River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country

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November 29, 2012

Riverside Elementary School honors memory of Jodi Parrack

Jodi Parrack donation label

Riverside Elementary School in Constantine honored the memory of Jodi Parrack by dedicating a bookshelf and 56 newly purchased books at a ceremony at Riverside library on Wednesday (November 28).

Labels affixed inside the front cover feature Jodi’s picture and a notation the books were donated in her memory.

Librarian Donna Mahoney, Officer Holly Cerny, Police Chief Jim Bedell and Principal Steve Wilson each hold a book donated recently in memory of Jodi Parrack. The bookshelf they stand behind and 56 books were donated. A plaque honoring Parrack with the phrase, “Life is like a hug, so hang onto it,” and a teddy bear sit on the shelf. (Click on photo to enlarge)



A plaque honoring Jodi, with the phrase, “Life is like a hug, so hang onto it,” and a teddy bear sit on the bookshelf.

A former classmate of Jodi, Alexis Myers, attended the event. During the ceremony, Myers and a friend, both students at Constantine High School, were invited to place the books on the shelves.

A “Jodi Parrack Literacy Scholarship Fund” was also created for a student in each grade to purchase an additional book for the library in the future.

Parrack, an 11-year-old student at Riverside Elementary School, was the victim of a crime on November 8th, 2007. Her body and bicycle were discovered at Constantine Township Cemetery. The crime remains unsolved. A team of experienced cold case investigators from the Michigan State Police was sent to assist on the case in January of last year.

“Jodi’s death forever impacted the lives of her classmates, her teachers and her community,” Riverside principal Steve Wilson said.  “We remember Jodi’s life through literacy and promoting the love of reading.  The staff here are dedicated to changing lives through education, and we believe the foundation of that change is literacy.”

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Wilson said Dale Wentela’s shop class built the new bookcase, and money for other items was left over from an earlier benefit.  A spaghetti supper was held to raise money for a black granite headstone for Jodi, who is buried in White Pigeon Cemetery. Police Chief Jim Bedell was instrumental in arranging the fundraiser.

Bedell thanked Riverside for the dedication and said Jodi’s family was pleased.  “It’s a very nice gesture for Jodi,” Bedell said. “I’m happy about it. Thank you for thinking of it.”

He added the Cold Case team along with the rest of the police department are all working on solving the case.  “This is very tough to solve. You’ve got to dot your i’s and cross your t’s,” he said. “When it goes to court, and it will, you want to make sure the conviction sticks, that somebody doesn’t get away on a technicality.”

School resource officer Holly Cerny said the dedication reminds us how precious life is.  “It’s important to be extra vigilant of our children and safeguard our community,” she said.

Police ask anyone with information about the case call (269) 435-4355.

Source:  Story and photos contributed by Angie Birdsall.

One Comment

  1. A. Birdsall

    Steve Wilson said a student from each of the three grades taught at Riverside will pick out a book every year w/this grant (courtesy of Chief Bedell.) He mentioned, “In three years Jodi would have graduated from Constantine High School” which was a teary eyed moment. Watching this girl who was in Jodi’s class place these books one at time on the shelves was another one. Several dozen people attended this event. Riverside intends to find funds to buy books. I imagine they will buy them from the Book Fair.

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