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Belleville Mennonite School is accepting applications for an Athletic Director.  Our current Athletic Director, Stephanie Hoffman, has put in years of hard work and as of the Fall of 2017 she has decided to step down for the upcoming school year.  We wish to thank Stephanie for her dedication to BMS!  The Athletic Director opening is for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Interested individuals should submit an employment application, resume, and three recent letters of reference and necessary clearances to:

    Belleville Mennonite School
    4105 Front Mtn Rd
    Belleville, PA 17004

The deadline for applications and this information is posted until the position is filled. 

A Lifetime of Service

BMS was a part of his Marvin Peachey's life for 39 years - first as a student, then a parent and board member and finally the maintenance director.

Marv’s passion in his early days was dairy farming and a special interest in the Holstein cow. This love for dairy farming and cows was ignited when he was a youngster growing up and working on his family’s farm nestled in the sleepy village of Whitehall, just west of Belleville in Big Valley. It was Marv's goal to develop a herd of quality dairy cows.  Marv successfully achieved that goal over the years by breeding cows that were once featured by Sire Power, a dairy and beef cattle semen and reproduction management service.  He also exported cattle to Spain, Russia, Brazil and the Netherlands through a program with the Pennsylvania Holstein Association. 

Marv’s first experience with the school came as a second grader at the block building that was constructed in 1946 at the corner of Walnut Street and Front Mountain Road and is no longer standing.  Marv spent his first school days in first grade at a one-room school house near his birthplace.

Not only did Marv serve the Lord through service in faith-based organizations, but he also served dairy organizations.  He was voted to serve as a Pennsylvania Holstein Association delegate to the national association’s convention in Nashville, Tennessee.  The convention featured a cow auction at the Grand Ole Opry and Marv was blessed to experience this event. Pictured is a niece of Marv’s helping on his farm.   

Marv has fond memories of his time as a student at BMS.  When he was in high school, one of the administrators encouraged students to attend college.  The superintendent insisted that Marv attend college despite the fact that he wanted to remain at home and farm.  (He further asserted that Marv sign a form stating that he did not hold BMS responsible in the case he decided to attend college, since Marv didn’t have enough credits earned from high school.) Marv desired to get that form and display it in a frame on the wall in his farm office, however, he didn’t have the opportunity because the paper burned when the high school burned in 1976.

Marv recalls as a ninth grader having a new girl from “the McVeytown side of the mountain” in his class.  When this girl went home after the first day of school and her mom asked if her classmates were friendly, she reported, “everyone but Marvin Peachey…he’s stuck up!”  “Lo and behold,” Marv said, “five years later that girl, Avonelle Metzler, married that stuck up boy!”     

Marv also remembers he and his class, the Class of 1960, “getting our hands dirty and losing sleep” to raise money to pay for their senior class trip.  The class had a contract with Agway to catch broiler chickens at local chicken houses.  The classmates were required to have a shipment of chickens ready for pick up early on Monday mornings.  They woke up on Mondays at 12:30 AM and caught up to 10,000 chickens at each house.  (They were paid $5.50/1,000 chickens.)   The students would then return home, sleep for a couple of hours and rise again to milk cows and do barn chores at their home farms.   “I think we didn’t get in trouble during those days because we were always tired.  And that’s why we fell asleep in class!” 

Marv especially valued the emphasis on music when he was in school.  He remembers singing in the choirs and a class called Music Appreciation. “I didn’t really like the class at the time but I now appreciate what I learned in it.”  His music directors were Ray French and Mark King.

In addition to enjoying his experiences with music at BMS, he also appreciated the emphasis on student service.  “I still believe that serving is a big part of being a Christian.” He continued, “Life isn’t about how much money you make or how popular you are, but about service to others.”

Marv’s life has demonstrated one of selfless service to others as a husband, father, school leader, church leader and missionary.  In fact, in 2010 he received the Alumnus of the Year award from BMS during the time he and his 12 classmates were celebrating their 50th class reunion.  The award is given to alumni whose lives reflect one of service, peacemaking and leadership under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

Marv and Avonelle were married on April 14, 1962 and moved into Marv’s childhood home.  They began their life dairy farming and raising their children who later attended BMS from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Gloria was the oldest and graduated in 1981 and Darren graduated in 1984.  Both Gloria and Darren married BMS grads, Rod Kauffman, ’81 and Caryn Peachey, ‘84.  Marv’s grandchildren each graduated from BMS too:  Dustin and Chase in 2006, Ashlee and Allyson in 2008 and Eric in 2010.

When Gloria and Darren attended BMS, Marv served on the board of trustees from 1968-1971 and then again from 1976-1981; he was board president in 1980 and 1981.  Marv recalls the challenges the school faced while on the board.  The major hardship was making important decisions for the future of the school after the high school burned.  “We weren’t all in agreement,” Marv remarked.  “Members disagreed on whether the new building should be built at the current location or at the location where the soccer field is today.”  Marv also asked his veterinarian, the former Dr. John Vandeven, if the school could purchase four acres of land from him.  BMS purchased this land for $15,000.  “That sounds pretty cheap now,” Marv said.  Today the field hockey and soccer fields make up the part of the campus that was once owned by Dr. Vandeven.

Avonelle was also very active at the school as a parent volunteer.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s she served on the Auxiliary and helped to gather volunteers for the fundraising banquets that the group hosted for farm associations, local companies and public suppers.  Avonelle was also heavily involved with the food stand fundraisers that were held at auctions throughout the area.  Avonelle along with other mothers made homemade ice cream, soups, baked goods and served these items along with hot and cold drinks to folks who attended these auctions.  Organizing these food stands was a big undertaking which took a lot of time and coordination to transport all of the items along with stoves, pots and pans to the sales.  The proceeds from the food stands came back to the school.   

