School Bells: Pioneer High earns top GRAMMY Signature award

Pioneer High School  has been designated as the 2011 National GRAMMY Foundation Signature School. The GRAMMY Foundation announced 36 schools nationwide selected as GRAMMY Signature Schools for 2011, with Pioneer earning the top award.

The announcement was made by the GRAMMY Foundation, according to Robin Bailey, fine arts coordinator for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Pioneer will receive $15,000 for the honor.

“We are proud of these very dedicated student musicians and their excellent music instructors,” she said. The instructors include: David Leach, Performing Arts Department chairman; Jonathan Glawe, Orchestra; Steve Lorenz, Choir; Nancy Waring, Band/Music Theory and Technology; and Rochelle Martinez, Piano and Guitar.

A concert honoring these Pioneer students and music staff will be at 8 p.m. May 26 at Hill Auditorium.

Created in 1998, the GRAMMY Signature Schools program recognizes top U.S. public high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.

Each of the 36 GRAMMY Signature Schools will receive a custom award and a monetary grant. The top seven schools are designated Gold recipients.  The best of the Gold recipients is named the National GRAMMY Signature School, which is the award Pioneer received.

Home building students earn first place at state SkillsUSA

The Ann Arbor Student Home Building Industries Program is home to the State champion gold medal winning builders. Ann Arbor students placed first in the SkillsUSA  “TEAMWORKS” competition in Lansing over the weekend of April 16-17 and will go on to compete at the National level in Kansas City in late June.

Winning Huron building team
The winning team from Huron High School. (Photo courtesy, John Birko)

Winning Huron High School seniors on the team included: Aaron Wyse, general contractor and mason; Jose Tavarez, carpenter; Sergie Aviles, electrician; and Dillon Davis, plumber. They won both the presentation and construction portions of the event to take top honors.

The students competed as building contractors to present an extemporaneous business plan and the following day constructed a frame structure with functional plumbing, electrical and masonry components in a seven-hour cooperative effort, according to teacher and program adviser John Birko.

The students were awarded tool prizes and a $1,200 travel voucher from Lowes for their trip to Kansas City.

Recycling event scheduled for May 7

An E-Waste Recycling Event will be hosted on Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pioneer High School. Recycle e-waste such as computer systems, monitors, telephones, cell phones, televisions, speakers, printers, wires/cables, modems plus more at no cost.

This drive-through, drop-off event is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Office of Campus Sustainability and Apple. Visit for more information including a list of materials accepted.

The Verve Pipe visits Lakewood on Saturday

The Verve Pipe will do a concert at Lakewood Elementary School at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 7l. The band has recently released an album made especially for parents and their kids to share called “The Verve Pipe – A Family Album” which includes such tunes such as “Wake Up”, “Suppertime!”, “Cereal,” and “Be Part of the Band.”

Twenty percent of merchandise pre-ordered before the concert will be donated to Lakewood as a fundraiser, including albums at a cost of  $10 each as well as t-shirts purchased. Cost to attend the concert is $10 per person or $35 for a family of four. Tickets will be available at the door.For more information about the Lakewood concert, e-mail Kelly Wang at

Lakewood Elementary is at 344 Gralake, Ann Arbor.

According to the group’s website, the genesis of The Verve Pipe can be traced back to 1990, when Brian Vander Ark and his brother Brad began making names for themselves in Grand Rapids with their band Johnny With An Eye. Drummer Donny Brown, who played in rival band Water From The Pool, eventually joined forces with the Vander Ark brothers and The Verve Pipe was born.


CHS Burns Park
Forty four students from the Personal Fitness classes at Community High School ran in this year's Burns Park Run on Sunday, May 1. Two Community students, Hannah Bogard and Galen Burrell, were overall female and male winners in the 5K. and many placed in their age group. Every runner who crossed the finish line, especially the 17 who crossed it after gutting out the 10K (6.2 miles), experienced the thrill of working hard to accomplish a goal that just weeks ago seemed impossible, said teacher Robbie Stapleton.


Easter Bunny at Nicola's
Families enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunny at Nicola's Books at the Westgate Shopping Center. Nicola's is a sponsor of the AAPSNews website.

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