Rex Riley Scholarship winners from 1999 2.4

Written by David Green.

The second Wednesday of February is almost like a local holiday in Morenci. That’s the day of soup and pie is served by Kiwanis Club members as the group raises money for the Rex Riley-Kiwanis Scholarship fund.

This year’s event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Morenci Eagles. The sale of meal tickets, advertising in a support book and raffle tickets for hand-crafted wooden furniture keep the scholarship strong.

Dozens of students have benefitted from the scholarship and each year the Observer provides an update on winners from 10 years ago.

In 1999, three scholarships were given.

• Joanie (Vanlerberg) Peck—Joanie used her scholarship money to help pay for her education at Central Michigan University where she earned a teaching degree.

She first taught in Flint, but after a year she returned home and is now in her third year as a middle school mathematics teacher with the Hillsdale school district.

She also helps out in the after-school math lab and tutoring program, schedules some private tutoring on her own.

Joanie is on schedule to earn a master’s degree in middle level education from Siena Heights.

She married Jason Peck and the couple lives in Waldron.

Her former classmates might hear from her soon since she’s helping to plan the class’s 10-year reunion.

• Melissa (Gallatin) Timar—Melissa earned a dual major in biology and environmental science from Adrian College.

She had an interest in marine biology—she was once the subject of an Observer feature that told of her research project with turtles—but pursuing that goal eventually lost some appeal.

Studies of ocean life would obviously require leaving the her home area and Melissa decided she wasn’t ready to leave family and friends behind.

She stayed in the science field, but traded turtles for chemicals. Actually, it’s not a good time to ask about her career. After three years as a laboratory worker at Silbond, she was laid off last month due to downsizing at the facility.

Melissa is married to classmate Travis Timar.

• Megan (Keller) McVay—Megan remembers using her Rex Riley money to purchase some of the expensive textbooks when she attended Adrian College to earn a degree in psychology, with a minor in human services.

For five years she worked at The Manor, a residential treatment facility for youths located in Jonesville. Before leaving the facility last fall, she was classified as a therapist for individual counseling.

Last September she started work with the Michigan Child Protective Services in Branch County. She welcomes the shorter commute starting soon when she begins serving in Hillsdale County.

She intends to earn a master’s degree in social work in the future.

She married another Morenci graduate, Jeff McVay, and they enjoy living near the wildlife preserve east of Canandaigua.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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