This Sunday at First United Methodist Church, we're having our annual Senior Recognition Sunday. This is the day when we honor the graduates in our congregation and wish them well on their future endeavors after they leave Mason. It's always a fun service, filled with poignant recollections and humorous anecdotes about those graduates and their journey at FUMC.
The Senior Recognition Sunday for 2014 has a very special and very addition to the normal celebrations. We will also be celebrating the 15th year of our Steady Steps Weekday Ministry. A large number of this year's graduating class were in the first 3-year-old class at Steady Steps when it began. Those youth have proven to be remarkable young adults, and we are duly proud of their accomplishments.
I was on our Education Committee when we started discussing the need for a daycare facility in Mason. FUMC had operated a very successful daycare several years prior under the guidance of the wonderful Harriet Lange. We knew that to be truly successful again, and to have the staying power that would be needed in our community, we had to build upon that model.
Our pastor's wife, Kercida McLain, was a driving force on the Education Committee and our endeavors. She helped us realize that Mason didn't just need a daycare center, it needed a preschool that operated within Christian precepts and would be a place that parents could allow their children to learn the ABCs, and their Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
We approved the plan, began making facility decisions, started the preliminary steps to obtaining licensing; and, the daunting task of finding a director who would be able to bring our dream to fruition. Our prayers were answered when Margaret McMillan Persky accepted the position.
To years of Mason children, she is Miss Persky. She hit the ground running, started finding ways to obtain funding that would allow for tuition on a graduated income scale, got us our first license, obtained grants that paid for materials and basic needs, and turned Steady Steps into a huge success.
It started with little things. Teachers would comment on how they could spot the kids from Steady Steps by their good behavior, their grasp of the basic concepts they needed to learn, and their understanding of cooperating with classmates and teachers. Then we heard that the behaviors included the children saying grace before their meals. It included youngsters who didn't argue or fight. It was just little comments; but, we knew that Steady Steps was making an impression.
The children were Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Church of Christ, Catholic. Many were from families that were seeking church homes, and the teaching that their children received helped them come together as a family to make those faith decisions.
The fundraisers that were held weren't Methodist fundraisers, they were Steady Steps fundraisers, and everyone in the community came together to make sure this valuable resource prospered and grew. Those first nine years were all under the guidance of Margaret Persky and she, along with dedicated individuals from FUMC and the Mason Community, laid the foundation for something that is still growing and prospering today.
On Sunday, we at FUMC invite everyone to come by and help us honor our three graduating seniors. We also invite you to help us honor and celebrate the ten graduates who were in that beginning class of Steady Steps. Come and see what beautiful and successful adults they have become.
They are: Catherine Bjork, Lydia Bierschwale, Claudia Canfield, Traci Jordan, Kelly Kothmann, Drigo Martinez, Ethan McKinney, Raena Moneyhon, Price Ruffin and Emmie Schmidt.
And they belong to all of us.
It’s all just my opinion.