Friday, May 31, 2013

Taylor Parks' pupils visit the zoo!

For some students, it marked a first time they'd been there. For others, it marked another time to see, visit and learn more about the wildlife that lives around them.

Pupils at Taylor Parks Elementary School took a trip into their own National Geographic -- by traveling to the Detroit Zoo recently.

It was a beautiful day. Several classes joined together to view the wildlife.

You can tell by the looks on the children's faces that it was well worth the trip!

Titan students attend Relay for Life activities!

Some students from the Titan Alternative High School took pride in participating in this year's Taylor Relay for Life.

Hoover students visit DIA, Heidelberg Project

Hoover Middle School seventh-grade students visited the Detroit Institute for the Arts and The Heidelberg Project recently.

The Heidelberg Project is "art, energy and community," all in an open-air environment in the heart of Detroit's East Side It was founded by Tyree Guyton. Guyton uses everyday discarded objects to create a two-block area full of color, symbolism and intrigue. 

The Heidelberg Project is now in its 27th year and is recognized worldwide for its demonstration of the power of creativity to transform lives.

The DIA has been a beacon of culture for the Detroit area for well over a century. Founded in 1885, the museum moved to its present site on Woodward Avenue in 1927. Two wings were added in the 1960s and 1970s and a major decade-long renovation and expansion was completed in 2007.

It cover 658,000 square feet and includes more than 100 galleries, an auditorium, lecture-recital hall, art reference library and conservation services laboratory.

The DIA's art collection ranks among the Top 6 in the U.S.

Hoover's students walked through The Heidelberg Project, wandered the halls of the DIA and worked at solving clues that took them to specific areas of the museum.

Flying Aces put on quite a show at Holland Elementary School

The school year is flying toward summer vacation and the Flying Aces Frisbee Disc Team flew into Holland Elementary School Wednesday. Seems fitting.

The Flying Aces were part of the school's fun-tastic Family Night. Flying Aces founding member Brian and teammate Jay performed plenty of amazing feats for the crowd, according to Principal Sue Massucci. They used several different types of discs including one that lit up the night, another that changes colors and yet another that even whistled.

The team demonstrated different throwing and catching techniques, discussed the math and physics involved in proper throwing and perform a freestyle routine that was simply amazing to watch.

At one point, Jay demonstrated how to use a hacky sack and wowed the audience with a "double around-the-world" using his foot. Brian used a street board and stressed the importance of always wearing a helmet when boarding or biking.

An audience participation segment included a group of pupils passing a spinning disc on their fingertips. The show ended with a competition with teams seeing how many successful throws and catches they could accomplish in a minute.

The winning tandem was the brother-sister team of Paul and Amber, with 20.

According to Massucci, the Flying Aces delivered a strong message to the children about staying active. living a healthy lifestyle and staying away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

"It was one of the best family nights of the year," Massucci said.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clowning around is OK -- at least for a day -- at Taylor Parks!

Some days, it's time for a test. Others, time to paint a picture, practice math or be challenged by a science project. Elementary school days are busy times, but some days can be better than others.

DeanO T. Clown recently paid a visit to Taylor Parks Elementary School, thanks to a collaboration between the Taylor School District and The Harbor, a non-profit organization that offers arts and other cultural enrichment programs.

The pupils were entertained by the clown's comedic and magical performances. DeanO T. Clown combined with the children for a short, interactive display of juggling, magic and balloon art.

So, if you were driving past the school and heard some loud laughter, blame it on DeanO!

West Middle School makes music at Cedar Point!

The West Middle School Music Department on Tuesday (May 28) traveled to Cedar Point in Ohio for its annual trip.

The music department is headed by Mr. Martin and Mrs. Scott.

Members of the department enjoyed a day of short lines and nearly perfect weather at the amusement park.

They celebrated their performing accomplishments throughout the year.

A total of 212 students, staff and chaperones took the trip.

West Middle School chorus rocks the house!

It was a thrill a minute for the audience as the West Middle School Chorus recently held its "Spring Concert" on May 22.

The chorus performed songs from broadway musicals Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors and Wicked, as well as The Princess and the Frog.

Pop sensations like The Plain White-T's and a medley from Michael Jackson also made their way into the performance.

And you can't have an MJ medley without "Thriller." Members of the chorus and their instructor, Mr. Martin, broke right into the iconic dance steps that made the album's video such an iconic dance number.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Truman footballers join relief efforts

One of the nicer campaigns going on around the City of Taylor was the recent Oklahoma City relief effort by the local "Rebels with a Cause" group the parking lot of the Democratic Club of Taylor. 

While it might not have been an official Taylor School District activity, members of the Truman football team ended up lending a hand to the effort, which was highlighted by WDVD Radio 96.3 and Fox 2 News.

The campaign filled two semi-truck trailers full of items for those left without homes after the tragic tornado damage in the Oklahoma City area. Thanks to all of the generosity of the community and the work of the volunteers, the two trailers filled very fast. Each carried about 45,000 pounds of food, water, clothing, etc.

Cash donations onsite resulted in $2,000 worth of purchases at Walmart which were also included in the relief package.

Two drivers, Dennis Olson and Don Trezel, drove the trucks to the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission. The trucks came from Load One Logistics.

Great job, Taylor! 

Student Council keeps Holland looking good!

The Student Council at Holland Elementary School wants to make sure that the school and its grounds look good when people pass by.

As a result, they purchased some beautiful flowers for the school's planter. The girls have been watering the plants daily and are excited to hear all of the compliments from students and staff.

Mrs. Irwin, the Student Council advisor, is very proud of all of the "awesome" accomplishments by this year's group.

Rachel Hatfield of McDowell Elementary School wins district-wide spelling bee!

If you can't find a dictionary, you might want to tap Rachel Hatfield of McDowell Elementary School on the shoulder.

The Taylor School District held its annual Spelling Bee yesterday for fourth- and fifth-graders in the system. Hatfield ended up the champion with Courtney Hadrian the runner up. Other participants included Valentina Stewart, Robbie Hudzinski, Jared Lutton, Kyle Harper, Lucas Lovelady and James Polak.

Each school's winner during the competition was presented with a trophy by Supt. Diane Allen, Spelling Bee Chairperson Sue Massucci (principal of Holland Elementary School) and Word Pronouncer Lynne Borg (principal of McDowell Elementary School).

The competition was judged by Marybeth Swor, owner of Big Boy Restaurants; Pattie Masserang (Lifetouch Photography); and Karen DePriest (founder of Christie's Legacy of Hope).

Everyone involved in this year's Spelling Bee said that they were very proud of the students and congratulate them for being winners and doing such a great job!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Attention, Mr. Hamilton's class, you're pasta is ready to be served!

Mr. Hamilton's class was the winner in McDowell Elementary School's Pennies for Pasta campaign!

The program is part of the school's efforts to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphona Society research.

Ms. Park and Mrs Siegel organized the "Pennies for Pasta" campaign at the school, which featured competition between classrooms. The class that raised the most money won a pasta party, compliments of the Oliver Garden. 

The goal this year is to reach a total of $2,500. 

Mr. Hamilton's class raised $929 alone! 

"A great big thank you to everyone who participated for this worthy cause," said Principal Lynne Borg.

Truman principal finds inspiration in the beautiful voices of his students

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money,”
-- Abigail Van Buren

By Tommie Saylor
Truman High School Principal

Every now and then something happens that reminds us why we do what we do.

Last Tuesday, I attended the Truman High School Spring Choir Concert. I must admit, I did not want to go.  School let out, I stayed my usual hour and a half after school finishing a few tasks that needed to get done before I called it a day. Then I ran home for a bite to eat before returning for the concert. Sitting at home, I debated about returning to the school to attend the concert. I was tired, worn out and mentally drained, which is not an unusual situation this time of the year.  

By this point in the school year we are just about “used up.” It is the final round of a heavy weight prizefight, and though I want to be Rocky Balboa, I was feeling more like one of his victims. I have on my mind next year’s schedule, next year’s bell schedule, lunch issues, bus issues, my wife upset about something, multiple discipline issues, issues with rooms not getting cleaned at night, issues with projects that were to be completed in February still not finished, evaluations, next year’s budget where we will be suffering a reduction in funds, the oil in my car needs to be changed, the movement of some teachers from one classroom to another, the building air-conditioning not working, Internet issues, farewell and graduation just around the corner, my son wants some money to go on a school trip, maintenance lawn mowing tractor is no longer serviceable, must prepare for student hearings coming up, seniors acting foolish, some seniors not graduating, paperwork I need to get back from instructors and so forth and so forth.  

Simply, my mind is occupied and my days are full, especially this time of year as events seem to swirl out of control, and like a freight train, steaming full force to the end of the school year.

I realize that I’m not alone. All educators feel like this at this time of the year. Knowing this, I searched for a reason to just stay home. I knew that everyone would understand, that nothing would be said. Yet I also knew that the students in our choir would be looking for me in the crowd, that they enjoy seeing me there, they want me in the crowd.  

Not wanting to disappoint the students, I stopped trying to make excuses, got up off my lazy butt, and dragged myself back up to the school to watch their final performance of the year.

Then it happened. Magic!

I went to the concert to support the students, and they inspired me. I cannot express in words the beauty of their performance. They had the voices of angels and showed me once again why we do what we do!! Their conviction, passion for music, hard work and commitment was clearly expressed through their performance.  

