Thornapple Kellogg School District

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Distinguished TK Alumni Honored

 

The honorees were selected for their outstanding achievements after graduation. "Each honoree has gone above and beyond in their chosen fields. They have earned significant distinctions and given back to their community and this school,"  according to information supplied by the Alumni Association.

Honored members, surrounded by family members, were introduced just prior to the start of the game. Each received a plaque and will have their name added to a distinguished alumni honor.

Robert Wenger

Wenger is a member of the TK Class of 1950 and achieved leadership in the area of agriculture. He credits his high school teachers Art Smalley, Elton Lawrence and the FFA program for launching his outstanding career. He went on after high school to earn his American Farmer Degree and was named Outstanding Young Farmer. He has received numerous leadership awards, served as Barry County Commissioner and on the Thornapple Kellogg Board of Education. He has been with Farm Bureau for more than 65 years and is a contributing lifelong member of the Middleville United Methodist Church. He was named the Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation Hometown Hero in 2010.

Robert Bender

Bender is a member of the TK Class of 1954 and achieved leadership in the area of military and public service. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1958 and went on to serve in the United States Navy as a pilot, aircraft and mission commander. He was a staff officer at NATO headquarters in Brussels and retired as a Navy Captain. He was elect3ed six terms to the Michigan Legislature, was chairperson of the Michigan Aeronautics Commission and served as chairman of the Barry County Board of Commissioners. He was the bovine tuberculosis eradication coordinator for the state of Michigan. He and his wife, Carol, served in the Peace Corps in Russia and have made annual house building trips to Guatemala.

Sharon Myers Schondelmayer

Schondelmayer is a member of the TK Class of 1955 and earned honors in leadership and community service. She worked for  Thornapple Kellogg in the library department for 23 years. She has a reputation for going above and beyond while working with TK's staff and students. She volunteered for more than 31 years keeping score at the boys' varsity basketball games and traveled to away games, worked at many track meets and volleyball matches. She was a founding member of the Middleville Track Club and a lifelong runner. She exemplifies a zest for life and is a role model for students today.

Donald Williamson

Williamson is a member of the Class of 1957 and earned his honor for leadership in the area of the arts. He credits many TK teachers, coaches and administrators who affected the direction his life would take. It was his art teacher, Edna Bender who encouraged him to pursue a career in art at Kendall College of Art and Design. He went on to become a professor of art at Kendall College. He served as dean of faculty there and taught for 29 years. His most visible art is "The Reclaimed Spirit" sculpture and park in front of McFall Elementary School. He served on TK's Board of Education for 20 years, is the past president of the Middleville Lion's Club and Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation. He currently serves as president of the TK Alumni Association.

Bill Rich

Rich was a member of the TK Class of 1969 and was honored posthumously for his leadership in education. His parents Maggie and Keith Adams, his daughter, Courtney and her husband Brian and his grandchildren Ebbie and Ryan accepted the honor on his behalf. Rich spent his entire educational career at TK. He was hired first as a reading teacher and coached volleyball, track and cross country. He left the classroom to become director of reading and finally, principal at McFall. He served as secretary for the Michigan Reading Association and held many leadership roles during his career. He was involved in the National Principals' Association, gave presentations at the national level and always returned home to TK to share, teach, model and listen.