Friday, April 19, 2013

Kinyon 'Reading Luau' is fun for all

Continuing in the theme of March is Reading Month, Kinyon Elementary School on April 11 held a "Reading Luau" for all the school's pupils who met their reading month goals.

Earlier, Kinyon held a precursor to the event with performances by polynesian dancers as a special treat for the student and class winners in the month-long challenge were announced.

This time around, the "Reading Luau" featured a wonderful turnout, according to Principal McGuire, and pupils engaged in book bingo, made bookmarks, limbo'd and more much.

Mr. Science comes to Taylor Parks on Tuesday, April 23!

Doug Scheer, commonly known as Mr. Science, will make an appearance at Taylor Parks Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23.

Mr. Science has a focus on science with everyday objects and makes scientific methods easy to understand. His presentation will be more than just whiz, bang and pop -- this show puts science in the hands of onstage student volunteers.

Get ready for some hands-on science education!

Literacy and Language Luau turns out to be huge success, big draw

Kennedy High School played host to the "Literacy and Language Luau" Wednesday (April 17) and the event was a huge success, according to Assistant Supt. Teresa Winnie. The estimated attendance was over 700 people.

The event was hosted by the Title 1 Department and invited all families and friends interested in literacy to Kennedy, where the activities included family workshop sessions and subjects like "Journaling Your Life," a presentation by storyteller Ivory Williams, and a reading with your child program, hosted by Mary Bigler.

In addition, there were opportunities like learning how to make balloon animals and "Create a Project" via Home Depot. Also, face painting, Ronald McDonald, vendor tables, free popcorn, prizes and giveaways, a photo booth, free bagged dinners and student performances.

"Randall Elementary School just celebrated with the rest of the Taylor School District at the Literacy Luau," emailed Kelly Szwed. "We were proud to have two student representatives at our display. Thank you to all the students and their families who (attended)."

Recently honored by the Michigan Reading Association, the Taylor Reading Corps had a booth at the event and came away very impressed. Staff members of the TRC mentioned that the event was a lot of fun and very eventful. 

A new mentoring volunteer signed up on site, many applications; brochures and flyers will distributed; a grandmother donated her granddaughter's early reading books; inquires came in about the TRC summer camp; and a bookstore owner is interested in organizing a fundraiser with the group.

It appears that this year's Title 1 project was a huge success all around!

Truman High announces Top 10 students

Truman High School has announced its Top 10 graduating seniors.

They are (in order) Adam Greene, Patrick Murray, Zachary Bloss, David Alvarez, Jalen Bodrie, Ashley Lucier, Morella Adrianzan, Ideluwapo Ibrahim, Jessica Johnsen and Emily Theisen.

'See To Achieve' brings clarity to life!

Back in 1972, Johnny Nash recorded the Billboard Hot 100 Chart's No. 1 song, "I Can See Clearly Now." The single from the album of the same name achieved successes in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and was eventually re-recorded by Jimmy Cliff for the 1993 motion picture, "Cool Runnings." Detroit Red Wings' fans recognize it because it's played on the Joe Louis Arena sound system every time Dan Cleary scores a goal.

It should have been playing in the background Wednesday (April 17) during a cooperative project between the Taylor School District nurses, the Detroit Public Schools and LensCrafters. Forty children from Taylor were bussed to an Allen Park location provided by Ford Motor Co. and provided a free comprehensive eye examination. This project has been going on for seven years.

Originally, the focus was on the disadvantaged schools of the struggling Detroit system and LenCrafters invited Detroit to get involved in the program, "See To Achieve." The DPS then started to invite other districts and Taylor became involved.

Mary Lynn Harrison is the Taylor chairperson and has been involved in the project for six of the years. She pointed out that all the nurses in the district participate in the project, which is a cooperative effort between teachers, principals and nurses, who all take part in referring children who might need visual aid. 

Harrison said that the Board of Education secretary handles mailers to the children's families, and once the permission slips are signed, transportation provides the bussing to the site. Dietary provides snacks for those participating.

"We hear from teachers daily about children who have trouble seeing," Harrison said. "This is yet another way to keep the kids in school and able to learn. It has a huge impact for a long time."

By the end of the day on Wednesday, according to Harrison, many of the Taylor children ended up needing glasses after taking their comprehensive eye exams. The glasses were provided by the program at no cost to the families.

By Thursday, some children in the Taylor schools were seeing things in focus for the first time in a long time.

