June 10, 2022
Brownell fifth graders visited Grosse Pointe North's planetarium on Tuesday, June 7, and conducted activities in the science lab with North astronomy students.
Fifth graders starry-eyed over North planetarium
Fifth graders across the district had the opportunity to visit Grosse Pointe North’s planetarium this spring as part of their study of space science.
Having learned about planets, stars, moons and moon phases as part of the fifth-grade curriculum, the students were prepared for the field trip. Half the class visited the planetarium, where planetarium director and science teacher Don Pata led the presentation, while the other half visited the science lab to conduct some fun activities.
In the planetarium, students held soda cans labeled with different planet names, testing whether they felt lighter or heavier than a can on Earth based on the difference in gravity.
This different was also evident on a series of bathroom scales. For example, a 110-lb. student on Earth reported that he weighed in at 365 lbs. on Venus.
Fifth graders also witnessed that night’s sky on the overhead dome.
“When you go out tonight, you can say, ‘We saw that star,’ or ‘We saw that moon in the planetarium,” Mr. Pata said. “How cool is that?”
In the science lab, students created models of the solar system and cubes for identifying constellations and moon phases with the help of North astronomy students and media specialist Amanda Pata.
North and South grads receive AAUW scholarships
The AAUW Grosse Pointe (MI) Branch awarded scholarships of $1500 each to two graduating senior girls at Grosse Pointe North High School and two at Grosse Pointe South High School who demonstrated a preference for a career in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, math).
The recipients from North are Kristin Krier and Ana Todesco and the recipients from South are Molly Wysocki and Olivia Yoo.
Applicants were asked in an essay to respond to the prompt, “If you could use your STEM discipline to create any innovation that would change the future, what would it be and why?”
Also weighed into the selection process for the scholarship committee were the candidates’ academic excellence, participation and leadership in school and community, and STEM career goals.
Summaries on each scholarship winner are below.
Kristin Krier will be attending the University of Michigan pursuing a career as a computer programmer. Kristin’s dream is to create a website with free mathematics tutorial videos which would be available to help students from all backgrounds be able to understand math. She stated, “Throughout my math education, I have seen my peers struggle with not only course content but seeking help for their questions. This has often created negative feelings toward math and other STEM courses."
“My plan to major in computer science and mathematics will give me the knowledge and skills to make this tutoring website a reality,” Kristin added.
Ana Todesco will be attending Johns Hopkins University to become a biomedical engineer. Ana’s dream is to create a functional heart organ from stem cells and tissue regeneration. Through combining her passions for helping others and problem solving, Ana hopes to have a successful career as a biomedical engineer. Ana is “amazed and excited about the process of tissue regeneration.”
“Tissue regeneration in the biomedical engineering field has yielded countless successes like creating artificial bladders and mini-kidneys,” she said. “From problem-solving opportunities to aiding millions of people worldwide, creating an effective, lab-grown heart would be a dream.”
Molly Wysocki will be attending Boston College, pursuing a career as a health data scientist. Molly’s dream is to create a swaddle complete with a heart and oxygen sensor so parents can hold their child in a neonatal intensive care unit. Molly says that her “goal is to work professionally on a project that I have some personal connection to, and I’ve already begun my journey toward that goal.”
In class, using the resources of the Cotton Innovation Center, Molly decided “to create a device for the neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as it was my home for the first eleven weeks of my life. My mother expressed the difficulty of holding me as an infant with the attached wires always in the way…”
“I hope to design future technologies that better the lives of new families and decrease the overwhelming emotional toll that comes with having an infant in the NICU,” she added.
Olivia Yoo will be attending the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a career as a medical doctor. She chose this because she always excelled at biology and chemistry and because medicine is challenging and involves helping people. Olivia’s dream invention is a device that could read and regulate chloramine levels in a pool to protect swimmers. Olivia has been a competitive swimmer since she was five years old and has experienced what other swimmers face during indoor competition and for a few days after – heavy coughing. Chloramines cause this and are produced during swim meets from the swimmers’ bodies combining with chlorine in the pool. Olivia says that her “innovation would read the chloramine levels in a pool facility, and warn users when said levels are too high.”
“With a device like this, swimmers could take control of their situation,” she added.
