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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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