Laryn & Cindy Warkenthien


I graduated from Willow Lake High School in 2017. From there, I went to Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD for elementary education. In my third year there, I was diagnosed with cancer. After treatment and the start of COVID, I realized I needed to be closer to home. My mom was attending MMU and I knew that was an option for me to finish my degree if I moved closer to home. And here I am two years later! I will be graduating with my elementary education degree along with a minor in special education. I am in the process of interviewing and will hopefully have a teaching position here soon! One of the most special things about transferring to MMU was going to college with my mom. She started school right when I was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing how well the staff was accommodating her during that time was comforting to me! It’s been that way since for both of us! I appreciate being able to learn not only from knowledgeable instructors but also from classmates with so much experience both in the field and in life. MMU has provided me with lifelong relationships!



My husband Kim and I live near Willow Lake, where we raised our kids, and continue to raise crops and cattle. Our five children are all adults, and we have a wonderful daughter-in-law and 2 grandsons. I am currently a paraprofessional at Shamrock Colony, though I have been at Collins Colony and Mayfield Colony as well.

After 18 years as a paraprofessional, I decided to return to school to get my Elementary teaching degree and finish what I had started 30+ years ago. My youngest child had graduated from high school in May, 2019, so it was my turn to begin classes in the fall. Of course, MMU was an easy choice since it was in driving distance for me and the evening class schedule allowed me to continue working full time. Several credits transferred from years before, and I was able to complete my education in 3 years. I loved being in the classroom and the small class sizes were ideal for learning and discussion. Little did I know of the challenges I would encounter during my time at MMU. My daughter had cancer, my mother-in-law and my father passed away within 8 months of each other, all during COVID. The love, prayers, understanding and support from my MMU family was evident and so appreciated! The MMU staff are the kindest, most caring people and truly want the best for the students! Following graduation, I will be the teacher at Shamrock Colony with the Willow Lake School District. I’m starting my career at the age of 55, proving to others that it’s never too late to make your dreams become reality. Anxious for graduation, especially since I graduate with my daughter!