March 2018 Newsletter

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The value of small

Back in the Paleolithic age when I was submitting college apps via stone tablets (sent in on the backs of mastodons), my list included Michigan State, The University of Colorado, The University of North Carolina, and the The University of Tennessee. U of M missed the cut because when I attended a basketball game on my visit, I noticed a girl reading a book in the middle of the game. Quite the mature 17-year-old I was.

After our trip to Kalamazoo College a few weeks ago, I reflected on what a bonehead I had been for not widening my scope to smaller schools. Although big state schools like U of M and MSU fit a lot of students, there's a reason their 4-year graduation rate is so dismal, especially for first-generation students. Bottom line: for some, it's really easy to get lost at a big school.

Conversely, in speaking with Savannah Thomas, a Thurston grad now finishing up at K-College, when she missed class with a cold, her professor dropped by her dorm room with a bottle of Theraflu and a box of Kleenex. Over the top and potentially enabling? Maybe. But for an 18-year-old away from home for the first time trying to navigate a brand new landscape, this kind of personal attention might explain why K boasts a 4-year graduation rate of over 90%.

Ultimately, the difference might be that bigger schools offer the resources for students to truly engage, whereas at smaller school students are forced to do so. If you're someone who likes to be more of a "fly on the wall," those first couple years of college, comfortable navigating your way through classes without being bothered too much, then a big school might be the place for you. But if you feel like you need a little more "TLC," don't rule out a smaller place like K or some of the many smaller liberal arts institutions across the country.

As far as academic reputation and rigor, these Michigan schools are worth considering: Kalamazoo College, Hope College, Hillsdale, and Albion.

While we plan to expand our college visit circuit to include more of these small schools, I encourage parents to keep these and others in mind for summer college visits. College websites can tell you a little, but there is no substitute for actually being there.

--Mr. Hughes

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Thurston Updates

  • We now offer study sessions on Monday and Thursday in the media center from 2:45 - 4:00. Click here to connect with a study buddy.

  • Juniors: The SAT is almost here. Some tips for over Spring Break: 1) Read a lot. 2) Take the written practice test I provided and check your answers so you truly understand why the correct answer is correct. 3) Relax. 4) Read more 5) Maintain a somewhat normal sleep schedule.

  • College acceptance letters are STILL rolling in for our Eagle Scholars. So far our seniors have been accepted to U of M, Emory University, Michigan State, Kalamazoo College, University of Alabama, University of Oregon, Albion, Alma, Michigan Tech, Central Michigan, Ferris State, Wayne State, Eastern Michigan, Grand Valley, Bowling Green, Capital University, Western Michigan, and U of M Dearborn. They'll be hearing more (hopefully good) news in the coming weeks.

  • SCHOLARSHIP ALERT! Check Naviance and the Eagle Scholars site for more info. The Eagle Scholars Award application will be available in early April.

  • The March 15th Kalamazoo College visit was fantastic. No doubt, is is now on the radars of many of our students.

  • The U of M Ann Arbor visit is May 24th. March 2nd is the last day to sign up.

  • The scholarship fundraiser is booked for Monday, April 23rd at Buffalo Wild Wings on 6 Mile in Livonia. I will be sending out more info in the coming weeks.

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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

6th grade Scholars traveled to Indian Springs Metropark on Tuesday, March 27th to continue the Technology Enhanced Nature Study (T.E.N.S.) Program. The students spent the month of March formulating research questions and Tuesday they began to collect the relevant data. While it was a rainy day, the students had a good time and learned a lot. The next trip back to Indian Springs is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24th.

The students have also been participating in the online simulation "Place Out Of Time" as part of their Social Studies class. The simulation requires that the students take on the persona of a person from history, real or fictional, and respond to a series of issues that the world is facing. This simulation culminates in a statewide conference at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where the students will all meet and discuss their final issue. The scholars are set to attend this conference on Monday, April 9th.

7th Grade ESP

Mrs. DeMauriac will be returning to the classroom after Spring Break, and the students are definitely excited to have her back. The Eagle Scholars Program thanks Ms. Green for filling in and providing quality instruction to the 7th graders. We wish her luck in her future endeavors.

The 7th graders have undertaken a research project in Social Studies. Students have been tasked with researching different technologies that have helped shaped the world throughout history. Students have been learning how tricky historical research can be. Some of the topics that students have chosen include the Trojan Horse, Hammurabi's Code, and cuneiform.

8th Grade ESP

Some of the 8th graders have been having issues with grasping some of the math concepts in this unit. It deals with exponential growth and decay graphs. Some helpful tools can be found here.

Students have also continued their work with Lord of the Flies. Even though they have finished with the book itself, students are exploring the themes of the story. They have been working to bring the themes to life in an artistic manner. The rendering that they've developed will be on display during the Pierce Showcase, which is scheduled for May 22nd.

General ESP

Pierce Has Got Talent's Live Show was held on March 15th and the Eagle Scholars stole the show. The winner was 8th grade Scholar Bianca Catania with her rendition of "This is Home" by Cavetown. In a tie for 2nd place was 7th grade Scholar Jenacy Cardwell who sang "Rise Up" by Andra Day. Congratsulations to both of the winners and all of the Scholars who competed.

The Eagle Scholars Leadership Team is planning the 1st Annual Day of Service. This will be an opportunity for all Scholars to do community service and attain the five service hours that they need. The Leadership Team is partnering with the Redford Township Parks Commission to clean up one of Redford's many parks and is currently working out a date that will work for the majority of students. Most likely it will take place in late April or May. Parents will, of course, be welcome too!

Looking for ways to keep your Scholar engaged this summer? Check out these enrichment activities located throughout Michigan this summer.

Do you know someone who might be a good Eagle Scholar candidate? If so, the application for the 2018-2019 school year is open. Entrance exams are scheduled for March and April.

For all other import Pierce and district-wide dates, please refer to the district calendar.

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assisi

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