AAUW’s mission is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.
South and Pierce students win film festival awards
Grosse Pointe South TV Production and the Broadcast Journalism program at Pierce had strong showings at the Michigan Student Film Festival sponsored by DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television).
South TV Production students received 16 awards, including a Best of Show for Alice Walsh, Jackson Catrambone and Peter Lawrence for their GPTV News openers. Both videos were featured to a live audience at the DIA’s Film Theater on June 4.
The following South students received a certificate of excellence:
- Anna Williams for her two short films, Let Them Sea Me and Metamorphosis.
- Maryn Smith, Naya Azoury, Mia Fakih, Trulyn Doyle and Andrew DiLodovico for their film, Day in the Life.
- Montana Schroeder for her documentary on the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society.
- Jackson Catrambone, Dean Panagos and Ashton Losier for their movie trailer to their student film, MIRACULUM.
- Alice Walsh for her promotional video on the Redford Theater.
- Jack Ryan, Christopher Rosati and Logan Wood for their promotional commercial for the Sugar Bar in the City of Grosse Pointe.
The following South students received a certificate of honor:
- Rebecca Roberts for her promotional video on 100 years of GPPSS.
- Jackson Catrambone for his video celebrating 90 years of Grosse Pointe South.
- Libby Shefferly, Lilly Henchel, Alexandra Peters and Olivia Sutts for their promotional commercial for Coldstone Creamery.
- Alice Walsh, Gabrielle Duso, Olivia Sutts, Luca Fermani and Scott Agley for their parody, New to News.
Pierce's Broadcast Journalism program received four awards in the middle school/elementary division of the Michigan Student Film Festival.
- Charlie Marks received an Excellence award for his non-animated opener for the Pierce Pride Show.
- Lauren Crawford, Grace Geresy and Angela Allen received a certificate of honor for their trivia show.
- Grace Geresy, Ellie Weiss, Luke Parent, Campbell Black received a certificate of honor for their short film, Kermit at School.
- Madeline Swartout and Emma Jarvis received a certificate of honor for their Office-style parody.
Parcells WEB leader Cole McLean displays thank you cards he received from his "Webbies." The eighth-grade leaders also gave the fifth graders notes for the end of the year. These included messages of support and encouragement for continuing to do well in middle school.
WEB leaders create environment of belonging
Middle school WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) leaders across the district welcomed incoming fifth graders with tours and ice breaker games and were available to answer their questions.
At Pierce, each student left with a Pierce T-shirt provided by the PTO and on Wednesday the PTO hosted an ice cream social for the fourth graders and their families.
Current eighth graders at Pierce also got a taste of what to expect next year. They were visited by South’s athletic director and coaches, as well as the ninth grader adviser and student activities director. The rising ninth graders were encouraged to get involved early in their high school careers by joining a club or a sport.
In addition to meeting with coaches and gathering information about physicals and participation requirements, the students met with Link Crew leaders – high school students who serve as mentors to freshmen students – during advisory. Two leaders visited each eighth-grade advisory to answer questions and talk to the students about what to expect next year at South.
Last Tuesday, Brownell WEB leaders met with their fifth graders one last time, playing spoons and reflecting with each other about the school year. On Friday morning, the future WEB leaders – current seventh graders – were trained in the annual “Spring Play Date” by the current eighth grade WEB leaders and WEB co-advisers, Tracey Corden and Sharon Drew. They learned and practiced the activities in preparation for orientation with the new incoming fifth graders in the fall. Then, in the afternoon, eighth-grade WEB leaders were thanked and celebrated for their successful year with a picnic and fun at the Farms Pier Park.
At Parcells Middle School, WEB leaders met with the fifth graders about twice a month throughout the year. During these meetings, they engaged in fun activities that often taught a strategy for success in school, according to program co-adviser Marci Charuba.
"They sometimes got together to just talk and work on coloring activities, giving the fifth graders time to talk to their mentors in a relaxed environment," Mrs. Charuba said.
After leading end-of-the year activities, the WEB leaders reflected on their experiences as mentors to the younger students.
“It was really rewarding to watch my Webbies grow,” Liv Snead said. “And they were growing with me, as a team.”
