February 2020 Newsletter

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Creativity + Accountability = Accomplishment

Last month, I wrote about my 2020 resolution of setting a regular workout schedule once and for all.

Research shows that sharing goals increases the chances of reaching them, so I shared mine with my seniors. "This year," I declared with faux- confidence, "I will get in the best shape of my life."

After a chorus of snickers and "Who cares?," Kenny N. came up to me after class and said, "Mr. Hughes, keep me posted on how that goes for you. And I also want you to hold me accountable for my goal for 2020, which is starting my own company."

Now you understand why I love working with these kids so much.

I could write a full column about the awesomeness that is Kenny, but for my purposes here, let's just say I had painted myself into a corner.

To further lock myself into this absurd promise, later that day I assigned a final project to my independent study students in which they matched a topic of their interest with a skill they wanted to develop, culminating in a product that captured their learning. Motivated (and terrified) by Kenny's implicit challenge, I committed to doing the project right alongside them. My topic was fitness and my skill was writing.

Two big accidental takeaways from the project:

1) I learned that the best way for me to reach a goal is to have a deadline, a creative project, and some others holding me accountable. In my case, I wrote and recorded a rap about my fitness journey, and I am happy to report that I worked out at least four days a week for the month of January. That's the longest streak of consecutive weeks working out since high school tennis, which arguably doesn't even count.

2) I was reminded that everyone has a unique talent, which is easily accessible with the right balance of structure and autonomy. Two of my students (Joya and Kelsea) wrote fantastic poems, one (Brianna) wrote a proposal about animal cruelty in makeup products, and another (Kaytlin)drew a professional-caliber picture of Baby Yoda (upper right).

This experience solidified my belief that we, as parents and educators, must continue to tap into our children's' creativity; they all have it, but for some, it has gone dormant.

And Kenny? He's already taken on two clients, has read Lean Startup and Never Split the Difference, and will probably be a millionaire before I go completely bald (not long). Thanks to Kenny, Joya, Kelsea, Bri, and Kaytlin for helping me stay on track in 2020!


Ries, Eric. Lean Startup. Portfolio Penguin, 2017.

Voss, Christopher A., and Tahl Raz. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It. Rh Business Books, 2017.

Nonsense, MC. Fake Airpods. 2020.


100% of proceeds go toward Eagle Scholars Award winners' college education. Awards will be presented at Honors Night. These are students who have gone above and beyond the requirements of the program.

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Thurston - Important Dates

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2/8: Free SAT practice test at the Redford Library. Register here.

3/6: Admissions decisions final for 2020-21 school year (in-district)

3/14: Free SAT practice test at the Redford Library. Register here

3/19: Albion College Visit

4/14: SAT (Juniors only)

5/21: Honors Dinner

5/28: Honors Night

6/1: Eagle Scholars Program Orientation

6/1: AP Kickoff night

6/4: Graduation

College Acceptance Letters are rolling in!

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Bryan, Rachel, Jenac'y, Angel, and Paulette promote Eagle Scholars at the 8th grade visit

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Pierce - Important Dates

Important Dates

Subscribe to the Eagle Scholars Calendar here

February 6th: Activity Night 6-8pm

February 7th: ½ day for Pierce students

February 8th: Solo Ensemble

February 12th: Band concert 6:30pm

February 14th and 17th: No School, winter break

February 25th: PTO meeting 6:30pm

Teacher Feature: Mrs. Ponder, 8th-grade Social Studies

I have been teaching at Pierce for 26 years. This year, I am teaching both Eagle Scholar and general education classes to the 8th graders. I am married and have three children. In my spare time, I enjoy scrapbooking.

"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence." --Frederick Douglass

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