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Life in the Spotlight

A Valpo Life In the Spotlight: John Norris


John Norris takes a break from watching his son Gus, who will be 2 in September, to play by the pool on Memorial Day.

John grew up in Merrillville and moved to Hebron for high school where he was active in the drama program. It was there that he met Ideas In Motion Media’s own Stephanie Swearington.

“I wouldn’t have the family that I have and the life that I have now if not for Stephanie,” Norris said of their longtime friendship.

After all, it was Swearington who introduced Norris to Nicole Sliger, a lifelong Valparaiso resident. Sliger and Gus are, for all his accomplishments, Norris’ raison d'etre.

Along the path to the life Norris lives and loves now, he toured the US with traveling actors troupe Covenant Players and earned his Criminal Justice degree from Indiana University Northwest and his Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville.

“I had a lot of fun in law school. Jacksonville was paradise all the time.”

He passed the Florida bar, but, “The job market in Florida was even worse for attorneys than it is here. It’s pretty bad everywhere.”

Norris moved back to the Region and, through Swearington, met Sliger. Soon after they were establishing a family here in Valparaiso.

Early on, Norris took discovery litigation contract work in Chicago.

“Fortunately, Valpo has the Chicago Dash. I couldn’t have done the commuting without it. I slept there. When Gus was newborn, it was essential for getting sleep.”

“You can make pretty good money doing it, but it’s always temporary. You’re always looking for something more stable.”

Norris found employment at the Lake County Prosecutors Office.

“It’s closer to home, the days are shorter, and I actually like what I do.”

Sliger, a guidance counselor in the Portage school system, also enjoys what she does.

“She’s definitely happy, it’s the summertime so she can hang out with Gus, but she really enjoys her job.”

Sliger’s work gives Norris plenty of opportunities to give back to the community. From coat drives to middle school Career Day, they both enjoy making positive contributions to the community.

“The kids that were engaged and asking thoughtful questions. They seemed genuinely interested,” Norris said of Career Day.

The family also enjoys traveling together – they recently returned from a trip to San Francisco – and they eagerly anticipate a summer of shopping produce at the Valparaiso Farmers Market.

With so much going on, it’s been a year since Norris has done any acting.

“I’m enjoying having more time and fewer hobbies that keep me from family.”

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