Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Lac Vieux Desert gives to Watersmeet School

WATERSMEET — The Lac Vieux Desert Tribe continued its longstanding relationship with Watersmeet Township Schools by sharing a portion of its semi-annual revenue fund with them.

Twice a year, the tribe presents the money, also known as 2 percent funds, to local units of government as part of a 1994 compact with the state.

This year, tribal member Henry Smith said it presented the school with a check of $174,000.

Using a portion of the 2 percent funds, George Peterson, Watersmeet K-12 principal and athletic director, said the K-12 school renovated the gym floor.

On Thursday, tribal members Cheryl McGeshick, Mitchell McGeshick, Smith and Anna McGeshick visited the school to see the newly refinished gym floor, made possible by the funds. Cheryl McGeshick said she liked the new floor and it will make Nimrod fans proud.

“Every time we do an improvement, whether it’s the gym floor or the scoreboard, it makes fans proud,” she said.

The finished product has the school’s Nimrod, or mighty hunter, logo in the center. The word “Nimrod” and the Michigan High School Athletic Association logo are located at both sides of the court. The circle around each free throw line is painted like a basketball.

Keeping with school colors, the sidelines, three-point lines and key are blue, while the volleyball court lines are yellow.

With a new floor, Peterson said students are excited to begin the new basketball season and the school year.

“They couldn’t wait to get out there,” he said. “They’re coming in and drooling. When Anna (McGeshick’s) son came, he took his shoes off because he didn’t want to scratch the floor.”

In the past, Peterson said the LVD tribe provided the K-12 school necessary funds for numerous improvements, including: a weight room on a sports deck above the gym, the playground, three computer labs, a Native American studies program and after-school and in-school tutoring.

“It’s a great relationship,” Peterson said. “The bottom line is it benefits the kids.”

Since 1994, the tribe has donated more than $6 million in 2 percent funds for the school, the township and beyond. The LVD tribe has provided funds for township sewer upgrades, snowmobile trails and grooming, firefighting equipment and other causes. Cheryl McGeshick said she’s proud of the driver’s education program they’ve funded.

“To us, in Watersmeet, the average person doesn’t make enough money for their child to take driver’s education class,” she said. “(With a) driver’s license, you can use that to go to school or work.”

Outside the township, revenue has gone to Iron County, Mich., for a Zamboni, to McMillan Township for economic development and the Bessemer Area Schools, for a computer lab.