Behrensmeyer grand marshal
MOUNT VERNON — When the Behrensmeyer family moved to Mount Vernon in 1985, one of their first community events as a family was the Heritage Centre Association’s Christmas Walk. Over 30 years later, Mary Jo, and her husband, Bob, are no longer “transplants” in the community, they are “home.” That sense of community, pride and partnership comes full circle as Mary Jo, a Latin teacher at Mount Vernon High School, will serve as the grand marshal of the Christmas Parade on Nov. 27.
“When we moved here in 1985, the Christmas Walk was one of the first things we did with our young children,” Mary Jo told the News. “My children were enamored with the parade, the wagon rides, walking the streets of Mount Vernon, and seeing Santa Claus. To actually be the grand marshal is a combination of all the things we did with our children when they were young.”
Selecting Behrensmeyer to serve as the grand marshal was an easy choice, according to Kay Culbertson, publisher of the Mount Vernon News, which organizes the Christmas Parade.
“She is the quintessential educator,” Culbertson said. “She reaches out to students of all ages, and not just in the Mount Vernon School District. She leads by example not only in education but also as a resident of our community.”
One of the reasons that makes Behrensmeyer stand out in the community is her involvement since moving here, Culbertson said.
“Her investment in the community, and our students, is overwhelming. She is unassuming and humble about her devotion for a community she has adopted as her hometown,” Culbertson said.
To say Behrensmeyer is excited is an understatement.
“I’m honored. I’m thrilled,” she said. “I had my eighth period class in here (when I got the call). I told them, and they all clapped.”
Mary Jo, and her husband, Bob, are familiar faces not only at the high school, but also in St. Vincent de Paul Church and the community. Bob is active in sports at MVHS including taking stats for girls basketball team and announcing girls soccer games. The couple also chaperons dances. Bob is a rural mail carrier.
“We are actively involved in the school and the community. I think it is an affirmation of what my husband and I both do for Mount Vernon,” Mary Jo said. “… This is our home, we are sharing in one of those experiences that has been part of our family for 31 years now.”
Behrensmeyer teaches Latin and is the head of the foreign language department. She is in her 32nd year at MVHS.
Some of Behrensmeyer’s most recent accolades include being named District 6 Teacher of the Year, earning a professional development grant from the Institute of International Education and the American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation, and being named the recipient of the Charles T. Murphy Fellowship to study the archeology of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia.
The Christmas Walk and Parade will take place on Sunday, Nov. 27, from 1-5 p.m., in downtown Mount Vernon. The parade will start at 2:30 p.m. and travel Howard Street to South Main where it will move north toward Public Square.
A special section featuring the activities of the day will be published on Wednesday, Nov. 23.