Youth Appreciation Program

Those in attendance for our club’s weekly meeting on April 19th at The Moonraker West were privileged to hear from nine Harper Creek High School students who participated in the club’s Youth Appreciation Program. This program involves Harper Creek Senior students that are selected by the High School Staff relative to their excellence in demonstrating academic success leadership skills “job shadowing” a Harper Creek school administer for a day. The meeting was brought to order by Club President Dustin King and after the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation; Harper Creek High School Principal Dennis Anthony presented the students that participated in the program. Each student introduced their family members accompanying them to the event and gave a brief talk about their experience and what knowledge they obtained from participating in the program. Meals were provided to the students and their family members by the Optimist Club. The meeting was adjourned by all in attendance reciting the Optimist International Pledge.

Pictured (L-R) in the front row are the honored students and who they “job shadowed”:  Sarah Hubbard – Wattles Park Principal, Brent Swan; Alyssa Crandall – High School Athletic Director, Ed Greenman; Emma Berning – Middle School Assistant Principal, Jason O’Farrell; Grace VanHorn – High School Assistant Principal, Lisa Crawford; Hunter King – School Director of Technology, Jim Maynard; Tommy Shaw – Harper Creek School Superintendent (and HC Optimist Club member), Rob Ridgeway and HC Optimist Club President, Dustin King. In the back row is Superintendent Ridgeway; Ryan McCafferty, who shadowed High School Principal, Dennis Anthony; Jackson Malone – HC Curriculum Director, Laura Williams; Drew Van Wagner – Beadle Lake Principal, Nneka Daniels and Principal Anthony, who also chaired the event.


Oratorical Contest

The Harper Creek Optimist Club hosted the Optimist International Oratorical Contest at the Harper Creek High School library on March 28th. Stacey DeMoss was again the club chairperson for the event; Harper Creek High School teacher Tiffini Hurley volunteered her assistance in promoting the program. Judges for the contest were Ron DeMoss, Rita Wooten and Paula Giestler.

The topic for this year’s speech was: Where are My Roots of Optimism? Each speech based on the topic was to be at least 4 minutes in length, but not more than 5 minutes without being penalized. Winning the contest and receiving a check for $300 from the Harper Creek Optimist Club was Harper Creek High School Junior, Brooklynn Baker. Placing in second place and receiving $200 was Harper Creek High School Freshman, Cailey Smead. The third place finisher and receiving a check for $100 was Harper Creek High School Freshman, Alainey Dugan and Harper Creek High School Freshman, Arly Crespo-Sandoval finished 4th and received $25. Brooklynn will move on to the District level contest and have a chance to win a $2,500 Scholarship. The contest continues on to a regional winner ($5,000 scholarship) and even a World winner ($15,000 scholarship).

Pictured below (L-R) are Harper Creek High School Teacher Tiffini Hurley, 1st place winner Brooklynn Baker, 2nd place finisher Cailey Smead, 3rd place finisher Alainey Dugan, 4th place finisher Arly Crespo-Sandoval and Harper Creek Optimist Club Chairperson for the event, Stacey DeMoss.  IMG_6532

To the right of Chairperson Stacey DeMoss are Judges for the event (L-R) Rita Wooten, Paula Giestler and Ron DeMoss.IMG_6536


Cash Raffle Summary

The Riverside Country Club was filled to capacity when our Optimist Club held its annual Cash Raffle Party on Saturday, March 3rd. This is believed to be our most successful raffle as all the tickets were sold and the tickets held out and sold during the raffle drew many anticipating winners. All but one of the final 10 tickets was represented and there was no pooling together – each went for the big cash prize. The last ticket drawn was the individual not present, but of course he still collects the cash!

A special thanks from our club goes out to Dr. Jeromy Myers, who chaired the event.  Club member Duncan Bailey also was very valuable in offering his past experience of chairing the event, plus club member Chad Kyger gets special recognition for selling the most tickets. Also, thanks to the numerous club members who volunteered their time during the event to assist in various capacities.

