School Bells: Huron’s Ziemba wins 1st in carpentry competition

Editor’s note: Information regarding a speaker at Northside Elementary School regarding HistoryMakers has been corrected below. Dr. Burgess was an interview subject of The HistoryMakers but is not the founder of the group. The founder is Julieanna Richardson.

College and Career Fair coming March 30

Click here for more “This Week” through the superintendent’s office for additional student achievements in the district.

Brian Ziemba of Huron High School won top honors in the high school division of the 2011 Washtenaw Community College Construction Institute SkillsUSA regional carpentry competition Feb. 18 at Washtenaw Community College. He will go on to compete at the state USA Skills competition in April in Lansing.

Carpentry competition
Huron High School's Brian Ziemba, Dillon Davis and José Tavarez and Pioneer High School's Ahmad Abu-Shtayyah at the 2011 Washtenaw Community College Construction Institute SkillsUSA regional carpentry competition on Feb. 18 at WCC. Ziemba won first place in the high school competition.

Ziemba won a two-semester scholarship to Washtenaw Community College as his award. Also competing at regionals were Huron’s Dillon Davis and José Tavarez and Pioneer High School’s Ahmad Abu-Shtayyah. All are seniors.

The all-day competition included a written component and then a hands-on project where students worked off of blueprint plans and were tested on their ability to do a variety of carpentry skills.

John Birko, teacher and adviser in the Ann Arbor Public School’s Student Building Industry Program said the four earned the opportunity to compete through a local hand-on building competition that was judged by professional builders. Birko said the competitions prepare students well for careers in the building industry after they graduate.

Schools celebrate NAAPID with a variety of events

Buildings throughout the Ann Arbor Public Schools and other county districts celebrated National African American Parent Involvement Day, OR NAAPID, on Feb. 14. “I want to recognize and thank all of our schools for inviting all parents to visit their child at school and participate in special activities,” said Interim Superintendent Robert Allen.

NAAPID was founded in 1996 by Joseph Dulin, the now retired principal of Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, who was inspired to start the special day by his participation in the Million Man March on Washington D.C. in 1995. Many Ann Arbor schools celebrated with special events and by inviting parents into the schools for the day.

Clague NAAPID event
Clague Middle School students at the school's NAAPID event. (photos courtesy, Clague Middle School)

Northside Elementary School reported that they started their day with a parent breakfast and then hosted an all-school assembly with special guest and poet/author Dr. Gloria Burgess, an interview subject of The HistoryMakers.

At Clague Middle School, parents visited classrooms with their children and a special lunch/potluck was offered. Guest speaker Heaster Wheeler, president of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and uncle to a Clague student, was the school’s honored guest. He spoke about how to educate and empower youth.
The eighth annual NAAPID at Night was also held on Feb. 14, featuring a showcase of student talent. This collaboration of the Washtenaw County school districts took place this year at Saline High School’s Center for Performing Arts.

Pattengill students send blankets with love to Safe House

Pattengill blanket making
Pattengill Elementary School students work on fleece blankets, which they donated to Safe House.

Twenty five students from Susan Beech’s third-grade class at Pattengill Elementary School participated in a community service project this year instead of spending their money on valentines for each other.

Students and parents collected $102 to purchase fleece fabric and made blankets for families at Safe House, a shelter for homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Every student in the class assisted in tying the blankets on Valentines Day and the seven blankets made will be donated to Safe House.

Dicken Winter Walk draws hundreds

Dicken Winter Walk collage
Students from Dicken Elementary School created hundreds of luminarias that were used during the annual Dicken Winter Walk.

The community around Dicken Elementary School celebrated the beauty of Dicken Woods during the annual Dicken Winter Walk, held this year on Feb. 15.

The 15-minute walk was hosted by the Friends of Dicken Woods through trails illuminated by 300 hand-made luminarias created by students. The Friends group helps to care for the woods by clearing trails, planting trees and wildflowers and other gardens.

The event is seven years old. For a story about the event, visit

A collage of student luminaries was provided courtesy of Dicken Elementary Principal Mike Madison.

College & Career Fair slated for March 30

Ann Arbor Public Schools has scheduled its 26th Annual College & Career
Fair at Pioneer High School from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.  Colleges and businesses will have tables in the cafeteria, which is located near the clock-tower entrance to Pioneer High School.

This night will provide families with up-to-date information and enable them to make a person-to-person contact with national and local college and business representatives who will be available to meet with families, answer questions and offer pertinent literature.

14 nominated for Presidential Scholars Program

The Ann Arbor Public Schools has 14 candidates nominated for the Presidential Scholars Program for 2011.  The 10 candidates from Huron are:  Pelham Barron, Joshua Cheng, John Han, Heemyung Hwang, Jong Hwan Koo, Sussy Pan, Jasmine Powell, Alisha Qiu, Philip Tsao and Derek Wu and the four  Pioneer candidates are:  Simmon Kim, Andrea Kriz, Anna Ronen and Eli Schultz.

The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our Nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors.  In 1979, the Program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.  Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the Nation’s highest honors for high school students.

Each nominated student must go through an application process.  Scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas – academic and artistic success, leadership, and involvement in school and the community.  They are invited to Washington, D.C. in June.

Library hosts short story contest; entries due March 18

The Ann Arbor District Library hosts its annual short story contest for teens, featuring $1,500 in cash prizes to be awarded to nine winners. Last year, more than 200 area students participated.

Funding for the awards is furnished by the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library.

A panel of published authors will judge the short stories. Winners will be announced on Saturday, May 21 at a special event at the Downtown Library featuring nationally-known teen author Patrick Jones. Prizes will be awarded to first-place ($250), second-place ($150) and third-place ($100) finishers in three categories: Grades 6-8; Grades 9-10; and Grades 11-12.

