Spartan Proud: Dean Raven, passing values to the next generation.
Spartan Proud is sponsored by Mason County Central Schools. This series features alumni of Mason County Central telling their stories. Today we feature Dean Raven, MCC Class of 2003.
By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
LUDINGTON — Dean Raven has taken the lessons learned from attending Mason County Central Schools, especially in participating in athletics, into adulthood. They have given him a philosophy of learning teamwork, taking on challenges, organizational skills, and community activism.
Dean is a 2003 graduate of MCC High School and chose to return to the community after college to raise his family and pursue his career as a licensed insurance agent at Smith & Eddy Insurance.
He and his wife, Andrea, have two small children and live in Hamlin Township. Andrea is a teacher at Ludington Area Schools. Dean earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Albion College in 2008.
“My experience at Mason County Central continues to have a positive impact on my life each and every day,” Dean says. “At the time I was too young and naïve to really understand the impact of the many individuals who played a part in my growth as a student and athlete. Looking back, because we were a smaller school many of my teachers were also my coaches which helped strengthen those relationships. In turn this kept me more accountable to attain my goals because I didn’t want to fail the people that invested all their time and energy into my success. Today I am lucky to call many of them friends.”
Dean has continued his devotion to MCC by serving for several years as the assistant varsity basketball coach. “I am forever grateful for the organizational and teamwork skills that I learned from coaches like Tim Genson and Ed Sanders. Those men were my role models in childhood and have become friends in adulthood.”
Dean was the second generation of his family to attend MCC schools. His family came to the area in the 1950s when his grandfather, and namesake, Dean, was hired as the Michigan State University Extension Service agent. Many area farmers contribute their success to Dean’s grandfather.
Dean’s father, Mark, served as Mason County Probate Court Judge, while his mother, Taryn, was a teacher at MCC.
“I believe the biggest strength I gained from MCC was work ethic. The groundwork for that, though, was laid at home, and then really developed at MCC in the classroom and on the court and field.
“This has driven me to be more accountable and responsible person because I value what that hard work has allowed me to accomplish. You can surely trace many of the successes I have experienced back to the staff at MCC challenging and pushing me to be the best I could be.”
Dean grew up in Scottville and lived within a short walking distance of all the school complexes. His family spent a lot of time at their cottage on the Pere Marquette River in Branch Township. Dean says small town living has only been an asset to his life.
“I really see very little challenges due to being educated at a small school,” he says. “We are very fortunate in our area to be able to take advantage of dual enrollment classes at West Shore Community College, which take the place of many advanced placement classes MCC may not offer compared to bigger schools. I find hard work and the quality of the time you spend learning from quality people outweighs the perceived strengths of a larger school district. It takes many types of backgrounds to run this world, and I think MCC instills in you a sense of family and teamwork that keeps us grounded regardless of the path we take.”
Dean has taken those MCC values into the workplace as well.
“At Smith and Eddy we pride ourselves on being heavily involved in many activities outside of work,” he says. “We are fortunate our leadership fully supports and understands the importance of community involvement. The flexibility we are offered here really allows us to have a positive impact and help shape the community we live in.”
Dean’s community involvement includes serving as a board member for both the Ludington Optimist Club and MCC Education Foundation. He also serves on the The Ludington/Mason County Cultural Economic Development Task Force and the Scottville sculpture park committee. He is also involved in the annual Spring Community Auction which raises money for the MCC Education Foundation and Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“ I am involved in these activities specifically to help give back and support the youth in our community,” Dean says. “Growing up I was very fortunate to have great role models showing me how to do things the right way. These organizations were a big part of that and I hope to help continue the work they do giving kids more opportunities to be successful in life.”