Farmington Schools honors two senior volunteers

Farmington Public Schools on Tuesday recognized the contributions of volunteers John Weigel and Betty Bemis with Senior Adult Extraordinaire Awards.

Farmington Schools Senior Extraordinaire Award
Farmington Schools Superintendent George Heitsch (center) presents John Weigel, left, and Betty Bemis, right, with Senior Extraordinaire Awards. (submitted photo)

Presented during the 21st Annual Senior Adult Forum Breakfast, the award honors senior adults who volunteer their time and talents to enhancing educational activities for students. Seniors who attended the event at the Costick Center in Farmington Hills also heard information about the school district, interacted with students and school personnel, and enjoyed musical performances by the Farmington High School Orchestra, under the direction of Alice Ju, and the Harrison High School Choir, under the direction of Tom Schroeder.

John Weigel Senior Extraordinaire Award
John Weigel, center, is pictured with Gill Elementary principal Chris Suliman, left, and nominator Renee Moreau-Decator, right. (submitted photo)

Weigel has volunteered at Gill Elementary School for the past eight years, helping children with a variety of academic needs in small groups and one-on-one. Renee Moreau-Decator, second grade teacher, nominated him.

“Mr. Weigel is more than special, he is extraordinary,” she said. “Not only has he helped children with their assignments, but he has built relationships with them. He is truly a part of our school family.”

“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award,” Weigel said. “I really enjoy working with children. They are a treasure. Some days, they teach me more than I teach them.”

Betty Bemis Senior Extraordinaire Award
Betty Bemis, left, is pictured with Power Middle School principal Allyson Robinson. (submitted photo)

Bemis was chosen for her commitment to the school community and her natural ability to educate students. A retired Farmington Public Schools teacher, she began volunteering two years ago with Lanigan Elementary School students who have multiple impairments (SXI). When the SXI program moved to Power Upper Elementary School and now Power Middle School, she moved with it, helping students during lunch and adapted physical education.

“She is an outstanding model of our vision statement Education, Respect, Independence, and Belonging, said Vitas Underys, SXI Teacher at Power and nominator. “Betty is always looking to educate students with respect and encourage independence, never forgetting that they are cared for and they belong to the community. The student’s days are emptier on the days that Betty is not here.”

“The students I work with are such special students,” Bemis said. “They give me much more than I give them.”

Past winners of the Senior Adult Extraordinaire award include: Lorice Khoury, Bob Long, Dianne Long, Nancy Waldman, Ray Okonski, Marge Whittemore, Nancy Leflar, Michael Liebowitz, Diane DeSousa, Allan Whittemore, Virginia Starr, Lincoln Avery, Leona Goetzke, Demetra Mehas, Tina Mehas and Toula Mehas.