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Julie McVey Reading Day seeks to honor life of young teacher

Barry McNamara
The late Julie Cahill McVey '05
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Friends from her alma mater are helping to create a day to honor the late Julie Cahill McVey ’05.

A Monmouth College elementary education major who went on to teach at three schools in western Illinois, McVey died last July at the age of 37.

“Julie was a strong advocate for reading and education,” said Evy Lipecka ’06, who is helping to organize an annual Julie McVey Reading Day, which will debut this July 27. “During her short life, she touched many people with her teaching and community work. The event will celebrate Julie’s impact on the kids in her community and is an opportunity for us, her friends, to keep her memory alive by continuing her life’s work.”

The day’s activities will include a virtual walk/run, live toddler walk/run and a morning reading festival on the Monmouth Public Square. Alumni and friends can participate in the virtual seven-mile race at their own pace over the course of three months using an iPhone, Apple Watch or Fitbit.

Other organizers include Kendra Schlesinger Preston ’06 – who dedicated her children’s book, Savvy and Maddy’s First Adventure, to McVey – and Jeannie Weber, executive director of the Warren County Way. McVey was a member of the United Way board.

The 2019 fundraising goal is $27,000 to finance the installation of several “Julie’s Little Libraries” around the
Monmouth community and begin a college fund for the McVeys’ 2-year-old daughter, Lucy.

Some volunteers, including family and friends, will solicit peer-to-peer pledges for the steps/miles they accumulate. Others can help by making a pledge to one of the participants or by simply making a donation.

“We hope to have donation boxes at businesses around town,” said Lipecka. “Other ways to help are spreading the word about the initiative, sharing our fundraising page on social media, and coming out for the event on July 27.”

Registration for the virtual race opened April 27 at:

After graduating from Monmouth, McVey earned a master’s degree in reading from Western Illinois University. She taught in Galesburg and Macomb before assuming her most recent position as the response to intervention (RTI) coordinator at United West Elementary School in rural Monmouth.