Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 19, 2012

Cheers: 11/19/2012


---- — -- To area veterans and local residents who celebrated Veterans Day across the region last weekend and Monday in many ways — lines along Grandview Parkway, markers at the Open Space to remember area soldiers who have died, annual memorial services, school assemblies and many other remembrances.

-- To Samantha Day and Traverse City High School's safety net that helped Day turn her life around last year when the she found herself pregnant, broke, homeless and thinking she would have to drop out of school. Today, thanks to the alternative high school's STEP program, Catholic Human Services and grandparents Paul and Sandy Schaub, Day has earned her high school diploma, has a healthy baby and attends Northwestern Michigan College. The Students in Transition Empowerment Program helped about 500 kids who lack permanent housing in the region over the last year.

-- To students at St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau who collected more than 4,000 pounds of clothing for Afghan refugees and more than $3,700 for the Divine Sisters Service, a group of Catholic nuns in India during the school's "2012 in 2012" project. The original goal was to collect 2,012 pounds of clothing and $2,012. The project started in January after retired Col. Victor Kuchar, an Air Force officer turned humanitarian activist, told students about the destitute condition of the refugees and the nuns who care for orphans, the sick and desperate.

-- To Donna Sayler, Jackie Smith, Elk Rapids and Yuba historical societies, Yuba Women's Club and others who envision transforming the former Yuba School into a museum and cultural community center. The two-room school was built in 1860 at the corner of what today is U.S. 31 North and Yuba School Road and closed in 1964.

-- To Laura Walker, of Traverse City, who flew to Ethiopia to meet Eyop Mensistu, 21, and his mother after corresponding with him by letters and email for 14 years as part of a Compassion International program run by her church.

-- To Beulah residents Don and Cecilia Williams who haven taken their 8-year-old St. Bernard therapy dog and Welsh corgi to the Interlochen Public Library at 4 p.m every second and fourth Wednesday of the month since 2008 to "listen" to children read. "It's less threatening," Cecelia said. "They don't criticize, they just sit there and listen."

-- To the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health for its annual exhibit, "Art of Recovery: The Human Journey," which opened Nov. 7 at the InsideOut Gallery and continues through this month. It features about 100 works in several genres and styles. About a third of the works came out of expressive art classes twice monthly at CMH and taught by Tom McClellan, art teacher and mental health counselor.