By Lonnie Huhman,
It seems very fitting that Dexter Community Schools is naming its Alternative Education building after longtime Dexter resident and booster of its schools, Louie Ceriani
The Dexter Board of Education at its May 6 meeting made the unanimous decision to name the building, which is currently under construction at 8100 Shield Road, after Ceriani before a full room that included family, friends and Dexter Lions Club members, who were all on hand to help pay tribute.
School board president Michael Wendorf, in reading a statement on behalf of the board and DCS, said the board had received from its facilities committee a recommendation to name the new building after Dexter alumnus Ceriani.
Wendorf read, “A long-time booster and familiar face at DHS football games and around town, Louie embodies the can-do spirit of Dexter Community Schools. 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.”
In giving background, Wendorf said, “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.”
At the April 22 meeting, the naming recommendation was first presented. Fellow Lions Club member Ron Raiford was also in attendance then to give his support of naming the building after Ceriani. He said Ceriani has dedicated his life to the community and he has seen first-hand his work and efforts to give back to Dexter.
Ceriani, 92, went before the board on May 6, as the decision was made. He expressed his surprise at the honor and how grateful he was. Speaking with humility, he said there has to be somebody more deserving, but when thinking over his life he does feel pride.
Therefore, he said he was very thankful for the honor. He said he wouldn’t be here without the help of God, who he said has been with him since he was born. He also thanked his family, which included his wife Maria. Ceriani is also a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church in Dexter.
Wendorf said this would be a lasting legacy that is well deserved. He called Ceriani a friend of the school district.
“Louie’s lifelong perseverance in the face of multiple challenges make him an excellent role model for the Alternative Education students whose building will, with Board approval, bear his name,” Wendorf said.
There will be a naming ceremony once the building construction is completed, which should be in the coming months.