Four Alumni Honored at Reunion Weekend

By Michael Mortensen Published: Oct 02, 2017

The Fort Wayne Alumni and Friends Heritage Association honored four alumni at this year's Reunion Weekend, September 23. Receiving the Distinguished Alumni for Professional Achievement Flossie (Johnson) Epley g77, Amy (Level) Warren g92 and Gary Wilber g73. Receiving the Distinguished Alumna for Service to her Alma MaterSusi (Laymon) Jones g71.

Here are the citations and photos that were a part of this special presentation.

Amy (Level) Warren g92 

Amy Level Warren in classroomAmy is now in her 28th year with Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS). She started at Fairfield Elementary, where she attended middle school. After finishing college, she taught there as a substitute teacher. Amy got her first “permanent position” at South Wayne Elementary School just blocks from her alma mater, where she taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. Today, Amy serves at LaVon Scott Elementary School, also here on the south side, where she teaches 4th and 5th grades.

With her experience, she also is CPI certified, and she is the lead teacher when the principal is out of the building. Recently, Amy was nominated for Teacher of the Year for FWCS and finished in the top five. During the summer, she serves as a teacher with Taylor University’s Clubhouse program helping inner-city youth.

This 1992 graduate’s favorite teacher was Etta Miller, who helped Amy to learn to love the kids. Even as a “young alumna,” she has earned every gray hair while teaching in Fort Wayne’s toughest schools. Her motto is, “We can’t fix them, but we can love them.”

Flossie (Johnson) Epley g77

Flossie Johnson Epley with her husband RussWhile Flossie began her teaching career at Fort Wayne Christian school, she has been a missionary with TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission), teaching for over 30 years for the Japan Christian Academy. She has served as Educational Advisor for TEAM missionaries in Japan for many years and received the honor of “Master Consultant with the Professional Association of Cross-cultural Consultants in Education.”

Flossie tells us that she will never forget the first day that Dr. Ted Nickel h95 came to evaluate her while she was student teaching. Being from what she explains was “a sheltered life as a missionary kid,” the inner-city classroom was quite a shock. In front of Dr. Nickel, she struggled to even get the kids to listen. Flossie went back to her dorm questioning whether she had really understood what God was calling her to do. A phone call from Dr. Ted that evening reassured her as he said, “I just want to tell you that what happened today in your classroom was just difficult circumstances. You are going to be a great teacher.” Flossie received from that phone call the ability to persevere and become the incredible teacher she is today.

Dr. Gary Wilber g73

Gary WilberGary began his career with Van Wert Youth for Christ, followed by three years in the family business at Empire Family Restaurants. In 1980, he founded Troy Christian Schools as a ministry of First Baptist Church in Troy, OH with 37 students in grades K-3. He began as principal and after 10 years, Troy Christian became independent and an old church and 28 acres was purchased to expand the school.

Troy Christian Schools has seen tremendous growth under Gary’s leadership with an Early Childhood building which houses 203 children, a building for K-6 which houses 287 students and two gymnasiums. A separate building now serves 342 students in grades 7-12 also with a gymnasium. Located adjacent to this building is a fieldhouse and a stadium for soccer, football, and track. Dr. Wilber now serves as superintendent of Troy Christian Schools which employs 142 staff members. In 2005, he was awarded “Leader of the Year” by The School of Urban Studies and in 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Toccoa Falls College for his years of service in Christian education and missions.

Susi (Laymon) Jones g71

Susi Laymon Jones Sept 2017Susi (Laymon) Jones g71 is a very special loyal alumna who was recognized for her distinguished service to her alma mater during Reunion Weekend on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Susi is multi-talented. She has served multiple times on the Alumni Council, been interviewed for multiple promotional videos, and has even been known to bake and serve multiple alumni meals. Susi has served as our Council president (more than once), and continues as our secretary, even as a non-Council member. She just retired from teaching after giving 45 years of service at Hoagland Elementary School, yet she has always made time for her alma mater and her church, First Missionary Church. Today, she volunteers at the Alumni Center, and we always appreciate seeing her and her long braid drive up into our parking area.