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Michael and Suzanne both grew up in Granite City, Illinois, a steel town of about 35,000 just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO.  Michael is the son of Russell "Woody" and Rita Halbrook... Suzanne is the daughter of Mark and Mary Lerch.

Michael attended St. Margaret Mary School through 4th grade and Suzanne attended Sacred Heart / St. Joseph School through 5th grade (yep, she was always a year ahead of him in school, even though he's only three months her junior.)

At the completion of the 1988 school year, their schools and parishes merged into Holy Family Parish and School which they both attended through eighth grade.  Suzanne graduated from Holy Family's 8th grade class in May of 1991 and Michael in May of 1992.

At Granite City High School, they were both in Individual Events (the school's advanced performing arts class and speech competition team) together.  Suzanne competed in original oratory, dramatic interpretation, and special occasion speaking... Michael competed in radio and impromptu speaking after spending his freshman year on the debate team.  They were in many plays and musicals together.

Despite their closeness in school and in class, the two never dated... unless you count the times they went to events and/or productions together as part of the school's speech & theatre club.  Looking back, Michael remembers thinking of Suzanne as way too good of a girl for him.

After graduating from high school in 1995, Suzanne went on to SIUE where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and then her Master of Arts in Speech Communication.  Michael graduated in 1996 and has spent several semesters at SIUE slowly working toward a desired eventual degree in economics and finance.  He hopes to eventually work toward a Master's degree in theology with a focus on pastoral and liturgical ministry.

In college, Suzanne worked at Anderson Hospital in Maryville doing P.R. work and filling in for the Assistant Director while she was on maternity leave.  She also worked at Best Buy in Fairview Heights and then for Doctors Fierstein and Fernandez in Granite City.  She was then hired as the public relations specialist for the Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau where she currently works as the sales & marketing director and interim bureau director.   In college, Michael worked at Target in Edwardsville, then the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  He left SIUE when he started working full-time at KPNT and WVRV radio in St. Louis, then left the radio stations to start (now defunct), left to serve as Director of Entertainment Content & Marketing for worldmember, Inc., and left worldmember to take the position of Sr. Project Manager for Interactive Media at Avatar Studios, where he worked for three years.  In the summer of 2004, he left Avatar to join Rodgers Townsend as project manager in the online media group.


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