By Linda KennedyFor 32 years now, students from both Massac County and Joppa high schools have gathered with their parents, teachers and high school staff in April to be awarded for their scholastic achievements by receiving college scholarships.
First started by the Metropolis Kiwanis Club, the Massac County Academic Awards Ceremony (AAC) now receives help by the Metropolis Rotary Club too.
This year’s ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20 at the Metropolis Community Center. Three past scholarship recipients will be speaking: Lacey Sommer Wright and Cord and Mallory Wittig.
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A 2001 graduate of Joppa High School, Wright received an associate of science degree from Shawnee Community College (SCC) in 2003; a bachelor of art in elementary education and concentration in English from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in 2005; and a masters degree in educational administration with principal certification from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2011.
“I have been employed since 2005 at Joppa-Maple Grove Elementary and have taught 11 years in third grade, though one year was primarily fourth grade and finished as Dean of Students,” explained Wright. “I have served on technology committee and textbook committee, successfully written grants for students to attend the Paducah Symphony Orchestra since 2013, as well as written and received grants through Sonics Limeades for Learning program the last two years for chapter books to be used as literature studies and for trapezoid tables for alternative seating in the classroom.?
A recipient of the SCC salutatorian scholarship, which provided full tuition at the community college for two years, Wright saved the money from the Academic Awards scholarship to cover expenses at Eastern Illinois University. ?I had a strong desire to go to EIU because two of my high school teachers were EIU alumni.? After researching the difference between EIU and SIU, I felt that EIU would be a better choice to prepare me for a career in education,? said Wright. ?This scholarship helped to cover expenses for books and tuition while I was a student there.? I am thankful to have been a recipient of the award and am very grateful that the banquet is still providing scholarships for students in the county.? It is a great way to offset expenses and encourage students to achieve their goals.??
Currently residing in Grand Chain, Wright and her husband, Jeff, have one daughter, Riley; and one son, Henry.
The daughter of Charlie and Judi Griffey of Joppa, wife of Lynn Reames and mother of Emily and Alex Reames, Reames is a 1991 graduate of Joppa High School. In 1993, she obtained both an associates of art and an associates of science from Shawnee Community College and graduated from Murray State University in 1997 with a bachelor of science in business with an area in accounting.
Her employment history lead Reames back to the area, working from 1993 through 2000 at Players Casino and from 2000 to 2014 at Electric Energy Inc. in Joppa. Since 2014, she has been employed as senior systems analysist for Marquette Transportation in Paducah.
“I was the recipient of the Academic Scholarship in 1991,” Reames remembered. “Knowing that there were people in the community that supported my dream of going to college was very inspiring. The scholarship I received paid for a portion of my college education. Obtaining a college degree has opened so many doors for me.”
A 1995 graduate of Massac County High School, Jeffords is a 1999 graduate of Saint Louis University (SLU) with a bachelor of science degree in exercise science. In 2001, she also received a masters of physical therapy from SLU.
Jeffords’ career path lead her first in 2001 to SIH Rehab Unlimited for one year, followed by five years with Biokinetics. Since 2007, she has been employed as Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Paducah and is currently the assistant rehab manager. “I am also a certified wound specialist, one of only a very few in the Purchase Area and the only physical therapist with that credential,” explained Jeffords. She is also certified in PWR Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery.
“I was a scholarship recipient in 1995,” said Jeffords. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
A resident of Metropolis, Jeffords and her husband, Corey, have three children: Noah, 11; Isabelle, 8; and Paityn, 3.
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To date, the scholarships awarded to deserving graduating seniors from Joppa High School and Massac County High School has totaled $339,650 to 394 students.
Tax deductible donations to the Massac Academic Ceremony may be made by check written out to SICF and mailed to Massac Academic Ceremony, c/o Byram Fager, 11 Stephen Lane, Metropolis, IL 62960 or on-line by visiting www.sicf.org/MCASF.