By J1 Reporter Maddie Adam
It’s a common misconception among young children that their teachers live at school. However, as they grow older, they come to realize teachers have fun and exciting lives outside of the classroom. This is especially true for English teacher Ms. Susie Sisson, who has an extensive list of activities outside of the Marian community.
Sisson participates in a dinner club with her friends from her college days at Creighton University. Each month, the group decides on an Omaha restaurant to eat at. There are only two rules to their choices: you can never eat at the same restaurant twice, and you can never pick a chain. Even during the pandemic, this group continued their monthly tradition over Zoom, and more recently, has been meeting outside of a group member’s house — social distancing, of course. Instead of deciding on a specific restaurant, they have been picking certain themes, for example, breakfast for dinner or a meal that reminds them of college.
An important aspect of this group, according to Sisson, is supporting the local restaurants in Omaha. “I can’t pick a favorite!” Sisson said. “Some of the most enjoyable restaurants have been Darios, Stokes, Mama’s Pizza, Dante, and the Greek Islands.”
The group has yet to dine-in at a restaurant since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but Sisson said she looks forward to this date, whenever it may come.
For 22 years, she has also been a member of a book club, composed of all women, most of whom have Marian connections. The group meets every two to three months to discuss a specific book. “When the club first started, we decided to keep things casual,” Sisson explained. “We thought the reading should be fun, and it shouldn’t feel like homework. We don’t even have to finish the book.”
The books they choose are from a variety of genres and authors, but they never choose to read trending bestsellers. What makes this club really special for Sisson is supporting the public library. The group refrains from reading newly released novels, so instead of going out and buying multiple copies of the same book, they wait until the library has it available.
The main focus of each group is the discussion. “One of my favorite things about these groups is the discussions that we have,” Sisson said. “Everything I do involves discussion in some way, whether it’s about food or books.” The club has been meeting over Zoom since the pandemic, but Sisson looks forward to planning the first book club meeting at a restaurant, as she did months ago.
What she misses the most, though, is going to the theater. Sisson is a season ticket holder at both the Omaha Community Playhouse and the Orpheum Theater. What’s really interesting is the reason why she has these tickets. “I caught myself wanting to see shows but never actually buying the tickets to see it,” she said. “So, a friend and I decided to buy season tickets, so I had to see the shows.” A few of her favorite shows include Fun Home at the Omaha Community Playhouse, and Come From Away at the Orpheum.
This message can teach everyone a lesson — don’t sit around waiting for something to happen — make plans. “What I enjoy most about these activities is that we are able to follow through on things. People always want to make plans, but never actually end up doing the activity, and that’s why I really like being in these groups,” Sisson said. Her love for supporting local restaurants, libraries, and theaters combines with her love for strong discussion (as apparent in her classroom) to make these groups exciting, lively activities that she looks forward to each month.