New scholarship honoring alumna Ellen Petho to benefit SC4 art and design students

Future generations of St. Clair County Community College (SC4) art and design students will benefit from a new scholarship thanks to a generous $100,000 donation from the Petho family in honor of SC4 alumna and interior designer Ellen Petho.

Ellen Petho called Port Huron her home for more than 75 years. She and her husband, Lou, raised their family in Port Huron. Ellen had a long and successful career in interior design. She also devoted herself to philanthropic work. She was proud to earn her advertising and design degree from SC4 in 1988. SC4 was an integral part of Ellen’s education and the beginning of her design career. While at SC4, she formed great relationships and had wonderful mentors.

Sadly, Ellen Petho passed away on Jan. 2, 2023. To honor Ellen and her devotion to art and giving to others, Lou, her daughters and their families have made a generous $100,000 donation to SC4 on its 100th year anniversary. This donation will provide scholarship money to aspiring art students. The scholarship will be called the “Ellen Petho Design Ideas Memorial Scholarship.” Through this scholarship, Ellen’s passion for learning, art and design, and giving to others will live on as her legacy.

SC4 students soon can apply for the “Ellen Petho Design Ideas Memorial Scholarship” at

To learn more about SC4 art, design, and other programs and career pathways, as well as how to apply and register for winter 2024 classes, visit

Petho family, pictured above from left to right: Christine Moore, Lou Petho, Kathy Patterson and Karri Petho

Alumni Spotlight: Sheri Faust

Current or most recent title and employer?
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the St. Clair River, Environmental Health Educator for the St. Clair County Health Department

How did SC4 help prepare you?
My experience at SC4 was rewarding because I was able to build relationships with my instructors due to the small class sizes. Some instructors evolved into personal mentors, like Bob Collins or more affectionately known as Bio Bob. He was a tremendous influence in my life as he devoted extra time out of class to spend time with students in the field teaching invaluable lessons and experiences that can’t be had in a classroom. It was his influence that convinced me I was on the right path to pursue my passion in natural resources management. Many of my instructors were influential in my early life as a young college student because they were personable, accessible and helpful. SC4 gave me the confidence to move on to a four-year university and pursue the career I was passionate about.

My various professional roles and titles have benefited from partnerships with SC4, so I’m grateful to have a long history with the College – both as a student and as a career professional. As a student, I became familiar with the landscape and culture of SC4, and when I returned back to Port Huron after college and marriage, getting reacquainted with SC4 staff and campus was familiar territory because I felt like I had a personal connection to the campus. This partnership has carried on for the duration of my career living and working in Port Huron.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
My interests, hobbies, passions and career all intersect. I think this is an ideal scenario which I feel lucky to be blessed with.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
After two years at SC4, I transferred to MSU and earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management. Additional certifications, community service and awards include: Certified Planning and Zoning Citizen Planner, Planning Commissioner for Port Huron Township, Board Member for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Blue Water Woman Government Professional of the Year award

Alumni Spotlight: Mike Baysdell

Current or most recent title and employer?
Director of K-12 Relations at Macomb Community College

How did SC4 help prepare you?
The April before my senior year of high school, Michigan Dual Enrollment legislation was passed. I took five classes through SC4 at the Sanilac Career Center extension center, and I earned 17 credits, which transferred to Alma College. Along with one additional guest student course in 1998, I managed to graduate from Alma in three years with a double-major. I then earned my master’s degree and teaching certification by age 22 and worked 21 years for Davison Community Schools before accepting my current role at Macomb Community College. I also taught as an adjunct professor for 13 years at Saginaw Valley State University, and those SC4 classes provided considerable content knowledge that helped me do my job.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
I am now in a position where I can use my experience as a dual enrollment student and background in higher ed to help students achieve even more than I did. Students starting their DE experience at a younger age can take up to 10 classes, complete the Michigan Transfer Agreement, and even complete an associate degree–before leaving high school.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
Transferred to Alma College, where I earned a B.A. in Political Science and History (all three dual enrollment classes in these subjects transferred as credit within the majors). I also earned my master’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan. As a proud SC4 alum, I really need to reverse transfer my Alma credits and earn that associate from SC4.

Former Skippers student-athlete receives 1st Team All-American ring, now playing NCAA D1 volleyball

Christina Bohm—St. Clair County Community College (SC4) alumna, current Oakland University student-athlete and St. Clair High School graduate—was present at the Oct. 2 Skippers Volleyball game vs. Mott Community College to accept her National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) 1st Team All-American ring. Bohm is the 17th Skippers athlete to be selected as a 1st Team All-American in the College’s 100 years of collegiate sports.

