Publisher of Wiggles Press is standing in front of her old home in Backbay Boston, where
she lived after moving to Boston from Oklahoma in 1974.
New England has now been her home for 45 years and she credits her move to inspiring her exposure to international languages and culture.
Her neighborhood restaurants included Japanese language lessons from the owner of Kyoto, a small cafe next to Symphony Hall and a classmate’s family owned the Far East, a Cantonese Style Chinese eatery very popular for fried rice and rib dinners.
Rochelle was fortunate that her Brighton High School had immigrants from Greece to Vietnam so being a Black American from the Oklahoma was as unique as they were too.
In fact, several of her classmates attend UMass Amherst and to keep up with them, she landed in her first Mandarin Chinese Class with friends from Brighton and Chinatown.
In 1984 she graduated from the Isenberg School of Management with a minor in Chinese Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts (UMass Amherst). While an undergrad she traveled to Taiwan to study at Taiwan Normal University and Tung Hai University, and visited with Exchange students from Sophia University in Japan.
In 2005, Rochelle obtained a Masters of Arts from Emerson College in Communications as a member of the Integrated Marketing Communications. She was Vice President of the Students for IMC at Emerson.
In 1990 she became the first African American Dorm Mother for Showa Boston, satellite campus of Showa University in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2002, she traveled to China with her late husband, Richard Francis Thorpe, to Shuang Ya Shan City, in Hei Long Jiang Province, where she taught English to elementary school students ages 8 to 18, while her spouse gave English Instructors an opportunity to utilize and practice conversational English.
The couple returned that Fall and Rochelle worked at Northeastern University Student Center for a year before landing a position as a Marketing Director for Corechange, makers of Coreport a product of OpenText.
When their IPO market crashed – she decided to attend Emerson full-time to prepare for eventually running her own marketing enterprise.
Shortly after becoming a widow, Rochelle launched Wiggles Press using her collateral design skills, and management experience she gained from State Street Bank, The Boston Company, and Digital Equipment Corporation.
She never gave up on her dream to do something global that would reflect her diversity of experience both personal and professional.
This little girl from Oklahoma…. still living the dream!
She hopes you will share a Wiggles Press Book with your child to inspire them to dream and to build friendships with children around the world.
The first step towards peace and love is understanding, we hope Wiggles Press Books will be part of your journey in learning about others and appreciating diversity.