“WEB has taught me leadership in the best way possible, by hands on working with the fifth graders,” Lauren Loper said. “My Webbies have shown me how important our example is to influence the future Panther leaders.”
“At orientation day, I saw a student who was looking lost, so I took him around to make sure he got to the right group,” DJ Edwards said. “Another kid was crying, and I told her there was no need to worry – all the teachers are all really nice here.”
Pierce WEB eighth grade leaders and incoming fifth graders from Defer and Maire.
Reflections on the WEB program
“It made me so happy to see how excited the fifth graders were to see me. I’m so glad we were able to make the fifth graders comfortable in their new school. It was the greatest pleasure to watch the fifth graders grow and learn during this school year.
–Lorelei Carr, Brownell WEB leader
“I loved being a part of WEB this year and helping the fifth graders learn more about Brownell. Making friends with them was very enjoyable for me and it built confidence in the fifth graders that they would be ‘A-OK’ in middle school.”
–Jack Danielewicz, Brownell WEB leader
“WEB gave me a little more insight on how scary it will always be to be the youngest in the school. I’m glad I got the chance to make the transition a bit easier for my Webbies. It was fun seeing how different they were from me when I was in fifth grade.
–Leila Oskui, Brownell WEB leader
“WEB leaders have shown our fifth graders that they, too, belong. As a fifth-grade teacher, I’ve spent time with the leaders and have watched meaningful connections begin in the fall and last throughout the school year. Through engaging team-building activities, the students have laughed and shared their stories with each other. My students felt welcomed and heard but, moreover, comfortable. One student said, “they’re just relatable.” In an unfamiliar setting, new faces, a rotating schedule, and a locker combination to memorize, the sense of belonging they felt from the leaders made these things more manageable. And, the 'relatable' faces became familiar friends around school and in the community.”
–Melissa Lampela-Kifer, Brownell fifth-grade teacher
“WEB is one of the most meaningful and impactful experiences our middle school students can have at Parcells. Our eighth-grade students gain valuable leadership opportunities and skills, and have the chance to take ownership for the culture and climate of their school, and serve as mentors to the next generation of Panthers. Our younger students observe these leaders at work and play, interacting with fifth graders and helping them to know the way we do things here. The long-lasting impact of student mentorship has as much benefit for the students who lead as it does on our newest students. The opportunity to lead allows our students to reflect on who they are, and the legacy they want to leave.”
–Ken Milch, Parcells principal
“Every activity builds excitement and fun activities for the students to grow as middle schoolers. They have time to ask questions of the leaders. The leaders become like their go-to person for the school year. The leaders recognize the students as fellow classmates. It is great to see the students interacting with each other outside of the WEB leader sessions.”
–Christine Porada, Parcells fifth grade teacher
"I love watching the leaders come in at the end of their seventh grade year, looking forward to helping the school and making it a better place for everyone. They grow so much over the year. I love watching them make strong relationships with their 5th graders and inspiring our next generation of leaders."
–Alexis Lecznar, Parcells program co-adviser
“It is incredibly uplifting to see the 8th grade WEB leaders working with the 5th graders. They take their role so seriously, but with enthusiasm and positivity. It is truly a pleasure to be able to work with these amazing 8th graders every single week.”
–Steve Chevalier, Parcells program co-adviser
“One of my favorite memories from this year is when a WEB leader received a picture that one of her Webbies had colored for her. The leader taped it to the outside of her locker. The fifth grader who drew it, made a point to stop by that locker to show her friends! By the end of the week, that WEB leader had several more pictures on her locker from other Webbies.”
–Marci Charuba, Parcells program co-adviser
Next year's WEB leaders enjoyed a training session as part of the annual Spring Play Date at Brownell Middle School.
Subscribe now to stay in touch
If your last child is graduating this year and you would like to continue to receive School Pointes to stay in touch with what is happening in the district, click on the "Follow" button or email email@example.com.
Look for North and South graduation highlights in next week's edition!
Pictured with Fox 2 Detroit anchor and reporter Ryan Ermanni are, from left, former Grosse Pointe South football players James Doerer, Miles Dearing and Terrence Lane.
