Pictured: Mary Strebel and Martha Harpstrite
Martha Ann Harpstrite was awarded the DAR Community Service Award for excellence in community service at the May 4 meeting of the Dr. Silas Hamilton Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution at the Jerseyville Public Library. This award is presented to an individual or organization that has contributed to the community in an outstanding manner through voluntary heroic, civic, benevolent service, or by organizing or participating in community activities.
Harpstrite began teaching in Jersey Community Unit School District 100 in 1971. She taught Illini Junior High/Middle School and a short time at JCHS until her retirement in 2004. She kept the Vocal Music program flourishing at Illini for over 30 years. She also annually presented the Illini Spring Play. Her role in developing young singers and actors at an early age kept the JCHS Fine Arts Department growing in top form.
Harpstrite’s retirement did not mean she stopped her work with students and faculty at Illini and JCHS. She continues to volunteer both for the school and community. She decorates the bulletin boards at what is now Jersey Community Middle School at the beginning of every school year. She also accompanies the 5th, 6th and 7th grade choirs at each of their Winter and Spring Concerts.
At JCHS she mends and alters costumes for the Vocal Music Department and Show Choir. She spends countless hours helping Jeff Goetten’s construction class create the set pieces for both the JCHS Fall Play and Spring Musical. She researches and makes sure that the scenery and costumes for both of these presentations are accurate to the time period and setting. She creates and mends costumes for both and is in charge of the backstage crew. She donates her baking skills to the annual JCHS Fine Arts auction both at the event and through “Martha’s Dessert of the Month” auction item.
Harpstrite also volunteers her time at local nursing homes by playing the piano during the Christmas season. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and organizes music and presentations for the other members. Jersey Community Unit Schools and Jersey County are truly indebted to this irreplaceable woman.
The chapter’s Executive Board will meet in June to plan programs for the year 2019-2020 meetings that will begin in September.