To see the spark in their eyes and hear the inspiration in their voices was rather affirming that we are indeed making a difference at Truman. For what greater gift can we give a student than to help them find their passion, to inspire them to dream, and then show them the path they must travel to make their dreams come true …

Simply, they lifted my spirits and washed away my worries, if only for a short time, yet nevertheless a significant refreshing escape from a troublesome world. I can honestly say that I left this performance re-energized, uplifted and ready to take on the world once again.  

The crafters of the enchanted moments were James Arnold, Brenda Boumelhem (senior), Ashlee Brakke, Leonardo Bravo, DeJanae Brown (soloist), Giselle Carbajal, Kassandra Herwig, Kaileen Johnson (senior), Joseph Linebarger (senior, soloist), Taylor Locklear, Jillian Logan, William Long (senior, soloist), Emile Miller (soloist), Lisa Pendergrast, Shelby Robinson (soloist), Gina Schmelzer (senior), Austin Sawyer, Dominique
Sellers (soloist), Kelli Side (senior), Shanice Stephen, Margaret Umlab, Dwayne Walker, Sarah Warner (senior) and Kiara White.

Remember, their future is in our hands. Improving one week at a time. The New Truman High School.

Randall works its way toward 'Z Day'

There is no doubt that Randall Elementary School pupils are looking forward to "Z Day," which will be the last day of the school year before they all "zoom" out of the door. But between now and then, Randall is running through "alphabet countdown days."

Mrs. German's and Mrs. Thompson's kindergarten classes are participating in the thinking man's alphabet soup. Today, they had to mix up the alphabet a little -- it marked the school's "violin day" and was scheduled as "M Day," which was a mismatch. 

So, they traded in the "M" for "N" and "Name Day" was created. Pupils and students choose the name they wanted to be called.

Some of the selections: Cinderella, Sponge Bob, Michael Jackson, Shark Boy, Flora, Belle, Austin, Carson and Snow White.

On "A Day," the children learned about artist Mary Cassatt, who liked to paint pictures of mothers and children. The pupils painted a picture of themselves with their mother and wrote about it.

Some of the other days thus far: "I Day" was Interesting Fact Day and pupils shared their own "interesting facts" about their families. "J Day" was Joke Day and "E Day" was Exercise and Eat Right Day.

But something tells us here at "Talking Taylor Schools" that the best day of all will be the one that starts with a "Z" and ends with a "zooooom!" Right, Sponge Bob?

UPDATED WITH MORE NAMES: NTHS hold recognition banquet

The National Technical Honor Society held the Taylor Career & Technical Center Recognition Banquet Thursday, May 23.

The event was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Taylor.

Honored were students in the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), robotics and Skills USA.

Some of the individual students honored included Chidera Agodu, Logan Ceccarelli and Jordan Coombs of Mike Weaver's Computer Technology group; Liaja Hodge and Jim McCune of Gene Schoen's Construction Technology group; Dylan Lemay, Dana McParland, Hannah Zilka, Sharnetta Lamar, Caitlin Moore, Alexis Locklear and Amiel Springer of Gary Ostrowski's Cultinary Arts group; and Cory Doak, Cody Proctor, Destiny Terry, Brittany Duke, Taylor Reitz, Emily Holdren and Stacey Salmoni of Mary Curtin-Smith's Health Science-Medical group.

Also honored were Sarah Alley, David Kennedy, Alexis Lawrence, Crystal Roberts, JaVonte Williams, Shanique Carpenter, Jacoba Kirkland, Alexis Locklear, Brittni Sackett, Megan Kaminski, Sharnetta Lamar, Brittney Ray and Devenee Smith of Cathy Kevra's Health Science-Nursing group; Scott Biggs, Marcos Gomez, Charlie Bridges, Avery Fuchs, John Carliemmer and Dan Harris of Bob Murray's Home Repair and Remodeling group; Jon Copple, Jared Ingison, Justis Gilbert, Duwayne Johnson, Jorge Guzman and Andrew Respess of Jeff Holmgren's Machine Tool group; and Mike Bilbrey, Nicholas Syck, Austin Ellis and Justis Gilbert of Craig Case's Welding Technology group.

The Taylor Career & Technical Center's mission is to provide specialized training experiences, taking into consideration the career development needs, of a diverse school population. It is dedicated to prepare students for a successful employment and/or postsecondary education

Time for a little pizza at Holland!

The only thing better than a good pizza is a free pizza, as pupils at Holland Elementary School found out recently.

Mrs. Silva's third graders were given a free pizza party courtesy of Little Caesar's. The party was a result of the pupils collecting 200 -- that's right, 200! -- proof of purchase labels. 

Principal Massucci mentioned that the children had everyone they knew saving the proof of purchase points. 

As a result, the class earned the party in quick fashion. And the third graders also earned a visit from Little Caesar himself! (He's the big guy in the back row of the photo, just in case anyone is confused.)

This making anyone else hungry? All we can say is, "Pizza-pizza!"