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C onnection The Portage Portage Public Schools Alumni E-Magazine

Emily (Wagner) Linnert Northern ‘95

Lisa Byington Northern ‘94

Spring 2012 • Volume 2 • No. 2

What’s Inside

• Alumni profiles • Campus news • District news • Class notes

Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin Northern ‘81

C onnection The Portage

On the Cover


Emily (Wagner) Linnert, Lisa Byington, and Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin, shown making an impact through their media careers.

Dear Alums, Welcome to this fourth edition of your alumni e-magazine, which has now been read by more than 6,000 of you (with literally tens of thousands of page views). It has been wonderful to see this publication flourish, winning a top state award in electronic communications and helping to connect our alumni from coast to coast. The culmination of everything we do here at Portage Schools results in graduation from high school, which is the time we begin to think about our graduating seniors as our new alumni. I had the privilege to speak at all three graduation ceremonies this year, and it is a truly humbling experience. Indeed, it is perhaps the most emotional event of the school year, seeing how our students have grown and matured into educated adults bound for college, job training, or the workforce. While our amazing faculty (of whom more than 70% have earned their master’s degrees) and staff give of themselves throughout a student’s K-12 experience, it becomes evident at graduation how our seniors and soon-to-be alumni are already giving back to their schools and our community in a variety of ways. And thanks to The Portage Connection, it is wonderful to see how our alums are giving back and making their marks in their communities and professions across the nation. Portage Schools is proud of this great legacy of education and service, and we celebrate it within these pages. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Enjoy summer!

Richard Perry, Ed.D 2

The Portage Connection

Spring Issue 2012

Volume 2 • No. 2 The Portage Connection is published for Alumni, Friends and Parents of Portage Public Schools by the Office of Community Relations. The publication includes information on graduates from Portage Northern, Central and Community high schools. We would greatly appreciate your assistance in our efforts to reach out to alumni by forwarding this e-magazine.


Your Portage Connection received a top award in electronic communications from the Michigan School PR Association


Greg Hill District Information Coordinator

Contributing Writers Connie Livingston Tom Vance

Special Thanks

To Mlive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette

Questions or Comments

Please direct questions or comments to Greg Hill at

Portage Public Schools 8111 South Westnedge Ave. Portage, MI 49002 phone: (269) 323-5000 fax: (269) 323-5001

Contents 2

Welcome Portage Public Schools Superintentent, Richard Perry, Ed.D


Portage Alumni Making an Impact in Media


Campus Scene

Scotty Melvin, Lisa Byington, & Emily (Wagner) Linnert

News from Portage Central


Campus Scene






Alumni Profile


News from Portage Northern

Varl Wilkinson

Dave Reeves

Art O’Leary (PC ‘03)


Class notes


PAF Golf Outing


Stay Informed with Portage Schools

News from alumni by decade


21st Annual

Resources to help you keep up-to-date with the District


Spring 2012


Alumni in media...

High School broadcasting experience launches impressive media careers

Melvin, Byington, and (Wagner) Linnert Northern, ’81, ’94, ‘95

By Connie Livingston


single teacher really can influence an entire life. In the 1970’s James Menchinger, then Northern teacher and visionary, started a broadcasting program that has produced a steady stream of talented communication professionals. Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin ‘81, Lisa Byington ’94, and Emily (Wagner) Linnert ‘95 are quick to credit Menchinger for igniting their broadcasting passions. Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin The year was 1978 and, through his own admission, Scotty Melvin was lacking direction. “Menchinger saw the entertainer in me and soon I was hosting a 30-minute lunchtime radio broadcast that lasted daily for the next three years,” said Melvin. “I wanted to be that funny guy making jokes on the radio and Menchinger made me believe it could happen.” After attending Western Michigan University and serving in the United States Air Force, Melvin launched his radio career on the overnight shift at WRKR— Kalamazoo’s famed rock


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station. Melvin crafted his ‘air personality’ early on, which eventually made him a local celebrity. “I was able to develop my mix of jokes, outrageous commentary and wacky celebrity persona all while operating under the cover of a 12am-6am time slot,” he says. By 1990 Scotty ‘Bud’ had earned the coveted spot of morning show host, a gig that ran an unheard of 15 years. “I did some wild stuff over the years in an effort to promote the show, like when a crane dipped me

