Cheryl Shivel the businesswoman changed course for the sake of Cheryl Shivel the mother.
The young accountant changed careers from CPA to teacher in 2000, allowing her to dedicate more time to spend with her daughter, Renee, and her son, Nicholas, who has cerebral palsy.
“I was recently divorced, with young children,” she said. “I needed to be off at the same time as the kids.”
The Titusville High graduate has worked at crosstown rival Astronaut High for 16 years. Most of that time, she has sponsored student government and worked in the athletics and activities office.
Renee is now 22 and lives in Tampa where she continues her education in health care. Nicholas – just about everyone but Cheryl calls him Nick – is 21.
Renee went to high school in their natural district, which is that of Titusville High, where she played varsity volleyball.
“It was a little weird to see her in that (blue) uniform, because we (Astronaut) play Titusville twice,” Shivel said. But she did her motherly duty, even wearing a blue dress to the senior night ceremony.
Nick, who attends Astronaut, was born prematurely. It wasn’t evident immediately, but Shivel and doctors became aware of his health issues when he didn’t meet some of the typical milestones for children.
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He has had a hip replaced and a femur removed, but among Nick’s biggest challenges was five years in and out of the hospital for surgeries related to his spine.
“He kept snapping rods (in his back),” Shivel said. “His orthopedist calls him his little troublemaker.”
It’s evident when they are together, however, that their relationship is anything but trouble.
“He has a vocabulary of about a hundred words,” she said, but added, “I speak to him just like I would speak to you.”
While she was never a varsity athlete, Shivel is a big enough sports fan to be a Tampa Bay Bucs season ticket holder.
“I was never a member of a health club, but I took up running in my early 20s. That’s how I’d stay in shape,” said Shivel, who turned 53 on Friday. She has run a couple of half-marathons and explained she never needed a health club because “you’ve got the road right in front of you.”
The family can cheer together for the Astronaut War Eagles, and did the same for Renee when she wore that blue uniform at Titusville.
“They just knew her as my mom,” Renee said of her Titusville teammates. “She and Nick came to every single game, home or away. It was great having them there supporting me.”
The biggest sports conflict they face is which NFL game will be on the television. Nick and his dad “are huge Dolphins fans,” according to Cheryl, who adores the Bucs.
They donned their respective fan gear and made their way to Tampa for a Monday Night Football game between the two Florida teams a couple of years ago.
Late nights are a norm for Shivel because of her job. The athletic director serves as a supervising administrator at home events, concerned with everything from ticket money to making sure game officials have somewhere to dress. Shivel helps track and field coach Tom Bundy run home meets, and when the clock ticks long enough that the setting sun is no longer glaring into the open press box, it’s apparent her thoughts drift more and more toward home and Nick.
“That mom kicks in and I’ve got to be home,” she said. “I have a housekeeper who comes in, but I’ve got to be home.”
To hear it from her daughter, mission accomplished.
“She juggled me and Nick and my social life,” Renee said. “I don’t know how she did it.”
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or email@example.com. Follow @Brian_McCallum and facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum.