April 8, 2022
April 8, 2022
Gearheads qualify for states
The Gearheads, North and South's combined robotics team, had a slow start to the season, but came out on top this past weekend.
In the first event this season at Belleville, the team ended up in 22nd place out of 40 teams in qualifying matches and were chosen for the 7th place alliance, losing to the second seed alliance in the quarterfinals. On the plus side, they garnered 19 points toward the state championship.
At a local event in Macomb County the previous weekend, the Gearheads finished as the top seed and captain for the first alliance.
“This was the first time in Gearhead history where we were the best team at an event in the 20 years of robotics,” faculty adviser Jason Wolfsen said. “We ended up winning the tournament and another banner to hang up!”
The team has garnered a total of 58 points toward the state championship.
Another highlight of the Macomb event was that Grosse Pointe North students Chloe Harb and Sa’ad Alrazzi were named semifinalists for the Dean’s List. After their interviews, Sa’ad was chosen as a state champion finalist.
With one week left in the regular season, the Gearheads ranks 53rd out of 492 teams in Michigan and was one of 492 teams to qualify for the state championship at Saginaw Valley State University April 13 to 16.
Students, including current eighth graders, interested in participating in the Gearheads next season should contact Mr. Wolfsen at email@example.com.
Brownell and Pierce host Tournament of Books
Sherry Martin, Brownell and Pierce’s media specialist, took reading to a new level for the second consecutive year.
Sherry says when she purchases new books for the library, she tries to factor in feedback she gets from students. And what better way to do this than to get students to review books ahead of time?
This concept led to her creating a Tournament of Books, in which she compiled 16 different titles, including memoirs, historical fiction, scary books – anything she thought would be of interest to the kids – in a Sweet 16 bracket. Provided with descriptions, author interviews and video links for each of the 16 titles, students were able to then vote on their favorites – or a “winner” – in each of the eight brackets, narrowing the field to the Elite 8, then the Final Four, followed by the finalists and, finally, the grand champion.
The brackets were shared via Schoology and the students voted for their favorites using a Google Form. Every time students voted, their names were put into a drawing for a thumb book holder designed in Tinkercad, a free digital design web app, and printed on the media center 3D printer.
Winners were announced on Friday. Brownell's winning book was "When the World Was Ours," by Liz Kessler. The runner-up was "Rescue," by Jennifer A. Nielsen.
Pierce's grand champion was "City Spies," by James Ponti, and the runner-up was "Alone," by Megan E. Freeman.
Mrs. Martin says the Tournament of Books was a big hit last year and there was quite a buzz about it this year, too. The students learn a lot about books that might interest them; teachers and librarians learn a lot about what’s popular among the students; and, most importantly, "Everyone gets excited about reading," she said.
South soloist secures second win
Competition season has held many high notes for Grosse Pointe South soloist Lillian Hunwick. After winning grand champion soloist at the Churubusco Show Choir Invitational on March 5, she once again garnered top honors as best female soloist at the Fairfield Crystal Class in Ohio on March 19, with even more students competing.
North students placed on National German Exam Honor Roll
Ten students at Grosse Pointe North High School have been awarded the silver and bronze medal as well as special recognition on the National German Exam Honor Roll for outstanding performance on the 2022 National German Exam for High School Students.
The students received this award for above-average scores on the 2022 National German Exam, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German.
The North students, enrolled in German levels 2, 3 and 4 with German teacher Susan Sipos, are among 11,900 students who participated in the exam this year.
Winning level 3 Silver Awards are Marc Mueller and Elise Torp. Winning level 3 Bronze Awards are Zoey Crossley, Peter Hoffman, Jake Sachs and Grace Vandenboogert. Earning level 2 Achievement Awards are Hayley Thompson, David Rochon, Joseph Carey and Kyleigh Egli.
Founded in 1926, the AATG represents German teachers at all levels of instruction. The AATG is dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the teaching of language, literature and culture of the German-speaking countries.
Brownell NJHS service project supports Ukraine humanitarian efforts
Grace and Millicent Vollmer, with the help of their parents, Jeffrey and Kelly Vollmer, chose as their National Junior Honor Society service project to raise funds and to gather desperately needed items for the Humanitarian Aid Drive for Ukrainian Children. The drive quickly gained momentum and received incredible support from the entire NJHS membership, as well as the Brownell staff and student body as a whole. Van loads of diapers, wipes, formula, clothing, toys, and first aid items were donated and sent directly to the children from Eastern Ukraine who are arriving in the West with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In addition, generous money donations were made by Brownell students and their families to the organization's Go Fund Me Account, according to NJHS adviser Tracey Corden.
"It has been an incredible outpouring of support for our fellow citizens of the world," Mrs. Corden said. "We thank all from the bottom of our hearts for their efforts, generosity, and empathy on behalf of the Ukrainian children, who through no fault of their own have had their lives destroyed in so many ways."
