February 2018 Newsletter

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The Real Culprit

I've begun a regular practice of one-on-one lunch meetings with students. And while spending so much time in the cafeteria has changed my views on a lot of things (for example, unlike in the movies it's quite civil in there and the food is actually decent), it has only solidified my view on something else.

One of the questions I ask my students - specifically those who are struggling - as they attempt to jam a spicy chicken sandwich in 11 minutes: What is the main reason you are not achieving what you are capable of achieving?

Not "The work is too hard."
Not "I have a new girlfriend."
Not "I'm too busy with sports."

You guessed it: "I spend too much time on my phone."

To be fair, ask any adult and if they're honest, this statement would apply to them as well - the average person checks his/her phone between 50 and 200 times per day. Consider the learning, the productivity, the attention, the ability to connect with people, the deep thinking, that is lost when we are constantly jumping like Pavlov's dogs to a tiny glowing box that probably has nothing consequential to show us.

Ironically, the founders of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other tech behemoths are vigilant about their kids and phones; one of the reasons for their success is that they were able to stay hyperfocused for long periods of time. For more on this, check out The Wait Until 8th pledge. Don't our kids deserve the same?

A 2017 grad who is now at U of M told me he leaves his phone in his dorm room, then leaves the building to study. How many of us could do that without triggering some anxiety?

I'm not suggesting that phones are inherently evil, or that they don't offer some fantastic benefits. They save me those annoying trips to the bank, for example. They've also allowed me to bow out of a dinner party without an awkward conversation.

But let's be real about what is lost when our students, at a time when their brains are most malleable, choose Youtube, Snapchat, FaceTime, etc, when there is studying to be done and, more importantly, a living, breathing world to experience.

For a deeper dive into how screen time is affecting our kids and what you can do about it, please join us on March 6th at 6:30 for a special screening of the acclaimed film, Screenagers. Details here.

In the meantime, I'll be making kids put away their phone at lunch so they can focus on our conversation...and not choking on that chicken sandwich.


--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. Remember that while Khan Academy and other test prep is helpful, the best preparation is to engage deeply in learning at school and at home. The test is as much about stamina as it is about knowledge, so keep that brain working out right up until the exam!


  • College acceptance letters are STILL rolling in for our Eagle Scholars. So far our seniors have been accepted to 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. Note the Redford Chamber scholarship is due March 2nd.



  • The U of M Ann Arbor visit has been scheduled for 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. More details to come.


  • On February 23rd, several Eagle Scholars listened to Olympic track athlete and U of M grad Cindy Ofili offer advice on success, goal setting, and overcoming adversity. Check out this recent article about her comeback from a devastating Achilles injury.

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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

6th grade Scholars traveled to Indian Springs Metropark to participate in the Technology Enhanced Nature Study (T.E.N.S.) Program. This program brings together two different middle schools in Metro Detroit to collaborate on a scientific study over the course of four months. Students collected field data using a variety of different scientific equipment. The program will culminate in a research project designed by the students, that will be part of their final grade in science class.


Mrs. Munoz is expected to return to the classroom during the first full week of March! We are very excited to see her and have her back doing what she loves! We thank her substitutes Ms. Green and Ms. Ray for providing outstanding guidance and instruction to her classes.


7th Grade ESP

In honor of African American History Month, 7th grade students have been researching lesser known African Americans and their amazing contributions to America. This is being done as part of their Language Arts curriculum. Some of the great people presented on include Bayard Rustin, John Brown Russwurm, and William H. Hastie.


Mrs. DeMauriac is expected to be out until after Spring Break in April. We wish her continued strength and a speedy recovery during this trying time. In the meantime, Ms. Emily Green is filling in and handling her classes wonderfully.


8th Grade ESP

Some 8th graders have been struggling with their current math unit. It focuses on expressing and simplifying squares. Students are encouraged attend the after school sessions to learn from each other and leverage available resources. Here are a few lessons from Khan Academy on the subject.


Both ESP Language Arts classes smashed their Lord of Flies final test, scoring a combined class average of 88%! This is the type of work we like to see!



General ESP

The NJHS Induction Ceremony is coming up on March 7th at 6:30 pm in the Thurston High School Auditorium, and many Eagle Scholars will be inducted and/or presiding over the ceremony. ESP teacher Mrs. Denton and Mr. Parsons are the advisers for the organization this year. We encourage anybody who is interested to attend! If you have any questions feel free to contact them. There will be refreshments!


Pierce Has Got Talent is heating up and the Eagle Scholars are poised to win the whole thing! Many of the Scholars made it through the first round of auditions earlier in February. The second round of auditions is set for February 28th. If they make it through, they will perform at the live show in Thurston's auditorium on March 15th at 6:30 pm. We wish them all good luck! Scholars competing this year are:


Abby Borsodi

Chauncey Bowers

Jenacy Cardwell

Gabby Clotfelter

Bianca Catania

Jewel Chattam



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.


Important Dates

  • PSAT Testing--3/6
  • NJHS Induction--3/7
  • Pierce Has Got Talent Live Show--3/15
  • Spring Picture Day--3/28
  • Spring Break--3/30 to 4/8


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

“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” --Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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