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Pathfinder Awards presented

February 25, 2012
By JEREMY KINS - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The quest for peace is one of the hardest things a person will do.

That's the message that Steubenville High School essay winner Joshua Fordham read aloud on Friday at the 19th-annual Pathfinder Award Ceremony held in the high school auditorium.

"Peace and justice start from within and works its way out," read Fordham. "It will take every race in the world to come together, to encourage one another, to support one another in order for peace and justice to be fulfilled."

Article Photos

HONORED — Steubenville High School presented its 19th-annual Pathfinder Awards on Friday. Recipients are, from left, James Baber, executive vice president for academic and student affairs at the Eastern Gateway Community College; Elver D. Lee on behalf of Anthony Fletcher, intervention cardiologist at the Cardiology and Medicine Clinic in Little Rock, Ark.; Helen Montgomery, owner of MaeBelle’s Wig and Beauty Supply in Steubenville; Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College; and Amos Gregory, retired owner of Gregory Funeral Home in Steubenville and current member of the Weirton Transit Board. - Jeremy Kins

The Pathfinder Awards are given to Big Red graduates or city residents who have enhanced the community's culture and fostered improvement in citizenship/government, education, arts, business and humanity.

Five were honored at this year's ceremony. They are James Baber and Laura Meeks, education; Anthony Fletcher, humanitarian; and Amos Gregory and Helen Montgomery, business.

Baber, executive vice president for academic and student affairs at the Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, reminded the students of SHS that school can be fun and exciting.

"School allows you to ask questions and get answers. You can learn something that you can take with you for the rest of your life," said Baber. "In the deep South we didn't have a lot of the opportunities that you are presented with. You'll need these opportunities."

Baber earned his bachelor's degree in education from Jackson State College and a master's degree in counseling from Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. In 1994, he obtained his doctorate degree in adult and continuing education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Baber's teaching experience extends from 1977 to 2001, when he taught courses such as history, career and guidance, developmental math and African-American history. In addition, he has held positions as the project director of special services at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Natchez, Miss; basic skills coordinator of Project Advance, director of Learning Assistance Center and Partners in Education program, assistant dean of academic support programs/developmental education at Triton College in River Grover, Ill.; vice president and dean on academic instruction at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas; and dean on instruction within the Metropolitan Community Colleges District, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, Miss.

Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, emphasized to students that respect is something that has to be earned.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steubenville High School. Thirteen years ago I didn't know about this place, but I heard about the football team," Meeks said.

"I'm amazed and respect the clubs, band, teachers and staff. I saw plays by talented and gifted students. Your alumni are unsurpassed. Gov. Kasich was right to select this place for his speech. The students and the schools reflect its quality," said Meeks.

She is a 1966 graduate of Rush City High School in Rush City, Minn. Following high school she earned a bachelor's degree in speech from the University of Minnesota, a master's degree in rhetoric and an education specialist's degree from Pittsburgh State University and a doctor of philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction from Kansas State University. Meeks served as president of Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan., and was vice president of instruction at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash. She served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. Currently she is serving on the American Association of Community Colleges' national working group for the Voluntary Framework of Accountability. She is a past president of the board of the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education.

Fletcher, intervention cardiologist at the Cardiology and Medicine Clinic in Little Rock, Ark., was unable to attend the ceremony. His award was accepted by friend Elver D. Lee, who expressed thanks on behalf of Fletcher.

Fletcher earned his bachelor's degree cum laude from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 1976. Later, he earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1980. Fletcher continued with his internship at the George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C., from 1981-83. He served a fellowship in cardiology at Georgetown University Hospital and the Georgetown V.A. Program in Washington, D.C., from 1983-85. Fletcher served as associate professor at the University of Arkansas Medical Center in the division of cardiology; staff physician at the Arkansas Heart Hospital, St. Vincent Informatory and the Baptist Medical Center.

Gregory, retired owner of the Gregory Funeral Home in Steubenville and current member of the Weirton Transit Board, kept his remarks brief and succinct offering well wishes and thanks.

"I am both honored and appreciative (to receive the award)," said Gregory. "I wish the seniors and students of Steubenville High School success in all that they do."

Gregory is a 1951 graduate of Liberty High School in Williamson, W.Va. Following high school he spent the next two years studying at Wilberforce University. From there he continued his studies earning a degree in mortuary science from Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1966, the Gregory Funeral Home was established in Steubenville and in 1998 it merged with L-C Williams Funeral Home. Gregory continued in the business until his retirement in 2008. He is a military veteran.

Montgomery, owner of MaeBelle's Wig and Beauty Supply in Steubenville, said she is honored to have received the Pathfinder Award and she thanked her parents for raising her "the correct way."

Montgomery is a graduate of Steubenville High School and attended the Virginia Ferro School of Cosmetology in Lincoln Park, Mich., and finished her training at the Clark Gilbert and Silverthorn School of Cosmetology in Steubenville.

She opened MaeBelle's Wig and Beauty Supply, naming her business after her mother, in 1999 in Steubenville. After five years, she expanded the business with her brother, Elder Robert Montgomery, by offering wearing apparel for men and women.

"You can achieve anything with life if you put your mind to it," said Montgomery.

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