No decision made for Gogebic Miners football coaches


BESSEMER — The A.D. Johnston library was filled for Monday night’s school board meeting, with the hopes of a new Gogebic Miners (Bessemer-Wakefield-Marenisco) football coach being announced.

A committee was put in place to hire a new football coach, which consists of Bessemer’s Athletic Director Tim France, Principal Dan Vander Velden and board representative Mary Beth Trudgeon. Wakefield-Marenisco’s Supreintendent Cathy Shamion and Athletic Director Mark Lane are also on the committee.

“We had four applicants. … At this time we are not going to recommend anybody,” France said.

“We’ve decided to hold off on the two assistant jobs because we’d like whoever the head coach is to have a say in that process also,” France said. “It makes it easier for the football season when they are working together.”

Parents and players in attendance seemed disappointed to hear the committee was not yet ready to make their recommendations for hire.

Four applications were received, with three applicants having personal interviews.

The three coach candidates include Mel Gilfillan of Rockford, Ill., and Joe Kuklenski and Mark Movrich, both of Bessemer.

The committee hopes to submit a recommendation soon. The school is also seeking a junior high girls basketball coach.

Though a football coach was not hired, the board approved Shely Mettler and Lori Bennetts as girl’s volleyball coaches. Pat Libertoski and Steve Boniface will serve as the junior high football coaches.

“They are all coaches that were in the past and they are continuing on to coach our Speedboys and Speedgirls,” France said.

Key Club presentation

The board heard a presentation from teacher and Key Club Advisor Barb Waara, President Valerie Rowe, Vice President Molly Wieringa and Bulletin Editor Lily Wieringa.

“I said, ‘Well, I can start a Key Club,’” said Waara. “... I was a Key Club advisor at West Iron County for four or five years before I came here and I was a Key Club member in high school.”

Lily showed the crowd in attendance the website and showed how you can access it from the Bessemer Area Schools official website.

The club recently elected new officers for the next year. New officers include: President Caitlyn Pelissero, Vice President Rachel Mazurek, Treasurer Blayne Pellinen and Secretary Maddie Gabka. Lily will continue as Bulletin Editor.

Molly spoke about the main projects the Key Club partakes in, including Project Fuzzy where they make blankets for Dove, an annual can drive and competition, Santa’s Workshop, and Crush Grams for Valentine’s Day.

Waara said they have also held events at local nursing homes, participated in special olympics, helping with the Bessemer Fourth of July, the Sisu ski races and more.

“We’re hoping that, more and more as the word gets out that we’re available to volunteer, more things will come our way, and things that the kids are interested in,” Waara said.

All yearly events are described on the website, and the events are also on the calendar on the website.

Molly also mentioned a possible “Kiss a Senior Good-bye” program where interested individuals can buy chocolate for a senior. There will also be the Kiwanis “Pancake Day” at Tacconelli’s in Ironwood on May 21 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Molly said.

Members of the Key Club also recently went to the regional conference in Green Bay, Wis., where over 700 total students from the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin took part in membership recruitment and leadership skills events. There were also two dances and an awards banquet. Rowe said Bessemer member Chris Alguire was chosen as one of three to perform during the event.

Rowe said the entire event was wonderful.

“It’s not just leading others but working with your club to achieve your goals. Even by doing the littlest things … you make a difference. It all starts with you,” she said. “It really was a life-changing experience. You really can change the world just by doing little things.”

To learn more about the Bessemer Key Club, visit

Other business

Superintendent Dave Radovich recognized Janet Hellman, the physical education teacher at Washington Elementary, for organizing Family Wellness Night, which took place last week.

“She did a nice job getting that organized,” Radovich said.

Vander Velden recognized the academic teams and their accomplishments, especially that of Bessemer’s Math Team most recently.

Bessemer’s Math Team took third place at a tournament in Marquette. They were tied for second place, but had to complete a place-deciding problem.

“Our students tried to hand it in and it was wrong. The other students, I think it was Escanaba, didn’t even try,” Vander Velden said. “So, because we handed in a problem that was wrong, we took third place.”

In other business, the board:

—accepted letters of retirement from Sue Beals and James Partenen and agreed to pay the retirement incentives.

—heard that a committee is working on the 2015-2016 school year calendar. Radovich told the board the school year may extend two weeks into June, as Labor Day falls on Sept. 7 this year.

—received an update from Radovich about safety grants the school has received.

“Most of you are aware that we were awarded the School Safety Grant for $18,000 and I want to put a big thank you out to (Tpr.) Jerry Mazurek. He was a main author of that grant and he carried it through to the people that needed to see it. Jim Loeper was also a significant person in that grant.”

They will prioritize a list of safety upgrades, with further information to be presented at the next regular board meeting.

They also received a grant for 13 night locks for classrooms at the elementary.

—heard an administrative report from Washington Elementary head teacher Diana Hansen. She spoke about education the students have been receiving from Tpr. Jerry Mazurek of the Michigan State Police and how the students have been preparing for M-Step testing, which will take place after Spring Break.

—agreed to pay a bill for the principal and interest on the high school debt before April 24, for a total of $157,416.22. “It’s due before the April meeting,” said business manager Chris Bergquist.

—agreed to let the Gogebic Rangers baseball team use the field.

—discussed a grievance from Barb Waara, who received her professional certification last June, and wants to be paid for that certification/lane change. After the meeting, Waara said “I didn’t know to ask about it” before the school year began last fall.


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