CLASS OF 1917
Mrs. Catherine Krebs, Class of 1917, is being awarded the honor of Distinguished Graduate for her achievement in the field of education. Catherine was a born educator. She gave of herself to many children throughout her teaching career, which began in Belleville in the one-room schoolhouse located in Sumpter, and ended at Rawsonville Elementary in 1978. Her family lines trace back to the first family of settlers in Van Buren Township.
Catherine graduated from Belleville High School in 1917. She was editor-in-chief of the very first BHS Yearbook. Catherine was the first of four generations to graduate from Belleville High School.
She attended Michigan State Normal College, where she earned her teaching degree. In 1920 she married her high school sweetheart, James Clark Campbell, and moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. Catherine taught school there at Urbandale Elementary. Early in their marriage, her husband became ill, which forced them to return to Belleville for the support system of their families. Her husband passed away two years after the birth of their daughter, Janet. To make ends meet, Catherine took a teaching job in Dearborn and worked other jobs on the weekends. In 1959 she returned to Belleville after retiring from Dearborn Schools and began teaching third grade at Edgemont Elementary. Even after she retired from Van Buren Public Schools she continued as a substitute teacher in the district.
At the age of 74 Catherine taught remedial reading at Sumpter School as part of a Title One program. She then worked at Rawsonville Elementary as a para-professional until she turned 80.
In all of her teaching years, Catherine never missed a day of work. Her love of teaching spilled out of the classroom and into her home, where she tutored many children not only after school, but all summer long, building relationships with many local families. Catherine’s motto was “what you can’t change, you live with”. She always looked for the best in everything and everybody. Along with the unconditional love she had for her family, she had immense determination and dedication to the field of education, which has become her life’s legacy.