Jan. 27, 2023
Monteith fourth graders kick off their fundraiser for the Detroit Community Cat Rescue. Pictured in back, from left, are DCCR shelter manager Liz Haack, Monty the Tiger, fourth grade teacher Susan Howey and Principal Shelleyann Keelean.
Monteith hosts feline fundraiser
Fourth graders at Monteith Elementary are asking the community to lend a paw to their feline fundraiser benefitting the Detroit Community Cat Rescue, Detroit’s first licensed cat only shelter founded in the spring of 2021. The nonprofit organization seeks to reduce the feral cat population in Detroit through rescue, education and community building.
The students have set a goal of raising $1,000 in two weeks – and are monitoring their progress on a “fur-mometer.” After only five days, they are close to reaching their goal.
The fundraiser kickoff took place on Monday, Jan. 23. Special guest Liz Haack, DCCR’s shelter manager, was in attendance to tell the students about the organization. She received a tour of the hallways and got a peek at all the promotion for the fundraiser already underway pre-kickoff.
“There are posters everywhere!” she said. “It’s amazing. I’m blown away.”
DCCR is volunteer and donation based, so “every single dollar we get helps the cats directly,” she explained. “I don’t think people realize how much it can cost to take in a sick cat or a stray cat and to feed it and get it vetted. Every little bit helps us help more cats.”
There are cat puns aplenty on the posters that adorn the hallways throughout the school to urge students, staff and parents to contribute to DCCR.
“Anything is Paws-ible!”
“Purr-fect! See you litter,” is a sign-off for one of the commercials students created.
Students in Susan Howey’s class – home of the Fan Faces class business – plan to contribute $200 towards their fundraising goal (Fan Faces donates 50 percent of its proceeds annually to charitable organizations). The business owners have created posters and commercials, visited classes throughout the school, and brainstormed about other creative ways to spread the word.
All the fourth grade classes and the grade 3/4 magnet class worked together to plan the fundraiser and spent time writing scripts for presentations, creating posters and more.
Aurelia Redziniak, left, and Grace Dobberowsky are focusing their efforts in the Fan Faces headquarters on promotional materials for the DCCR fundraiser. "We are 'cat-ifying' the school," is how Grace describes it.
Grace Dobberowsky and Aurelia Redziniak are strong ambassadors for the cause.
Grace has two cats of her own – Harry and Lloyd – and Aurelia is grateful for the help her rescue cat, Chivas, received from an animal shelter.
They “made him feel better” when he was sick, Aurelia explained, so she wants to give back and help other cats.
“I think we need more respect for animals,” Grace said. “That’s why I wanted to raise money.”
The two girls and their classmates have been busy cutting out fan faces to promote their fundraiser, using the faces of DCCR cats currently up for adoption.
Beyond creating fan faces, students have come up with a variety of ways to meet their fundraising goal. Hats for Cats, a coloring book Aurelia has at home, inspired the idea to host a Hats for Cats day at Monteith on Jan. 25, when students can donate $1 to wear a hat to school. On Feb. 1, students are encouraged to dress like a cat.
$1 also buys a raffle ticket and the opportunity to win some special prizes donated by local businesses such as cupcakes from Pink Elephant, cookies and a gift card from the Cheese Shoppe, and a toy stuffed cat.
A $10 donation earns the donor a fan face and a raffle ticket. $10 more earns the donor a magnet and a donation of any kind gets the donor’s name on a pawprint to be displayed on a donor board.
For Ms. Howey, it's all about empowering her students to come up with their own ideas and run with them.
“They are really going above and beyond,” she said.
The deadline for the fundraiser? You guessed it – Fur-bruary 3.
For more information about DCCR, go to detroitcats.org.
Principal Shelleyann Keelean brought her 6-month-old kitten, Loki, to Monteith to inspire the students, and fourth graders created posters in preparation for the fundraiser kickoff on Monday.
Pierce places second at Future City competition
Pictured with members of Pierce's Future City club at the competition on Jan. 23 are adviser Carrie Morris (back row on left) and the team's engineering mentor, Mike O'Bryan, back row on right.
Nineteen teams from across Michigan competed on Monday, Jan. 23 in the regional Future City competition sponsored by the Engineering Society of Detroit and held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
All the teams presented during the preliminary judging round, with five -- including Pierce Middle School -- selected as finalists. These teams presented again before a crowd of several hundred people. Pierce placed second, with St. John Lutheran School from Rochester taking first.
Future City is a project-based learning program where students in middle school imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. This year’s theme was climate change. Students chose a climate change impact and designed one innovative and futuristic climate change adaptation and one mitigation strategy to keep their city’s residents healthy and safe.
Congratulations to team members Rocky Bocci, Aria Burrascano, Grayson Flanery, Elsa Franzinger, Jonah Hess, Ford Hutchcraft, Jemmy Kasili, Caitlin Lowe, Ciara Nordstrom, Azure Northcross, Emma Sherry and Leo Zellen. They are headed with their adviser, Carrie Morris, to Washington D.C. for the national competition from Feb. 18 to 22.
