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UMFK to honor Burnette Bowker and Kevin St. Jarre as outstanding alumni

July 29, 2005


Burnette Bowker

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will honor two of its distinguished alumni during the Come to Campus Days Celebration on September 16, 17 and 18.

Burnette Bowker, community leader and a member of Fort Kent State Teachers College class of 1960 will be presented with the 2005 Outstanding Alumni award, and Kevin St. Jarre, author and a 1997 graduate of UMFK will be presented with the Outstanding Young Alumni award. Both will be honored at the annual alumni banquet to be held on Saturday, September 17, 2005 in the SportsCenter.

The Outstanding Alumni recipient, Burnette Bowker, is a retired teacher who is actively involved in the community.

After graduating from Fort Kent State Teachers College in 1960, she went on to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in education at the University of Maine at Orono in 1963.

She began her teaching career in Caribou and Westbrook, where she was a student teacher supervisor for the University of Southern Maine. Later she taught in Caribou and the American School in Tehran, Iran, where she developed the first to third grade curriculum.

In the 1980's she taught at St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary School, a Catholic school, in Florissant, Missouri where she lived for 21 years. While living in Missouri, Bowker was active as a Eucharist minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Church and president of the St. Thomas Ladies Guild.

Bowker continued to teach for 28 years before retiring and returning to Fort Kent in the Fall of 1997.

She is the current president of the board of directors and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association of the University of Maine at Fort Kent and also president of the Business and Professional Women's Club (BPW/USA) of Fort Kent.

In addition to serving as president of the Fort Kent BPW, Bowker is also District IV trustee and a member of the board of trustees of the Maine/BPW Futurama Foundation. This year she is also corresponding secretary for the Maine/BPW.

Bowker was honored by the Fort Kent BPW as Member of the Year in 1998 and Woman of the Year in 2002. She also received the Aroostook Retired Educator's Association Volunteer Leadership award.

Other honors earned include the Aroostook County Volunteer Award for the Battered Women's Project and WAGM-TV Channel 8 Presque Isle "County All-Star". Bowker has earned other honors for her commitment and community contributions through various organizations and clubs.

Since her return to Fort Kent, Bowker has volunteered many hours for election days and for several special projects including the Junior National Biathlon Championships, the Can-Am Sled Dog Races, the St. John Valley Battered Women's Shelter, and other events in the region.

She also belongs to the Ladies of St. Anne, Columbiettes, VFW Auxiliary and the Aroostook Retired Educator's Association (AREA).

She has been married to David Bowker for 37 years. The couple has two children, a son, Donald who is a U.S. Navy F-18 Pilot and a daughter, Tracie who is a consultant for Marsh and McLellan.

The Outstanding Young Alumni recipient, Kevin St. Jarre, is a native of Madawaska.

He recently published his first three-book military thriller series, Night Stalkers, written under the house name Michael Hawke, which came out in January. St. Jarre created the fictional characters in his series from aspects of real-life friends and colleagues. The second novel hit bookstores in July. The third one comes out in January of 2006.

St. Jarre graduated in 1986 from Madawaska High School then enlisted in the United States Army Intelligence for six years. He held Top Secret SCI security clearance and provided real-time combat intelligence to front line commanders.

He led a combat intelligence team in Desert Shield and Desert Storm supporting the 1st Armored Division in its fight against the Iraqi Republican Guard. He finished his military service working in course development and training at the US Army Intelligence School at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

After returning to the Valley, St. Jarre was elected to the Madawaska Board of Selectmen. While holding an office in Madawaska, St. Jarre became town manager for the Town of Grand Isle, Maine.

While working for the municipality, St. Jarre entered the University of Maine at Fort Kent for a major in English and a minor in social science in 1995. He then attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1996 for his secondary education courses, then returned to UMFK and finished his bachelor of science degree in English in 1997. St. Jarre also worked as a photojournalist for the St. John Valley Times.

Soon after graduation, St. Jarre was hired by Caribou High School as an English and social studies teacher. He was the first faculty advisor in Caribou for the Civil Rights team.

In 1998, he relocated to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to work as a technical and sales trainer, course developer and in training services at the corporate level for Aprisma Management Technologies.

St. Jarre was a key person on a team that landed a partnership with Sun Microsystems, that led to a $10 million annual commitment to the corporation.

He was instrumental in the design and development of an internal website for the training department and responsible for creating, writing and maintaining the training customer newsletter.

Until this past academic year, St. Jarre worked as an English teacher at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine.

At Nobel, St. Jarre served as a common assessment coordinator, grant committee chairman, as one of three high school teachers on the SAD 60 district-wide committee for local common assessment and on the faculty council. He was an assistant varsity soccer coach for the Class A school and was nominated by the principal of Noble High School for 2005 State MEA reevaluation.

St. Jarre was recently appointed to a social studies teaching position at Fort Kent Community High School, and will be returning to the St. John Valley to assume his new duties.

In addition to beginning a new job, he is presently working on his masters in secondary education through the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

He is an active member of the VFW, American Legion, Rotary Club and in his spare time enjoys spending time with family, soccer, chess, boxing, reading, writing poetry, painting, and golf.

St. Jarre is in the process of relocating to Madawaska with his wife, Jennifer (Bragdon) St. Jarre and three children, three-year-old Sophia, seven-year-old Dmitri and 17-year-old Derek.