Huntington, Ind.— In Homecoming ceremonies today, Huntington College Alumni Director Margaret Roush announced that Dawn Rae Smith has been named Alumnus of the Year. Roush also announced that Lola Lee Peters was selected to receive the College’s Distinguished Alumni Citation.
The evening ceremony was attended by approximately 100 alumni and was officiated by Dr. Steven Marlow, Alumni Association president.
Below are the citations, which were read in honor of the recipients.
HUNTINGTON COLLEGE ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
Dawn Rae Smith
October 2, 2004
Each year the Alumni Association of Huntington College recognizes one of its own for outstanding achievement or honor during the past year. Individuals who receive this award represent the ideals of Huntington College through their profession or through some other area of service. The 2004 Alumnus of the Year Award is awarded to Dawn Rae Smith.
Dawn Smith, a 1968 graduate, is an elementary school teacher whose global vision and compassion has helped students across the world. Inspired by her daughter’s experiences in sponsoring needy children, Dawn took the initiative to start a Pen Pal Club between her fifth-grade students and a group of twenty-five poor, hungry students in Uganda. These African students, many of whom were orphans, lived in a remote, mountaintop village and could not afford books or school supplies. Dawn’s small outreach soon expanded significantly until all her students at the middle school had a pen pal in the village of Bukimwanga.
Dawn and her students strived to find ways to support their new friends across the world. World Gospel Mission in Marion, Indiana, answered Dawn’s prayers when they agreed to become a partner in the effort to help African students. Through special fund-raising days, garage sales, Pen Pal breakfasts and the help of local churches, money was soon raised to provide the African students with a school lunch. Eventually, a six-room school was built and a project for clean drinking water was completed.
Dawn, her Pen Pal Club and local churches also helped provide a wheelchair for a crippled village boy, sent hundreds of books to the Ugandan children and raised money to build a sanitary latrine. Dawn’s school children continue to provide support to their African pen pals by sending them gifts, buying them school uniforms, praying for them and sharing their love. The Pen Pal Club motto is “Doing the Write Thing.”
Dawn is currently working with Global Youth Ministry to match schools, church groups and clubs with needy villages. She hopes to spread the Pen Pal Club ministry and see more children on both sides of the ocean learn from others and change each other’s lives.
Dawn Smith, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Huntington College Alumni Association, and in recognition of your outstanding leadership and service to impact your world for Christ, I present you with the Huntington College Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year award.
HUNTINGTON COLLEGE DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI CITATION
Lola Lee Peters
October 2, 2004
The Distinguished Alumni Citation recognizes each year alumni of Huntington College for distinguished service and achievement over an extended period of time. The individuals who receive this award represent the ideals of Huntington College through their profession or through other areas of service. The 2004 Distinguished Alumni Citation is awarded to Lola Lee Peters.
Lola Peters, a 1949 graduate, is honored for her work with mentally handicapped students. Lola served as Treasurer for the United Brethren Mission Department and taught for four years in elementary schools before first stepping into a moderately mentally handicapped classroom in 1968. As one of Huntington County’s first special education teachers, Lola then took on the challenge of developing and teaching her own curriculum to those students.
After those initial experiences in a mentally handicapped classroom, Lola furthered her education by receiving her certification in special education and a master’s degree from Indiana University. Her efforts as a special education teacher earned her the Apple Award from the Huntington County Teachers Association. Later, Lola was asked to teach special education at Huntington North High School as part of a pilot project in Indiana. Lola spoke at state and local meetings concerning the project, which soon developed into a beneficial experience for both her class and other students at the high school.
Always looking for ways to extend her students’ life experiences, Lola organized special outings and excursions. She held graduation services for her students, hosted formal Christmas parties in her home, planned overnight trips to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and took her students to major league baseball games. Lola also helped her older students to attend a work program to prepare for life after high school and introduced her students to home economics, art and physical education.
Lola’s work garnered the attention of Scripture Press in Wheaton, Ill., who asked her to develop Sunday School lessons for the mentally handicapped and to speak at several National Sunday School Conventions. Lola’s passion to help her students achieve their full potential and develop a positive self-image also earned her the Herbert Lamont Award in 2002 from Pathfinder Services in Huntington.
Lola Peters, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Huntington College Alumni Association, and in recognition of your outstanding leadership and service to impact your world for Christ, I present you with the Huntington College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Citation.