The Hatchet Fund

Bad Axe Public Schools and the Huron County Community Foundation proudly partnered in 2015 to form the Hatchet Fund. The Hatchet Fund is designed to benefit the excellent programs offered through the school.  School funds are a great way for alumni, employees, and communities to support local schools permanently by giving to an endowment. As long as the school exists, gifts to the fund will continue to provide additional funding to the district for field trips, athletics and other extracurricular activities, fine arts programs, technology updates, and much more.  The idea to start the Hatchet Fund came from the great people of the Bad Axe community who donate their time, talents, and money to our school programs.  In working with HCCF the process to donate is very simple and donors will know that their gift is going directly to help with the high quality education provided to our students.

The Hatchet Fund benefits the school after the endowed balance reaches $5,000.  Once the fund starts to grant to the District, how the grant dollars are distributed will be done through an internal application process and selected by the Hatchet Fund committee.  Teachers and student groups will apply for funding for special projects, equipment, or other educational aides that helps assist with student growth in and out of the classroom.  

If you would like to make a gift to the Hatchet Fund, checks can be made out to HCCF, writing Hatchet Fund in the Memo line, and send them to the Huron County Community Foundation at PO 56, Bad Axe. Gifts via credit card can be made online at  HCCF is a 501(c)3 organization that can accept estate gifts, stocks, investments, gifts of land, and gift of crops. Please contact the Foundation for more details on supporting the Hatchet Fund at 989-269-2850. 

In January of 2018, the fund had grown enough thanks to our generous donors and will begin being awarded to applicants.





Friends of Youth Designee

The Friends of Youth is a long standing tradition established in conjunction with the annual Thumb Meet of Champions in the sport of track and field.  Each year, districts from around the Thumb of Michigan select and honor an individual(s) who made a special contribution to youth and youth programs and is not restricted to athletic programs.  Those selected are then recognized as part of the Thumb Meet of Champions held in Caro, MI.  The following is the list of "Bad Axe Friends of Youth" who have earned this distinction representing Bad Axe Schools.

 1987 Ervin Ignash 1988 John Blackstock
 1989 Bill Walker 1990 Lee Kahler
1992  Virginia Jias 1993 Mike Cottick
1994 Rich Cook 1995 Larry Gavitt
1996 Larry Swackhamer 1997 Sue VanErp
1998 Mary Rapson 1999 Scott MacGregor
2000 Mike & Marge Romzek 2001 Lowell, Beth, and Dave McDonald
 2002 John & Gayle Ferris 2003 Wayne Brady
2004 John Rowland 2005 Jeff Maurer
2006 Wayne Turmell 2007 Jean Kociba
2008 Dave & Jeanne Howard 2009 Tom Laity
2010 Neil & Connie Fitzgerald 2011 Don Clark
 2014 Lynnette Coon 2015 Debra Kervin
2016 Rick & Lori Kociba 2017  Theresa Byrne

What is Distinguished Alumni Award?

Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who personify one or more of the following:

  • Service to their community
  • Serving as positive, inspiring role model to young adults and others in their community
  • Distinction in professional and personal life.

Each year's class of Distinguished Alumni are inducted as part of the High School Graduation ceremony.   The Class of 2017 inductees will take place on June 4, 2017.

Class Reunions

If you have information regarding class reunions,  please email Mr. Brian Delpiere at [email protected] and we will be happy to post on our webpage.

How do I nominate a Hatchet Alumnus?

1.  Click on the form located on the upper right hand side of this webpage.

2.  Complete the nomination form by including:
  • Contact Information of the Nominee
  • Contact Information of the person nominating
  • Description of the alumnus' contributions to their community, profession, or to the state/nation.

3.  Nominations for the Alumni Class of 2017 must be received by February 15, 2017.  Nominations will be accepted at any time and all nominations will be kept on file for future considerations.

4.  Nominations forms should be submitted to:
           Bad Axe Public Schools
           Board of Education Office
           c/o Distinguished Alumni Committee
           200 N. Barrie Road
           Bad Axe, MI 48413


Alumni Recipients

Bad Axe Public Schools is honored to recognize the following individuals who have received the Bad Axe Distinguished Alumni Award.



