2023 Alumni Award Recipients
The Belleville Mennonite School Alumni Awards function as a way of recognizing someone whose life has reflected the mission of BMS: develop minds, build faith, and be disciples. Who have you seen cultivating excellence and a passion for Christ? How are your fellow alumni teaching Biblical truths to the next generation, impacting their peers at work, honoring the Lord with their time, reaching out to their neighbor, or the least of these? Help us share these stories and recognize the Lord's work in us by submitting nominations for the alumni awards. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds! Nominations may be submitted at any time to the Development Office (email@example.com)
Welcome back, friends and 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. Take a few moments to read a recent newsletter, reflect on the testimonies shared below, and learn more about what other alumni are doing and the ongoing impact of BMS in Alumni Spotlights!
Alumni Award Recipients 2005-2023
2023: Darren & Caryn Peachey, ‘84 & ’83 and Steven Yoder, '13
2022: JB Eby, '88 and Aaron Spicher, '08
2021: Earl Peachey, '70 and Curtis Kauffman, '07
2020: Rhonda (Harshbarger) Gibbons, '84 and Larry Kauffman, '01
2019: Gregg Kanagy, '85 and Charity Kauffman, '03
2018: Dr. Mark Zook, '68 and Denise (Yoder) Peachey, '10
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 (graduate within the past 20 years) award. The recipients are nominated by fellow alumni and are individuals whose life demonstrates work or service that cultivates excellence and a passion for Christ. As you come across BMS alumni, keep this award in mind and nominate a deserving alumnus!
Steven Yoder, Class of 2013
I’m thankful for the emphasis BMS placed on worship and the growth I was able to experience because of that. Weekly worship chapels gave me the opportunity to expand upon my gifts and learn to lead in a team setting. From early on in my experience at BMS, I had the opportunity to see service in action. As a young student I remember being amazed at the amount of folks that dedicated their time, gifts, and assets to put on successful auctions year after year. Then having the opportunity to participate in the setup as a middle and high school student, I even more so appreciated and saw the value of a community coming together to ensure another generation of kids could experience a quality, Christ-centered education.
I was also made aware of the value of service at BMS through various outreach opportunities. Through activities like picking up trash along Jack’s Mountain Road, cleaning out houses with MDS in Long Island after flooding, or painting playground benches in Mount Union, I learned the value of humbling myself and recognizing the needs around me. It was truly a blessing to be a student at a school where the administration, faculty and staff not only encouraged Christian service, but also were willing to serve right alongside you and draw out your natural gifts in the process.
I’m continually thankful for the ways in which BMS impacted my Christian worldview. I witnessed and have come to value the necessity of a Christian community and support system. BMS placed in me the value of discipleship; allowing yourself to be mentored while also being a mentor to others. Through the example of many faculty, staff, and coaches, I learned the value of servant leadership and how to be a team player.
BMS also instilled in me a desire to look for and see God’s handiwork daily. I have the opportunity in working at the mill to interact with those in our community, hear about God’s faithfulness in their lives, encourage them and be encouraged. I get to be a part of a body of believers at Locust Grove where I’m encouraged to participate and grow alongside other folks who are seeking God. It’s been a blessing to find ways to give back to the community that invested so greatly in me as a young person and still does today. I’m thankful for BMS and the ways it pushed me and encouraged me to be a part of the Body of Christ.
Michael Yoder, Class of 1996 (shared at the 2020 Fall Fellowship Dinner)
We are gathered here tonight to reflect on God’s faithfulness to the BMS community over the past 75 years. We remember the times of extreme blessing and also the times when we weren't sure if we were going to be able to keep our doors open. During these times and all times in between, we continued to be influencing the next generation. And the next. And the next.
As we as a school community sacrificed, fundraised, formed committees, endured long meetings, discussed, discerned and prayed for the future of BMS, we were influencing generations to come. The thing is, it wasn't only the current students that were the reasons so much energy was put into the decisions made at those meetings…it was so much bigger than that.
At BMS, we are preparing students for the next steps after high school…college, trade school, missions and the workforce. We are proud of producing a wide variety of professionals, laborers and church leaders.
However, we have also produced Sunday school teachers who have taught and influenced community leaders. We have influenced little league coaches who have coached doctors and nurses. We have encouraged future pastors who mentored and guided lawyers and electricians. We have influenced dispatchers who have become school board presidents. We have inspired farmers whose children go on to be missionaries and take good news of salvation to the ends of the earth.
So let’s remember that our influence here at BMS does not stop with our current students and the careers they choose. We may have the chance to speak into some of these students' lives for only a year or two. However, what we do and say has the potential to stick with them as they leave here.
Belleville Mennonite School has made disciples and equipped men and women for lives of service for 75 years. And I’ll add to that, lives of influence … for the kingdom of God.
May God give us HIS favor as we continue to be faithful servants at BMS. Let us be thankful for those who have gone before us as testaments of God’s sustaining grace. Let us never forget the heritage of faithfulness that has been passed on through their Godly lives. And most importantly, let us be leaders who do not sway from the Truth so that future generations will call us faithful as well.
Katie (Neer) Alderfer, Class of 2003
“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 as a nurse practitioner and always enjoy coming home to the BMS community that has those same qualities it did when I was a student.”