May 5, 2023
Clockwise from upper left: Scottland Powell, or Queen Elizabeth II, gets the royal treatment from her mother, Chanese Powell; Christopher Amori takes a shot as Gordie Howe; Molly McAlinden curtsies as Princess Diana; Karmine Gambrell is right as purple rain as Prince; Lily Jarzombek sets sail as Jessica Watson; Logan McCray serves it up as Serena Williams; James Saunders steps up to the plate as Miguel Cabrera; Calhoun Sledz goes "Down Under" as Steve Irwin.
Mason fourth graders bring history to life
Visitors to Mason Elementary School’s Living Museum on Wednesday had the opportunity to visit with captains of industry, Nobel prize and Grammy award winners, sports legends, world famous artists and even members of royalty.
The fourth graders participated in the Living Museum as part of an extensive research project in class. Students selected a person of interest to learn how they persevered to become an influential figure. They designed their own tri-fold boards and researched and wrote reports in class. For the presentation to staff members, parents and other guests on Wednesday, they were encouraged to dress up as their favorite influential person, and bring props to the celebration.
Many students shared their favorite quotes on their display boards or in their speeches.
“If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up,” said basketball great Michael Jordan, selected by both Jordan Ruta and Liam Widzinski for his perseverance on the court. “Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Other athletes of similar prominence included Brazilian soccer player Pele (aka Dylan Jenkins-Kimbrough), tennis phenom Serena Williams (aka Logan McCray and D’moni Watson), golf champion Tiger Woods (aka Brian Maloney), basketball star Kobe Bryant (aka Khalil Waters), Red Wings legend Gordie Howe (aka Christopher Amori), Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera (aka James Saunders), and basketball player and sports analyst Shaquille O'Neill (aka Parker Croft).
Scientists were also well represented. Alexander Fleming (aka Eddie Schultz) told the story of how he discovered penicillin in 1928 by serendipity.
“I went on vacation and left my petri dishes out by accident,” the Nobel Prize winning microbiologist recalled. “Then when I came back, I found bacteria killing mold on the dishes.”
He was knighted in 1944 and received the Nobel Prize in 1945.
“I tell ya it wasn’t easy,” he added. “Back then we didn’t have the technology or the funding.”
Eddie said he chose Fleming as his influential figure because “my dad told me that he discovered the first antibiotic by accident and I thought it was a really cool story. My dad is a nurse so he knows a lot about stuff like that.”
Eddie, who wants to be a chemist when he grows up – and has already discovered a new substance he calls “Sticksome” – went on to say that antibiotics “have saved thousands and millions of lives.”
Maura Fowler also chose a famous scientist with a groundbreaking discovery – Marie Curie, who in addition to discovering radium and polonium, made major contributions to cancer treatments.
“I chose Marie Curie because she had such an impact on the world and she created life-saving tools that probably no one else could,” Maura said.
In her speech, she noted that “People didn’t think girls were smart or could study science” – with Marie Curie, another Nobel Prize winner, proving them wrong.
Many students selected figures in history they viewed as role models.
Noelle Weathers said she selected civil rights activist Rosa Parks “because she is a very strong woman just like me.”
When striking her pose for the visitors, she held up a sign with the number “7053” – her prisoner number after she was arrested for protesting during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Her favorite Rosa Parks quote is: “I believe that there is only one race – the human race.”
For Cameron Murphy, the key was a shared interest. He chose professional skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk because “I really like skating and I think he is a really good role model because he always tries his hardest and never gives up.”
Mackenzie Huinder admired Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.
“She’s a role model for me because she is a woman’s rights activist,” Mackenzie said.
Her favorite RBG quote is: “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Some students earned style points for the props they brought, going above and beyond with their costumes, striking convincing poses, and one young man, Calhoun Sledz, even gave his speech in an Australian accent, as was only fitting for his historical figure, Australian adventurer Steve Irwin, known as the Crocodile Hunter.
The Living Museum represented “a culmination of weeks of hard work,” said Alison Locke, who teaches fourth grade along with Julie Nurse and Joseph Ratcliff. “I was so proud of each one of them.”
“It was a momentous occasion,” agreed Mrs. Nurse.