In addition, Bohm was named the Player of the Year for the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Eastern Conference in 2022.

Her performance on the court for the Skippers earned her the opportunity to play NCAA Division 1 volleyball at Oakland University. She attributes her success to her SC4 coaches and teammates.

“The coaches and staff have really built a supportive program that people want to be a part of,” Bohm said. “As a whole, our teammates were very supportive of one another and had each other’s backs. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support of my coaches. Even in moments of uncertainty, they continued to push for me and my future volleyball career. Not only did they aid me in the recruiting process, but they were there for me emotionally as well. SC4 created a place in which for the first time I felt fully supported and encouraged by not only my coaches, but an entire staff as well. I am very grateful for my time spent at SC4 and the growth it allowed me to achieve as a person.”

While with the Skippers, Bohm was a dominant force. For the 2022 campaign, in 31 matches she tallied 387 kills, 317 digs, and 941 total attempts. She also chipped in 31 aces and 54 block assists.

Bohm and her teammates won SC4’s first conference title in volleyball since 2015 as they earned a share of the MCCAA Eastern Conference. Her efforts also helped lead the Skippers to a runner-up finish in the NJCAA Region IX Volleyball District A Championship.

Bohm’s future plans include earning a degree in secondary education and eventually becoming a math teacher. She also hopes to one day coach volleyball as well.

Pictured above: Christina Bohm shakes SC4 Senior Vice President Dr. Pete Lacey’s hand at the ring ceremony, Bohm poses for a picture with SC4 Volleyball coaches Monica Freeman (assistant coach), Michelle McCulloch (head coach) and Brenna Donnelly (assistant coach), Bohm is pictured playing volleyball at Oakland University and SC4.

SC4 alumna thankful for SC4 experience in electronics, robotics, coding, welding and more

Like many middle school students, Dakota Makela didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up. What she did know was that she wanted to “create cool gadgets and help people fix issues.”

Makela enrolled in the Blue Water Middle College and St. Clair County Community College (SC4) as a high school freshman in 2014, choosing an engineering technology/mechatronics track that would allow her to innovate and solve challenges.

“SC4 gave me a good idea of what to expect in the field,” said Makela, who was homeschooled until enrolling in BWMC. “The classes were set up to be very hands-on and allowed me to get experience in electronics, robotics, coding, wiring, troubleshooting, drafting and welding by teaching me the basics and then allowing me to test out my ideas in the lab.”

She added, “SC4 helped prepare me a lot starting out. My teachers were incredibly helpful and introduced me to the culture of engineering through their own experiences working in production environments.”

Makela graduated from SC4 in 2018 with an associate degree in mechatronics before transferring to Michigan Technological University to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a concentration on photonics.

She currently works as an operator controls electrical engineer at Caterpillar and is pleased with where her career path has thus far led her.

“I enjoy being able to continuously learn new things in my workplace,” Makela said. “Working at Caterpillar, there’s a lot of different components working together to get a functional machine and a lot of different people focused on each one. Being at a large company enables me to reach out to people who are masters at what they do and learn more about how things work by talking to them.”

And she credits SC4 for helping her get there.

“Overall, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for SC4,” she said.

SC4 offers a wide array of courses, programs and transfer pathways for students interested in pursuing careers in engineering, engineering technology, electronics, engineering graphics/CAD, mechatronics, precision machining, and welding and fabrication. For a current schedule of offerings—including fast-path classes beginning Oct. 16—visit and apply at

Betty M. (Large) Raetzel named recipient of 2023 Distinguished Alumni of the Year award

Port Huron resident Betty M. (Large) Raetzel was named the recipient of the 2023 St. Clair County Community College (SC4) Distinguished Alumni of the Year award.

Raetzel earned an Associate of Arts from the College—then known as Port Huron Junior College—in 1945. While a student, she participated in the College’s Assembly Board, the International Relations Club and as a Triton yearbook staff member. 

“I fondly remember studying in the Maccabees building with primarily female classmates, as the majority of male students were proudly serving our country in World War II,” Raetzel said. “I feel very fortunate to have attended the College and credit it and its educators for my professional success in life.” 

