Lapeer Community Schools and the Lapeer High School Alumni Association are proud to announce inductees for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor: Donald McCallum (Class of 1956), Beth Knowlton (Class of 1980) and Mike Smith (Class of 1980).
All of these inductees have distinguished themselves as tremendous stewards of the education and training they received from Lapeer Community Schools; they are role models for all students.
Donald McCallum, Lapeer High School Class of 1956: After a long and distinguished career in public safety as a firefighter and a police officer, McCallum became involved in the Lapeer Historical Society. He has served as a trustee since 1998 and has been instrumental in the organization’s many endeavors. Since 2004, McCallum has served as a weekend guide at the Historical Museum, sharing with others his passion for Lapeer.
McCallum is a charter member of the Lapeer Alumni Association, a proud past trustee with the Lapeer Area Elks and a member of several other local civic organizations.
Four generations of the McCallum family have graduated from Lapeer Community Schools.
Beth Knowlton (Potter), Lapeer East Class of 1980: Knowlton has spent more than 30 years working with the Lapeer County Friend of the Court as a caseworker. In her role, she has tirelessly advocated for local children in the midst of custody disputes and divorce. Judges rely on Knowlton’s counsel before ruling on visitation and other custody issues.
Knowlton is a lifelong supporter of Lapeer Community Schools, a Sunday School teacher at St. Paul Lutheran and a contributor to many civic organizations.
As a student, Knowlton was active in student council, choir and as a member of the softball team. She embodies the Lapeer spirit as someone who put down roots in Lapeer and continues to make a difference. A friend described Knowlton as a “true Lapeer treasure” who will support this community “until her dying day.”
Mike Smith, Lapeer West Class of 1980: A longtime coach and administrator for Lapeer Community Schools, Smith has mentored generations of young people throughout his career. Smith was a coach on the Lapeer West football team that won the state championship in 1995. During his tenure as head coach at Lapeer West, and now Lapeer High School, he has won numerous titles, awards and accolades.
He was named Coach of the Year by the Flint Journal in 2014 after the newly-christened Lapeer High School football team won the Saginaw Valley League – Red with a 9-0 record. He was named Coach of the Week in 2013 by the Detroit Lions, the same year he became the all-time winningest football coach in the history of Lapeer.
During his 30 years in coaching, hundreds of players have gone on to compete at the college level, including at least seven from the 2014 squad. One of his former players, Hunter Andrews, said this about his coach: “Coach Smith is a great coach and mentor for everyone on the team. He always puts the team before any of his accomplishments or records. He is someone I look up to and I’m lucky to have played for him.”
Tim Zeeman, a longtime administrator in the District, said Smith never stops coaching, on and off the field. “He is in front of young men all the time, teaching life lessons about teamwork, sportsmanship and hard work,” he said.
The Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor program is cooperatively sponsored by Lapeer Community Schools and the Lapeer High School Alumni Association. The award was created to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the outstanding men and women who graduated from our schools. By celebrating these role models, we inspire today’s students to move forward in their own pursuit of excellence.
A ceremony will be held in their honor at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in the Irwin Board Room at the Administration and Services Center, 250 Second St., in Lapeer. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.