Schoolcraft Graduate Honors

Here are some selected photos highlighting the academic achievements of Schoolcraft’s graduating seniors.

Madison Steffens Receives Award Named in Her Honor

madison steffensBy Sue Moore

The Paws Fur Learning classroom in Vicksburg High School established the Madison Steffens Extraordinary Service award – and gave it Madison Steffens. The faculty member who established the award was Dr. Noni Heikes who teaches veterinary science as part of a countywide program located in the Vicksburg building.

Madison has spent this year as an example of service, saving the lives of dozens of cats and serving the community by reducing feline overpopulation and placing cats in homes, Heikes said. “That’s why I felt the award should be established in her name and that she should be the first recipient.”

This Madison Steffens award will be presented to students exhibiting outstanding commitment and service to the feline foster project. Names of future winners will be engraved on the plaque. Madison was presented with her own award as well.

“Our classroom is home to a feline foster project called Paws Fur Learning. Cats that enter shelters with medical needs or too poorly socialized to be adopted are typically euthanized. Paws Fur Learning brings these cats into the classroom, provides medical care, socialization and spaying or neutering, and cares for them until they find their forever homes,” Heikes said.

She is the founder of the program that is in its second year and is already being considered for replication in other animal science classrooms. “Steffens has provided extraordinary service to this project. She has taken on a leadership role with the cats, helping to schedule spays and neuters, coordinate intakes and adoptions, arranging for supplies and laundry, and coming in daily on school evenings, weekends and breaks to care for these cats.”

Steffens is shown here with the plaque that will record awardees through the years, and resident cat Kingsford – who incidentally is seeking a summer foster, preferably beachside with plenty of views of birds, Heikes said.

Restored Milk Truck Featured at Old Car Festival

milk truck
Photo contributed by Larry Gardon.

By Sue Moore

“I’m running out of cars to bring to the Old Car Festival,” said Larry Gardon. He has featured his Studebaker – he has nine, his 1960 Pontiac convertible and his 1954 DIVCO milk truck at various Vicksburg Old Car Festivals.

The milk truck was purchased five years ago. Gardon did a complete restoration on what was known as a multi-stop vehicle, meaning it could go door to door. It was made in Warren, Michigan by the Detroit Industrial Vehicle Company, thus the acronym DIVCO. “There are probably 15,000 to 20,000 still in existence because it was so popular and unique. People who got their milk delivered at home have fond memories of this truck.”

For the last few years, Gardon and his wife have formed a team that buys and sells cars as he is retired and living in Quincy. “She buys them, I do the mechanical work and then she sells them. We split the profits.”

Arts and Crafts at Car Show

2016-06-11 00.54.05By Sue Moore

Arts and crafts have been a nice diversion to the Old Car Festival for spouses who don’t care to spend the day on the main viewing areas. Instead, they can relax in the shade of Clark Park and browse booths that offer unique items for sale, said show organizer Donna Cratensenburg-Scott.

Registration fees go to the Vicksburg Band Boosters organization to help offset the cost of instruments and uniforms, she said. The show will include vendors selling jewelry, clothes, wood products and many other items from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Masonic Lodge to perform Free Child ID Program

As part of the Old Car Festival on Saturday, June 10 the Portage-Brady Masonic Lodge #340 will be providing a free child identification program. This Michigan Child Identification Program provides the family with everything needed for the Amber Alert System.

Since 2005 over 85,000 Michigan children have received this valuable service. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children considers the Michigan Child Identification Program to be one of the most comprehensive of its kind.

Each child that goes through the process will receive a dental impression as well as a CD containing a photo, video, digital fingerprints and their vital information. Parents or legal guardians of children who participate must be present and fill out a permission slip for the child to receive this service. Children who have already received the service are encouraged to repeat the process every two years to keep the information in the packets current.

The screening program will be conducted from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 104 South Main Street in downtown Vicksburg. For questions or more information about the event you may call 269-612-7424 or consult the Michigan Child ID Web Site at

Duck Derby Takes Place in Clark Park

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Kim Kline releases hundreds of rubber ducks downstream in Clark Park for the Duck Derby.

By Sue Moore

Everybody loves a race, even if it is just for little rubber duckies, says Kim Klein. She is the energizer behind the fundraiser for the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation’s (VCSF) annual duck race in Clark Park during the Old Car Festival.

“This is a game of chance,” says Klein. These ducks get an equal start at the top of the creek’s bridge. What makes for a winner is not getting snagged up in the weeds, the rocks or the logs that float in the mill race. Those that make it to the finish line are pushed along by the stream’s current and can provide a $100 bill to the winner.

The proceeds go toward the Foundation’s activities. These include college scholarships, Bardeen grants given to teachers for special projects, a curiosity grant for students and financial support for programs and specialized equipment at all grade levels, said Brett Grossman, president of VCSF.

Chances to win cost $5 each and are available from any member of the Foundation, by calling Amy Manchester at 321-1006 or on race day before the start of the race at noon in Clark Park. Students at the elementary schools have a contest to see who can sell the most tickets. The winning classroom is treated to ice cream sundaes on the last day of school in June.

Book Sale at the Vicksburg Library

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Two young ladies shop for great deals on books at the 2016 Vicksburg Library book sale.

By Sue Moore

The book sale at the Vicksburg Library during the Old Car Festival, brings collectors to the front door who can’t wait to get in for the Friday morning June 11, opening each year. They want first crack at what donors have turned in during the past year, said Gail Reisterer, chairperson of the event that raises money for new children’s books at the library.

In 2015, sign outside actually brought April Bryan into the library out of curiosity to see what kind of books she could carry home with her. It was the end of a long hot day and Reisterer was just closing up shop with the help of her many volunteers. As it turns out Bryan was just passing through town, saw the activity and has been helping in the community ever since. She is a Western Michigan University graduate in library studies and has a master’s degree from Georgetown University studies in museum collections. Eventually she was hired as the part-time director of collections by the Vicksburg Historical Society and Reisterer was a big part of her sojourn in the village.

That is not unusual for the book sale as it brings in lots of folks, just looking for a good read that is not on their Nook or available as a used book on So many people donate their used books to the sale that it takes the volunteers half a day a week to sort and assemble the many offerings. The usual price of a used book is 50 cents and on the final day (Monday), people line up to take a whole bag of books home with them for $1 per grocery bag.

The hours are 9 to 4 on Saturday, June 10 and regular library hours on the Friday before.