The public is invited to the annual Belleville High School Distinguished Graduates induction ceremony at 7 p.m., Friday, April 28, at the BHS Auditorium.
Four graduates will be inducted and honored: Myra MacPherson, class of 1952; Bernard Hovey, class of 1965; Jill Devers, class of 1982; and a posthumous honor to William (Bill) Budd, class of 1960.
This year BHS will host a recognition dinner prior to the 7 p.m. ceremonies. The meal will be prepared and served by culinary arts students from BHS.
The public is also invited to this dinner from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by a tour of Belleville High School.
Those planning to attend the dinner, at a cost of $12, should RSVP by April 21 to Falisadoll Green, assistant principal at BHS, (734) 697-9133. Checks, payable to Belleville High School, may be sent to BHS, 501 W. Columbia Ave., Belleville 48111. Payment also may be made at PaySchools on the BHS website.
Name badges will be arranged at no additional charge. RSVP for these to Randy Brown at (734) 697-1820 or Tom Fielder at (734) 697-0633. They need to know the name to be placed on the name badge.
Distinguished graduates to be honored are:
BHS Class of 1952
Myra MacPherson, Class of 1952, is a journalist known for her books and articles about politics, the Vietnam War, feminism, and death and dying.
Myra’s passion for research and writing began at Belleville High School. While working on the school’s student newspaper, in the summer between her sophomore and junior year, she received a scholarship to a two-week journalism workshop at Michigan State University. That experience gave her the courage to pursue a career that, at the time, was dominated by men. In her senior year at BHS Myra was the Tiger Tribune’s Editor–in-Chief and she wrote a column for the local newspaper.
While attending Michigan State, Myra was on the daily newspaper staff and the yearbook. Following graduation, Myra started her career in journalism at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit Times, and then moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Washington Star and the New York Times newspapers. While at the Star, she covered the funeral of President John F Kennedy and the rising of the Berlin Wall. In 1969, she moved to the Washington Post and remained there until 1991.
While working at the Washington Post, Myra was significantly involved with nationally noted Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in reporting President Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Myra’s contribution was in depth profiling and writing of the Watergate criminals by fleshing out the “who they were” behind the main story.
While still a reporter, Myra started her “other career” as an author of several non-fiction books. In 1975, Myra was a Rutgers Fellow while researching her first book, “The Power Lovers”, and later was a recipient of a Fulbright Grant. She was nominated for the Pulitzer Award for her 1984 book “Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation”, now considered a classic on Vietnam. Her other books are “She Came to Live Out Loud” (1999); “All Governments Lie” (2006); and her most recent “The Scarlet Sisters: Sex Suffrage and Scandal in the Gilded Age” (2014) which has just been optioned for a mini-series.
Myra’s career as a reporter has encompassed a number of “firsts.” Starting in 1969, she was assigned to cover the Mets when they won the World Series, even though she could not get in the press box because of her gender. In 1972, while at the Washington Post, Myra was one of the first women to cover presidential campaigns, continuing to cover them through 1988. During her tenure as a reporter, Myra profiled many famous politicians and world leaders including Cuba’s Castro, and every president from John F. Kennedy through George W. Bush.
Myra has been on the Board of the Hospice Foundation of America and is a member of Veterans for Peace. Myra’s professional and personal contributions clearly make her a Distinguished Graduate of Belleville High School.
She was nominated by Vitold E. Dewicki, Class of 1952.
BHS Class of 1965
Bernard Hovey graduated from Belleville High School in 1965. He was president of the National Honor Society, vice-president of his class, vice-president of the student council, a member of the German Club, JETS Club, and United Nations Club. He performed in both the junior class play and senior class play. Academically, Bernie finished in the top ten in his class.
Bernie graduated from the University of Michigan where he majored in economics and minored in math and history. He received a M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. He earned his teaching certificate from Cleveland State in 1969. He also took graduate courses at Ohio State University, Ohio University, Kent State University, and Ashland University. Bernie was a speaker at Ohio Teachers of Math conventions, gave content lectures to teachers from many schools, and was a motivational speaker at high school student leadership conferences.
Bernie served as a teacher for 45 years (6 in Cleveland, 32 in Kent, 7 at Archbishop Hoban High School) including two as an assistant athletic director. He also coached football and hockey. His 1982 hockey team won the state championship. He continues to be involved in administration of district hockey tournaments.
