Numerous volunteer hours and Van-Far’s community support culminated in the Van-Far Alumni and Friends Association’s ribbon cutting ceremony held on Sunday, September 27 at the high school in Vandalia.
The event came after the first phase of the engraved brick walkway and flag pole renovation project was completed.
The project included the sale of the first 170 engraved bricks for one walkway, 15 yards of concrete poured, and 65 tons of rock hauled. All labor and trucking were donated by people of the Van-Far R-I School District.
“I’m honored by your participation today,” said Van-Far Superintendent Chris Felmlee at the ceremony. “It humbles me. Furthermore I’m honored to know the alumni and friends at Van-Far have stepped up to answer the call. Today’s decimation of our flagpole is just one event of the many great things they will do and they have done. I’m excited about the incredible involvement of our community. I would like to thank everyone who has helped with this project..It brings a sense of security to know that the support of the community is there.”
With the assistance of Van-Far School Board President Christy Nelson and Superintendent Felmlee, engraved brick committee members Jim Deppe and his son Jason, Larry and Nancy Nation, Loralee Adam, and Brenda Owens took part in the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Van-Far Alumni and Friends’ First President Muriel Beshears presented the committee members and High School Principal Cindy Pirch with official replicas of a John Stuckey print produced for last year’s 50th anniversary event for the building. Beshears also recognized Jim Deppe with a $100 lifetime membership to the association for all of his hard work and countless hours on the project.
“It’s with deep appreciation I present this to all of these people who’ve worked so very, very, very hard,” Beshears said. “Although this committee has worked very hard, it always takes a leader to get things in order. (Jim Deppe) donated all of his time to the project and we cannot begin to thank him enough.”
The ceremony began with the Chiefs Band presenting “Into the Storm.” After Felmlee addressed the large Sunday afternoon crowd, Eagle Scouts David Hall and Spencer Trower raised the United States and State of Missouri flags on the refurbished flag pole.
The Chiefs Band played the National Anthem that was followed by Dr. Randall Kristofferon’s dedication remarks and a music selection by Brian Hummel before the cutting of the ribbon. Refreshments were served in the cafeteria and tours were also given with the help of the Van-Far Hawthorne Chapter of the National Honor Society.
In Kristofferson’s dedication, he told the crowd of his past involvement in education and noted how students attending small schools receive a specialized attention not received in larger school districts. He also noted the donation of labor and equipment on a project like this does not usually come without a price tag in a big school district.
He added that he was a part of the group who first put the previous flagpole memorial in when the Wilburn family dedicated the area to the late Danny and Kayla Wilburn, who were tragically killed in an automobile accident.
“To those of you who had anything to do with this up here; it’s absolutely fantastic,” Kristofferson said. “I was a part of that group that planted the first thing and it was about the size of this inner circle and it served us well. But this is really, really great and you did a fantastic job on this.”
Find more fun stories of the past by purchasing archives access at https://circulation.lakewaypublishers.com/ncs/uss2eefllogin.cshtml?Dir=TVL&Subscription=4