Alumni in media... into a giant vat of chocolate,” Melvin says with a laugh. But surprisingly, his fondest career moments stem not from the jokes or pranks, but from the opportunities to be a celebrity fundraiser. Melvin recounts, “all of the times I was Santa Clause receiving hundreds of letters and hand delivering presents. Five years in a row I lived in a card board box for Thanksgiving weekend to raise food and clothing donations for the homeless. I feel fortunate that my local celebrity afforded me the opportunity to be part of so much good.” Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin has held just about every position in the industry, including program director, morning show host, and sports director. He is currently program director for Kalamazoo’s Real Rock Station, 92.5 WZUU FM. He is also voice talent and producer in his own voice-over business, Northern is once again helping to develop a Melvin talent. Scotty and Kimberly Melvin’s daughter Samantha attends Northern where she is participating in musical theater and forensics.

with the Big Ten Network. “I believe that people are successful when they have a vision for their life and the confidence to do it,” explains Byington. “I was taught to never say no to opportunity and I surely have benefited from that principle.”

I believe that people are successful when they have a vision for their life and the confidence to do it.

Byington had abundant opportunities at Northern. Menchinger suggested she compete in forensics and in her very first year of competition she became the State Oratory Champion with a speech appropriately themed ‘just do it.’ And she seized the opportunity to speak at her own graduation. During Byington’s senior year, Menchinger encouraged her to host

Lisa Byington Lisa Byington is another product of the Menchinger broadcasting machine, though he gives all the credit to her. “Lisa Byington is one impressive young lady—she was a champion before I even met her,” said Menchinger. “While at Northern she was an accomplished athlete, a scholar and a forensics state champion. Lisa’s career is a compilation of all three pieces.” Byington is currently a high profile freelance journalist doing most of her work as a studio host, play-byplay announcer, and sideline reporter

Spring 2012


Alumni in media... the morning video announcements. “I remember starting each broadcast with our backs to the camera and we would swivel around as part of the entertainment factor,” she recalls. “Mench (as many of the students called him) gave me an opportunity to hone my skills on camera and build confidence.” Lisa Byington was also part of an amazing athletic accomplishment at Northern. She played on the women’s basketball team that progressed from obscurity to state finalist in four short years. The team had a vision and the players had the confidence to make it happen. In the end, she had earned All State Athletic honors and a scholarship to play basketball at prestigious Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Byington took advantage of one of the very best Journalism schools in the country, earning both a Bachelor and Master of Science in Journalism. She also had the rare opportunity to play both Division 1 basketball during her undergraduate years and Division 1 soccer while in graduate school. Byington started her broadcasting career as a weekend sports anchor and reporter in Alpena, Mich. She quickly jumped to a much bigger market in Lansing—WLNS. She spent nearly a decade there cultivating high school human interest stories, reporting state titles, and sharing the college sports scene from East Lansing to Ann Arbor. Byington was on the football sidelines reporting for the Big Ten 6

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Network during its launching weekend back in 2007. Lisa Byington has had the opportunity to cover the Super Bowl in Detroit, the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup, and the Detroit Pistons during their reign. However, she will tell you that the ‘little stories’ give her the most pride. “It is most satisfying to tell the stories of the people we don’t know,” she comments. “The athletes who overcome great odds to achieve their own visions and seize their own opportunities are the ones who make the best stories.”

Emily (Wagner) Linnert Just one year behind Byington at Northern was Emily Wagner. “You are perfect for television,” Menchinger told Emily (Wagner) Linnert. “People feel good being around Emily. She has ‘off the charts’ likeability—a necessity for television anchors,” and Menchinger certainly got that one right. With a telecommunications degree from Michigan State University and an opportune snow storm, Linnert launched her television anchor career. “It was December 2000 and I was working as the assistant to the assignment editor at WLNS in Lansing when a giant snow storm rolled in. I was the only person who

made it into work that morning so they had to put me on air,” says Linnert. “And essentially, I have never been off.” Linnert spent several years as a morning news anchor in Lansing before joining WOOD TV 8. She is currently the much beloved co-anchor for both the morning news broadcast and the noon show. “Mench was the most wonderful teacher I have ever had,” she said. “He encouraged me to try forensics and broadcasting—I loved it. I gained the confidence I needed to chase my dreams of becoming an anchor. He opened so many doors for me and I walked through them.”

