Posted by: Cindy Downes | August 29, 2007

My Day with the Good Morning America Crew

Yesterday, at 5:45 a.m., the producer (Holly Sweet) and the video crew for the segment on Good Morning America showed up at my door and proceeded to follow me around all day. The feature will air on September 7th on ABC’s Good Morning America, probably during the first hour. Check your TV listings for time. (They did tell me that because it is a “feature,” it would be the first thing dropped in event of a big news story; therefore, I should continue watching until it comes on. Sometimes it takes weeks and in rare cases, even dropped totally.)

So how did I get this “movie star” treatment? Ladies Home Journal and Good Morning America were cooperating in a effort to do a story on the increasing number of boomer women who are going back to college. In the process of researching, they ran across this blog.

I was contacted by email several weeks ago and interviewed over the phone. I had a delightful talk with Emily Bond and Lorraine Glennon of Ladies Home Journal, but it appeared that I did not quite fit the criteria that the company had decided on – a boomer woman who had one career and later went back to college to retrain for another. I prompted forgot about it and continued my busy life.

Then, on Tuesday am (Aug 28), I received a phone call from Maureen White, a producer for ABC. She explained that they had decided my story was one of the ones that they wanted to tell. She went on to explain how they would follow me around on campus all day and do a sit-down interview. Then came the bombshell – they were coming tomorrow (Wednesday-Aug 29)! As you can imagine, I had very little sleep on Tuesday night!

So, at 5:45 a.m., August 29, my “claim to fame” began. Holly first explained how the day would work then I was wired for sound. They videotaped me eating breakfast, packing my books, driving to college, walking on campus, studying in the library, and in my classrooms. They interviewed my classmates and “listened in” while three of us chatted over lunch. We drove over to OSU-Tulsa and did the “sit-down” interview.


At the end of the day, they even followed me to Panera Bread on 15th & Utica, where I met up with my daughter, Shelly, to discuss our day at school.

It was a long, tiring day but very fun! The ABC crew was wonderful – they were friendly and easy to work with. I can’t say enough about how much they made the day one I will never forget. If you are interested and get a chance, be sure to tune in to see how it turned out.



  1. Wouldn’t miss it! I always knew you would be famous! And *I* have an autographed copy of your book…The Checklist. That was the day I met you, dear Friend! Peaceful study to you!

  2. How neat for you! I am a homeschooler in Edmond and I can’t thank you enough for your “Checklist” and the “Oklahoma Scrapbook”. I even did a search for volunteer opportunities in the state and, of course, your name popped up with your fantastic list. Thanks so much for you efforts in helping those of us who are still teaching our children.

  3. Well, YAY YOU!! Congratulations!

    As someone who as benefitted from your wisdom online, in print and in person, I can’t help but feel a teensy bit proud to have my virtual mentor featured on GMA. What a hoot!!

  4. Congratulations, I will Tivo it so that we won’t miss it, then I can also show it to mom and Dave.

  5. Wow, Cindy!! That is so neat. I will watch you. Which college are you attending…I did not even know you were.

  6. Congratulations, Cindy! I’m sure you did a great job and represented well. What a role model you are for the rest of us! Can’t wait to see the spot! The steps of a righteous man are ordered by God! 🙂

  7. Well, Star, it sounds like a wonderful day. You know I will be watching Sept. 7th.

  8. Congratulations! How wonderful that you will be on national television as a positive role model for other moms and for kids as well! Best wishes to you on your college adventure!

  9. Way to go, girl!! The girls and I have always thought you were special. I’m glad to see that the nation is getting to meet you too. We are proud of you and your accomplishments. will watch it for sure. Thanks for being so awsome!
    We Love You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Congratulations Cindy: I am now including you on my list of famous people I have met. You are a doll & I’m so proud of and for you.

  11. Cindy,
    I’m so proud of you. Good things happen to good people.
    You never know when God is going to bless you!! Good things happen when you least expect them to !!!!!!!!
    Much love,
    Aline Wisher

  12. Wow, that’s great! I went out to your blog and got the details. What a surprise it must have been to get that call from GMA, and then to show up the next day! I am looking forward to seeing the segment. Pam

  13. Cindy,
    What a cool honor! I’ll definitely be watching for you! Julie @ TOS

  14. Awesome! Looking forward to catching the segment and congratulations!

  15. I am so happy for you, it happened!!! Keep us informed, we will watch on the 7th, and on and on. Sandy and John

  16. Cindy: Congratulations! We are happy for you! We’ll be sure and watch!

  17. That is sooooooo cool! We have a TV here, so we will tune it! Thanks for letting me know. You are the best. I bet your daughter was so excited too! She must be so proud of her mom! Gary Ann

  18. IF,I want to tape it?!? Of course I am going to tape it and in between semesters we’ll have a “watch party.” Congratulations! More of us are going to “go for it” because of you. Did I ever get your autograph? I doubt it. Remind me to have you sign a napkin the next time we are at Starbucks. Love, Linda

  19. Wow! Who knew the going-back-to-college thing was so popular!? I will definitely watch you, Cindy! After 17 years of learning-at-home with my children, I will soon be resuming graduate school to obtain my MBA. Blessings and prayers to you! 🙂

  20. Cindy, WOW! We won’t miss it unless the Lord returns. I will put this on our WSOJ Blog is you don’t mind.

  21. WAY COOL about being on GMA. I’ll be watching! Love ya, Lynda

  22. Congrats!!!!! I didn’t think it was a “go” anymore. Glad to hear it worked out. Linda


  24. Cindy: Gee, can I touch you at church – Steve & I are SO proud and excited for you – you are special – and God wanted to just show you how special by SHOWCASING YOU!!! Excellent job!! Erin

