Growing up in the Astoria area, Stephanie (dual degree, 2000) and Wes (Agriculture Business Management, 2001) both attended Spoon River College.

Stephanie was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and participated in the SRC Theater production of Rumors as a cast member. She continued her education at Illinois Central College to achieve a third associate degree (in applied science, Physical Therapist Assistant program) and at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, where she ultimately earned a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. She graduated with honors from both institutions.

After returning home, Stephanie worked in the area skilled nursing facilities and at Culbertson Memorial Hospital in Rushville. She has been rewarded with several honors in her field, including being named Culbertson’s Employee of the Year in 2022. She currently serves as Academic Advisor and Student Health Coordinator at Astoria Unit School District #1, where she’s also a coach for the Dance Team. Stephanie is an avid hiker and rockhounder and enjoys spending time outdoors and at school events. For the past ten years, she’s been a runner for St. Jude.

During his time at SRC, Wes was named Vocational Student of the Year and was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He has worked for Boehm’s Garden Center in Rushville and at Helena Chemical Company, but he currently teaches agriculture and shop classes at Astoria High School. In his spare time, Wes serves as supervisor for Astoria Township and enjoys fishing, hunting, rockhounding, woodworking, and gardening.

Together, the pair own (since 2016) Orchid Hill Farm near Lewistown, IL., an orchid that gave both of them many fond memories of their youth. In both 2019 and 2022, apples from the orchard (paired with Wes’ skill cider production) earned the orchard both First Place Illinois Cider and First Place National Cider at the Illinois State Horticulture Society’s annual National Sweet Cider Contests.

Stephanie and Wes have four children, Casey (16), Brayden (15), Nikita (12) and Cole (7).

Wes and Stephanie Carithers, Alumni Achievement Award recipients