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| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

Prior to the official naming and dedication ceremony, Louie Ceriani paid a visit to the Alternative Education Program in Dexter Community Schools to see up close what’s going on inside the building bearing his name.

“I liked what I saw,” said Ceriani after thanking DCS Alt. Ed. Teacher Julie Snider, who was in attendance with many others on Oct. 25 for the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony of the Louie Ceriani Building at 8100 Shield Road.

Family, friends, DCS officials, Dexter Lions Club members, and other community members gathered to honor and recognize Ceriani.

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This past spring, the DCS Board of Education made the decision to name the new building after Ceriani. DCS school board treasurer Dick Lundy said before the ribbon-cutting that it makes the most sense to name it after Ceriani.

The DCS Alt. Ed. Program provides selected students the support they need to complete their schoolwork while learning valuable study and life skills that will help them enter the workforce, train for a skilled trade, or begin a postsecondary study. The program partners with the Dexter Rotary, the Dexter Lions Club, and the Educational Foundation of Dexter to provide additional support and mentors for students.

In a statement released prior to the ceremony, DCS said Ceriani, who is a long-time booster and familiar face at DHS football games and around town, “embodies the can-do spirit of Dexter Community Schools.”

The DCS statement detailed Ceriani’s background and why he was so deserving of this honor.

“He was born with medical challenges and was put into foster care at a Dexter farm at a very young age. Although life with his foster mother was harsh, Louie focused on the positive things he learned living on the farm: the value of hard work, being respectful, and resourcefulness,” the statement read. “Louie was a few years behind his high school peers due to several operations on his feet and hands. When he was 16, his foster mother died and he was placed with another family. By the time he turned 18, he was entirely on his own. Louie supported himself with a variety of jobs and stayed in school with the strong encouragement of Dexter coach Don Wilbur, who made Louie the manager of the football, basketball, and baseball teams. After graduating from Dexter High School at age 21, Louie forged a successful career at Dapco. Louie’s perseverance in the face of multiple challenges makes him an excellent role model for the Alternative Education students whose building bears his name.”

Dexter United Methodist Pastor Matt Hook was also at the dedication and said it was fitting to see Ceriani standing inside the building under a poster that read, “Choose Kindness, Choose Compassion, Choose Love.”

Ceriani is a longtime member of the United Methodist Church.

In introducing his family, Ceriani said his wife, Maria, was his best friend and in many ways, his life began when he married her 63 years ago. He also thanked everyone at the dedication and gave a special thanks to his spiritual faith.

He said it’s not what he did, but his life has been about what God gave him.

In spite of the challenges he’s dealt with during his life, Ceriani said, “I’m a very lucky person and I thank my God.”

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