Posted Online: April 23, 2013, 10:15 pm

Moline native vies for national mother of the year

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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com

Photo:
Elizabeth Caswell, her husband, Paul Schipper, their children Ian Schipper, 14, and Abigail Schipper, 11, will be in New York this week, instead of Hawaii, where this family photo was taken. Ms. Caswell will compete for the title of "National Young Mother of the Year" during the April 25-27 American Mothers National Convention at the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y. Ms. Caswell, a Moline native and graduate of Moline High School and Augustana College, was earler named as "Oregon Young Mother of the Year."
Photo:
Elizabeth Caswell
Her kids like using air quotes around the phrase "Mother of the Year" if she forgets to pack extra sandwiches for track meets.

Moline native Elizabeth Caswell, now of Portland, Ore., was named Mother of the Year by the Oregon Chapter of American Mothers Inc. She's in New York this week, seeking the National Young Mother of the Year title.

When Ms. Caswell last was in New York, she played piano at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, as a faculty member at New York University and other venues.

"Now, I'm returning to New York because I'm a mom," she said by phone. "What an interesting path."

Ms. Caswell, 46, is a 1986 Moline High School graduate and 1990 Augustana College graduate. Her parents, James and Barbara Caswell, still live in Moline.

Elizabeth Caswell and her husband, Paul Schipper, have two children, Ian Schipper, 14, and Abigail Schipper, 11.

Ms. Caswell said she was "shocked and stunned" to be named Oregon Young Mother of the Year. "All of the other nominees were so deserving, and all had much larger families. I was very surprised when they read my name and am so very honored."

She's involved in art literacy and art festival programs she founded and chaired and has been a school choir accompanist, Girl Scout leader and Lego Robotics team coach.

Ms. Caswell and her family will spend April 25 to 27 in New York, as she contends for the national title for mothers of children under age 18.

American Mothers Inc., is an interfaith, non-political, non-profit organization that has been honoring "Mothers of the Year" since 1935.

"My kids will be able to see good ol' mom giving a speech at the Waldorf Astoria and trying to fix the world," Ms. Caswell said.

While in New York, she said she also will address the United Nations U.S. delegation about the status of a sewing club she helped form in Uganda, and will urge for more peace-keeping measures there.

She said she's looking forward to hearing from convention speakers that include Kathie Lee Gifford, of "The Today Show," and Sherrie Rollins Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop.