Mona McNeill Dyke will lead the Christmas in Swanton Parade as grand marshal on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. The parade theme is Christmas Up North and will include the Swanton and Delta High School Marching Bands, floats from area businesses and organizations, and Santa Claus.
The 2018 Grand Marshal and Swanton native has a lengthy resume of service in Swanton. She has volunteered for the Swanton Local Schools in multiple capacities, most notably as a school board member from 2008-2012. During her term, she created and implemented the Bulldog Bulletin, a publication to communicate school news to the entire district. She served as editor and ran the quarterly publication as a one-person staff.
Then Superintendent Paulette Baz said, “At that time there were a lot of people living in the district that did not have school-age children. While student families received adequate information about the schools, we learned that there was a real disconnect between the school and the rest of the district. Mona took on a huge project in the Bulldog Bulletin, but she felt it was very important for the future of the district and the community and was adamant that it happen.”
Baz added, “The feedback was phenomenal. We heard immediately that people appreciated receiving the free publication and being up to date on what was going on at the schools.”
The Bulldog Bulletin has taken on different forms since its creation and has most recently morphed into an online publication and still serves as the primary method for Swanton Local Schools to communicate with the district as a whole.
Mona is a member of the Swanton Schools Foundation and has been since 2006 and in 2009 she created and continues to chair the Foundation’s All-Class Reunion event in conjunction with CornFest.
She is a life-long member of Trinity United Methodist Church where she has served as treasurer from 2012.
Mona has also been a trustee for the Swanton Public Library since 2000, with only a gap in her service during her school board term. In 2004, she organized the Friends of the Swanton Public Library, a volunteer group and as a member of the Friends, organized many fundraising events and ran two successful levy campaigns for the library.
Christmas in Swanton is another way Mona shared her talents with the community. She began volunteering on the committee in 1997 and eventually chaired the event until 2005. After chairing, she continued to volunteer until 2016.
The 2018 Christmas in Swanton theme, Christmas Up North, was inspired by Mona’s family’s 90-year tradition of spending time at Lake St. Helen in Michigan. Mona loves to spend time at the family cottage there with her husband Frank, daughter Eva, mother Jeri McNeill and their extended family.
Another of her favorite pastimes is going to University of Michigan football games where her father Ed McNeill played football in the late forties.
A proud 1973 alum of Swanton High School, Mona went on Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and Communications.
“Anyone who lives in Swanton has undoubtedly been touched by Mona’s service in some way. She does so much for our community and shies away from taking credit for any of it. She really loves Swanton and just wants to see our town and its people thrive. She is creative and generous and humble and driven, a true gem in this community.” said Kerri Rochelle, co-chair of Christmas in Swanton. “I have had the great pleasure to work with her on several projects and have learned so much from her and am constantly inspired by her passion and love for Swanton.”
The Christmas in Swanton craft show and sale will begin at 10 a.m. and will be open until 4 p.m. Crafters from all over the region will be selling creative and unique holiday gifts. The craft show will be at Swanton High School.
Santa will be available to listen to holiday wishes in the High School Auditorium following the parade until 1 p.m. and again from 2-3:30 p.m. Santa’s visit is hosted by the Swanton Fire Department and SACC.
The Friends of the Swanton Public Library will sponsor Christmas Carol’s Family Fun Magic Show in the auditorium at 1 p.m.
Many other activities will be going on at the High School throughout the day including; children’s crafts, cookie decorating, wagon rides and a model train display by Swanton Model Train Club.