Tippecanoe Valley High School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2014 has been named. Nine individuals, graduates from the 1970s through 2000s, will join a noble group of TVHS graduates who havae led successful lives while making substantial contributions to their field of work or provided outstanding service to their community, state or county.
The class of 2014 includes: Mike Yazel, class of 1977; DeShawn (VanDeWater) Wert, class of 1982; Dr. Katti (Stroup) Sneed, class of 1988; Diana (Erp) Nettleton, class of1989; Amy Heckaman Parker, class of1997; Richard Terpstra, class of 1998; Brooke Smalley, class of 2000; Adam Heckaman, class of 2001 and Andrew Heckaman, class of 2003.
The public is invited to a formal dinner to honor the inductees at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the Tippecanoe Valley middle School Commons. In addition to the meal, Rita Price, local radio personality, will interview inductees. Each individual will also recognize a Tippy Valley educator who made a significant impact in his/her life.
The Distinguished Alumni Class of 2014 will participate in Induction Day activities at TVHS on Friday, Sept. 19. There will be a welcome breakfast, introductions, group photos and orientation to the day ahead.
Inductees will spend the morning meeting with students to share information about their lives and chosen careers and eat lunch with students providing opportunities for individual interactions. The afternoon will include the recording of individual interviews with inductees. The day will conclude with the introduction of the Class of2014 at halftime of the football game, at which time a commemorative plaque will be presented to each inductee.
For more information contact the Administration office of Tippecanoe Valley School Corp., at (574) 353-7741.
Michael “Mike” Yazel, a lifetime artist described as a modern day Michelangelo, completed multiple frame up restorations of ’50s and ’60s English roadsters, became an accomplished Sunfish class sailor, cross country skier and bicycle touring rider. Since then he has taught himself watercolor, oil and pastel, woodworking, blacksmithing, glass and metal engraving and became a member of Hoosier Salon.
He owned and operated MedTool for 17 years, brought internet service to Mentone, participated in muzzle loading shooting sports holding numerous national titles and participating in international competition. He has been a member of the Mentone Fire Department for 35 years and chief for the past seven years. He’s been named Fireman of the Year many times.
DeShawn VanDeWater-Wert, learned ADHD can affect adults as well as children when she was diagnosed with the disorder late in life. It allowed her to become an expert in that field. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Purdue University, a Master of Education degree in curriculum design plus administrative certification from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has presented at the International ADHA coaching organization. She was a contributing expert in the book “More Ways to Succeed with ADHD, and has developed training for at-risk high school students moving on to college for the 21st Century Scholars project in Grant County.
She launched her own business “Your ADD Answers Coaching and Consulting” in 2013.The Sweetser resident, addresses ADHD on her website and writes for ADD Student, a blog to support parents in working with schools in supporting their ADHD students.
Dr. Katti Sneed, Fairmount, is a full professor and director of the Social Work Program at Indiana Wesleyan University. She was the first generation of her family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree from Indiana University and doctorate from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.
Sneed’s research interests and clinical practice have been in the area of addictions counseling and the therapeutic relationship. She has conducted marriage and family counseling, worked with adult and child sexual abuse survivors, people with eating disorders, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. She currently serves as dissertation chair on several PhD committees and on the board of directors for Bridges to Health, Grace House Recovery Home and the Fairmount Counseling Center.
Diana Erp Nettleton, was greeted with boos and shouts of get off the track in her first high school track meet. But she didn’t stop. The next year she placed first and went on to run track for two years at Manchester College until progressive multiple sclerosis sidelined her. She earned a bachelor’s degree fro Manchester College, a Master’s of Education from the University of St. Francis and between degrees earned a minor in mild disabilities from Indiana University.
She taught third grade and special needs classes in the Manchester school and now owns Nettleton Educational Services.
Richard Terpstra earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ball State University with a minor in studio design. Now a resident of Celebratin, Fla., he began his career designing toys for Dreamworks Animation, Nickelodeon, Sony Animation, Pixar and Walt Disney. He also worked with Walt Disney Imagineering developing new attractions for Disney Resorts.
He is a member of Disney design group currently designing theme park merchandise for Disney Resorts worldwide.
Brooke Eileen Smalley made her first mission trip at 15. She told her parents on her return God revealed a baby in the Panamanian orphanage who was to be a part of their family. Two years later, she found a second sister waiting to be adopted. Since then she has led the two, now teenagers on mission trips in Haiti. She is a full time missionary nurse, spending mornings in a medical clinic and afternoons playing with children while teaching them to reach and write in Creole.
She is a graduate of Goshen College with a bachelors degree in nursing. She lived in Indianapolis for seven years and worked at Methodist Hospital. She stepped out on faith, leaving everything behind to serve in Haiti. She was recently presented a Heart of Gold Award for excellence in nursing from the Koscusko County Community Foundation.
Heckaman Siblings. This is the first time three members of a family have been selected as an entity for distinguished alumni recognition – Adam Heckaman, Amy Heckaman Parker and Andre Heckaman, owners of Splendor Boats, Silver Lake.
The siblings were in their 20s in 2007 when they went into debt to purchase the company. A year later when the country went into a recession, the three made it through. The company is known for its powered catamaran deck boat, which has been featured in many boating magazines. One of their bosts was used in expeditions for the series “MysteryQuest: The Lost City of Atlantis,” featured on the History Channel.
Adam earned a bachelor’s degree in small business management from Manchester College.
Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design design at Grace College.
Andrew graduated with honors from the American Marine Institute at Daytona, Fla., as a certified boat mechanic. Their father, Jaime Heckaman was a member of TVHS’ first graduating class and his father, Doyle, was a Burket High School graduate.