Take Your Blue Devil to Work Day
Grosse Pointe South faculty and staff members pose with their children, special guests during Take Your Blue Devil to Work Day.
Last Friday was Take Your Little Blue Devil to Work Day at Grosse Pointe South, and staff members went above and beyond to make the visit a fun and memorable one.
The day was organized by social studies teacher Meg Pierce, with help from the Student Association, Class Council, the National Honor Society, Varsity Club and Interact students, who volunteered to help the teachers who created workshops and activities to engage the young people throughout the day.
During first hour, the special guests had a choice of making a piñata in Spanish class with Señor Scott Peltier, visiting classroom pets in Shelly Rothenbueller’s classroom, or creating sticker designs and prints in art class with Alex Finney.
Cleminson Hall became a center for mindfulness and relaxation strategies as counselors shared sound therapy and mindfulness techniques.
Steve Geresy introduced TV production enthusiasts to a little “Green Screen Magic” in the TV Production studio, and science teacher Troy Hernandez gave demonstrations on waves and electricity for future scientists.
Hands-on learning during fourth hour included kinetic sand in the library and slime making in the lab with science teacher Jessica Weisler, and for even more active learning, physical education teacher Chad Hepner opened up the gym for basketball, badminton and other fun games.
In the afternoon there were team-building activities offered by the counseling staff, more slime making, a reading circle and Playdough in the library, art therapy in Cleminson Hall, and lawn games with P.E. teacher Kathy Smith, including tricycles on the track and baseball, bubbles and Bocce stations.
Art teacher Alex Finney said his son, Diego, a pre-K student at Richard Elementary, "had the best day ever here at South. All of my students loved showing him around."
Math teacher Lisa Kline reported that her kids, Henry, age 4, and Harper, age 2, said it was "the best day ever at Mama's school."
Henry's favorite part was when Jess Weiseler opened up her organic chemistry class and he and his sister got to make slime with the high school students.
"The high schoolers were so kind and patient with my kids," Lisa said. "It was so awesome to see them in that light. Harper liked playing in the gym with Mrs. Smith and with all of the animals in Shelly Rothenbuhler's room. She now says bunnies are her favorite animal and we need one at home."
Clockwise from top left: Diego Finney made a clay pot in art class with his dad, Alex Finney; LRC teacher Carrie Donaghue said her children, Emerson and Duke, enjoyed their day with her at South; Meg Pierce's son, Sam, had a ball during gym time; South senior Brooke Lezotte helped Henry Kline make slime; siblings Sam and Josie Pierce, a third grader at Monteith and fifth grader at Parcells, respectively, pose together; Lola Palen, daughter of social studies teacher PJ Palen, made a piñata in Scott Peltier's Spanish class with a little help from the high school students.
North performers nominated for Sutton Foster awards
From left, Avani Davis as Belle, Ryan Lutes as the Beast, and Jake Sachs as Gaston during North's production of "Beauty and the Beast."
Each year, high school musical stars from across Michigan are professionally judged in their local productions for the opportunity to compete for outstanding lead actor/actress for their performance as part of the Sutton Foster Awards. Named for Broadway star and Tony winner Sutton Foster, this program recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performances as well as the commitment of Michigan teachers and schools to excellence in performing arts education.
This year, three lead actors from Grosse Pointe North’s fall production of Beauty and the Beast were among those students nominated -- junior Avani Davis for her performance as Belle, senior Ryan Lutes for his performance as the Beast, and senior Jake Sachs for his performance as Gaston.
These three performers – along with Rebecca Dral, Lilly Hunwick, Braden Vogel and Spencer Yonkus from Grosse Pointe South, who performed in South’s production of Mamma Mia! in April – have been invited to attend an intensive workshop weekend to prepare for a competitive showcase at the Fisher Theatre on May 21.
This not-to-be-missed evening of theater takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online. The public is invited to come witness the talent that brought these performers to the state level. Broadway in Detroit features 130 high school students performing selections from their school musicals and a variety of Broadway medleys.
Two winners for outstanding performer in a leading role will go on to New York City to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards in celebration of legendary Broadway theater owner and producer James. M. Nederlander, who dedicated his career to supporting young talent.
Success at MIPA Student Journalism competition
Top photo, field reporter Grace Geresy interviewed Pierce teacher Alison Grojean for a personality profile; bottom photo, Eleni Melhem received a first place award for her on-air talent as anchor.
