The Lowell Women’s Club wrapped up its 2018-2019 year with a memorable meeting last week. There was the usual luncheon and pie raffle, but the Wednesday event was also a celebration of the achievements of the club and its members.
In addition to naming a Woman of the Year, the club honored its student members who are all high school seniors. They were given parting gifts and scholarships. The Lowell Women’s Club also installed its 2019-2020 leadership team and made plans for the summer break. Special guests included returning student members who shared where life has taken them since leaving the Lowell Women’s Club.
Mary McAlary is the 2019 Lowell Woman of the Year
The first order of business was to announce the 2019 Lowell Woman of the Year. The honor goes to a woman who has been an active part of the Lowell Women’s Club, a committed member of the community and an inspiration to all she meets.
This year, the honor went to Mary McAlary. A member of the Lowell Women’s Club since 2009, McAlary can be seen each month in her ruffled apron selling raffle tickets for pies. However, McAlary does much more than dole out sweet treats.
Growing up, she wanted to follow in the footsteps of selfless women such as Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. She became a licensed practical nurse at the Sparrow School of Nursing in Lansing and went on to work in geriatrics. “To nobody’s surprise, everybody loved her,” noted Diane Sherlock in presenting the Woman of the Year Award.
McAlary would eventually move to the Lowell area where she’s volunteered for LowellArts, FROM and the Riverwalk Festival, among other activities. She is a member of her local library board and something of a card shark when it comes to Bridge. Her two daughters were on hand to help her accept the honor of being named the 2019 Lowell Woman of the Year.
“I am shocked,” McAlary said in response to the standing ovation she received from club members,” but it is such as a privilege to work with all of you.”
End-of-the-Year Community Gifts and Scholarships
Throughout the year, the Lowell Women’s Club raises money through a number of fundraisers, from manning a booth at the Fallasburg Arts Festival to selling donuts at the Lowell Expo. The lion’s share of that money is set aside for scholarships for student members, but the club also gives $200 gifts to ten community organizations.
Each year, these financial gifts are given to designated organizations such as FROM, Lowell Senior Neighbors and Lowell’s Open Table among others. This year, it was decided that two additional gifts would be awarded. As a result, Lowell Girl Scouts and the Kent County Youth Fair will each get $200 from the Lowell Women’s Club.
That left $9,750 for scholarships to be shared among the club’s nine student members. After graduation, these girls plan to study diverse interests that range from automotive service technology to fashion to special needs physical therapy. To help them pursue their dreams, the Lowell Women’s Club gave each student a scholarship that was based on five factors: GPA, community service, Lowell Women’s Club participation, college selection and family need.
Jan Thompson is Next Club President
For the 2019-2020 year, a familiar face will be at the helm of the Lowell Women’s Club. Jan Thompson was installed as the president for the upcoming year. Thompson has served as president several times in the past and is a previous Woman of the Year recipient.
“We do more for this town that any other organization I’ve been associated with,” Thompson said in her remarks as the new president. Board members will meet with Thompson over the summer to plan the upcoming year.
The next regular meeting of the Lowell Women’s Club will be held on September 11, 2019 at 11:45am at the Lowell First Congregational Church. All women of the community are eligible to join the organization.