The food was great, the MC’s spiced up the event and a great time was had by those in attendance as you can tell by the many smiling faces.2018-03-OptimistRaffleFood1 2018-03-OptimistRaffleFood2 2018-03-OptimistRaffleFood32018-03-OptimistRaffleWorkers12018-03-OptimistRaffleWorkers22018-03-OptimistRaffleGuests3 2018-03-OptimistRaffleGuests2 2018-03-OptimistRaffleGuests1 2018-03-OptimistRaffleGuests42018-03-OptimistRaffleGroup2 2018-03-OptimistRaffleGroup12018-03-OptimistRaffleBartenders 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples142018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples2 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples3 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples4 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples5 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples6 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples7 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples8 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples9 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples10 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples12018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples13 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples12 2018-03-OptimistRaffleCouples112018-03-OptimistRaffleGuest32018-03-OptimistRaffleGuest1 2018-03-OptimistRaffleGuest2

Essay Contest Summary

Sophia Weller was the winner of this year’s annual Harper Creek Optimist Club Essay Contest and was awarded with a $300 check for her accomplishments. On Thursday evening, February 22nd, she along with the second place finisher Devin Whitlock ($200 award) and third place finisher Andrew Irons ($100 award) read their essays to the club. The students were accompanied to the meeting by their family and meals were provided by our club. This year’s topic was “Can Society Function without Respect?” Nineteen essays were turned in by the deadline and the difficult job of judging all the essays was completed by club members Dr. Craig Miller, Al Miller and John Peruzze. Sophia’s essay has been turned over to the Optimist District Contest where she will have a chance to win a $2,500 college scholarship. To read the top three essays and essays from previous years, click on the above link Essay Contest under Youth Service Projects.

Pictured (L-R) is Sophia Weller, the winner of this year’s essay contest, 3rd place finisher Andrew Irons, 2nd place finisher Devin Whitlock and Dr. Craig A. Miller, Harper Creek Optimist Club Essay Chairperson for the event.


Cash Raffle 2018

Again this year, our club invites you to a great fun evening and a chance to win $8,000 plus numerous other smaller monetary denominations. The Harper Creek Optimist Cash Raffle will be held at the Riverside Country Club on Saturday, March 3rd. The dinner with will commence at 6:30 PM and the drawing begins at 7:30 PM. Although you’ll miss out on the community camaraderie, you do not have to be present to obtain your winnings. On the Home Page, click on Cash Raffle 2018 to view or obtain an on-line ticket. All proceeds from our club’s main fundraiser are channeled back into youth community projects.

Attention: Young Essayists

Our club is again sponsoring the Optimist International Essay Contest. If you do not turn 19 years of age by October 1, 2017 and are interested in winning the local writing contest for $300 (2nd place $200 and 3rd place $100) plus potentially the District contest for $2,500, here’s your chance to step up. This year’s topic is “Can Society Function Without Respect”. You must adhere to the rules of the contest. For specific information and an official entry form, please download the entry form: Essay Application & Rules 2018  The contest is open to all local youth and the deadline to enter your essay for judging is Friday, February 16th. Please submit your essay and entry form via email to or in hard copy to 4275 Capital Avenue SW, Battle Creek 49015 (an Optometry office). Harper Creek students can turn their essays in to Harper Creek Counselor, Stacey DeMoss. The entry form is a .pdf file fill-in form. The Sponsoring Optimist Club Name is Harper Creek Optimist Club and The Sponsoring Optimist Club Number is 17200. Please direct questions to 269-979-1561 and ask for Dr. Miller. On the website Menu click on Essay Contest under Youth Service Projects to view information and read the winning essays from previous years.


Christmas Trees


The Harper Creek Optimist Club is again offering fresh-cut Christmas trees to the general public for a donation. They are available at Lakeview Ford located on 295 West Dickman Road in Battle Creek. Optimist members are working the project and are present to assist week days 4 to 8 PM and weekends Noon to 5 PM. This is a win win service project for the community and our club. The trees are donated to our club by Lakeview Ford and the money we receive for them is channeled back into the community to support youth projects. If desired, an Optimist club member will trim, warp and load your selected tree. A typical contribution is anywhere from $5 to $50. If you want a great looking “real” Christmas tree and want to support the youth of our community – stop by and our club will be sure you obtain the best Christmas tree ever!

Pictured below and ready to assist with your tree selection is Optimist club member Brad Morris, who is the club chairperson for the project.2017-12-OptimistXmasTreesBart


All-City Girls Golf

On October 3rd the Harper Creek Optimist Club sponsored their 19th All-City Girls Golf Meet on the nine-hole Preserve Course at Battle Creek’s Binder Park Golf Course. Harper Creek and Lakeview are the only city schools that now have a girl’s golf team and the meet was won by Lakeview 191 to 228. Our club again provided pizza, beverages, medals, the title trophy and t-shirts to all the participants. Special thanks to club member and founder of the event, John Peruzze and club member Richard Peternel for organizing the event.

Pictured below are the winning Lakeview team and the runner-up Harper Creek squad. The pictures were provided by Will Kowalski, Sports Editor of the Battle Creek Shopper. 2017-10-OptimistGirlsGolf12017-10-OptimistGirlsGolf2

Lakeview’s McKenna Evans was the medalist of the event with a round of 46.2017-10-OptimistGirlsGolf3