One year Trennis King, the board president at the time, called Marv and Avonelle and asked them if they would allow a young lady named Darlene Briskey from Altoona, to live at their home while she attended the school from 10th-12th grades.  The Peachey’s agreed to help in this way and Darlene became, as Marv put it, “like a daughter to us.”  Marv and Avonelle’s nieces and nephew, Cheryl, Gwen and Marv also lived at their home so they could attend BMS. 

In 1987 Marv and Avonelle passed the family dairy operation off to Darren and Caryn.  Marv and Avonelle moved to Friendship Village in Bedford, PA, a campground and mobile home park that was owned by members of the Metzler family.  Marv was the assistant director and Avonelle worked in the office.  They worked there until 1991 when they began work in Louisville, Kentucky at Jubilee Home Repair voluntary service project through the Conservative Mennonite Conference. The home repair program served elderly, handicapped and low income people. The Peachey’s also managed a three story home while they were in Louisville where they hosted up to eight teenagers and sometimes married couples who worked at the home repair company and also at a daycare and at a blind persons’ group.  Mennonite church youth groups throughout the country served this mission on long weekend trips. Pictured is a youth group from Davis County, Indiana and one of the units the Peachey’s worked with during their time in voluntary service in front of the house they lived in. Marty (Miller) Peachey is pictured here in the back row, the third from the left.  

Marv shared that he was blessed to have this service opportunity as a “country boy in the heart of the city.”  It was his gift of service to our country since he was unable to serve in the draft due to a farm deferment since his father had heart trouble.  While there Marv and Avonelle developed many friendships and relationships with the teens and couples.  They were often called, “Grandpa Marv and Grandma Nell.”  It was then that Marv developed a “heart for young people.”  They were privileged to attend several weddings at locations including Canada, Virginia, Kansas and Lancaster because of the relationships they formed with the youth.  Marv also reported that four romances flourished during the time they served in Louisville.  In fact, one of those romances included folks that are familiar to most of you reading this story.  It was the romance between the late Marty (Miller) and Lee Peachey.

At the time, Marty was single and working as a teacher at BMS.  During one particular summer she spent 6-8 weeks serving with the Peachey’s in Louisville.  Marv and Avonelle visited family in Big Valley during this time and they passed a man who was working in his family’s garden along Back Mountain Road. It was Lee Peachey.  Marv knew Lee because he also volunteered in Louisville.  Marv went back to Kentucky and told Marty, “You’ve got to make yourself known to Lee!”  Marty responded, “Oh, he would never look at me!”  Marty and Lee were married on November 18, 1995.

Marv and Avonelle again made the move to Friendship Village to work from 1995-1999 until the Metzler family decided to sell the campground and park.   

In 2000, the Peachey’s moved back to the area and purchased a one-story house that sits directly across from the home that Marv grew up in and where he and Avonelle raised their children.  While they were away for service, they missed the births of several of their grandchildren but were privileged to be able to see them running up the farm lane to visit upon their arrival back home.   Marv commented that even though they missed the births of these grandchildren, they are “making that time up by having a blast with our great-grandchildren!”  During this time Marv helped Darren milk cows, worked as a relief milk truck driver and also worked for his brother-in-law as a builder and painter. Avonelle and Marv are admire their first grandchild, Dustin Kauffman.

In 2003, he took on the position at BMS as the full-time maintenance director.  “I had no dreams of doing that,” Marv remarked about the job.  “I thought I had already been there long enough,” he said with a laugh.  He also talked about how he has enjoyed working beside the students.  He often has students that help him with certain projects or simply putting chairs away after an event.  “Kids here have their whole life ahead of them.  They have a lot of choices they have to make.  I hope I have helped them when I was here.”

From 2003-2015, Marv enjoyed doing tasks outside of his job description such as remodeling the elementary building and high school science lab, constructing a preschool playground, advising the student Dairy Club and the successful Enviro-Thon team that won the county-wide competition and advanced to states twice.  Marv also reported that the summer of 2008 was a “trying summer,” when he had to deal with many details relating to a fire that destroyed part of the elementary building.

Reflecting back on his time at BMS, Marv said he was, “happy with the atmosphere he experienced as a student and he wanted his children to have the same experience.”  He also remarked that he found his wife at the school and wanted his children to find their companions here too: companions that shared the same Christian beliefs.  “I am happy my children and grandchildren graduated from BMS!” He continued, “Hopefully my great-grandchildren will go there too!”

Marv mentioned that when he was younger and talked about getting old, he wanted to be able to talk about what he did, and not what he wished he would have done.  He’s thankful he had opportunities to serve and travel.  Some highlights of his travels include going to a jungle city in Brazil along the Amazon River in 1977 to work with Wycliffe Translators, enjoying hosting shrimp boil picnics for friends and family, and also traveling to Europe and Oregon on vacation. Pictured: The Peachey’s serving up their famously delicious shrimp boil feast.

During Marv’s retirement he plans to help his grandson, Chase, with field work on the farm that he grew up on and also do painting jobs for people.  He will continue to travel with Avonelle and spend time with his family and church.

Marv finished up his 12 years of service to BMS on June 5, 2015.  Thank you, Marv. Thank you for your service.  And, Marv, thank you for your commitment to BMS.  We will miss you! May you enjoy rest, health and the many blessings of faith and family in your retirement.

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