DePriests Named Citizens Of The Year
January 25, 2013By Dave Schneider of Mt Pleasant High School
Two longtime prominent music teachers in the Mt. Pleasant Community School District were honored on January 24 as "Citizens of the Year" by the Mt. Pleasant Chamber Of Commerce.
At its annual banquet held at the Mt. Pleasant Golf & Country Club, the Chamber named Jim and Marlene DePriest as 2012 "Citizens of the Year". They were selected by the executive committee from nominations submitted by citizens in October. Noninees are typically persons who have had a significant impact on the community through their volunteer and charitable activities.
Jim and Marlene DePriest have taught music in the school system for 20 years. Marlene, originally from Brooklyn, Iowa, graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College and teaches vocal music at the Middle School, directs the Middle School's show choir Chain Reaction, and directs the color guard of the High School's Panther Marching Band. Before beginning her teaching in Mt. Pleasant, Marlene taught music at Burlington Notre Dame, where her husband also taught. Since the mid 1990's she has been the director of the Westminster Choir at the First Presbyterian Church.
Jim DePriest is the High School band director, a position he has held since 1992. He is from Rockford, Illinois, graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College, and has taught music previously at Stuart-Menlo, West Burlington, and Burlington Notre Dame. The high school band has more than doubled in size since his arrival 20 years ago. The marching band has earned 26 consecutive Divison I ratings at the State Marching Band Festival and the jazz band has often been selected for the State Jazz Championships. Jim has been chosen as a director at various honor bands around the state.
Several years ago Mr. D, as he is usually known as, was the recipient of the Iowa Wesleyan College Distinguished Alumni Award, presented to those who have attained outstanding success and achievement or given extraordinary service to their community, church, country or educational endeavor.
As a student at IWC, he participated in A Cappella Choir, Madrigal Choir, Jazz Band, Theatre, Pep Band, College-Community Wind Ensemble and the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of Delta Omicron, Blue Key, Student National Education Association, Student Affairs Committee and campus devotional groups. He was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. He earned a master’s degree from Southern Oregon University.
He is active in the Iowa Bandmasters Association and is past president of the Southeast Iowa Bandmasters Association. He has served as head advisor to the Iowa Ambassadors of Music European tour. In 1999 he was named the Walmart Teacher of the Year. Jim has also received the Outstanding Young Man award from the Outstanding Americans organization.
The DePriests have four children: Collin, a student at Iowa State, and Kyle, Caitlyn, and Callie who all are current students in the Mt.Pleasant School System.