Richard Lee, Class of 1957, served in the US Marines earning the rank of sergeant.  Lee then attended Alma College where he was a dual sport athlete playing football and baseball.  He later earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.  Richard spent over 35 years at Carman Ainsworth Schools as an English, Drama, and Drivers Education teacher.  Mr. Lee has served as a High School Broadcaster for 35 years and the Alma College Football PA announcer for 21 years.  In 2011, Mr. Lee entered the Alma College Athletic Hall of Fame.  His love of theater also included being the State Director for the Michigan Thespian Society for 10 years and on the Board of Directors of the International Thespian Society, and 24 years as a member of the Young People’s Ballet Theatre Company.  Along with legendary Bad Axe football coach Claude Marsh, Lee co-authored the book, “The Golden Greek.”   Lee currently resides in Flint, MI.

William (Bill) Tageson, Class of 1960, attended the University of Michigan where he played football under Coach Bump Elliott and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a Biology minor.  Tageson was commissioned in the Navy as Ensign following graduation from Officer’s Candidate School.  He had two tours and 4 ship deployments to Vietnam as a salvage and diving officer advisor.  He spent time as a training program coordinator for all US Navy diving schools, Chief Engineer on a Navy destroyer, and as the US Navy Supervisor of Salvage working commercial salvage ops around the world.  Tageson has since been a Navy contractor worldwide for oil spill response training for 24 years and certified an estimated 20,000 Navy and Marine members and civilians.  He has also served as a commercial spill management team expert for several response organizations to large and small oil spills.  Tageson currently resides in Benicia, CA.


Mrs. Cheryl (Rivard) Rice graduated from Bad Axe High School in 1974.  She went on attend Michigan State University and later the Hurley Medical Center School of Nursing in 1978.  Rice has served her patients for 37 years as a Registered Nurse for Huron Medical Center.  She has worked in a variety of positions at Huron Medical Center including 28 of those years in the Oncology/Infusion Center.  She has been named Nurse of the Year on three separate occasions. 


Mr. Donald Clark graduated from Bad Axe in 1963.  He attended the University of Detroit where he earned his B.A. in 1967 and the University of Michigan where he earned in Juris Doctorate in law in 1972.  Mr. Clark was a member of the U.S. Army from 1969-1970 where he served during Vietnam earning the Bronze Star of Merit.  Clark has practiced law in Huron County for 38 years and is a member of the Michigan Law Review Editorial Staff and Huron County Bar Association.  He is a long time member of the Bad Axe Lions Club, Huron Medical Center Board, Care & Share program, and a founding member of the Bad Axe Christmas Parade committee.  Clark has also assisted for over 20 years with the track and theater programs through Bad Axe Schools.  



George Haley graduated from Bad Axe High School in 1966.  He went on to attend the University of Michigan earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in 1970 and a Masters of Science in 1971 from the University of California-Berkeley.  Mr. Haley continued his studies by earning a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1974.  Mr. Haley is a partner with the international law firm, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where he is a leader of the firm’s Energy and Infrastructure Practice team.  He has been listed in Who’s Who in America and in the International Who’s Who.  In 2015, he was named to the Best Lawyers in America list.  Mr. Haley has been a faculty member of the University of Shanghai’s International Business Institute in Shanghai, China and has served as a board member of the California Shakespeare Festival and the National Writing Project.  In 2010, Mr. Haley was named Distinguished Alumni from the University of Michigan.  He has also in recent years endowed a scholarship through the University of Michigan Engineering College giving preferences to students from Bad Axe High School and Huron County.  He currently resides in California with his wife, Theresa Thomas.


Dr. E. Lea Schelke graduated from Bad Axe High School in 1958.  She went on to attend Central Michigan University earning a Bachelors in Education in 1962.  She then earned a Masters of Arts from Wayne State University in 1969 and later in 1976 earned a Doctorate from Wayne State University.  Dr. Schelke was an English teacher with the Trenton Public Schools where she retired in 2002 after 40 years of service.  In 1989, she was named runner up as Michigan Secondary Teacher of the Year for the state of Michigan.  She has served as the National Education Association State Director of Michigan and been the Chairperson of the Professional Standards and Practices Committee for Michigan.  She has been a member of the Kellogg Foundation of Michigan Middle Start Advisory and the K-12 National Education Research Policies and Priorities Board for the US Department of Education.  Ms. Schelke was one of two Michigan teachers to be invited to attend the inauguration of President George H.W. Bush.  She has been a guide for the Detroit Institute of Art helping direct and organize presentations.  Dr. Schelke currently resides in the metro Detroit area.