Short stories may be submitted through Friday, March 18 at 9 p.m. Submit entries electronically by emailing to: See contest rules for compete submission guidelines.  Entries must be received by the Library by Friday, March 18. Again, for more information and complete guidelines, visit or call 734-327-8301.

Winning stories will be published in a final booklet and on the library website.

Pittsfield Elementary School fundraiser and art display

A Youth in Art Month display of Pittsfield Elementary School students will be featured at Barnes & Noble bookstore Friday and Saturday, March 18-19. Art teacher Robin Mendenhal shares works of art created by students.

A special art exhibit of eReaders will be featured throughout March honoring Youth Art Month and purchases will benefit Pittsfield Elementary when mentioning the school at check out. Benefit days are March 18-20. Barnes & Noble is at 3235 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Details: 734-973-0846.

My Favorite Teacher Contest at Barnes and Noble

Barnes & Noble is sponsoring a “My Favorite Teacher Contest” which offers the national winner a $5,000 prize, $5,000 for their school and recognition at a special event. To enter, students write a poem, essay or thank-you letter sharing how a teacher has influenced their life. Entry forms are available at the customer service desk at Barnes & Noble stores. Entry deadline is Tuesday, March 15. The local Barnes & Noble store is at 3235 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

At noon on April 16, Barnes & Noble Ann Arbor will host a special event announcing the winner of the local contest. The local winning teacher will be recognized at a special event and receive a special award, together with a set of 10 Sterling Children’s Classic books for the teacher’s class library.  Students who write the winning essays or poems will also receive a certificate of recognition and be honored at the store.

The six regional winners will each receive a NOOK eBook Reader and a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card.  The national winner of the Barnes & Noble Teacher of the Year award will receive $5,000 and be recognized at a special event.  The winning teacher’s school will receive $5,000 as well. Details: 734-973-0846.

Ballroom dance expert visits Burns Park to work with students

Pierre Dulaine
Pierre Dulaine, ballroom dancer and inventor of the Dulaine method of teaching, visits Burns Park Elementary. (photos courtesy, Cynthia Page-Bogen)

Pierre Dulaine, ballroom dancer and inventor of the Dulaine method of teaching, visited Burns Park Elementary on Friday, Feb 4 at the invitation of music teacher Cynthia Page-Bogen.

Dulaine visited the area as part of a University of Michigan MedStart Child Advocacy Seminar earlier this month, where he was the keynote on “Dancing Classrooms – Transforming Lives One Step at a Time.”

Dulaine, a famous ballroom dancer, is the inventor of the Dulaine method of teaching, and founder of Dancing Classrooms.

He has worked with fifth-graders in New York City Public Schools from which inspired a documentary, “Mad Hot Ballroom.”

Pierre Dulaine
Pierre Dulaine works with Burns Park students during a dance workshop.

He has used ballroom dancing as a way to reinforce social values such as respect, compassion and control and helps to build children’s self-confidence as they move into adolescence.

Free ongoing “Teens Using Drugs” workshop offered to families

“Teens Using Drugs: What To Know and What To Do” is a free, ongoing, workshop series designed to help participants learn to understand, identify and address adolescent alcohol/other drug problems. Presentations are targeted to parents and caretakers of teens, but teens, family members, people who work with teens, students, and anyone interested in attending for any reason are welcome.

The series runs from 7:30-9 p.m. at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center, 5305 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197. Programs are done in two parts from October through June.

Part 1 takes place on the first Tuesday of each month and provides information on how to understand and recognize the signs of a teen substance abuse problem. Part 2 takes place on the second Tuesday of each month and provides information on what should and should not be done when a teen substance abuse problem is recognized, and concludes with an “open talk” by a young person in recovery.

The series is presented co-sponsored by Dawn Farm, the Livingston/Washtenaw Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Consortium, and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System Greenbrook Recovery Center. Registration is not required. Details: (734) 973-7892 or e-mail or visit online

Spelling Bee proceeds to benefit 826Michigan programs

Local  nonprofit writing and tutoring center 826michigan features “826michigan’s Spelling Bee for Honest Cheaters, Dirty Rotten Spellers, and Mustachioed Heroes” on Wednesday, March 30, at Woodruff’s Bar in Ypsilanti. It will feature two-person teams of 826michigan staff and volunteers, University of Michigan professors, local businesspeople and 826 founder Dave Eggers – all vying to out-spell and out-cheat the competition and take home the Almost Embarrassingly Large Trophy For First Place.

Teams will raise money before the event, which may be used during the spelling bee to buy cheats such as “Ask the Audience” or “Try Again”. All proceeds, including ticket sales, support 826michigan’s wide variety of free creative writing programs for children 6-18 in Washtenaw County.

The event will be hosted by Raymond McDaniel, poet and lecturer at the University of Michigan. Tickets to the event are $15 and are available at 826michigan’s website Visit online or call for more information 734-761-3463.

College admissions strategies discussed

“College Admissions Strategies: College Night: Moving From Chaos To Control” will be hosted from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Community High School counselor John Boshoven, “Essay Coaching” founder Deb Merion,  and performance coach Geraldine Markel are co-authors of the book “Solving The College Admissions Puzzle,” now in an updated 2011 version with worksheets.  These college application experts will cover: Finding and Paying for the College that Fits; Applying to College: Those Pesky Essays; and Applying to College: Those Pesky Tests.

This event includes a book signing and copies of the book will also be available for purchase. Details:734-327-8301 or visit

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