To the Journal editor:
While strolling the perimeter of the Superior Dome, one comes upon a display of three of our counties past luminaries.
All are products of the west end. Michigan's longest serving legislator, Dominic Jacobetti of Negaunee, noted author and Michigan Supreme Court Justice, John Voelker (author Robert Traver) and Clarence "Kelly" Johnson the internationally renown aviation design pioneer of Ishpeming. They could have also added Ishpeming native, nuclear physicist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Glenn Seaborg.
So why is it that small mining communities did and continue to produce such outstanding people? Which leads to the question; Is bigger really better as many elected officials believe?
Being immersed in roles that led to the necessity of delving into the history of our local school district and community, several factors surfaced as to just why successful people continue to appear as leaders locally, nationally and internationally. In our school system one factor is dominant. Stability. To establish stability a body requires loyalty and commitment. This has been most visible in the Ishpeming School System.
During its 125 year history, the district has had only 13 administrative leaders. Of these 13 superintendents, one served an interim term of only two months. Also, Francis Dishnow, a 15 year employee of the district passed away suddenly during his third year as the district's leader. The present superintendent, Dr. Stephen Piereson, is serving his 23rd year. (He may be the dean of superintendents in the U.P.)
Ishpeming continues to produce pathfinders and leaders. An array of fine doctors went across the Peterson Auditorium stage on Commencement Night in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the likes of Han, Koenig, Dellangelo, Narotzky, Beinlich to name a few. Also, business leaders like Gary Anderson, retired CEO of Dow-Corning and others. Look around you.
Educational leaders emanating out of IHS are and have been filling roles in the county for many years. God willing and with continued community support, this successful endeavor will continue.
What is clear on the west end is that the competition between the likes of Ishpeming, Negaunee and NICE stoke the fires to succeed. To lose such a strong factor from the ingredients of success would be a deadly blow to our educational systems.
Let us continue to do friendly battle in the academic and other areas of interschool competition while continuing our march toward excellence.