Alumni Through the Decades
Grosse Pointe North High School
Class of 1971
Cheryl Huckins started at Grosse Pointe North High School in the second graduating class in the school’s history. A strong student, she enjoyed the advanced placement courses she took, in particular English and U.S. history, and graduated as the class salutatorian.
When visiting colleges her junior year, she was drawn to Wellesley College in Massachusetts and received a scholarship to go there.
“It’s just an absolutely beautiful campus,” she said. “That really spoke to me.”
Thanks to those high school AP classes and some coursework she completed at Wayne State University and U of M’s Biological Station in northern Michigan, she was able to graduate in three years.
She went on to attend the University of Michigan Medical School, graduating in 1978. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor and remained as a chief resident one extra year before going into private practice in Ann Arbor.
Cheryl relates a “funny story” when she and her partner went to a bank to get a loan to rent office space to open their practice.
“The banker told us he would never go to two women doctors, but he ended up being a patient of my partner’s,” she said.
The practice grew from there, and in the 1990s they sold it to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Cheryl then became the medical director of St. Joseph Mercy Medicine, an employee physician group.
Cheryl met her husband while they were both at U of M. She was in her first year of medical school and “he fell in love with my roommate, who was a nurse,” she recalls. “She graduated and left, and didn’t have any special feelings for him. He would come and lament after she moved out and then we started dating.”
The couple lives in Plymouth, where they raised three children, now grown. Her daughter, a teacher, lives in Plymouth. Her two sons -- one a rocket scientist with Lockheed Martin and the other an attorney -- live in San Francisco. They have a total of six grandchildren.
Cheryl retired in September of 2020, but still serves as the medical director of Evangelical Homes Saline, devoting about 20 hours a month to quality work for the nursing home. In spite of the increased pressures caused by the pandemic, Cheryl says she has found the work fulfilling, in particular the focus on improving's the quality of people’s lives. Starting in October, she will serve as president of the Michigan Medical Directors Association, a society committed to post-acute and long-term care medicine.
One of the most impactful experiences Cheryl recalls in her career was providing medical relief in Sri Lanka after the tsunami on Dec. 26, 2004.
“In medicine, you kind of get a routine in your work, which is very fulfilling,” Cheryl said. “You’re taking care of people day to day in your office practice or your hospital practice.”
However, when the call came to break out of that routine to serve a severe need, she accepted the call.
“Medical people everywhere will tell you it’s a lifechanging experience to see people live and survive in situations most of us would find unlivable,” she said. “You realize that even the little you give to them, even if it is just treating a sinus problem, it is so appreciated. They are so respectful and show their appreciation and how much it meant to them.”
While in Sri Lanka, she helped with the operational plan for an elder care center, returning four times to assist with putting the operational policies in place, hiring and training.
The experience inspired her to do more relief work and she signed up for Hope Clinic, a pediatric care unit in Nicaragua. She also went to Pakistan with a group of doctors to help people impacted by flooding and to Haiti after the earthquake.
“It was exhausting work, but it also gave you a good feeling about what you were doing, which was to try and help people,” she said. She also noted how so often she “got so much more from the experience than what I gave them.”
Cheryl’s advice to young people who want to pursue medicine is to figure out a work-life balance.
“Medicine can take over your whole life, but I think you’re a better doctor if you do have activities, family outside of the field, and you’re able to enhance your provision of medical care when you have life experiences outside of medicine," she said.
“I would recommend to a young person to not be afraid," she added. "Be cautiously courageous in trying something new. I didn’t know where Sri Lanka was when that opportunity came up and it was very unknown what the circumstances were going to be like. Yet the experience turned out to be one of the best things I will ever have done in terms of working with people. But you have to open yourself up to be challenged and take some risks that are not crazy risks, but that take you out of your comfort zone.”
More alumni profiles are available on the Grosse Pointe Alumni & Friends website.
Cheryl Huckins with her family at her parents' 70th wedding anniversary.
Check out latest Transition Trender!
A new edition of Transition Trender is available. Learn about World Autism Month, read the latest Transition Students and Special Educator spotlights, and find valuable resources.
Also highlighted is the Family Center of Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods Ask the Experts column, "April is Autism Month," by GPPSS Transition Services Coordinator Kimberly King, featured in the Grosse Pointe News.
Mark your calendar
Following positive feedback on the listening sessions hosted last spring, Superintendent Jon Dean is hosting another series in April and May. These will be held at three locations at different times to accommodate as many people as possible. The sessions are open to the community. Bring a lawn chair and your questions! (Sessions will be held indoors in case of inclement weather.)
Our Vision: One Inclusive Community Learning Together
Our Mission: Cultivate Educational Excellence By:
- Empowering Students
- Valuing Diversity
- Inspiring Curiosity
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