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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    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.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    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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