Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County Guest
Click the second dot below to see this week's Around the County Guest
Known this awesome lady since she was a youngun’ with the same contagious smile she wears so beautifully today. Literally, she brightens my day whenever I happen to see her!
She grew-up in our area and attended Southmont but a bit younger than my two children. Another thing I love about her is her honesty. “I wanted to give a speech at graduation and since I knew I’d not be Valedictorian or Salutatorian, I gladly accepted being class president so I could give a speech in that position.” Smart she is, however, as one of the top ten of her class of 1991. Besides intelligence, she was a great basketball player and played volleyball part of those years. As per her presidency, she laughed then said, “Except I didn’t know planning future reunions went with the territory!” My guess is they’ve had great ones.
4-H was a big part of her life throughout her school years, having been a 10-year member and showing pigs and horses throughout. In 1990, she was Miss Montgomery County. She’s a beauty yet and if she’s anything like her mom and gma’ she will be ‘til the end of time. Actually, she has been involved in 4-H beyond her teen years as she’s been 4-H Horse and Pony Leader as her two girls are involved with that as well as photography.
Extremely involved with horses, I asked her how that happened. “Well, as with most little girls, I begged for a horse probably from the first time I ever saw one.” Her dad always wanted a horse, too so it was fairly easy to convince him of that. “I love my barn time – sweeping, throwing hay bales,” is her sanctuary. Each of her girls have a horse, Phoebe and Homer they show sometimes, but our guest still loves to involve and does some showing too, as well as some horse show judging. By the way I giggled a bit when she told me their horse was Homer. She wholeheartedly agreed but gave me a quick horse lesson – “You don’t change their names,” thus Homer it is.
After high school it was on to IU where she graduated in 1995 in Secondary Ed, with a concentration in Biology and Space Science. She went on to get her graduate degree from ISU in Curriculum (2002). While there, she was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority. In fact, her husband likes to tease her that there was no way he’d marry a sorority girl. He is a WeBo graduate and called her “Spaz” (tall with arms up all over the place during basketball – he was a swimmer, so never the train did meet). They both went to IU, as well, but didn’t meet there, either. It was when they had mutual friends at IUPUI who were all hanging out at a Dave Matthews Concert that they saw each other and he was forever in love with the gal who is six-months his senior. He works for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management with storage tanks.
Her teaching career actually began at nearby North Putnam where she was Junior High Basketball coach, then to North Vermillion HS in 1996-99 which she dearly loved but when she got the chance to be back home in Montgomery County, she grabbed that opportunity and has been here since 1999. She is the CHS Science Department Head, been the Junior High Basketball Coach and (bless her) has spent six years as president of CEA (Teachers Union). Also, she has mentored multiple student teachers. Quite proud of having become a member of the Mace United Methodist Church, she feels there’s not a better place to be on Sundays.
“I love working for Greg Hunt.” He has a wonderful way of getting close to the students and takes the brunt of a joke well. Example and I remember this one well, he often said, “Watch the PDA, this is not Mr. Hunt’s House of Love,” so the seniors decorated up the school with hearts, roses and such and titled the whole theme as, “Mr. Hunt’s House of Love.” He took it with finesse and laughed right along with the kids! Our guest this week, who I’m more than sure most of you have guessed as Jennifer Smiley Veatch, seems to take life with humor, as well. For instance, once a gal fainted on the floor during dissecting. The next day, the student came in wearing a helmet. This awesome teacher laughed right along with her! Besides humor in class, my granddaughter Reilley told me that when she was in Zoology, she could not dissect and started crying as the animal reminded her of her little puppy. Mrs. V. gave her an alternative project, “going out of her way to make sure I wouldn’t be punished for not being able to complete that task!” Wow! Wish my Bio teacher had thought that way!
Although I didn’t get to meet her hubs, I’m pretty sure I’d like him. She grinned, saying they divide and conquer. She takes one of their daughters to a practice or game and he’ll take the other another way. Then, switch, except he has been coach a time or two so little switching there. Also, we both giggled about her mom being her Uber Driver. So, speaking of children. They have Sidney who is a Sophomore at South and plays volleyball and basketball. Chelsea, an 8th grader plays those but she also loves softball. Both are in 4-H. Probably another 4-H queen or two right here in this article. They play sports for South, but also Chels plays travel softball and club volleyball and Sid travel volleyball, so add that to their list. Think I was lucky to have even gotten an hour interview (we had a lot of fun), and so want to thank Ms. “Smiley” for being such a wonderful person and for being our guest this week for Around The County.
Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.