As Johnny Nash once sang, "I can see clearly now ...."

If you child participated in the "See To Achieve" program, let us know what you think of the results by emailing Blogger Karl Ziomek at

Sixth Grade Academy plays first Career Day

Students at The Sixth Grade Academy will have the opportunity to be exposed to different career choices during the school's first Career Day, scheduled for Thursday, April 25.

It is scheduled for 9:30-11 a.m.

The event will be broken into three, 25-minute sessions, according to Ms. Aproff in the Language Arts Department of the school.

Several very enthusiastic presenters are planned, all of whom plan to attend and speak to the young pupils about their careers. They will be sharing education and training, life skills necessary for the job, and give personal opinions and pros and cons of their chosen career path.

Some of the guest speakers that the pupils will be meeting will include: Health care service worker, nurse, Orthodontist, actor,  social worker, graphic artist, pilot, Big Ten football official, NFL youth coordinator, police officer, Army sergeant and funeral director -- along with several others.

The school is very excited about the guest presenters and the variety of information that they will offer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

TSD-WCCC partnership offers virtual 'one-year college scholarship' beginning next year

Next year's sophomores in Taylor School District high schools will be afforded the opportunity to take college courses and earn credits through a new and unique partnership between the TSD and the Wayne County Community College District. This partnership amounts to a virtually free "one-year college scholarship" for interested TSD students and families.

Taylor students will receive the chance to take eight specific college courses, starting in the Fall 2013. These courses will take place at WCCC, but will be paid for by the Taylor schools. The financial obligation to the student's family will be only the cost of textbooks, while the TSD pays for classes and fees.

For each student, this amounts to a savings of $368 per class or $2,944 for the entire eight-class program that lasts two years.

Under the agreement, participating students would take two college courses each semester at WCCC following their third hour at the high school. They would eat lunch at their high school before being bussed over to the WCCC Downriver campus on Northline Road. The TSD would provide the bus transportation to the campus, but families would be responsible for providing their own transportation home from the college.

The normal day would include three morning high school classes, lunch at the high school, the college courses and dismissal around 2:30 p.m.

The college course would apply to the student's high school transcript and be counted toward high school graduation.

The credits will apply to approximately 70 colleges and universities in Michigan including the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint), MSU, CMU, EMU, WMU, Grand Valley and Oakland.

Courses required are (in order) Fundamentals of Speech (SPH 101), English I (ENG 119), Introductory Psychology (PSY 101), American Government (101), Introduction to Sociology (SOC 100), English I (ENG 120), Introduction to Visual Arts (HUM 101) and Introductory Biology (BIO 155). All are three-credit classes expect biology, which counts for four credits.

In essence, completing these courses counts as a one-year scholarship. The successful student will graduate from TSD with 25 college credits and enter the community college, college or university of their choice with sophomore status. 

This program will save Taylor families a substantial amount of money.

One of the best features of the program, according to TSD officials, will be that participating students will be taking the WCCC courses with their high school peers. They will not be mixed with regular college students because of their dual enrollment status. They will move from class to class together as a group.

Students need to apply for this program. Applications will be available following a parents' meeting Wednesday, April 24, in the Ray Mix Building of the WCCC's Downriver campus.

Kennedy students and parents are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. with Truman students and parents scheduled at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tigers-Pirates' tickets on sale for Sixth Grade Academy fundraiser

The Sixth Grade Academy is holding a Detroit Tiger baseball fundraiser to benefit Student Council, yearbook and the Recycle Club.

Tickets are available for the Tigers' inter-league game with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. It is a 1:05 p.m. start.

Only a limited number of tickets are available and all transactions are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students can purchase tickets in Mr. Miller's room only for $15 each (an $18 value). They are available for cash only. 

The tickets are in Sections 211-212 of Comerica Park, which is in the upper deck down the right field line, above "Kaline's Corner."

If you have any questions, email Mr. Miller directly at

Hoover bands on display (photos added to display)

 The Hoover Middle School bands were active and on display recently during the District 12 MSBOA Band Festival at Dearborn Heights Riverside Middle School.

The Varsity Band received an overall 1st Division rating. The Concert Band received an overall 2nd Division rating.

Shortly after attending that event, the band hosted its Spring Band Concert. The Varsity, Concert and Jazz Bands all performed. The school also recognized the students who performed at the solo and ensemble festival. The following day, the Hoover bands and choirs performed three concerts (Hoover, fifth-graders and music students at the Sixth Grade Academy).