“ “ I always felt like a winner at Northern. I’m still so proud to be a Huskie.

Menchinger implemented a sure-fire method of preparing his students for success. He would rotate eight student anchors throughout the year teaching them to write scripts, produce and face the camera with only 20 minutes to showtime. “I learned to banter on camera with

my fellow co-anchors and to deliver under time pressures,” Linnert explained. “Skills I use everyday today.” Emily (Wagner) Linnert is a local celebrity but she could not be more real. She is married, has two daughters and is like so many other mothers trying to balance work and home. She views her early morning schedule—into work at 3:30 am-- as a blessing. “I am home by 1:00 pm every day and I even have the same bed time as my children,” she jokes. “I always felt like a winner at Northern. I am still so proud to be a Huskie,” says Linnert. She also competed in softball and was voted the student with ‘most school spirit’ by her senior class. She stays in touch with many of her Northern friends, including Lisa Byington.

Spring 2012


Campus Scene

Portage Central Phantom was here. And he left his mark…


his year’s musical production of Phantom of the Opera was an astounding success. In fact, it made Portage Central History. Kathy Mulay, the show’s director and producer, decided to hold the show over not once, but twice. That meant that these outstanding and talented students performed a total of 12 shows in three weeks. Not only that but it is also the first time Mulay has announced a hold-over show before the first performance! Here are a few statistics about the show: • Due to its elaborate set, this production “set- shared” with Walled Lake Western High School who did the same production in the fall. • The PCHS Auditorium seats about 850, with the added seating that went into each show almost 10,000 people came out to see Phantom of the Opera.

• The entire cast were current students of Portage Central High School • The orchestra was so large it would not fit in the “pit” so they had to be moved across the hall to the choir room and the sound was carried in. This was done for the comfort of the orchestra. The larger room also provided for better acoustics. • 45% of the original run dates, which equals about 2,500 tickets, sold within the first 6 hours of sales and within the first week, 95% of the tickets for the first six seats were sold “Of course, these numbers are impressive but what really matters is the experience this provided to our kids. Thank you for your support of their talents, passions, and education. We couldn’t have done it without you.” ~Kathy Mulay


The Portage Connection

to bring stories from the early days of Portage Central, Portage High, Portage Township, and Portage Agricultural, copies of pictures from alumni, life stories, school letters, class rings, school letters in sports or band, etc. to help complete this display.

Mustang Historical Committee We are beginning this collection process; nothing


he Mustang Alumni Association, through the work of its historical committee - the committee responsible for historical collection on behalf of Portage Central High School - has been working with Steve Rossio at the Portage District Library to establish a “Living Memory� section in the Library. This section will serve as the home for all memorabilia collected from graduates or their families of graduates of Portage Central High School. The Mustang Association is planning to offer this section within the Library and to seek any memorabilia to fill it. All donated items will be documented within the Library system and made available to the general public for viewing. We encourage you

will be turned away as all items are valuable in the long, tedious, and extremely important process of maintaining and reclaiming our history as Mustangs. So, if you have any more information or would like to donate, please contact the Mustang Association or historical chairperson, Phyllis Lightvoet at


MustangAssociation For Alumni of Portage Central High School

Contact The Mustang Association Portage Central High School Attn: Kent White 8135 S. Westnedge Ave Portage, MI 49002 269.323.5265 high/chs/community/alumni Spring 2012


Campus Scene

Portage Northern Huskies Win State Championship, Again!


he school district now boasts 50 state championships in its 90-year-history, with the recent state title in Forensics – again! – by Northern High School. This win is not only Northern High School’s 11th consecutive state title in forensics, but is also the 14th state title in the team’s 47-year history.

students received individual trophies in various categories. Nearly 70 schools and more than 700 students throughout Michigan competed in the state tournament.

In addition to winning the state title as a team, Kristen Norris captured an individual state “I could not be more proud of this title in dramatic amazing group of students, our outstandinterpretation, 15 ing coaching staff, and our wonderful, participants won honors as members supportive parents.” of the two multiple ~ Laurel Scheidt performance teams, and 18 other

Northern’s forensics team is led by head coach Laurel Scheidt, who was the 2011 Michigan Speech Coach of the Year, assisted by the talented team of assistant coaches: James Menchinger (inducted into the National Forensics League Hall of Fame last year), Brian Snell, Michael Scheidt, Robert Weiner, Tara Heywood, Ellie Messinger, Chris Wessell, and Adrian Blazek.

