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02-06-2020 Watervliet focus group discusses expectations of district for Strategic Plan at Watervl

THANK YOU… Tri-City Record Giving Tree & readers and Freshwater Church for making wonderful memories for some Berrien County youth and families this last Christmas. Pictured (from the left) holding a poster made by one local family truly thankful for the Christmas gifts provided are Arielle Colcord, Megan Klitchman, Maddy Siebenmark and Michelle Kuiken from the Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services.

Watervliet focus group discusses expectations of district for Strategic Plan at Watervliet Schools

By Annette Christie In recent action another step has been completed for the strategic planning process that the Watervliet School District is currently involved in. The process began in October with the selection of Hazard Young Attea Associates (HYA) as the consulting firm. The process is now at the state of engagement, as the consultants facilitate several focus groups. These groups are comprised of students, staff, teachers, the board, and administration, all having their turn at being involved in the process. The last week of January, a community focus group met by invitation. Business owners, city and township leaders, and investors in the community and the district were asked to discuss the district’s strengths and weaknesses, what they expect from the students graduating from Watervliet, and individual visions of success for the district. It seemed easy for those involved in the process to name the strengths in the district, taking more time to identify its weaknesses. Participants noted that the school district is a preferred one that has a large percentage of school of choice students, which says a lot about the quality of the system overall. The expectations of the students that graduate is for some to be prepared for the workforce, and further, for the school district that all of the options are equally presented to the students to include but not limit a student’s success on their desire to attend college. While those in attendance recognized that some of the direction of the curriculum is not always controlled by the district, most agreed that they would like to see more options available to students with regard to learning a trade. The vision for the district was shared by the participants in very similar answers – to continue to be successful and even grow, understanding that the success of a school district has a positive ripple effect on the community and can be a strong selling point. Through the process, Vickie Markavitch with HYA, has gathered and studied the student data. They will compile all of the notes from the focus groups and give them to the committee that will be working on the vision, mission, values and beliefs statements, as well as developing a 3-5 year strategic plan. Markavitch has been a superintendent in three states in districts of all shapes and sizes, urban and rural, large and small, rich and poor. She said her resume includes being the superintendent at the Bridgman School District. The district is investing $15,000 for the three-phase strategic planning process.

THIS KUTE KID IS… Coloma High School senior Brenden Jacobs! Brenden celebrates his 18th birthday today, Feb. 6. In high school he participates in band and basketball. He is the son of Jami Jacobs and Geoff Jacobs. His proud grandmas are Diana Olmsted and Cathi Jacobs. Brenden is the great-grandson of Louise Jacobs. Happy Birthday Brenden!

Watervliet resident authors book on caring for a loved one with dementia

Pamela Quinn of Watervliet has written a book titled “I Promise”, from her personal experience of caring for her mother. It is about a family’s love of taking care of a loved one with dementia in her home.

This is not a “how to” book for dementia. This is a story of caregivers of a dementia person and the love given to keep her in her own home. Also, it is about the promise to not put her in a nursing home even through all the aspects of the illness and sometimes difficult days and nights. This story is the day-to-day issues of caring for a person with dementia during the last year, in a journey of her life. Quinn wrote this book from the daily notes that she and her siblings kept during their mother’s care. She and her brothers feel this information may help people understand dementia. Although advancements have been made and there is a better understanding now, not a lot was available while this family was going through it. Even with having a nursing degree, Quinn says there were times that she was lost in the care for her mother. The book is available on Amazon and Kindle e-book. It is 87 pages in length. It can be found by searching under her author name, “PJ Quinn”.

Community Soup & Salad Supper is Friday

A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma. The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. The public is invited. Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three. Proceeds go to the H.O.P.E. Resources Food Pantry in Coloma. This month’s supper is hosted by HOPE Resources Board of Directors and New Hope Community Church.

2020 Miss Spirit of Blossomtime is

Katie Zachary from St. Joseph

The 2020 Miss Spirit Pageant was held on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the St. Joseph High School Auditorium. Saturday’s pageant marked the eighth annual Miss Spirit competition which is held once all the communities have held their contests. It is open to all 1st runners up and offers one more young woman the opportunity to enjoy the many events and activities her sister queens will participate in. Nineteen contestants competed for the title. The People’s Choice award voted on by the pageant attendees was won by Adriyanna Winters, 1st runner-up to Miss Watervliet. Katie Zachary, Miss Spirit Katie Zachary, 1st runner-up from the community of St. Joseph was crowned Miss Spirit 2020. She is the daughter of Cindy Zachary (1988 WHS grad) and a senior at St. Joseph High School. Katie plans to pursue her love of cosmetology and one day open her own salon. Katie will receive a $450 scholarship award and various gifts and prizes for being crowned Miss Spirit of Blossomtime 2020. Katie is involved in several church and youth group activities such as AWANA. In addition, she has volunteered for Toys for Tots and the Berrien County Foster Care Program. She participates in track and volleyball and is currently involved in the dual enrollment program through Berrien County RESA. Miss Spirit will go on to compete in the Showcase of Queens awards (photogenic, communication and entertainment) at Mr. Blossomtime and Showcase of Queens Pageant and is eligible for all awards and placements awarded at the Miss Blossomtime Pageant. The 2020 Blossomtime Pageant will be held on March 15 & 16 at Lake Michigan College, Mendel Center, in Benton Harbor. Mr. Blossomtime and the Showcase of Queens will be held Sunday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at LMC Mendel Center. Miss Blossomtime will be held Monday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m. at LMC Mendel Center. Tickets for each night are $20 and will be available in February by calling or e-mailing the Blossomtime Festival Office at 269-861-0998 or

Earns degrees from WGU

(Press Release) The following local residents have earned their degree from Western Governors University (WGU). The online, nonprofit university has graduated over 167,000 students from across the country since its inception in 1997. Deanna Bennett of Eau Claire has earned a Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree. Candice Garman of Watervliet has earned a Bachelor of Science, Business Management degree.



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