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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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