Welcome back, alumni!  At Belleville Mennonite School, our relationship with alumni is important to us. We hope that you remain an active member of the BMS community, and participate in our programs and giving opportunities.

Herb Zook's Time at BMS

Mr. Herb Zook is someone that is remembered well by former and current BMS students and teachers. His time at Belleville Mennonite School began in 1981 when he served as a gym teacher, athletic director, and coached the boy’s basketball and soccer teams. Then in 1989, Herb, his wife, Marlene, and their daughters, Kim (Zook) Showalter and Michelle (Zook) Kline, left Belleville and began three years of volunteer service in Swaziland, Africa.

Herb recounts that he received a phone call in Africa from a BMS administrator who said, “I’ve never hired someone that I haven’t met before, but on the recommendation of the people at BMS, we would like to offer you your job back.” That is when in 1992 he and his family returned to the United States from Swaziland. “BMS did not hold the position for me, but after three years it became available again. That was an example of God’s timing and faithfulness.” (pictured is Mr. Herb Zook teaching the Class of '97 in 1993)

In addition to teaching PE, coaching basketball and serving as the athletic director, at various times Herb taught middle school math, driver’s education, Health, and girls field hockey from 1992 through 2008. When asked about his time over the years at BMS, Herb said, “I enjoyed working and interacting with teachers. There were disagreements along the way but that is all part of it. Also, I remember transitioning between administrators.” He continued, “I also enjoyed teaching middle school math classes. I remember giving students a donut if they completed their homework each night for the quarter. It was a small incentive that worked really well.” (pictured is Mr. Herb Zook teaching PE class in 1981)

A lot of extra time was required of Herb as the athletic director, coach and as a class advisor. Former students commented that they really enjoyed the summer basketball camps that Herb organized and hosted for middle and high school players. He remembers many Saturday’s spent at home Penn State football games running a concession stand with students and parents. Herb also mentioned that his wife Marlene helped at those events and also helped making homemade Christmas candy to sell for fundraisers for the high school classes he advised over the years.

Herb and Marlene’s daughters, Michelle, BMS Class of ’97, and Kim, BMS Class of ’99, benefited in many ways from the school community and from their dad working at the school and coaching them in basketball and field hockey.

In 2008, Herb took on the associate pastorate role at Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Belleville, and went from working full-time at BMS, to working part-time as the business manager. He retired from BMS in 2012.

Today, Herb is the Union Township tax collector and he and Marlene enjoy doing smaller, part-time jobs like cleaning their church and the guest cottages at Valley View Retirement Community. They most enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren.
(Mr. Herb Zook visited BMS during an elementary chapel recently.  He demonstsrated his skills with juggling and riding a unicycle, among other things, while incorporating scripture into his sharing time.  The kids loved it! Former students of Mr. Zook commented on photos of his time in chapel that were shared on the BMS Facebook page.  One alumni said, “Wow, I remember when I was in school and witnessed Mr. Zook doing something similar!”  Another alumnus said, “Good to see some things never change!”)

“I have such fond memories of my time at BMS and only remember the good.” He said, “I’m really enjoying seeing my former students in the community in different positions and what they are doing and accomplishing. It brings me great joy to see them move onward and upward.”

God has truly blessed BMS with dedicated Christian teachers over the years and Mr. Herb Zook is one of them!

During my 13 years at BMS I learned a lot about the value of community. The small school environment and intentional work of the faculty and staff to develop the lives, intellect and character of each student certainly helped develop my foundational values. I had good and bad times, easy years and really hard years. The community was consistent in its presence in my life.  I didn't appreciate how meaningful and formative that community was for me until I was away from it for a number of years.

Community- in the sense that I am thinking of it- doesn't just happen. It isn't just a group of people who happen to regularly be in the same place. It's a commitment to being authentically present with one another, honoring and nurturing the individual qualities of each part to promote the wellbeing of the whole.

Reflecting on how my time at BMS prepared me for life after graduation, the gift of being supported, redirected, celebrated and challenged by that formative community is most meaningful to me. I carry those values into both my personal and professional life now and always enjoy coming home to the BMS community that has those same qualities it did when I was a student.

This testimony was provided by Katie Neer, Class of 2003.  Katie is a Nurse Practitioner at Bryn Mawr Hospital and resides in Conshohocken, PA. Katie’s parents, Lynn and Margaret (Hartzler) Neer sent their younger daughter, Charity, ‘05,to BMS as well. Margaret graduated from BMS in 1965.

Alumni Award Recipients 2005-2017
2017:   J. Lorne Peachey, '57 and Ashlee Kauffman, '08
2016:   Conrad Kanagy, '82, Cassandra Byler and Hannah Peachey, '12
2015:   Ray Byler, '53 and Jewel (Mummau) Peachey, '00
2014:   Dr. Dennis King, '64 and Brian Renno, '96
2013:   Harry Lee Renno, ‘63 and Rebecca Barr, ‘00  
2012:   Dr. Beryl Brubaker, ’60 and Katie Neer, ’03
2011:   Julia Alleman, ’61 and Michael Yoder, ’96
2010:   Marv Peachey, ’60 and Dion Peachey, ’95
2009:   Irene Shrock, ’59
2008:   Elam Peachey, ’58
2007:   Lester Yoder, ’57
2006:   Joanne Kauffman, ’56
2005:   Ralph Metzler, ’55
Each year Belleville Mennonite School awards alumni with the Alumnus of the Year award, and a Young Alumnus of the Year award.  The recipients are nominated by fellow alumni and are individuals who represent a life of service, peacemaking and leadership under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
BMS alumni are represented all over the world and many of them are accomplished professionals or service-oriented missionaries.  As you come across BMS alumni, keep this award in mind and nominate a deserving alumnus!


Please share your alumni story with us!  We love to hear alumni success stories and also are encouraged to see how BMS has worked in the lives of those who have graduated from the school.  Email, to share your story.


Like us on Facebook and get connected with other alumni!



Previous     Pause     Next