Morenci's Distinguished Alumni to be honored 2011.04.06

Written by David Green.

Four Morenci alumni will be honored April 16 at the annual Morenci Education Foundation dinner. Two graduates from the 1950s, one from the 1970s and another from the 1980s are in line to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

alum.sampsonJack Sampson

Jack Sampson graduated from Morenci High School in 1953, sampled college life at MSU and Adrian, but after a tour of duty in Korea, he became a journeyman painter. He traveled to Alaska, Montana and Oklahoma before returning to Morenci in 1956.

Jack is known in Morenci as an extraordinary volunteer. From more than 40 years in the kitchen of the American Legion to the North Morenci Schoolhouse restoration project, Jack has assisted in many areas.

His retirement in 1998 gave him more time to volunteer and that’s when he got involved with the school house project with John and Peggy Zachel.

Among his numerous efforts, he has also painted the interior of the Stair Library Annex and the high school athletic building.

Dr. John Geisler

John Geisler, a retired professor from Western Michigan University, graduated from Morenci High School in 1956.

alum.john.geislerHe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Adrian College and followed that with a Master of Education in counseling from the University of Toledo in 1966 and a Doctor of Education, also from University of Toledo, in 1968.

He taught at Madison High School, the University of Toledo, Central Michigan University, and Western Michigan University where he remains as a Professor Emeritus.

Over his career, John has researched and published numerous articles relating to his counseling career as well as given presentations to various professional associations. Most recently he has been sharing his passion for local history with a program titled “The Sauk Trail/US 12 – Then and Now.”

John remains involved in his church, condominium board, the Adrian College Alumni Association, and Habitat for Humanity.  In 2002 he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni from Adrian College. In addition, he has also received recognition from Central and Western Michigan Universities as well as professional associations.

Teresa Foster

Teresa Foster graduated in 1976 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and social work  from Siena Heights College. She later earned a master’s degree in counseling from Siena.

alumni.fosterWhile working on her thesis about alcoholism awareness, she completed an internship as a counselor at a crisis center in Madison Heights, Mich. She wrote and produced a 30-minute program for area broadcast utilizing area experts in a panel discussion format.

She returned to school in 1994 to earn a master’s in human resource development from Western Carolina University.

For the past seven years she has worked in human resources and health care administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

She has also been active in Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce and her church. She has served as a literacy tutor.

Wendee Wolf-Shlarf

Wendee Wolf-Shlarf, a music teacher for 23 years in the Traverse City Area Public Schools, has served as varsity and junior high choir director and general music instructor. She has created a Choral Composer-In-Residence Program where students are involved from beginning to end with new compositions.

The 1980 Morenci graduate studied music education at Albion College and then at Michigan State University, specializing in vocal music and conducting.

alum.wendeeHer professional experiences include serving on the faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp, conducting with the Michigan Ambassadors of Music tours of Europe, conducting Michigan School of Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) honor choirs at Midwestern Music Conferences, and serving on various committees for the Michigan Department of Education Fine Arts Curriculum.

Wendee is an active member and past president of the MSVMA and is an active adjudicator and current chair of the Michigan Music Conference Planning Committee. In 2005 she was named MSVMA Teacher of the Year.

Wendee is also active in the music program of  the Central United Methodist Church.

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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