Immaculata Preparatory School (IPS), a Sisters of Providence high school in Washington, D.C.
“I was part of the last graduating class from Immaculata, but chose to attend what we called ‘the new school,’ Immaculata College High School, for my senior year,” said Kobie, who graduated from high school in 1986.
“We were pretty poor when I was a kid, but I knew I couldn’t stay in my local public high school and get the education I needed. Immaculata provided me with that education, as well as a view of the world outside of Germantown,” continued Kobie, who has been married to Scott for almost 16 years.
One particular sister who had a great influence on Kobie was Sister Petra Daschbach, her Latin teacher. “I had her each year at IPS, and she made a big impression on me. I’m still so glad that I have the Latin background, but also still remember her telling me I did not need to be famous. She was right — I would have been a terrible famous person! Think Britney Spears’ problems with Janeane Garofalo’s disposition,” joked Kobie.
That seed that was planted at Immaculata found deeper roots when Kobie went to the University of Florida for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. A CPA in the state of Florida, Kobie started working at a large accounting firm in Tampa, where she met Scott. Today, Scott is the vice president of finance for The Melting Pot, the largest fondue restaurant franchise in the country. The couple resides in Tampa with their soon-to-be 4-year-old, Zeke. Kobie is a full-time mom, who volunteers her time as a treasurer for two organizations and keeps in shape by participating in half-marathons and triathlons.
While Kobie and Scott are busy planting seeds for Zeke, it’s amazing how much little Zeke has to give to his parents. First and foremost, Kobie and Scott had to learn that events don’t always occur on their time schedule. Zeke’s arrival into their lives was a case in point.
Jesus’ words in Gethsemane, “not my will, but thine,” helped Kobie during this anxious time. “I am a control freak, and I found it really hard to turn that aspect of my life over,” said Kobie, who attends Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa.
“Zeke was something that I wanted so badly in my life. He’s a super cool kid, but I’ve found that parenting really reminds me of my faults. A simple example of this is that he’s so good at remembering names and I am terrible at it. So he’s a big help to me!” continued Kobie.
While Kobie tends the seeds of the future, she never forgets the Congregation that helped to nurture her. She generously contributes to the Congregation, most especially in honor of Sister Petra.
“That’s why I initially started giving, but now I really believe in the sisters’ mission. Their dedication to social justice and environmental sustainability is impressive and much needed in our society,” said Kobie.
The seeds planted in Kobie several years ago have certainly blossomed into great beauty.