Rex Riley Scholarship winners from 10 years ago 02.02.2011

Written by David Green.

The Morenci Kiwanis Club’s annual Soup and Pie Supper is scheduled next Wednesday as club members serve the public to earn money for college scholarships.

A week before the event, the Observer takes a look at winners of the Rex Riley Scholarship from 10 years ago to see what they’ve experienced since leaving Morenci Area High School.

KRISTY McCARBERY—Kristy used her scholarship to help pay for tuition at Central Michigan University, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in education.

She lives in St. Johns, Mich., where she works as a high school special education teacher.

There’s not much in the way of free time in her life because she’s also working on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction through Marygrove College in Detroit. She expects to complete her studies in May 2012.

ROSEANN (VANBRANDT) MILLER: Roseann also attended Central Michigan, along with taking classes at Jackson Community College. She graduated from Siena Heights University, magna cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

She married Scott Miller in 2003 and their first child, Isaac Brandt, was born in 2007. After Scott completed military training, the Miller’s second child, Baylie Sue Lynn, arrived in 2010.

Roseann has worked at Do’chas II Counseling since her graduation in 2005.

“It is my passion to work with teens and families in crisis and aid in achieving their life goals,” she said.

BEN GREEN—Ben completed Michigan State University’s five-year landscape architecture program in 2006 and took a job with the Miami, Fla., firm of Curtis+Rogers Design Studio.

“I continue to work there as a designer and project manager on a wide range of projects including civic, commercial, parks, education and transportation in south Florida,” he said.

One of his recent jobs is known as the largest public works projects in the country—expanding the I-595 corridor connecting Ft. Lauderdale to the Alligator Alley section of I-75. He’s also working on the new Broward County FBI headquarters.

Ben passed the exam for licensing in  Florida and he awaits word on the final exam to become a registered landscape architect.

He lives in Coconut Grove with his wife, Sarah, who works as a preschool teacher.

ERIN (OLSON) EKINS—Erin graduated magna cum laude from Adrian College with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She was chosen Student of the Year in her department.

She married Jake Ekins and they are the parents of Van, 3, and Colbie, 2. A third child is due in May. They live in Canandaigua.

Erin is currently a stay-at-home mother and when her children are older she intends to return to school for a master’s degree.

Before her first child arrived, Erin served as a personal trainer, taught exercise classes and managed a fitness center. She’s undecided between a career in physical therapy or nursing.

BETHANY (WHEELER) BESS—Bethany earned a teaching certificate at Spring Arbor College, and she also met her future husband, Brian, there. They were married in 2006 and moved to his home town, Chardon, Ohio.

She’s worked as a substitute teacher and has taught classes at Agape Christian Academy. She also teaches horseback riding at Beracah Valley Farm.

Their son, William, was born a year ago.

“Of all the life experiences I’ve lived so far,” Bethany said, “having a child has taught me the most.”

DESIREE (BURROW) HOLCOMB—Desirée attended Western Michigan University for a year and then took nursing classes at Jackson Community College. She finally realized that wasn’t what she was looking for and eventually developed an interest in business.

Desirée lives in Rossford, Ohio, with her husband, Shane, and their two children, Quinton, 2, and Audrey, 1.

She serves as a general manager for Marco’s Pizza and also as corporate training manager for Marco’s.

“I plan to go back to college and get my degree in business management,” she said, “and hopefully someday own my own pizza place.”

JACOB BACH—Jacob followed his childhood dream of studying archeology and earned dual degrees in comparative religion and archeology. That was followed by graduate studies in archeology.

He and his wife, Katie, accepted a forest service job with the U.S.D.A. in Pennsylvania and later, along with their son, Forrest, joined the Americorps VISTA program and worked at an organic herb farm that served as an educational facility for visiting school children. Farming was also something he was interested in.

They returned to Michigan and worked at a farm near Bangor that practiced Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in which subscribers buy shares of food grown by the farm.

Jacob later started a CSA on rented land near Katie’s home area, Grand Blanc, and they bought a 20-acre farm near Mayville in December that came with a log house.

Jacob is busy preparing for the 2011 growing season and signing up customers for his new CSA.

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