Group photo of the Northern Forensics Team following the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association State Finals tournament held at Western Michigan University on May 4th and 5th. 10

The Portage Connection

Danielle Melgar and Karli Fisher after a muddy 8-0 PN win over Niles

Northern High Ranked 10th Best High School in the State


S News & World Report issued its annual report for top high schools in the nation. Northern High was ranked 10th in the State. On a national level, Northern was ranked 539th out of 22,000 schools surveyed earning them Silver recognition by the magazine. No other area high school made the rankings. Check out the US News Article here: rankings


Breadlift 2

Portage Northern Varsity Volleyball #1 GPA in the State


t is part of the culture that we are trying to build" said Varsity Volleyball Head Coach Dave Laing regarding Portage Northern being ranked #1 in the State for overall GPA. The team topped all Varsity Volleyball squads with a staggering 4.13 GPA. A complete List of Schools and the Rankings can be found on the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association website

Winterfest 2012 ac tiv


Spring 2012


Varl Wilkinson Former Portage schools superintendent Varl Wilkinson guided district through growth years until 1970 Published by MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette April 27, 2012 By Dave Person PORTAGE — Warren Lawrence’s knees were knocking when as a Portage High School senior he walked into the school superintendent’s office and made his confession. As he had driven into the parking lot of the school that dark and foggy morning 60 years ago, he hadn’t realized that new metal light posts had been erected there and he had run squarely into one, toppling it onto his car. In fact, it was still lying on his 1937 Ford as he related the story to Superintendent Varl O. Wilkinson, who suggested the two of them go out and take a look at the damage. What Lawrence didn’t expect was Wilkinson’s reaction when they arrived at the scene of the accident. “He laughed and then he said, ‘Well, we can take care of that,’” Lawrence recalled recently. “I never, never, never forgot that.” Lawrence went on to teach in the Portage Public Schools under Wilkinson for a half-dozen years before finishing his career with the Kalamazoo Valley Intermediate School District. “He was an outstanding school administrator and an outstanding person — a very warm, caring person,” Lawrence said of Wilkinson, who died April 4 at the age of 96. Lawrence was not the only person that Wilkinson, who served as Portage’s superintendent for nearly a quarter of a century, impressed with his personality and leadership skills. “What’s wonderful about (the historical perspective imparted by) Varl is knowing you’d get through difficult situations and life would go on,” said Eric Alburtus, principal of Portage Central High School, who struck up a friendship with Wilkinson in recent years as work progressed on the new Central High that opened last fall. Wilkinson returned to Portage from his retirement home in Grand Ledge for the groundbreaking three years ago, a sockhop farewell to the old school last spring and grand opening ceremonies for the new school last summer. “He was, right to the end, a very bright, thoughtful, funny man,” Alburtus said. “I learned a lot from him. ... I was really lucky to get to know him.” Portage’s fourth superintendent, Wilkinson served longer than any other person in that position — 23 years, from 1947 to 1970 — and shepherded the district through a period of tremendous growth. 12 The Portage Connection

The student population went from about 1,200 students to more than 10,000 and the number of school buildings from three to 15, including a second high school, during his tenure. “There was never a time that we grew faster than when Varl was here,” Alburtus said. A native of Baldwin who earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, Wilkinson spent eight years in Ortonville, in Oakland County, where he advanced from teacher and coach to high school principal and then superintendent before coming to Portage. After he left Portage, he spent 11 years as deputy director of the Michigan Association of School Boards before he retired in 1981. In his later years he was a member and participated in the choir at Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church. Sports, academics and family were all important parts of Wilkinson’s life. Valedictorian of the Baldwin High School class of 1933, he earned a temporary teaching certificate from Ferris State University in 1934 and played basketball for the school, and then spent one year at Western, where he was a member of the baseball team. After that he took a job teaching in a one-room country school in Peacock while at the same time working at his parents’ general store for two years to help get his older sister through school. Then with financial support from his sister once she got a teaching job, he returned to Western, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1939. At Ortonville, he met his future wife, Nancy, who also was a new teacher there. Wed in 1940, they were married for 68 years before her death. They had four daughters. Betty Ongley, hired by Wilkinson as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Portage schools, became a close friend of the family and taught the Wilkinsons’ daughters in Sunday school. “He was a warm, loving father,” she said. Wilkinson is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Eileen Wilkinson and John Ducmanis, of Ann Arbor, Nancy May and John Scrimshaw, of Fraser, Mary and Al Geurink, of Grand Rapids, and Diane Wilkinson, of Tucson, Ariz.; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. A funeral service has been held, with arrangements by Peters & Murray Funeral Home of Grand Ledge. For Wilkinson’s perspective on his years with the Portage schools, read an oral-history interview with Wilkinson, conducted in 2004 by the Portage Public Schools, at aboutpps/history.aspx © 2012 MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette. All rights reserved. Used with permission of MLive Media Group/ Kalamazoo Gazette. Spring 2012 December 2010 13