Mr. James Volk graduated from Bad Axe High School in 1957.  He went on to attend Ferris Institute which is now known as Ferris State University earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmaceuticals.  Mr. Volk was the co-owner of Higby’s Pharmacy for nearly 40 years.  He served as an intern proctor for Ferris State and the University of Michigan Pharmacy Schools.  He also co-owned the JCPenneys Catalog Store and Karen and Katie’s Hallmark Store in Bad Axe.  He has been a Councilman for the city of Bad Axe, including Chairman of the Bad Axe Charter Commission, and served on the planning commission and zoning board of appeals.  He also has been a member of the Downtown Development Committee, Parish Council member of Sacred Heart Church, and the Bad Axe Rotary including the role of president and a Paul Harris Fellow Award.  He has spent many decades working to help eradicate polio within Huron County and throughout the world serving as the chairman in Huron County in 1964. Mr. Volk was a charter member of the Bad Axe Athletic Boosters that helps to support the various athletic programs within the school.  Mr. Volk currently resides in Bad Axe with his wife Helen. 



Stephen Moore graduated from Bad Axe in 1979.  Mr. Moore earned a B.A. from Albion College and a Juris Doctor from the Detroit College of Law.  Mr. Moore is a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.  He has investigation expertise in organized crime, asset forfeiture, money laundering, health-care fraud, undercover operations, and international financial crimes.  Other accomplishments include being the Michigan Coordinator for Project Outreach which works to educate middle and high school students on the dangers of drugs and the Adrian Project which is an interactive financial workshop for college students around the country.  Mr. Moore worked with the MACPA Anti-Fraud Task Force earning the MACPA Chair’s Service Award.  He also has served as the Detroit’s Field Office’s Public Information Officer which is a liaison for IRS criminal investigations, government agencies, and media.  In 2005, Mr. Moore was recognized by the IRS as the Mid-Atlantic Area Special Agent of the Year.  Mr. Moore also received the Internal Revenue Service National Special Agent of the Year in 2006.  He continues to help organize a golf outing for the Steven Kuzek Memorial Golf Scholarship which sponsors college bound students from Huron and Tuscola Counties.  Mr. Moore currently resides in the Metro Detroit area.  


Thomas Otterbein graduated in 1966.  After high school, Mr. Otterbein attended the US Naval Academy and US Naval Postgraduate School.  He had a distinguished career in the US Navy from 1966-2000.  Among his many accomplishments, Otterbein attended Navy Flight Training in 1971.  He flew for 18 years logging over 4,100 flight hours and 750 carrier-arrested landings on the A-4, F-4, F-5, F-14, and F-18 tactical aircrafts.  He was deployed on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, USS Kitty Hawk, USS Carl Vinson, USS Midway, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Harry S. Truman.  Otterbein was the XO/CO of Strike Fighter Squadron 195 aboard the USS Midway.  He was also the Executive Officer on the USS Theodore Roosevelt from 1991-1993 and the Commanding Officer on the USS Nashville from 1993-1995.  Otterbein was the Executive Officer and Acting Commanding Officer of the US Navy Fighter Weapons School otherwise known as Top Gun.  He was involved in the development of the script for the major motion picture Top Gun.  Otterbein was the first Commanding Officer of the USS Harry S. Truman from 1996-1999.  Upon his retirement from the Navy, Otterbein was recognized for his service in the U.S. House of Representatives.  After retirement, Mr. Otterbein worked ten years for Sperry Marine Corporation and Northrop Grumman Corporation providing navigation equipment and software for military and commercial use.  Otterbein currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Mr. John Rowland graduated from Bad Axe in 1956.  After his graduation from Bad Axe, Mr. Rowland entered the US Marine Corp where he served from 1957-1961.  He then went on to earn a B.A. in Education from Alma College in 1962 where he also was a starting center for the Alma College football team from 1959-1961.  Later, Rowland earned a M.A. from Eastern Michigan University in 1968.  Mr. Rowland began his education career in Chesaning before coming home to Bad Axe as a teacher in 1964.  In 1966, Mr. Rowland began his tenure as an administrator serving in numerous roles including Superintendent, athletic director, assistant High School Principal, and Junior High Principal.  Rowland was involved in numerous extracurricular activities including head football coach, assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach, 4-6 grade basketball, and Babe Ruth baseball coach.  He was a member of the Bad Axe Chamber of Commerce, President of the Thumb B Athletic Association, and on the committee that established girls’ athletics in the Thumb of Michigan.  Rowland was instrumental in starting the annual 8th grade trip that students continue to enjoy today.  He established a scholarship in memory of his late wife, Linda, which is given annually to a graduating senior.  In 2013, the Bad Axe School’s performance arts center was named the Linda and John Rowland Performance Arts Center.  Mr. Rowland continues to reside in Bad Axe, Michigan.