Alumni Through the Decades
James Doerer, Class of 2020
Miles Dearing and Terrence Lane, Class of 2019
Grosse Pointe South High School
James Doerer, Miles Dearing and Terrence Lane spent hours together on the gridiron at Grosse Pointe South’s stadium. The three former South football players have reunited this summer to offer a skills and recruitment football camp for high school students from the metro Detroit area. The camp will be held June 27 to 29 at Balduck Park (see flyer below for more information or click here).
Having gone through the recruiting process themselves, these three college players are on a mission “to inspire and prepare the next generation of football players to achieve their dreams.”
James moved to Grosse Pointe when he was 3 from Evanston, Ill., attending Richard Elementary, Brownell Middle School and then Grosse Pointe South. As a senior, James was named to the first team all-conference, first team all-area, all-state and Dream Team. He also competed in baseball as a freshman and was a three-year member of the track and field team. He was captain of the football team his senior year and was a member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
James credits his coaches for his athletic accomplishments, including South’s head varsity football coach Chad Hepner, who then served as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach, in addition to his track and field coach.
“The thing that I appreciate about these people is they volunteered their time,” he said. “They easily could have charged for their services; most people probably would have. They saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself and that’s why I will forever be grateful for them.”
James is also grateful to Miles and Terrence for their positive influence.
“They’re a year older than me,” he said. “They taught me the way on how to be a college athlete. They also pushed me to be better because they saw something special in me that I could be.”
James currently attends Valparaiso University, where he is a linebacker on the football team and had his debut against Butler University. He is majoring in communications with a minor in film. He is particularly enjoying the commentating aspect of sports broadcasting and hopes to weave his love of storytelling into the sports documentary process.
“Creating narratives is one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “I love covering teams and being able to tell people’s stories because I think everyone has a unique story to tell. To have that platform to give to other people to share that story can really inspire and change people’s lives.”
Miles’ family moved to Grosse Pointe when he was in the fourth grade. He spent his fourth and fifth grade years at Maire Elementary before attending Pierce and then South.
Miles started playing football in seventh grade with the Red Barons. He played on the varsity football team at South as a sophomore and served as captain his junior and senior years, winning all-region and first-team all-conference honors as he helped lead the team to win three conference championships as the team MVP. In addition to earning three varsity letters in football, he earned four in wrestling and was a three-year wrestling captain at South.
Miles, too, describes a strong relationship with Coach Hepner.
“We’re talking, eating lunch together, and hanging out with his kids and talking wrestling and BBQ,” Miles said.
Miles also played in the school band from fifth grade through his senior year. In fact, he was able “to continue the musical journey” as well as his athletic career at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he studied trumpet under a music professor and played football for two years until he transferred to Ball State University, where he is majoring in sports production.
Miles hopes to combine his interest in food – his family owns Bert’s Entertainment Complex in Detroit – with the art of storytelling and narrative documentary work, drawing relationships between his home life and food.
Terrence started at Maire Elementary in kindergarten and attended Pierce and then South. While he began in the Red Barons program in fourth grade, he took a break his eighth-grade year, returning to the sport his freshman year.
While playing football at South, he received many accolades, including two-time Academic All State, First Team All-MAC White, and Second Team All-Conference. He also participated on South's track team and competed in states in the discus event.
Terrence is majoring in cognitive neuroscience at Brown University, which he describes as a blend of psychology, neuroscience and computer science. The defensive end saw action in several football games his freshman year, including against Harvard and Princeton, but the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID. Terrence took a gap year and returned to Brown last semester. Having worked hard to stay in peak condition, he is looking forward to next year.
All three alumni look forward to reuniting each summer at the football camp, which they hope to make an annual event.
“We thought no matter where we go and no matter where life takes us, in that last week in June it’s something that always brings us together," James said. "That’s the special and unique part of it, that we have an opportunity to make a difference and create a change in our community.”
A special thank you from GPPSS Transition Services
Check out Transition Trender, a newsletter to keep families up to date on the district's transition services for students with special needs. This final edition of the year is dedicated to thanking the district's work-based learning partners and building support staff.
Our Vision: One Inclusive Community Learning Together
Our Mission: Cultivate Educational Excellence By:
- Empowering Students
- Valuing Diversity
- Inspiring Curiosity
- Pushing Possibilities