Pierce and South students earn broadcast journalism and TV production awards
Grosse Pointe South TV Production and the Broadcast Journalism program at Pierce were successful at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Student Journalism competition.
Pierce Broadcast Journalism competed in Division 2 against high schools and other middle school broadcasts programs in the state. Pierce News staff received a third place for its newscast. Grace Geresy received a second place for her field reporting. Jude O’Meara, Sam Lanbrie and Peter Howlett earned an Honorable Mention for their personality profile on Pierce Weather. Elle Sutorka, Erin Ramsey and Grace Geresy earned an Honorable Mention for their personality profile on Pierce fifth grade teacher Alison Grojean. Aubrey Lindow, Riley Norrholm, Nina DeLuca and Mason Applegate received an Honorable Mention for their Pierce News opener. Abbey Daniell and Grace Geresy received an Honorable Mention for their on-air talent as anchors.
Grosse Pointe South TV Production received several awards from the MIPA competition. GPTV News received an Honorable Mention for its daily newscast. Eleni Melhem received a first place award for her on-air talent as anchor. Cooper Evans received a second place for his live sports announcing during GPTV Sports coverage of the varsity boys' basketball game against Notre Dame Prep. South’s Video Club, made up of Montana Schroeder, Erin Simpson, Jason Reynolds, Eric Beard, Mario Hanna and Audrey Larson, received an Honorable Mention for their short film called Anyways. Rebecca Roberts, Mae Baliatico and Gabrielle Duso received an Honorable Mention for their promotional commercial about Career and Technical Education (CTE). The advanced TV Production class received an Honorable Mention for the GPS Freshman Course Selection video.
Parcells kicks off 'No Place for Hate' campaign
These fifth and sixth graders, pictured with Carla Chennault, ADL Michigan Education Director, far left, and, Parcells teacher and Bridge Club adviser Nick Symonette, back row center, are helping lead the way for the school's No Place for Hate® campaign.
Parcells Middle School kicked off its No Place for Hate® campaign during half-hour assemblies for seventh and eighth graders, followed by fifth and sixth graders, on Tuesday, May 2. No Place for Hate®, an anti-bias and bullying prevention program for grades Pre-K to 12, is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan.
Nicholas Symonette, Academic/Behavioral Coach at Parcells and adviser for the school's Bridge Club, led the assembly, encouraging students to take the pledge to "seek to gain understanding of those who are different from myself; speak out against prejudice and discrimination; and reach out to support those who are targets of hate."
Mr. Symonette reminded the students how important they each are individually to making a positive difference in their school.
"There's no magic wand," he said. "The magic is in you."
Special guest Carla Chennault, ADL Michigan Education Director, spoke briefly to the students, informing them that the goal of No Place for Hate® is to inspire a national movement led by students, educators and family members who are committed to using the power of positive peer influence to build inclusive and safe schools in which all students can thrive.
Ms. Chennault commended the students for their initiative, telling them that Parcells is "the crown jewel" as the first school in Grosse Pointe to participate in the movement.
"It is something kids can be a part of no matter what grade they are in," she said. "They can be leaders. They can be learners. And they can help spread the message of acceptance and allyship."
South students meet virtually with Italian author
Students in George Formicola's Italian III class at Grosse Pointe South High School had the opportunity to meet with Sabina Colloredo, the popular Italian author of children's literature, via Zoom.
The project was sponsored by the Education Office of the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, in collaboration with Ente N.O.I. Foundation. Each student received a copy of Colloredo's book, Tutta la bellezza che c'è, which describes the beauty of Italy and its culture as a timeless and poignant ballad.
After reading and analyzing the text, the students participated in a Zoom call with the author from her home in Milan, Italy.
During the meeting, the students had the opportunity to ask questions to learn more about the book and her life as an author. Sabina also spoke one-on-one with several of the students, asking them to explain their interpretation of the book and what type of connection exists between Italy and Grosse Pointe South.
Parcells presents 'Pinocchio'
Mark your calendar for Parcells Middle School's production of "Pinocchio" on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Parcells auditorium, 20600 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods. Tickets are available at the door 30 minutes prior to showtime.