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California Dreamin’ in Wichita: A West Coast Family Chooses the ICT

By Madison Murray

For Wichita State University freshman Sofia Schoenhoefer, moving to Wichita was an exciting new endeavor.

“While California has so much to offer, I was ready for a fresh start and a new adventure,” she said.

In January 2023, Sofia’s sister Isabelle and brother-in-law Nick moved to Wichita with their son, 2, to be closer to his family. Being close with her sister, Sofia decided to check out ICT for herself.

“When I came to visit, I didn’t immediately fall in love, but after a couple days I began to see the beauty of the land and the kindness of the people,” Sofia said. “There is a sense of calmness in the city instead of a rush to get where you need to be. Looking over the field behind our house, and seeing the sunrise, I am able to reflect on my life.”

After Sofia and Isabelle finalized their cross-country move to Wichita, their parents weren’t far behind, packing up and moving from Rancho Mission Viejo, California, just two months after their daughters in June 2023.

“My dad loves aviation history and Wichita has so much of that to offer. With museums and such a rich history, my dad knows so much about WWII planes and enjoys when he can find out more. My mom, with a love for food, started working at Everyday by Elderslie almost immediately after she moved and now manages the store. She loves meeting her customers and sharing stories,” Sofia shared.

As an avid California beachgoer, the 20-year-old said the Great Plains Nature Center is a great escape to explore nature and destress. Her other favorites?

Sofia and her parents, Linda and Herbert, at Sofia's sorority, Alpha Phi.
Sofia's father Herbert, nephew Alessio and brother-in-law Nick visiting the Kansas Aviation Museum.
Sofia's mother Linda, manager of Everyday by Elderslie.

“Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, especially since it's been colder, my mom and I love to stop in and talk to the friendly people and eat delicious food,” she said. “As an avid coffee and matcha lover, I love stopping by Coffee Daze or Reverie Coffee Roasters.”

Other favorites included College Hill’s Everyday Beaut for its locally made skincare products and The Belmont for its big, beautiful windows. Sofia’s family also explored the new 1400 restaurant at the Wichita Art Museum.

“We recently went there when it snowed, and the atmosphere was incredible,” she raved.

As Sofia and her family continue to make their home here in the heartland, she feels blessed by her decision to choose Wichita.

“I wasn’t sure what moving would bring me, but it has brought me the best thing I could ever ask for. Wichita has a beauty that is unknown to many and an entrepreneurial spirit that excites me to no end.”

Sofia's family from left to right: Herbert, Linda, Isabelle, Dolores, Sofia, Alessio, Nick and Connor

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