On stage during the final presentation are, from left, Rocky Bocci, grade 8, Aria Burrascano, grade 7, and Leo Zellen, grade 8.
Synchronized swimming: a Grosse Pointe tradition
The Grosse Pointe Blue Dolphins, a combined Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South synchronized swimming team, recreated an iconic photo from the 1950s to celebrate the longstanding tradition of synchronized swimming in Grosse Pointe.
The “original Dolphins of Grosse Pointe” were founded on November 15, 1928. This club focused on all water-related sports and was described in a 1937 yearbook as “… spend[ing] their weekly meetings practicing strokes, dives, water stunts, lifesaving and swimming formations…”
The Aquatic Club eventually broke off into teams of lane swimming, water polo and synchronized swimming. The first reference to a strictly synchronized swim club can be found in a Grosse Pointe News article from December of 1951, which describes the water ballet that was held in celebration of the new gymnasium being built within the school. In the article, the school club is unnamed. However, a yearbook photo from a year later clearly states that the “newly founded Dolphin Club” was thriving.
The Dolphins remained as a joint team even after Grosse Pointe North opened in the fall of 1968, and participation numbers remained high throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.
In 2004, synchronized swimming was recognized as a varsity support by the school district and remains a letter-earning sport to this day. The team has consistently ranked within the top three sports teams for the highest overall GPA at both North and South.
The season typically begins in late November and ends in early March. The season features two competitive components: figure competitions, which are required body positions and transitions similar to gymnastics and diving; and routines, which includes a free routine with technical elements and a free routine with required moves.
This year’s team, coached by Lisa Aouad and Hannah Hicks, is currently in the winter season but is looking for prospective swimmers for next year. No synchronized swimming experience is required.
Here are some fun facts about the Blue Dolphins:
Team motto: Swim to Success
Colors: Blue, black and white
Logo: Two dolphins swimming in a circle
According to a team fact sheet, the dolphins “represent our dual school status, and the never-ending motivation of our team. Across all cultures and mythology, dolphins symbolize community, friendship, grace, generosity and playfulness … all qualities exemplified by our team members!”
Pierce hosts International Festival
Pierce Middle School hosted its annual International Festival on Thursday, Jan. 19, in the Pierce gym. Maire and Defer Elementary Schools were invited to participate in this well-attended event.
Families shared treasures and food from many cultures and the Arabian Knights performed Lebanese Folk Dance.
"It was an amazing night of sharing and appreciating our cultures with our neighbors," organizer Renee Jakubowski said.
Highlights included Alison Grojean’s fifth graders sharing their Native American projects, and Leslie Dolle’s Life Skills students sharing food from several cultures.
Sightseeing in Egypt during Pierce's International Festival are Sophan Buffa, her daughter, Margaret, and Vince Kamis, both first graders at Defer Elementary.
The Tower named Crown Award Finalist
The staff of Grosse Pointe South's student newspaper, The Tower, and website, thetowerpulse.net, were named a Crown Award Finalist by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
Crown finalists will receive either a Gold or Silver Crown award during a special presentation at Columbia University in New York City.
"This is an impressive feat, as CSPA's Board of Judges selected only 225 finalists from over 800 entries submitted from across the country and around the world," wrote CSPA Assistant Director Rebecca Castillo in the notification letter to South Principal Moussa Hamka. "Not every publication that enters is selected as a Crown finalist. Your school's staff exemplifies the type of journalism and storytelling that CSPA is proud to recognize and feature during its annual awards program."
In March, Tower and Tower Pulse adviser Kaitlin Edgerton will travel to NYC with several Tower students for the CSPA Journalism Conference. While there, students will have an opportunity to engage in educational activities, expanding their journalism skills.
GPPSS Preschool - Apply before January 31
Grosse Pointe South choirs warm up for Winter Spectacular
Grosse Pointe South's nationally award-winning choirs are gearing up for their annual Winter Spectacular show on Thursday, Feb. 2 at the Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center at Grosse Pointe North High School, 707 Vernier Road, Grosse Pointe Woods. Curtain time is 7 p.m.
Be among the first to see the competition sets from Serendipity and Pointe Singers as well as Rhapsody in Blue's MSVMA solo and ensemble pieces. Themes range from patriotic songs in the Star-Spanged Spectacular to playful, "muppety" numbers in a Tribute to Jim Henson.
"The Winter Spectacular is a preview of what we've been preparing as we head into competition season," said South's choir director, Vince Matia. "It's an energetic evening that will give our community a chance to see what we will be bringing to our upcoming competitions in Ohio and Tennessee."
Tickets, on sale now, are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors (65+) and $5 for K-12 students. All tickets are available at gpsouthchoir.org.