Robotic's team finishes official season at EMU state competition, wins prestigious safety award (updated with link to slideshow from competition)

NOTE: To view a slideshow courtesy of Joseph Barczyk on Flickr, click on here.)

The Taylor School District's FIRST Robotics Team competed in the state competition at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center last weekend and came away with the Underwriters Laboratory Safety Award, a prestigious honor.

The award is given to the team that best exemplifies outstanding team safety practices. The judges were impressed not only by the CPR training that each team member received, but also by the MSDS documentation, the first air manual and supplies and the active warning system that the team uses when the robot was energized in the pit area.

Taylor's safety effort led by TnT 280 safety team captain and Kennedy High School junior Erin Strausser.

Overall, after successfully competing in two local regionals, the state competition was more difficult due to the large number of high quality robots. The state competition at EMU was considered on of the most difficult in the country, according to those involved.

The Taylor unit, made up of students from both Kennedy and Truman, worked hard and put up a great effort during the three-day event, but were unable to overcome a number of mechanical and software problems.

This year's formal competition season is now over for the TNT team, but students will continue to compete in several "pickup" competitions with an eye on honing their skills for next year.

For more information on the team and the program, click on the team's Web site at For more information about FIRST and the competition, click on

Below is the TnT 280 Robotics Family Video posted on You Tube by Sarah Root in September 2012 when the school year started.

If anyone has still digital photos of the EMU competition and the TnT 280 team (or more video), email Karl Ziomek at

DECA group participates at state competition

Many members of the Kennedy High School DECA team (the school's student business club) qualified for state competition in March and performed well at the state level in Grand Rapids.

Among the DECA participants were Dalton Adkins, Tanea Blanchard, Paris Bowens, Shyann Clish, Alyssa Domonkos, John Gomer, Joi Graham, Zena Johnson, Daylonna Marcum, Harsimranjit Sekhon, Laurel Sparks, Sean Villegas, Clayton Williams and Micheal Wright.

Kennedy recognizes Top 10 graduates

Kennedy High School recognizes its Top 10 academic students who will be graduating this June.

The following students make up the KHS Top 10 (in their respective graduating order): Harsimranjit Sekhon, Samantha Stellini, Nicole Brown, Giovanna Savastano, Roman Williams, Elaine Czarnik, Steven Moore, Daylonna Marcum, Joseph O'Donnell and Anthony Benedetti.

The students will be joined by their counterparts from other Downriver graduating classes during a banquet on Sunday, April 28, at Arnaldo's in Riverview

Kennedy ninth-graders to be surveyed for behavioral study April 25

Wayne State University's School of Social Work, through a $1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control, will be surveying Kennedy High School freshmen at random on high-risk behaviors.

This is a study that seeks to determine what leads teens to healthy and non-healthy behaviors.

Kennedy is the only school involved in the study. The random students will be surveyed annually for three years. The survey will take place on Thursday, April 25.

More on the Star Wars visit to Blair Moody, via The News-Herald

By Dave Komer
The News-Herald Newspapers

TAYLOR — As a reward for not going to “the dark side,” some children received a special Star Wars visit Friday.

Members of the Great Lakes Garrison’s 501st Legion of Lincoln Park brought Chewbacca with them to Blair Moody Elementary School.

The costumed performers came as part of a positive-behavior reward ceremony for pupils who stayed green this school year, counselor Tracy Heiler said.

Under the color-coded conduct system, a yellow card means a warning, a second yellow is a missed recess and a red card is a trip to the principal’s office.

There were two sessions for the children, one for those in kindergarten through second grade and the second for those in third through fifth grades.

Heiler, who helped set up the special visit, said all members of the legion donated their time and refused donations.

Chewbacca, also known as Chris Blackstock, is a teacher in his spare time at Van Dyke public schools and met Heiler at another appearance. The two struck up a conversation and Heiler applied online with the 501 and made plans for the visit.

Some storm troopers and Chewbacca visited with pupils and posed for pictures.

According to the legion charter, it’s an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity.

The legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of those costumes for Star Wars-related events and contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.

The group, which has between 70 and 100 members, gets together frequently to make appearances or perform at anything from birthday parties to Star Wars nights at sporting events.

Click here to view the story in the News-Herald.

Contact Staff Writer David Komer at 1-734-246-0866 or Follow him on Facebook and @DavidKomer_NH on Twitter.