THE YOUNG AND THE YOUNG AT HEART… The 40 Year Club celebrated its 97th annual meeting Saturday, Au-gust 19. Over 30 years of past Watervliet High School classes were represented. The oldest class represented was the Class of 1936, with the Class of 2013 being the most recent graduat-ing class represented. Pictured are those class representatives. On the left is Ryan Kibler. On the right is Ewald Rodewald. Ryan Kibler… After graduating from Watervliet High School is 2013, Ryan went on to the Uni-versity of Michigan in Ann Ar-bor, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiol-ogy. He will now pursue his PhD in Biological Physics, Structure and Design at the University of Washington, lo-cated in Seattle, Washington. He will begin his studies there, a six-year program, this Sep-tember. Ryan anticipates gra-duating in 2023. Ewald Rodewald… As far as Ewald is aware, he is the last surviving member of his gra-duating class. He is currently 99 years of age, and will turn 100 on October 10. Ewald served in the United States Ar-my from 1942-1946, and is a veteran of World War ll. He lives in Bainbridge Township. Ewald no longer drives. Ryan and Ewald are pictured with the old school bell. The bell has its own tale to tell – going from the old school to a family residence, and back to school property. It even spent some time in Coloma, at the North Berrien Historical Mu-seum. Thanks to some detective work by Kevin Schooley, Watervliet Public Schools Su-perintendent, the bell is back at Watervliet High School, and may be found in the Watervliet Board of Education meeting room. (TCR photo by Greg Krell)
The school bell rang, and 200 Watervliet alumni answered
By Greg Krell
The Watervliet 40 Year Club returned to Watervliet for its annual meeting, and so did the alumni. The 40 Year Club was formed in 1920.
The 97th meeting met back in Watervliet, after last year’s meeting was held outside of Watervliet for the first time in its history. Due to ongoing construction at the Watervliet Middle and High schools, the meeting was held in Coloma.
Two hundred alumni were in attendance this year, making it the second best attended ever. It now only trails the 2015 meeting. Of those, approximately 25 were attending the annual meeting for the first time.
Present were the following former school employees: Ken Bannen, Marsha Stennecke Cole, Geoff Geisler, Pat Woodruff Geisler, Donna Collins Hayes, Jeanne Morlock King, Rita Lynch, Jeanne Bridges Marschke, Katherine Lynch Rodriguez, and Karen Benjamin Saetre.
The 40 Year Club Committee passes on a much deserved “thank you” to Kevin Schooley, Watervliet Public Schools Superintendent, for
the 40 Year Club to once again have the meeting at the school.
The only requirement for being part of the 40 Year Club is that a person attended school in Watervliet. Being out of school for 40 years or even graduating from Watervliet is not required.
Social time began at 11:00 a.m., with lunch being served at noon.
During the social hour, and after lunch, tours were given of the recently renovated middle and high school buildings and grounds. Featured were some of the projects completed during the renovations made possible by the bond issue, passed in May, 2014.
Golf cart tours were given to alumni that wished to view the school from the outside while making their way to the football field. There, they could view the newly completed sidewalk that leads to the home stands, and see the new handrails now in place there.
Traditionally, a member of the class that is celebrating its 50th reunion is the emcee for “roll call,” the calling out of the classes. This year, emcees Ron Austin and his wife Connie Blevens Austin, took turns calling out the class years. Both Ron and Connie are members of the Class of 1967.
Once the roll of classes was read, alumni from the Class of 1936 thru the Class of 2013 were in attendance. The oldest member, Ewald Rodewald, is 99. The youngest member was 22-year-old Ryan Kibler.
Thirty-four years of classes were represented in the 1936 to 2013 span. All decades were represented with the exception of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The best represented decade was 1950, with nine years out of ten. Second best were the 1960s and the 1970s, with each having eight years represented.
For the first time in recent memory, a new winner emerged as the best represented class in attendance. This year that class was the Class of 1966, with 19 members present.
It was nice to see some younger alumni in attendance for the first time; younger being, someone not yet past the age of 50. One graduate each from the Class of 2010, 2012, and 2013 made this possible.
Besides the Austins, Marsha Stennecke Cole and Kevin Schooley spoke. Pastor David Haase, from the Riverside United Methodist Church, gave the blessing for the meal.
Class pictures from 1926 thru 1977, with a few exceptions, were placed around the middle school gymnasium.