Dave Reeves Former Portage Northern coach, teacher and counselor Dave Reeves remembered as ‘profile in courage’ Published by MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette March 05, 2012 By Dave Person VICKSBURG — Whether it was as a baseball player at Kalamazoo Central High School, player and assistant coach at Western Michigan University, or coach at Portage Northern High School, Dave Reeves was always up to a challenge. It was that way with the rest of his life, as well. Reeves coped with the increasingly debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis for 40 years, but rather than let it conquer him, he chose to channel his energies into being a positive influence on the many students, athletes and others he encountered. “He’s got to be the original profile in courage,” said Jack Moss, former sports editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette and longtime friend of Reeves, who died Feb. 18, and his wife, Patricia. “He battled MS for his whole life and never really slowed down. He got knocked down and he got up again.” Reeves, 69, of Vicksburg, who was Northern’s baseball coach for 13 years and a teacher and counselor at the school for 35, took great joy in working with young people. “In the mornings, before school would start, he loved to ... get out in the hallways and greet kids,” Patricia Reeves said. “He’d watch for students who had a frown on their face or were walking all alone ... and he would get them smiling before they knew it.” “I often hear (from others) that he helped kids find the good in themselves,” she said. “He loved to help kids discover who they were and he made it possible for a lot of the kids who don’t necessarily get the limelight to feel kind of special.” Reeves, who used baseball as a platform to help people reach their potential, showed promise in the sport early, hurling at least two no-hitters before he was in high school, one when he was 12 for his Milwood Midget League team and the other three years later for Kalamazoo’s Legion Maroons team. At Kalamazoo Central, where he also starred on the football and basketball teams, Reeves earned several honors as a pitcher and first baseman.

He’d watch for students who had a frown on their face or were walking all alone ...and he would get them smiling before they knew it.

From there, he went to WMU, where he earned a business degree while again playing baseball. He twice made the All-MAC team and also earned NCAA All-Region recognition.

After graduation, Reeves stayed at Western for a year to get his teacher certification and that year assisted WMU baseball coach Charlie Maher. The next year, Reeves was hired as a teacher at Portage Northern and handed the reins of the school’s baseball team. 14

The Portage Connection

In the 13 years he coached, before his health forced him to step down in 1980, Reeves’ teams won multiple Greater Kalamazoo, conference, district and regional titles and in 1972 made it to the state semifinals. Reeves was inducted into the Portage Northern Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and the WMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Bill Roberts played on the 1972 team at Northern and credited Reeves with much of his success and that of others. “My impression playing ball for him he was a disciplinarian, he was organized and he wasn’t very emotional,” Roberts said. “I remember we were playing for the regional championship in ‘72 against St. Joe and we were down something like 7-0. He got mad and went and sat in the bleachers, and doggone if we didn’t come back and win that game. .. . I think it was an intentional coaching ploy.” Reeves’ lack of emotion didn’t translate in a lack of desire to win, however. “He was extremely competitive,” said Roberts, also a member of Northern’s Athletic Hall of Fame and brother of Leon Roberts, who played for Reeves before launching a Major League career. “He didn’t show a lot of emotion, but you could just see the intensity. It was kind of like a burning intensity below the surface.” Reeves, who earned a master’s degree in counseling from WMU, retired from the guidance office at Northern in 1998, but missed not being with students. Teachers and administrators at the school missed him as well, and welcomed him back for four more years as a part-time, volunteer counselor. In addition to his wife of 43 years, Reeves is survived by his children and their spouses, Shannon and Andy Preda, of Winetka, Ill., and David J. and Tabatha Reeves, of Portage; five grandchildren; a brother, Thomas Reeves, and sister, Mary Beth Reeves, of Kalamazoo; and a sister-in-law, Kathleen Tosco, and brother-in-law, Robert Small, of Plainwell. Patricia Reeves said a ceremony celebrating her husband’s life and coaching career, as well as paying tribute to the coaching tradition at Western, will be held May 1 at Hyames Field at WMU’s Robert J. Bobb Stadium before a Bronco baseball game. “One of the last projects Dave was able to be involved with was the fund development project for renovating the stadium there at Hyames Field. Dave was really excited about that project and to be part of it,” Patricia Reeves said. The David Reeves Memorial Baseball Fund has been set up as part of the university’s Mike Gary Athletic Fund to continue the work. “We’re hoping to use that (fund) to do a little enhancement at the stadium in recognition of coaches,” Patricia Reeves said. © 2012 MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette. All rights reserved. Used with permission of MLive Media Group/Kalamazoo Gazette. Spring 2012

