The importance of fatherhood in the lives of children was heralded at the 22nd annual Southern Illinois Professional Development Center Southern Region Adult Education and Family Literacy Conference, held November 13-14 at Fairview Heights. Two participants from the Rend Lake College District were recognized for their achievements there.
Ken Reaney of Woodlawn won the essay contest, "What Fatherhood Means to Me." Approximately 23 adult education and family literacy programs in the Southern District participated in the conference. Reaney was chosen by a team of independent readers as the essay contest winner based on content, organization and writing quality.
Reaney is a student in Workforce Training Coordinator Yvonne Hallam’s GED class at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon. In addition to the Certificate of Award, Reaney was presented with a pair of tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals game next season, an autographed cap from the St. Louis Rams and a $20 Wal-Mart gift certificate.
Reaney dropped out of high school to join the Navy and served in Grenada and Beirut, after which he received an honorable discharge. He worked as a specialist for 17 years in a plant that manufactured automotive parts, but when the plant moved to Mexico, he found himself unemployed and decided it was time to obtain his GED.
Reaney has four daughters, aged 17, 13, 9 and 5.
Jy’Meal Turner, 3, of Mt. Vernon, a student under the direction of Tiffany Lowther, Director of the Child Development Center at the MarketPlace, won the poster contest for his age group. His poster represented his father playing with him on his bicycle outside and inside the house. Jy’Meal pasted toys, trucks and balloons on the poster and drew his father a big, red heart to show how much he loves him.
Jy’Meal was awarded a "Build-a-Bear" kit, a book, cookies, a medal, a Wal-Mart gift certificate and a Certificate of Participation.
Jy’Meal’s mother, Ratasha Turner, is a student in the GED and Job Skills classes and the Even Start program at the MarketPlace.