Chapter AC PEO hosts open house and presents scholarship

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Members of the Leachville Chapter AC PEO hosted an open house at the Leachville Library located in the Arkansas Northeastern College on Saturday afternoon. It was a double ceremony with the library open house and the presentation of a scholarship.

Nancy Spencer (left) receives a PEO scholarship grant. Presenting the check is Rita Wildy.

The PEO helped organize the Leachville Branch of the Mississippi County Library in 1953 and has remained a major supporter of the library.

The PCE (program for continuing education) was established in 1973. It presents need-based grants to women in the United States and Canada whose education has been interrupted and finds it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families.

Sandra Kennett, a member of the ANC Board and the Library Board, spoke briefly about her first memories of the Leachville Library. She was a young teenager when the PEO helped start the library.

"We are fortunate to have had the group who cared about bringing a branch of the library to Leachville," she said. "It was located behind Phillips Café in a brick/concrete building. Members of the PEO cleaned up and fixed the building to house the library."

She talked of the early librarians and the locations. The library moved beside the General Insurance before moving it to city hall. It was located in the court/meeting room of city hall before moving into the college building.

Kennett gave a short history of the ANC branch in Leachville saying the original building purchased by The Adams family to house the college was destroyed by fire. Fortunately, there was enough insurance to rebuild.

Librarian Allison Milligan is presently serving as librarian. She gave an update on the library.

"We have about 30 children a day," she said. "They come to use the computers and I try to have something to interest them each time they visit the library. We recently completed our summer activities and gave away a bicycle and a Wii game."

Beth Thompson, adult education coordinator for ANC spoke about the classes offered through ANC at Leachville.

"We have had an extra special year since we opened the adult education," she said. "We are working on schedules for college afternoon classes. We have a great adult education program and English as a Second Language. We offer GED testing here and college prep classes. Our students are 16-80 I the program. Our GED services are free and we had a graduation at the Melody Theater this year. We appreciate the PEO for their support."

Debbie Kirby serves as Leachville Chapter AC PEO President. She said the project for continuing education is one of six projects they sponsor each year.

She was pleased to announce the recipient of a grant. Nancy Spencer received $1,400 to help with her education.

Two previous recipients are Tammy Stockton and Phyllis Bryant. Both were present for the ceremony.

Ms. Stockton is now teaching GED classes.

Rita Wildy presented the check to Spencer on behalf of the Leachville PEO Chapter.

Spencer thanked them for their support and thinking of her.

"I have been working on this for seven years and I have two semesters left," she said. "I hope to return the favor by helping in the community."

Spencer is completing her degree in education. She goes to college and works at Buffalo Island Central School. She works in data entry and where she is needed. She is earning a degree in mid-level education in Language Arts and Social Studies.

"We are here for you," Wildy said. "PEO is about helping educate women."

Refreshments were served as guests had the opportunity to tour the library and the college classrooms.

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