April 2020 Newsletter

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A diverse community of leaders engaged in rigorous coursework and broad-based enrichment

What is Essential?

The COVID-19 crisis has, in short order, reframed the way I view myself, my family, my community, my work, and my world. Although as of this writing no one in my family has been stricken with or died from the virus, several students and colleagues have lost family members. Several more will follow.

I’ve reached out to students to see how they’re doing, several of whom are likely not responding because they are dealing directly with this crisis in some way. Of those responding, one is working long hours at a grocery store, another is babysitting her brother while her mom works overtime at Amazon where someone recently tested positive, and another is being kept from his mother and grandmother who are in the hospital with Coronavirus.

As an educator married to another educator, I am acutely aware of how fortunate we are to be working from home and in good health. Although I am an advocate for public education, it is debatable whether my job is essential right now.

Which begs the question of what is actually essential: medical workers, first responders, police officers, grocers, delivery drivers, pharmacists. In the words of governor Whitmer, people who work in industries that "protect and sustain life.” Three weeks ago that list would have looked much longer: lawyers, investment bankers, pro athletes, filmmakers, YouTubers. No offense to any of those professions, but they are not essential right now. Valuable in many ways, yes. Essential? No.

What is essential is what we can’t live without.

So in the context of this national crisis, how might this change our students' answer to the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Might this be a chance to inspire our students not to pursue careers that earn the most money, but that are the most “essential?"

In a prophetic moment, a few weeks ago I polled our Eagle Scholars (graphic in the upper right) about potential career paths. I was stunned by the results: public service was the most popular response, over STEM, Business, the Arts, and Humanities.

Maybe this crisis will elevate farmers, small grocery store owners, nurses, first responders police officers, and delivery drivers to a higher status. In short, jobs whose primary goal is not to profit from others, but to serve others, pandemic or not.

When we come out of this – and we will come out of this – perhaps it will have inspired a new generation driven not by rugged individualism, but by social responsibility.

I hope we're all here to see it.

Stay safe and healthy. My family is sending positive vibes to all of you.

--Mr. Hughes

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Newly Admitted Eagle Scholars and 8th graders

  • Stay tuned for information on the June 1st orientation; it will likely be postponed.
  • Please email or call with questions! (contact info at the bottom)


  1. Schedule a video or phone chat with Mr. Hughes to discuss college stuff here. Parents are welcome to join!

  2. Search colleges that have moved back their deposit date to June 1st.

  3. Check your email for important information from Ms. Hann and Ms. Williams about sending transcripts.


  1. Check your email for important information from Ms. Hann and Ms. Williams about scheduling for next year.

  2. Time to start thinking about college! Check out this quick resource guide for some basic information. More to come!

  3. More detailed College stuff, go to Naviance and explore their college search tools.

Freshmen and Sophomores

  1. Check your email for important information from Ms. Hann and Ms. Williams about scheduling for next year.

  2. Check out U of M's Year-by-Year College Planning Guide to see what you need to be doing to prep for college.

  3. Be sure to pop into my weekly Video Chat every Wednesday at 11 am to check-in and get updates.

Reflections From Home

Christian H., Freshman

Despite being couped up inside in the days school has been cancelled, I am using this opportunity to further grasp what I have learned throughout this year by taking online lessons. I assigned these to myself. In addition to reviewing the things I already know, I'm taking this time off to explore hobbies I have been interested in like learning to play chess and a spot of cooking. Of course, a major thing I've been doing is catching up on games with my Nintendo Switch. But most importantly, the events unfolding around us have made me realized how short-term life is and that I should spend more time with those I care about.

Bri S., Senior

Over these past couple of weeks I have been trying to stay busy in order to keep my mind off of all of the negatives. Some things I have been doing include binge cleaning my room and house to get rid of any no longer needed items, watching my favorite Netflix show called All American, continuing to do my Schoolcraft homework and write short essays or poems as a way to relief stress, a lot of painting and coloring, FaceTiming my friends and family constantly, and learning how to cook new things and buy new Beauty products online. I have focused on using this time to become the best version of myself. I try and do a full skin and hair routine every night and continue to grow my faith. Although I still break down every couple of days and cry I have found that staying busy has kept me distracted from constantly crying and kept me hopeful.
Fishing for my kids

Seniors have been accepted to...

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Teacher Feature: Mrs. Doherty - 6th grade Honors Social Studies.

I have been teaching at Pierce since 1990--a long time! I have taught all kinds of things like Language Arts, Spanish, Health and Social Studies. This is my 4th year teaching 6th grade social studies in the ESP program and I love it. I am married and have 3 kids, Charley (27), Maggie (24) and Anne (19). In my free time I enjoy reading, practicing yoga and spending time with my family and friends. One of my favorite things to do is to learn as much as I can about this amazing world we live in and share it with my students.

“This awful catastrophe is not the end but the beginning. History does not end so. It is the way its chapters open.” - St. Augustine

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100% of proceeds go toward Eagle Scholars college education. Awards will be presented at Honors Night. This year we have set an ambitious goal to raise $34,000 so that each graduate receives at least $1,000. (1000 people x $34 donation per person)