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Senior Tea held to honor Bessemer graduates


Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

SUE ABELMAN, president of the Bessemer Woman's Club, left, presents Claire Tourville a scholarship to be used for her education at Gogebic Community College.

BESSEMER — The Woman’s Club of Bessemer hosted the 2014 Senior Tea to honor Bessemer Area School’s graduating seniors, and award a scholarship to one student seeking to further their education at Gogebic Community College.

Sue Abelman, president of the Woman’s Club, said in a small community members of the organization know many of the students. And if they don’t, they know the parents or the grandparents of students.

“We appreciate the students and really wish them the best,” she said, adding that the scholarship is given each year to reflect that appreciation.

This year’s recipient was Claire Tourville. During her education at Bessemer, Tourville participated in basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, track, golf, solo ensemble and performed well academically. The $400 two-semester scholarship will be used by Tourville as she pursues a degree of cosmetology at GCC.

This year’s guest speaker at the event was Catherine Johnson Fisher, who graduated from Bessemer in 1966. Fisher went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Michigan University, and taught in the school systems for 31 years in Marquette.

She told the students that when they graduate they will always be identified as a speedboy or speedgirl.

“It’s such a unique name. Not as common as devils, Midgets or Cardinals, and much classier than the nimrods,” she said jokingly.

She also reminded students of what makes Bessemer what it is.

“It’s the people of the community,” she said. “Your families, neighbors and friends that make Bessemer a wonderful little town.”

The Bessemer Woman’s Club was organized in 1919 and first sponsored a “Musicale and Tea” in 1930 for the community. The first senior tea, as it is known today, was held in the 1960s, and has become an annual event.


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