December 2010


Alumni Profile

Art O’Leary - Central ‘03

Film and television editor


rt O’Leary’s favorite moment during his senior year at P-C (2003) was being cocaptain of the swim team when they won their 10th consecutive conference championship. Now living in Los Angles, working as a junior editor at Original Productions/Max Post, he and his wife Gabriela Gold are expecting their first child.

of these ads were featured during Super Bowl XXXIX (2006) and XL (2007).

Reflecting on his school days, Art recalls his favorite teachers. About art teacher Dee Fitzsimmons, “I have never had a more creative mentor.” On swim coach Jim Schafer, Art says, “He taught me to never give up, no matter how insurmountable the task.” And about his honors History teacher Pat Johnson: “Her enthusiasm for the subject and her ability to turn history class into a story hour, enticed me to want to learn for the first time in my academic career. I recall actually wanting to read ahead in the text book, because she made the subject matter that exciting.” He pursued a degree in digital cinema at DePaul University and worked in Chicago as an intern with the talented and decorated editors at Whitehouse Post. At this world renowned company, he learned the basics of non-linear editing on many prestigious ad campaigns including Cadillac, Altoids, and Pedigree. Many 16

The Portage Connection

After graduating from De Paul University in 2007, Art moved to Los Angeles and quickly moved through the ranks focusing his efforts on television editing. Some of his notable credits are CBS’s “Ghost Whisperer” and “The Dr. Phil Show,” ABC’s “Skating with the Stars,” and the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef.” Other shows included the Emmy Winning HBO documentary “The Alzheimer’s Project,” and Discovery's docudrama series “Deadliest Catch.”

...I recall actually wanting to read ahead in the text book, because she made the subject matter that exciting. Currently, as a junior editor at Original Productions in Burbank, he is working on Discovery’s Emmy-winning television series

“Deadliest Catch” and has worked on History’s “80 Ways Around The World.” His work there has also included the Stand Media (Beverly Hills) PBS production of “My Future Baby,” a 2012 documentary. He was also an editor with Children’s Action Network (Los Angeles) for FOX’s “Children Waiting” segments for “Good Day LA.”

Together we comb over 500 hours of footage per episode to find the various story arcs.

“As a junior editor my job is both creative and technical,” says Art. “Technically, I must know how to use Avid, the non-linear editing software that most of the industry uses. I also troubleshoot computer glitches that come my way. Film is a deadline, project-based business. I still have to deliver my episodes on time. Creatively, I work with the producing staff to take each episode to rough cut. Together we comb over 500 hours of footage per episode to find the various story arcs.” Other highlights of his career in film editing include working as a lead assistant editor at CBS/Paramount Domestic Television at Paramount Studios in Hollywood on the productions of “Dr. Phil,” (2009 through 2012) and as lead assistant editor for 3Ball Productions in Manhattan Beach, on TV Land’s “Forever Young” (2011). He was also lead night assistant editor at Triage Entertainment in Los Angeles for CBS’s “A Home For the Holidays, CMT’s “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Squad,” and Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham”, “The Jeff Dunham Show,” and “OCP Pavilion.” Meanwhile, at The Food Network he worked on “Iron Chef America,” “The Iron Chef Japan,” and “Next Iron Chef.” Other projects include work for History and the Cooking Channels. Previously, Art was Freelance Assistant Editor for Planet Grande Pictures, CBS / Paley Center “TV’s Most Shocking Moments,” and HBO’s Emmy-winning documentary “Grandpa Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver.”