The 40 Year Club is made up of committee members Jane Cole Chaput, Marsha Stennecke Cole, Donna Gillard Curtis, Don Hunt, Greg Krell, Wade Lynch, Dorothy Quint Messinger, Barry Nilson, Dawn Messinger Rouse, and Barb Flaherty Schofield.
The Facebook page, “Watervliet 40 Year Club, all class reunion,” is a great source for gathering information on this long running event. Pictures from the 97th meeting are there for viewing. Also, it is a great way prior to the event to download a printable registration form.
Next year, the 98th meeting of 40 Year Club, will once again return to the Watervliet Middle School, and will be held on Saturday, August 18, 2018.
THIS “KUTE KID” is… Ava Brielle Thomas who recently turned 8-years-old. She enjoys bike riding, reading, participat-ing in pageants and being with her friends and family. Ava is such a sweet, independent and loving little girl with a side of sassiness. She is involved in cheerleading, acrobats and 4H. Ava is the daughter of Dennis Jr. and Kassie Thomas. She has one brother, Jacob. Share a photo of your “Kute Kids” with your friends, neigh-bors, and relatives who read the Tri-City Record. Make sure you write your kids’ names on the back of the picture and include any other information about it you would like to see in the pa-per, including mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and so on. Send the “original” photo to the Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet, MI 49098 or email it with your information to email@example.com. Pick up your photo after it ap-pears in the paper or include a stamped, self-addressed envelope and we will mail it back to you. Where are your “Kute Kids”?
Thursday, Aug. 24, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. “SILVIQUE JEWELRY SALE” hosted by Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet Auxiliary in classroom C of the hospital at 400 Medical Park Dr., Watervliet. Proceeds donated to Auxiliary projects.
Friday, Aug. 25 “2017 NORTH BERRIEN PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST” deadline for submissions. For more information, contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or Kristen@northberrienhistory.org.
Sunday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. “HERITAGE DAY” at Van Buren County Museum, 58471 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford. Admission is $5/13 and up, $2/ages 6-12, free/5 and under . For more information call 269-569-1639.
Wednesday, Aug. 30, 6-8 p.m. “HISTORIC KAYAK TOUR OF LITTLE PAW PAW LAKE” offered by North Berrien Historical Museum and Sarett Nature Center. Call 269-468-3330 for more information and to make reservations.
Saturday, Sep. 2, 3 p.m. “TURKEY VULTURE LECTURE” at Sarett Nature Center, 2300 Benton Center Rd., Benton Harbor. Admisssion: $3/adults; free/children.
Sunday, Sep. 3 8 a.m.-noon “PANCAKE & SAUSAGE BREAKFAST” Sister Lakes Lions Club fund-raiser held at Lions Park, 66991 95th Ave., Sister Lakes. Cost: $7/adults, $3/ ages 4-12, under 4 free.
Sep. 7-10 “ANTIQUE ENGINE & TRACTOR SHOW” at Michigan Flywheelers Museum. Admission $7/adult; children 12 and under free. For information visit www.michiganflywheelers.org or call 269-639-2010.
Saturday, Sep. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sunday, Sep. 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. “COLOR OUR WORLD WITH QUILTS” presented by The Niles Piecemakers Quilt Guild at Brandywine Elementary School, 2428 South 13th St., Niles. Quilts on display, door prizes, vendors, quilt raffle, silent auction and food. Admission/ $5.
Saturday, Oct. 21 “ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW” fund-raiser by Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary at Watervliet Middle School.
Mondays, 7 p.m. “PUB THEOLOGY” at Arclight Brewery. Public is invited to join in discussions. Hosted by St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. “STORY HOUR” at Coloma Public Library. A free weekly program for toddlers and preschool-aged children, it does not require sign-up. Call 269-468-3431 for information. (resumes 9-13-17)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday “SUMMER PROGRAMS” at the Hartford Public Library. 11 a.m. for baby thru 6 years old, and 1 p.m. for 7 years old and up. Visit their website at www.hartfordpl.michlibrary.org for more details.
Thursdays, 6 – 10 p.m. “Trap shooting” at the Coloma Rod & Gun Club.
Second Thursday of each month, 3 – 5 p.m. “BERRIEN COUNTY PARKINSON SUPPORT GROUP” at Lakeland Healthcare Frederick S. Upton Education Center rooms 5 & 6, 1234 Napier Ave. For info, contact Michigan Parkinson Foundation at 800-852-9781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third Monday of each month, 3 – 6 p.m. “FOOD BANK” at Central Assembly of God, 6801 Ryno Rd., Coloma.