Upon graduating, she went on to own and operate a successful family retail shoe business with her husband in downtown Port Huron for 50 years. Throughout the years, Raetzel has demonstrated positive, unwavering support and advocacy for the College in the community. 

“The College is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023 and honoring an alumna who graduated 78 years ago,” said Dr. Karen Niver, chair of the SC4 Board of Trustees. “That’s pretty remarkable and speaks to our rich history of successful alumni and our mission of providing access to quality higher education. Betty has given back to this College and its students in many ways over the years and we are thrilled to honor her legacy.” 

SC4 has recognized a Distinguished Alumni of the Year since 1986. Former recipient Randy Fernandez (2018) was present at a reception honoring Raetzel on Thursday and offered his congratulations. 

“I’m very happy to be here to honor Betty Raetzel as the 2023 SC4 Distinguished Alumni of the Year,” said Fernandez. “I’ve known the family for many years with Raetzel’s Shoe Store in downtown Port Huron. It’s just an honor and privilege to be here to honor such a special alumna who was in one of our beloved College’s earliest graduating classes.”

Betty M. (Large) Raetzel pictured with "Smile and the whole world smiles with you" quote.

Pictured at top in back row from left to right: Acting President/Chief Operating Officer Kirk Kramer, SC4 Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Karen Niver, Dennis Raetzel. Betty M. (Large) Raetzel pictured with award.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Steven Amey

Current or most recent title and employer?
Director of the Law Enforcement Academy, Ferris State University

How did SC4 help prepare you?
My biggest takeaway from SC4 was the quality of the instructors. Still to this day I remember them from having attended and completed a degree in criminal justice and also minored in the German language classes with Frau Pillsbury. The real-life experiences shared in classes kept my interest and prepared me for my own career in law enforcement. While completing my graduate degrees I often returned to campus to see my instructors and frequently was a guest speaker in the same criminal justice classes that I once sat in. Eventually, I returned to teach at SC4 for several years and also helped spearhead the Ferris State University Criminal Justice Satellite still in place today at SC4. The quality, cost and convenience of the courses still today after all of these years is top notch and truly a benefit to the local community. This career is all about connections and without a doubt SC4 provides these connections.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
Having gone full circle from being educated, a law enforcement career and now the Director of the Law Enforcement Academy at Ferris State University is a goal I set years ago. I enjoy teaching and creating the future of our men and woman in law enforcement. Sharing my experiences and career path for these students, many who come from SC4. is just a natural transition in my mind. I enjoy hearing the students say ” I am from Port Huron, or a little town called Yale, Capac, St. Clair, Lakeport, Port Sanilac, Deckerville, Carsonville, Clay Township, Algonac, Marysville, Marine City and so many places in St. Clair County and its outskirts. I just smile a little more when I hear the student tell me this because they too are continuing the legacy of SC4.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
Yes. I earned an associate degree in criminal justice from SC4, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ferris State University, a master’s degree in public administration with a leadership concentration from Central Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in instructional design and technology from Wayne State University.

Alumni Spotlight: Dallas Mitchell

Current or most recent title and employer?
Doctor of Chiropractic at Mitchell Chiropractic

How did SC4 help prepare you?
It prepared me for all of my college classes to come. I started at SC4 through Blue Water Middle College when I was 16 years old.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
I love being able to help people from my hometown area be able to live a long and pain-free life without the use of drugs or other medicine.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
I transferred to Wayne State after SC4, which I transferred credits back to earn three associate degrees. After two years at Wayne State I started at Palmer College of Chiropractic where I earned my Doctor of Chiropractic and Bachelor of Science.

Read more about Dallas here.

Alumni Spotlight: Larry Klaus

Current or most recent title and employer?
Police Chief, Central Michigan University

How did SC4 help prepare you?
The instructors at SC4 set the foundation for my future career and for obtaining my bachelor’s degree.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
The ability to train and work with the next generation of law enforcement professionals in an effort to keep our communities safe.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
B.A. from Ferris State University.

Alumni Spotlight: Shelby Pfefferle

Current or most recent title and employer?
Senior Associate, Brady Martz & Associates, P.C.

How did SC4 help prepare you?
My professors led me on the right track to transferring to a four-year university to help me pursue my career in accounting.

What do you like most about what you do professionally?
All of it! I worked closely with clients from different businesses and help them handle financials on a monthly basis.

Did you transfer on and earn other degrees? If so, what degrees and from where?
I earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Northwood University (Midland).