The annual Celebration for a Drug Free Taylor Awards ceremony was held Thursday, April 30, at the Heritage Park Activities Building with more than 140 families in attendance.
Sponsored by the Taylor Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force, the event recognized Taylor students for participating in the Celebration for a Drug Free Taylor youth competition which included class banners from elementary schools and artwork, poetry, essays and multi-media from higher grade levels.
“It was a very successful event,” said Sandra Kluk, Task Force chairperson. “I received so many compliments from the students and their families. They are the reason we love to hold this event every year.”
Winning elementary classes will receive a pizza party from the Task Force before the end of the school year and individual student winners received gift certificates and student achievement certificates at the ceremony.
Sandra Kluk was the Master of Ceremonies. Guest speakers included Taylor City Councilman Alex Garza and Taylor School District Assistant Superintendent Teresa Winnie.
The special Guest of Honor was Da’Stanza Murphy, the current Ms. Michigan United States 2015. Murphy is a Taylor resident and 2006 graduate of John F. Kennedy High School. Murphy spoke with the students about vision, goals and achievement. She also performed “"O mio babbino caro" from the opera Gianni Schicchi (1918) by Giacomo Puccini.
This year’s theme for the Drug Free Taylor Celebration event was “Drugs and Violence Defeat Dreams.” Students and classes recognized for their achievements included the following:
Elementary School Banners
1st Grade— Kinyon (Oswald)
2nd Grade— Kinyon (O’Neil)
3rd Grade—Eureka Heights (Bell)
4th Grade— Eureka Heights (Valleau)
5th Grade—Kinyon Student Council
Sixth Grade Academy Dream Bubble Competition
Awesome Achievers: Steven Young, Landen Duff, Kayla Morris, Raven Hoskins
Transformers: Jenna McIntee, Amiah Thomas, Annie Gullette, Morgan Bolsley, Jaxson Kubitz
Wizards: Josalynn Norris, Afaq Chohan, Malina Rowe, Laiba Chohan, Aijalon Muhammad
Extraordinaire: Rayven Freeman, Adam Ritthaler, Morgan Traywick, Amelia Smigielski, Bobbie Druyor
West Middle School
Artwork—Adria Nyarko, 7th grade
Essay— Haylee Pardue, 7th grade
Titan High School
Essays—Ricky Shinavier, 12th grade, Jenna Turner, 10th grade
Kennedy High School
Artwork— Mecca Lumpkin, 10th grade
Essay—Haley Pongracz, 11th grade
Poetry—Tania Eaton, 9th grade
Truman High School
Artwork— Shanel Evans
Video— Rachel Trombetta & Linda Szabo, 11th grade
Music— Braxton Bailey “Six B”
Essays— Destini Murphy, 12th grade, Ellyn Bremer, 12th grade
Poetry-- Rose Dobek, 12th grade
Other notable moments included:
Several basket raffles were held with many winners enjoying valuable prizes donated by community sponsors.
Task Force and community members who volunteered for set up earlier in the week or participated during event included: Lisa Nagy, Michigan Works; Lavern Robinson, Michigan Department of Human Services; Deb Eskridge, Downriver Children’s Program; Margie Wright, McKinley Properties; Bob Krzeczkowski of BK Productions; Michelle Calvillo, Taylor School District Virtual Academy; Jamie Balavitch, Taylor Teen Health Center; Mallory Teglesh, Taylor Teen Health Center; Rob Cox, Taylor Teen Health Center; Melissa Stellini, Taylor Teen Health Center; Dom Cooper, Taylor Teen Health Center; Courtney Martin, Taylor Teen Health Center, SAVE Peer Educators, Taylor Teen Health Center; Shirl Solomon, Taylor resident; and Simone Calvas and Kathleen Trent community organizers for the Task Force.
Elected officials participating in the event included Alex Garza, City Council; Ed Bourassa, Treasurer; Angela Croft, City Council; Blaine Honeycutt, Board of Education; and Doug Geiss representing State Representative Erika Geiss.
Margie Wright of McKinley Properties presented a check from McKinley properties to support the cost of the pizza parties for the elementary schools.
Bob Krzeczkowski, treasurer of the Task Force and owner of BK Productions in Grosse Ile, provided audio and video production for the event.
Additional event sponsors included: Luanne Beaudry; Delray Bakery; Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority; Carefree Catering; Carey Music Company; City of Taylor; Deborah Eskridge; Game On; Great Clips; Jim’s Tuxedo; Journey of Hope Community Church; Kennedy School Store; Sandra Kluk; Lisa Maze; Joyce McCabe; Lisa Nagy; Oakwood Taylor Teen; Health Center; Pump It Up; Dena Sadd; S.A.V.E. Peer Educators; Sky Zone; Symon’s Party Rental; Tan Bellissimo; Taylor Café; Taylor Police Department; Taylor School District; Taylor Yoga; Texas Road House; Thrifty Florist; Truman School Store; Vitamin Shoppe; Yazee’s Boutique; Zap Zone.