Spring 2012 December 2010


Class notes News and information for class notes in The Portage Connection is compiled by Greg Hill. In addition to featuring information provided directly by alumni, this section includes news gathered from a variety of public sources to keep members of the Portage family up-to-date and connected. News and information should be emailed to Hill at, or mailed to: Alumni News, Greg Hill, Portage Public Schools, 8111 South Westnedge Ave., Portage, MI, 49002. All submissions received by the Office of Community Relations by May 25th have been included in this publication. We welcome your news and information so that we may include you in the next issue coming out Fall 2012. The deadline for the Fall issue is October 26th, 2012.

60s The PC Class of 1962 is holding its 50th Class Reunion on September 8th, 2012. They have planned a full weekend of activities which will include an informal get together on Friday evening at LoDo’s, a tour of the new high school, a dinner Saturday evening and a brunch on Sunday. For more information please contact JoAnn Sibley at 269-808-3232 or joksibley1@aol. com.

70s Pam Marsden (PN, ‘74) is the VP of Physical Production for Sony Pictures Animation. Pam earned a degree in Theatre Arts from Kalamazoo College with graduate work at University of Massachusetts. Marsden has been a producer on films such as “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” - Sony Pictures ‘98, which grossed over $124 million at the box office. Judi (Bieghler) Yonkers (PC, ‘76) has just published the novel “White Roses” under the name J.A. Yonkers. This is a continuation of a series of novels with the same theme that began in 2004 with the publication of “Sleep Deprived.”


The Portage Connection

Jim Link (PC, ‘78) wants you to be happy. That’s what his website says. Jim is president of Idea-Link based out of the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where he helps companies generate, refine, and position new product and new service ideas. The author of Idea-Links: The New Creativity, Jim is also a speaker and trainer. After high school, Jim went to Ohio Wesleyan University for his BA in Economics and later earned his MBA with an emphasis in marketing at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. Prior to founding his company, Jim was a marketing manager at General Mills. He has also served as an adjunct professor teaching new product marketing for the MBA program at University of St. Thomas. Read more about Jim at The PC Class of 1977 is holding their 35th Class Reunion on July 21, 2012. For more information contact Pat Wilcox at 269-2719728

80s The PC Class of 1982 is holding its 30th Class Reunion on September 15th, 2012. Please contact Karen (Tomak) Musick at to provide your contact information, so the committee can update your memory book and keep you informed. Keep up to date at The PN Class of 1982 is holding its 30th Class Reunion on July 7th, 2012 at Main St. Pub on south Westnedge. For more information contact Dan Olvitt at 231-557-2886.

90s Sean Moiles (PC, ‘97) received his Ph.D. in American Literature from Penn State University. Sean is a lecturer for the English Department at Penn State.

The PC Class of 1992 is holding their 20th Class Reunion the weekend of August 10th-11th, 2012 in Kalamazoo. For more information, classmates can visit on Facebook at Portage Central Ninety Two, or email The PN Class of 1992 is holding their 20th Class Reunion on Saturday, July 14th at Wayside. For more information or to register for the event, see the Portage Northern website.

00s Kelly Vance Knecht (PC, ‘01) is now with the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids as corporate relations membership director. Previously, Kelly held several positions in business development at Priority Health in Grand Rapids following her graduation from Hope College in 2005. She and her husband Rob live in Ada. Ted Ely (PC, ‘04), was in Grand Rapids in May performing in the national tour of the new musical comedy, The Adams Family. A musical theatre student and performer of Kathy Mulay’s in several PC shows, Ted’s credits also include the original national tours of Wicked and West Side Story, and alos the Chicagobased Wicked.

10s Andrew Evans (PN, ‘10) earned AllAmerican status at the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Evans is a sophomore for the University of Kentucky and took seventh in the discuss throw with a personal best distance of 193 feet, 3 inches.

Hol e in to w One cha in a new nce car! Foundation

Portage Athletic 21st Annual Golf Outing Monday, August 13th, 2012

The Moors Golf Club To sponsor a hole, register for the event, or for more information visit the PAF section of Proceeds to benefit Middle School and High School Athletics

December 2010


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