Choir & Band Members Perform at Senior Tea

May 28, 2022 - Members of the A.D. Johnston Class of 2022 celebrated their graduation with the return of the annual senior tea on Thursday afternoon at the city hall auditorium.

The event had not been held since 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seniors and their family members were greeted by Sue Abelman, president of the Woman's Club, which sponsors the event. They were then given a brief history of the senior tea, by Char Knaack, the corresponding secretary of the club.

What is now known as the Bessemer Woman's Club Senior Tea began in 1933 as a "Musicale and Tea." That candlelight tea service included music performed on the violin, piano and marimba selections. Funds from that first tea were used to send two students to a summer term at the Interlochen Arts School. For many years, the club has instead presented a scholarship to a senior to attend Gogebic Community College.

This year's recipient was Rachel Nyquist. Nyquist was presented with a bouquet of pink flowers and the scholarship by Joanne Pihlaja, club treasurer of the woman's club. The scholarship will pay for one semester at GCC.

The club also presented retiring high school teachers Tracy and Dave Rowe with a card and a bouquet as a thank you for their 31 years of service to not only the school, but to the community. The club also acknowledge the retirement of first grade teacher Jonelle France, who was not able to attend the event. France also taught for 31 years.

Some of the students sang and played instruments as entertainment for the event under the direction of vocal music instructor Briana Foreman and band instructor Josh Kepich.

After the performances, the students, their families and other guests shared cupcakes, coffee and punch.