Paula was nine when she came to America from the Netherlands after World War II. Later she attended BYU and graduated in elementary education. She taught all grade levels, as well as ESL and special education classes. As a teacher she was dismayed with her students’ lack of patriotic fervor.
“Until you’re out of the country, you don’t realize what we have here,” Paula explained.
She made it her mission to teach her students about the rich history of this country and to teach it through the arts. The organization she founded, Celebration USA, provides resources to various groups to honor the principles of democracy, good citizenship, and patriotism. Popularly known as “the flag lady,” she is responsible for countless celebrations and has received numerous awards. She and her husband, Bruce, are the parents of four.