  25. WOWSER, can I have your autograph! I am so proud of you. I will try to be awake enough to tape the show. Hey, you could always mention that you ALSO find time in your busy schedule to visit a SEASONS HOSPICE patient!! Can’t wait to see your 15 minutes of fame. Who knows where this will lead… Blessings, Carolyn

  26. Pretty exciting. You’re right about that as we get older, we don’t have to get “old”. I don’t believe God intends for us to retire; what we do may change but we should keep growing and learning; always living for HIM. Looking forward to seeing you on the big screen. (Well, maybe not the movie screen but so many people have large screen t.v.s I think that counts for the big screen.)I want your autograph on a Starbucks napkin too. Patty

  27. Hi Cindy,

    What an accomplishment! I’ll tune in to GMA on the 7th. Beth is a Senior at OU in Geology with emphasis in Petroleum—getting married next May. And, Beau is at OSU-Stillwater (Senior in International Business) so I was noodling around on OSU’s website this a.m. when I saw their link about Cindy Downes being filmed. I’m sure you did us 50-somethings proud during the filming! Kinda nice when homeschoolers get on the map!

    And, there must have been something in the air “media-wise” this week as we also were on TV and in print. Here’the links to Bob being filmed with Channel 6 anchor, Scott Thompson, at our facility and also a link to Tuesday’s The Daily Oklahoman article about us.

    Go to and click on eClips. Go to August 28, then scroll down to “Tiny Technology Pulls In Big Money For Oklahoma” — Bob did such a good job on TV…and all our folks looked great, too. Same day we were in the Oklahoma City Newspaper, The Daily Oklahoman, an article about us with our photo showing Lincoln penny and one of our teeny surgical products.

    Aaaahhh…15 minutes of fame :0)

    Thought you might enjoy this bit of “catch-up” on the Hogrefes. :0)

  28. Way to go!!! You did it. What a great role model you are. What an awesome person you are, love you.

  29. Wow, that is so awesome, I will make a point to watch it, even though I am usually dealing with the little ones after breakfast melt downs about then. Thanks so much for all you do for us homeschoolers. Your Oklahoma Homeschool website played a big role in me deciding that I think I can do this and going for it. Thanks so much from an Edmond Homeschool Mom.

  30. Congratulations Cindy! How exciting to be friends with someone who has accomplished so much with her life, & getting to share it with AMERICA! We are proud of you, and so is God! Karen

  31. I am sitting here watching the spotin NH as we speak. How great to see this in the media. Congratulations! I,too, am back in school at 47 at a local community college. It has been very intimidating to go into classes with kids half my age and I have felt very insecure, even though I did go to school over twenty years ago. Seeing this spot today has boosted my confidence and given me the energy to keep going. What an inspiration! Thank You!

  32. I am 34 and am returning to college as well. Great story, and just an example that age is just a number. Do what ya love.

  33. I just saw your story on GMA. Good luck to you! I graduated from a junior college in May ’07 and am now a registered nurse. I started my new job in June and am very happy that I did this at this stage in my life.

  34. Cindy, Just watching your piece on “Good Morning America.” Kudos to you. I am 54 and have been attending the College of St. Catherine Weekend College program in St. Paul, Minnesota since 2000. I will graduate in December of this year!!! A long road but very well worth it. I, too, will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. Going to college is probably one of the best things I have done in my life–it has opened my eyes to so many things in the world I would have never been exposed to otherwise. It has made me, as a person, all the richer for it. I heard that you are a journalism major (I am written communications). Good for you–we need more women’s voices in the media. I did an internship (for college credit) at a local women’s mewspaper–I had a blast! And learned so much and honed my writing skills. You will find that with each experience you will shine more brightly–soak it up and enjoy it. I wish you nothing but the best….you go, girl!

  35. Hi Cindy,
    I just watched your story and I am smiling ear-to-ear! So many parts of your story echo my own! I am 49 and a junior pursuing my Elementary Ed degree. I love going to school, but haven’t been able to “get in the groove” this semester. What a blessing for me to hear the story of a kindred spirit! I am reinvigorated to go back to my research on an art history project that I was working on before the show came on! 🙂

  36. I saw the spot this morning — as a WordPress developer, I recognized the template that your site used, so I had to rewind on our Tivo and figure out your website name so I could drop by for a visit! Congrats on your 15 seconds of fame!

    My wife is currently in grad school. I don’t know how she does it on top of all the other things she does (taking care of our kids, the house, me, etc.). Keep up the good work!

  37. Good for you, Saw the Good Morning America segment and loved your story. You are a inspiration to many baby boomers. I too am back in school, maybe I will see you there….Keep on keeping on!!!

  38. I saw your piece on GMA. It was great! We are so proud of all you have accomplished with what you’ve been given. Way to go, Cindy!

  39. Hi Cindy,
    You are so right about hydrating those brain cells. Congratulations on your hard work. I Just got my BS in June and will be starting my MSW program in a couple of weeks, not bad for an old lady of 52! It is an exciting time and we can be a good example to our kids and grandkids ~Get your degree young ~ it’s tougher later!! God bless!

  40. Good of you !!! I was laid off from my job of 11 years this past May at age 47. Within 2 weeks I was in the summer session at my local community college working on finishing my degree… wonderful to be back in school, all the other students are so accepting of me and my reasons for being in school !! I am working hard every day to do a good job at college and I can promise you that I do not miss working inside a cubicle for one second !! I am also an empty nester, my son is in the Air Force, stationed in Alaska which is 2500 miles away…… I truly feel that if ( and that is a BIG if….) I am in my mid life crisis, I am so pleased that I am going back to school and getting a degree instead of getting a sports car !! Good luck to you !!

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