On May 13th, 2004over 150 people attended the Beaver Island Lighthouse
School Graduation Ceremony at the KC Hall in Charlevoix. Celebrants
were delighted by the variety of talent that was sharedvia
poetry, music, and song, including students Chris Edgington and
Ten fortunate seniors received diplomas and 18 others received
recognition and awards for completion of the Spring 2004 semester.
The seniors were presented with gifts of Beaver Island Sweatshirts
and Journals. Many received special recognition for their efforts
throughout the semester, and a great feast was had by all.
A few Island residents braved the weather and boated across with
the youth to help celebrate. Four students were given scholarships
to the Bear River Writers Conference, where authors from around
the world conduct workshops. This is the third year the lighthouse
youth received these scholarships, and they will be the only high
schoolers attending. They were Joe Crowe, Billy Joe Wright, Dan
Thiebaut, and Allison Racignol.
John Freeman, Lighthouse visionary and Coordinator for over 27
years, was given a special tribute from Governor Jennifer Granholm,
which was read along with letters from Senator Carl Levin, who
sat on the Save America's Treasures Grant Appropriations
Committee, and Bill Cashman, Director of the Beaver Island Historical
As Governor of Michigan I am pleased to send my appreciation
and recognition for your commitment to restore the Beaver Head
Lighthouse and the Fog Signal Building, Granholm said. As
our state and nation moves forward, it is important to remember
our past as well. Many historic sites and artifacts remind us
of what our society has learned. It allows us to look back at
what shaped our way of life today. You have shown a deep commitment
to preserving our past and for that I am truly grateful. I also
applaud your enthusiasm to include students in the restoration
project. Thanks to your endless energy and inspiring passion,
these landmarks will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
John was given a silver plaque that reads: In recognition of John
Freeman for over 27 years of Vision and Dedication to Beaver Island
Lighthouse School, Summer Programs, Beaver Head Light Station
and historic Structures Restoration Saving America's Treasures.
John also received a photo of the Lighthouse with multiple signatures
from friends from over 27 years. The word Legacy was
used while describing his vision, dedication, and sacrifice on
behalf of the historic site and students whose lives have been
The thing that pleases me most is having students come
back throughout the years to visit the Lighthouse with their own
children, John said. To show them where their lives
were changed and how much the program made a difference. That
is the greatest joy for me.
Many from this class will attend the summer employment opportunity
at the site. Once again a new generation will be added to the
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