It’s hard to quote either Rachel or JoJo Pacubas individually.
They’re such a tight-knit couple that more often than not, one will start a sentence and the other will finish it. When one of them is speaking, the other is nodding and punctuating the conversation with “uh-huhs,”“yeahs” and bursts of laughter.
The couple, who both work at the Kansas City headquarters of DST Systems – a financial services company – have added to their close family. Their first child, Zooey, was born Jan. 8.
Rachel and JoJo met at Missouri State in 2000.
“We got to know each other as SOAR (Student Orientation, Advisement and Registration) leaders,” JoJo said.
“We know a lot of couples who met because of SOAR,” Rachel said. “When you spend 75 hours a week with someone, you get to know them.”
Some of their most memorable dates include seeing Tony Bennett at Juanita K. Hammons Hall and going to basketball games – especially the game in which Jackie Stiles broke the NCAA Division I women’s scoring record. They also went to dance department presentations and events put on by Theta Chi, JoJo’s fraternity.
“There was one time – when was the snowstorm; was it like ’01?” JoJo asked Rachel, who said: “Yeah, they canceled school for the first time in 30 years or something like that.” JoJo continued: “And so we went around campus and made snowmen and snow angels.”
But school wasn’t all about concerts by crooners and cold-weather fun. The couple also found time for academic pursuits. JoJo graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in entertainment management. He is now a control analyst who identifies and investigates fraudulent activity within mutual-fund accounts.
Rachel graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in communication and an emphasis in public relations. She is a corporate trainer – she helps businesspeople communicate more efficiently and clearly. She leads professional development classes and teaches business writing.
A life in KC
They are happy to work in Kansas City because both of their families are there.
“We’ll stay here until we retire,” JoJo said.
That means they are just a few hours from the Missouri State campus. They come back every year for Homecoming – at the most recent event, the couple documented Rachel’s baby belly by taking pictures with Boomer. They also keep up through JoJo’s brother, Justin, who graduated during the winter 2008 commencement ceremonies.
“Being away from Missouri State for a few years just makes me appreciate it even more,” JoJo said. “The school gave so much to us; it’s not hard for us to donate money or come to events.”
Rachel agreed: “We found each other there. We talk about that when the phone campaign calls – we often give donations to SOAR because we want to funnel money back to a program that did so much for us.”
The couple expects to continue a relationship with their alma mater – don’t expect them to remove their Missouri State license plate any time soon.
“Some of the best times of my life were in school,” JoJo said. “Going to Springfield and seeing the campus brings back old memories and makes me happy.”