NMU shines golden: Jewelry helps alternative high school

Kristen Koehler

Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers of Marquette have designed a Northern Michigan University–themed pendant with a cause.

Inspired by their original U.P. pendant, the piece stays true to NMU’s colors by incorporating yellow 14k gold with an emerald green background. While the pendant is beautifully crafted and visually appealing, it offers much more than the eye can see.

Fifty dollars from each sale of the $250 pendant will be put towards an NMU scholarship fund for a graduating senior at the Marquette Alternative High School at Graveraet.

Chris Wattsson, NMU pendant designer, graduated from MAHS in 2008. Producing the pendant and working with NMU took the jeweler six months. However, giving back to his community made the entire process worth the time, Wattsson said.

“I really wanted to help out the students and the school because they helped me so much,” Wattsson said.

MAHS English and photography teacher Cynthia DePetro has been assisting her former student throughout the process of setting up the scholarship.

“I hope what Chris is doing opens up possibilities for others in the community to do the same,” DePetro said. “It’s important to look back and remember where we came from.”

This is not the first time Wattsson has been involved with the alternative school since his graduation. As part of a class assignment, students from DePetro’s photography class photographed jewelry for the Wattsson & Wattsson’s website. When Wattsson approached her with the initial scholarship idea DePetro said she was honored to support him in any way.

“I loved the idea of helping out one of our students,” DePetro said. “I especially liked that the help came from Chris, who understands the importance of our program and how much this means to the alternative school.”

DePetro said because the school has the lowest socioeconomic group in the area, the students will not only be grateful for the financial opportunity but they will look up to Wattsson. She hopes the scholarship demonstrates community support for MAHS students continuing their education.

“We always want our students to leave with more than just math, science, English and history,” DePetro said. “We want them to be productive citizens that care about the people around them.”

According to Wattsson, the NMU gold pendant is just one of many more pieces to come.

“A sterling silver pendant will also be available for $90, with $20 being donated to the scholarship fund,” Wattsson said. “I want to keep adding more and more products.”

Wattsson would especially like to appeal to graduating seniors at NMU as well as alumni with these new designs. Initially the scholarship was meant for one student, however, if sales go well, Wattsson and DePetro will award the scholarship to one male and one female at MAHS. The individuals will be chosen based off established criteria. So far, two NMU gold pendants have already been sold, Wattsson said.

If you would like more information about purchasing an NMU pendant, call (906) 228-5775 or visit Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers at 118 W. Washington St.