Appleton West High School Alumni

Appleton, Wisconsin (WI)

Alumni Stories

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Margaret M. Winkel Holdorf

Margaret M. Winkel Holdorf

Class of 1966

Author of "Flickertail & Paint, Barnyard Sleuths", Marge Holdorf uses the pen name of Mary Russel. She resides in Fond du Lac, WI with her husband and two dogs.

As a child, Mary Russel lived in foster homes and an orphanage. She escaped in books. It is her hope that she can provide present and future generations of readers with the same enjoyment and excitement she finds in books. She is a 1966 graduate of Appleton High School, a 1986 graduate of UW Fond du Lac, and a 1988 UW Oshkosh, graduate. She has also completed several classes at Moraine Park Technical College.

Born in 1948, she is now retired and has plenty of time to pursue her love of writing.

When asked how she got started writing, she answered, “I will never know if my first grade teacher created my love for the written word or if I would have discovered this all encompassing passion on my own, eventually. I do credit her with encouraging and motivating me. I’m sure she didn’t realize what an influence she was and how her teaching was a turning point for an introverted child who was already convinced that she would never fit in.

We all need to feel we are in control of the chaos in our lives at least once in a while. For me, that control came from my writing. Throughout my tumultuous childhood, it was the only time I felt in control.

From that time on, my life has revolved around my passion for words.

As a foster child, I was shuffled from one home to another, never putting down any firm roots. At the age of 8, another supportive teacher recognized my love of writing by submitting a poem I had written to Highlights. My poem, "The Ultimate Goal" was published and I officially, became an author. My elation was short lived when my foster mother insisted the talent wasn't mine, but God's. The money I was paid for my work was sent to some long forgotten charity.

Eventually, I landed in an orphanage until I was 12. I was fortunate enough to spend the rest of my teenage years with a loving family.

Throughout it all, I found escape in books and in writing. I truly believe that is what kept me sane.

As an adult, I continued to write poetry, and short stories for escape. I never really took myself seriously as a writer though. It was something I did for fun.

After working in several jobs and owning a few businesses, I enrolled in college at the age of 36. Apparently, I was still denying my first love as I changed my major three times before I finally settled on Journalism.

After graduating, I was unable to find a writing job so I created my own by starting a resume writing service. Although about 95% of my work was in writing resumes, I did manage to pick up some work writing advertising copy and public relations articles for a few small local businesses. In 2000 my husband and I each started on-line businesses, requiring promotional writing and website copy. Some other ecommerce owners liked my writing well enough to ask me to help them with their copy and another sideline business was born.

The owner of the ecommerce forum I had joined told me about a FIRST CHAPTERS contest on To qualify, I wrote my first book in less than three months. Two and a half years later that book is still sitting, waiting for me to get around to editing it.

On Gather, I met like minded people who encouraged me to continue writing. I am grateful to so many fellow Gatherers for their inspiration, motivation, and camaraderie.

It is because of them that Flickertail and Paint were born. I had never considered myself as a children's author before then and I still didn't believe I was good enough to be published. I wasn't seriously planning to submit any of my work to a publisher until one of my Gather friends recommended me to her publisher.

Neither of us ended up with that particular publisher but if it hadn't been for her pushing me, I still wouldn't be published.

I truly believe God places the right people in the right place at the right time.”

As a free lance writer, Mary also has several business articles published on Associated Content .com and AOL’s

A second book, “Rudolph, A Child’s Love Story” is scheduled for release late 2010 or early 2010.

Military Alumni

Military High School Alumni

Honoring Our Heroes

This area is dedicated to our alumni that have served or are serving in our armed forces!

Lost Class Rings

Have you lost your Appleton West High School class ring? Have you found someone's class ring? Visit our Terrors lost class ring page to search for your class ring or post information about a found ring.

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Happy Holidays!