Four alumni enshrined on the Pinckney Community Schools Wall of Fame

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The Pinckney Community Schools District inducted four alumni to its Alumni Wall of Fame at its annual alumni recognition breakfast on Oct. 11, 2019.

This year’s honorees are Greg Amburgey, Class of 1978; Heidi Swanson, Class of 1983; Lindsey Schingeck-Smith, Class of 2003; and Patricia Tessmer, Class of 1964.

Each was honored with a magazine-style plaque — each of which you’ll see as you scroll through this post — that will be permanently installed on the Wall of Fame at Pinckney Community High School.

Proud to help and protect

Greg Amburgey is proud to be a Pirate and credits Pinckney Community Schools with giving him a great start in life.

He served with the Putnam Township Fire Department starting in 1977, and went on to serve as fire chief for 21 years before retiring. Amburgey considers his time with the department — working for his fire chief father, helping people in time of need, and leading “some of the best in the profession” — as one of the highlights of his life.

Amburgey’s dedication to safety and community are evident in his 30-year career at General Motors, first as a firefighter, and then as an industrial hygiene tech, and his volunteer service to Make-A-Wish Foundation (founding the Livingston Chapter), and the American Red Cross.

Sharing music with the world

Heidi Swanson’s fondest memories from her years as a student in Pinckney are serving as accompanist for the PCHS choir. Gain Winn, director of the choir at the time, had a powerful influence on Heidi’s career direction.

A graduate of Concordia and Eastern Michigan universities, Swanson has achieved success as a corporate trainer, college professor, worship arts director, and music teacher, both internationally and in various locations around the United States.

Swanson has served as director of worship arts at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, and as president of Pinckney Music Boosters. She is the proud mother of three, and a Navy wife. She is also a breast cancer survivor whose faith and courage have gotten her through the journey.

Writing her own success story

Lindsey Schingeck-Smith advises interns at Michigan Radio to read out loud for 10 minutes a day. This advice stems from lessons learned in Rosemary Gass’ class at Pinckney Community High School, where students were encouraged to read scripts or books out loud as they walked.

Schingeck-Smith credits this practice with making a big difference in her news delivery and work as a radio reporter.

Her proudest accomplishments include being the first in her immediate family to graduate from college, and being a mom. She has received national recognition fro her documentary about the Flint water crisis, and was honored with a Peabody Award for the podcast “Believed,” that she co-authored and hosted about the women whose bravery led to the conviction of a serial sex offender.

From student to teacher

Patricia Tessmer began her 40-year career with the Pinckney Community Schools District in 1969, after receiving a master’s degree in communications from Eastern Michigan University.

In addition to teaching in the classroom, Patricia spent over 30 years working on theater productions alongside Jane Tasch, who she considers the most courageous education she has even encountered.

Tessmer and her family, including two sons and two grandchildren (of whom she is very proud), still reside in Livingston County. Although she spends her time gardening, traveling, reading and attending the theater, she still enjoys visiting Pinckney Community Schools and feels blessed to have been a part of this wonderful community.

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The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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