Ann Arborite Choi Palms-Cohen
Palms-Cohen's background is equally diverse. At three, she was adopted from a Korean orphanage by Ann Arbor nursery school teacher Jeannine Palms and David Cohen, a teacher and social justice activist. Palms was raised Catholic and Cohen Jewish, so they exposed their daughter to both faiths. (She now describes herself as "agnostic.")
Her parents divorced when she was seven, and Jeannine, who runs Blossom House preschool, later married Dale Petty, a Washtenaw Community College instructor. David Cohen, a dialysis patient most of his life, died when Palms-Cohen was a junior at Community High. "I miss him every day of my life," she says. She gets comfort from knowing how much he would have appreciated her husband: "They have similar qualities--a wicked sense of humor, great intelligence, and the kindest hearts on the planet."
The family had moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor partly because Jeannine wanted their daughter to be able to attend Community. English teacher Judith DeWoskin recalls Palms-Cohen as "a great kid, just a wonderful student, hard-working, smart--and she had a beautiful voice as well."