Southport High School intern
Ruth Mercer not only graduated from Southport in 1961 but also was a student-teacher there, a substitute teacher for 10 years and a teacher for 15 years.
She and her eight siblings and five children, Katy Allman, Anne Manning, Charlie and Joe Mercer and Betsy Matlock, graduated from Southport, as did grandson Luke Manning; granddaughter Margaret Manning is a freshman. That makes Mercer a good fit for playing a vital role in the Southport Alumni Association because she knows a lot of people and understands what the school stands for.
“It’s a very proud school,” said Mercer, who siblings are Vicki VanMeter, Nancy Deem, Julie Butler, Sally Fitzgibbons, Carol Evans, Deborah Kauffman, Joe Ake and Katy Zirklebach. “The school is one that’s been amazing to look at historically because it’s very old, but people have a tendency to continue to come back to Southport and to give.”
Mercer’s father, the late Joe Ake, started Recommended TV in the 1950s in the basement of his home at Madison Avenue and Thompson Road. The business enjoyed much growth over the years and eventually occupied most of the intersection’s northwest corner. Mercer is chairman of the association’s scholarship banquet, having accepted Cindy Bertram’s invitation to join the committee in the 1990s.
Mercer works with many people to award scholarships to seniors. She is charged with getting sponsors to fund 70 scholarships, which are sought by about 130 students. The committee then decides what students are best fitted for the scholarships. The award winners are named in April, and the scholarships are awarded during the banquet in May.
“Southport High School serves our diverse community by developing independent thinkers who excel in an ever-changing world,” the school’s website said about its mission. Mercer volunteers four times a week at elementary, middle and high schools in Perry Township and plans to do so for as long as she is able. She has spent her whole life being involved in the township as a student, parent of a student, teacher or a tutor.
Mercer said she is a strong Christian and believes that God has a plan for her, and that plan is working with students. “This must be where I’m supposed to be right now.”