A 100th birthday celebration honoring former Crown Point teacher LaVanche West was be held in Crown Point Sept. 9.

West, the niece of former Lake County Sheriff Lillian Holley, was a respected teacher for 35 years. Her career took her from schools in Lake Village, Morocco, Richmond, Beaverville in Illinois to Crown Point for 11 years until they moved to Valparaiso where she taught her last 13 years.

“She was well liked by her students because she discovered the way to discipline was not to give swats or slap knuckles, it was to tell the student that when they settled down and it got quiet then she would continue the lesson,” McDaniel said. “She has enjoyed many friendships in her 100 years. For over 40 years ladies from the neighborhood have gotten together monthly to play cards. LaVanche still hand writes over 125 Christmas cards every year. Until the last couple of years they were done in calligraphy. She also enjoyed working on genealogy and wrote four books on several of her family lines.”

From planes, automobiles and a man standing on the moon, to indoor bathrooms, and learning to use a computer 20 years ago, and an iPhone just a few years ago, to experiencing the solar eclipse, West has experienced many things.

“Her happiest memory is her family,” McDaniel said. “She and Gale (her late husband) hosted the Woodruff family reunion at Thanksgiving for 50 years. She has received many honors over the years, from volunteering to teaching. She received the Woman of the year for 2008 from the Valparaiso Women's Club.”

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