ODM Article 2018 Ceremony


Public Invited: Sixth Annual Lifetime Achievement Ceremony, 2018


On Saturday, September 29th, from 1:00 to 3:00 in The Holiday’s Stratford Room, the Tiger Alumni Center (TAC) will celebrate the lifetime achievements of five distinguished recipients: four school

district employees and one alumni. The school employees, alumni, family and friends are welcome to attend the awards.



The recipients for TAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018 are listed below with a brief description (much more shared during the awards ceremony.)


  Christen L. Bishop Nikitas, ERHS, 1987.


“Christie” received her Bachelors’ Degree from the University of Illinois and her Juris Doctor Degree from the University Of Illinois College Of Law. Currently she is a Circuit Judge for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Lake County, Illinois. A member of many professional organizations, she has received numerous awards including being named the 19th Judicial Circuit Outstanding Judge in the Criminal Division.


  Susan Lynn Bishop, District and Area Educator


“Susie” came to Olney in 1976 and taught for the East Richland School District for 27 years. She has worked in education in Illinois for over thirty-five years and continues to serve others, as a child advocate, a family conference facilitator, a counselor, and a recipient of state, regional, and local awards.


  Donald C. Graham, Educator and Band Director


“Don” came to Olney in 1972 as a music teacher in the East Richland School District. In 1976 the District opened the new Middle School and Don became the Director of Bands and Choir. He held  this position until his retirement in 2003. For many years he has performed as the director for the Cummins Municipal Band.


  Naomi Gaede, Educator, 1934 to 1975.


Naomi Gaede service covered most of Richland County, including several of the schools described in Ron Scherer’s and Yvonne Scherer Meckfessel’s book, “Before the Big Yellow School Bus.”  She also taught in Noble, Claremont, Dundas (where she also served as principal) and later at the Olney Jr. High School. She also served as Assistant County Superintendent of Richland County Schools for twelve years. Accepting for Mrs. Gaede are her son Keith Gaede, ERHS 1963, and daughter, Carolyn Gaede (Couch), ERHS 1961.


  Earl Holtz, Educator


“Mr. Earl Holtz started teaching in a one-room school house, I think it was Oak Dale. At that time he was teaching my mother and my uncle. In his early years he taught at some of the outlying (one-room) schools” before being assigned to teach at Cherry Street where he later served as principal, too. He won “Teacher of the Year” for Richland County in 1958-59 school year. Mr. Holtz taught Sunday School for at Mt. Gilead Church. “Mr. Holtz was one of the best teacher ever.” (from comments by Rebecca Lawley Swisher, Class of 1967). Accepting for Mr. Earl Holtz is his niece, Maridel Schonert.



We are excited, as once again, we all will enjoy an outstanding program of five recipients that combines district employees with alumni.

“It is my pleasure to announce that all recipients or those accepting for them are excited and looking forward to the 2018 Tiger Alumni Center (TAC) Lifetime Achievement Award (LTA) ceremony. We arefinalizing the preparations and anxiously awaiting the day of presentation.”

So wrote Clarence Smith, TAC Director, Lifetime Achievement chair and reception M.C.


Sixth Year of the Program


This year marks the sixth year that the directors of the Tiger Alumni Center have conducted their ceremony honoring the outstanding service of school employees and alumni.

Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement award honored in the 2013 ceremony were District Employees Mary Lou Marsh Brown, Ted Beagle, and George Rumsey.

Those honored in the 2014 ceremony were ERHS alumni Terry Bruce (ERHS Class of 1962), Dr. Michael Murray (Class of 1955), and Dan Borah (Class of 1964). District Employees honored were Bernard Eagleton, Gail Lathrop, Larry Miller and Gus and Mary Sliva.

Honored in the 2015 ceremony were Clairbel Benson, Bernie Edwards, Amy Fletcher, Margaret Griffin, Lee Grubb, Fred Noerenberg, and Marshall Provines. Two alumni recipients were honored with the “Founder’s Award.” They were Frank Wagner (Class of 1965) and Tom Weber (Class of 1964).

Honored in the 2016 ceremony were Janet McKinney Everette (ERHS Class of 1977), Ann Weesner King

(ERHS Class of 1960), Superintendent Leslie Purdy, Teacher Arrah Jean Shumaker, Teacher Edmund Snively (OTHS Class of 1924), and Dr. Peter Weber (ERHS Class of 1963). Mrs. King received the 2017 Founder’s Award.

Honored in the 2017 ceremony were Frank Bernard Godeke (1901 - 1997); Harry Hillis, Jr.; Sam Kieffer III (ERHS Class of 1960); and Dr. Gerald M. Mastio (1932 - 2012).



Saturday, September 29th


The program will be administered by Clarence Smith, (Class of 1960), Tiger Alumni Center Director and Tiger Pride Alumni Association Director. He will be assisted in the program by Nancy Rumsey (Class of 1966), and Richard Williams (Class of 1960).




The Tiger Alumni Center (TAC) is a web-based alumni organization serving the current and past employees of the Richland school district and the alumni of Richland High School. Richard Williams

started TAC in September, 2010. He is also founder of Tiger Pride Alumni Association (TPAA), a 501(c)3 charity organization, started in 2014.


To know more about TPA and TPAA, visit our websites. For the TAC, visit/click: erhsalumni.net. For Tiger Pride Alumni Association, the link is tigerpridealumni.wix.com/tigerpride