Bernie has long been a community leader. He was councilman in Silver Lake, Ohio, for six years and since 2006 has served as mayor. He has served on many boards (Crystal Lake Development Park, Summit County Juvenile Court, Akron Touchdown Club, the Mayors Association, and others). He was instrumental in setting up a scholarship for hockey players at Roosevelt High School in Kent.
Bernie has been married to Kathleen for 37 years; they have three children and five grandchildren.
BHS Class of 1982
Jill Devers is the youngest child of Wendell and Hattie Mae Devers to graduate from Belleville High School. Devers’ brother Darnell and sister Wondella both graduated in 1969. Jill really enjoyed high school. It was a great time to develop life-long friendships. Throughout high school, Jill participated in a number of activities. She was co-captain of the cheerleading squad (junior year), president of the Chocolate Sensations of ’82 (African-American Senior Club), coordinated a Black History Month fashion show, participated (briefly) in Junior Achievement (looked good on her college application) and traveled to Paris, France with the French class.
Jill continued her education at Michigan State University where she received her bachelor of arts degree in International Relations in 1986. After MSU Jill returned back home to Chicago, IL. It wasn’t until her mother’s death in 1998 that she started to focus on philanthropic activities. Devers volunteered with a number of not-for-profit organizations, including Make-A-Wish and Jobs for Youth. While pursuing her Master of Arts degree in Sports Marketing and Public Relations at Northwestern University, Jill completed her graduate Community Relations internship with the Chicago Bulls.
From 2004-2014 Jill served on the National Board of Michigan State University’s Black Alumni. When she re-activated the local Chicago Chapter, she launched a voter registration drive and toy/clothing drives for underprivileged children. In 2015, she launched a “Spartans Will” campaign with Covenant house of Michigan.
After several career paths, Jill finally landed her dream job at Michigan State University. She is the Assistant Director of Alumni and Donor Relations. It is her mantra of “To whom much is given, much is expected” that keeps her grounded and focused.
William (Bill) James Budd
BHS Class of 1960
William (Bill) James Budd was born on Oct. 17, 1942 to Jack and Gladys Budd of Belleville. He was second of three children, all of whom graduated from Belleville High School. Bill graduated from BHS in 1960 and went on to graduate from Michigan State University in 1962. He married Sharry Hawkes of New Boston in 1964. They were married for 52 years and raised three sons, all graduates of BHS: Jim, ’84; Jeff, ’87; and Jay, ’94.
Growing up, Bill worked alongside his family raising registered Holstein cows. The Budd dairy herd set numerous milking records, including four world records. The Budd Holsteins appeared on the cover of the prestigious World magazine, which highlights the milking industry, a total of seven time. Bill and his family, through its herd, were instrumental in improving not only the Michigan Dairy industry, but the national dairy industry, as well.
As the Detroit area population grew, the I-94 expressway was expanded, which split the family farm in two. Although the Budds did not want to leave the family farm, they sold off their dairy business in 1972 and formed JR Budd, Inc., a construction company. The company concentrated on site excavation, but also built roads, houses, and performed various other construction activities.
Even while running the excavation company, the Budd family continued to farm, raising field crops and their signature white sweet corn. They also began raising Standard bred harness racing horses. Over the years, they achieved various degrees of success with breeding and training the horses on the family farm. Bill received his horse trainer’s license and also trained as a blacksmith.
Eventually, the family reinvented itself again and started Budd’s Produce. Together with his brother Tom (BHS 1964), sons, grandchildren, and many friends, they built a thriving fruit and vegetable stand that continues to this day, specializing in their white sweet corn and other homegrown produce.
During his high school years, Bill was a member of the undefeated 1958 football team. He always followed BHS sports and attended numerous BHS events over the years.
Bill left his mark on the Belleville and van Buren township communities in many different ways. Early on it came from the notoriety of the family dairy herd. Then he was involved with the building of many homes and businesses as the area population grew. Later in life he provided fresh produce for the community he called home. He was very involved with his church and served in many different roles as he was always available to help others in need. Bill was happy and proud to have been named the Grand Marshal of the Strawberry Festival Parade in 2015 and to be recognized by the Belleville Area Museum and Historical Society for his contributions.
Bill’s greatest legacy was having his three sons graduate from BHS, with three grandchildren soon to follow. He loved the school and the community that filled his life.
Following his death, over $6,500 was contributed in his memory to the Legacy of Excellence Scholarship Fund that provides scholarships to BHS seniors. Bill would be happy to have this as part of his legacy.