Twenty-nine-year-old Kurleen Nowickas has come a long way from St. Lucia, the tiny Eastern Caribbean island where she grew up. One of six siblings, she didn’t have a bed until she was 14. Higher education was a dream so remote that she didn’t consider it until high school.
Yet now she has a music degree from Western Oregon University, a modest West Salem apartment, a loving husband, and a rambunctious 6-year-old son. She has studied opera in Austria and sung in New York’s Carnegie Hall.