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My Town: Student Great Lakes protection projects on display May 14

My Town: Student Great Lakes protection projects on display May 14

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  High School students from six area districts will showcase their efforts to protect the Grand River watershed and the Great Lakes during the Groundswell Student Showcase May 14.

Grand Valley State University is showcasing the exhibit, which provides hands-on environmental learning for students throughout Kent County.  The projects will be on display on the big screen and in the Beacon Lobby at Celebration Cinema North in Grand Rapids.

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  It’s National Charter Schools Week and National Heritage Academies is celebrating a record number of applicants.

The charter school system says this year, so many children applied to NHA that 20,952 students were put on the wait list.  When it has more applicants than open seats, NHA uses a random lottery to determine who gets into its schools.

“We have experienced record numbers of applications and demand for our schools with wait lists of more than 2,000 students at some schools,” said National Heritage Academies President and CEO Chip Hurlburt. “We appreciate the support we receive from parents who feel so strongly about the quality school choice NHA provides.”

My Town GR South: River City Scholars delivers on reading rewards for students

My Town GR South: River City Scholars delivers on reading rewards for students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- River City Scholars Charter Academy students hit a major benchmark in their reading minutes: 100,000.

At the start of March is Reading Month, the leadership team challenged the students to reach for more than 100,000 reading minutes. They provided incentives along the way to reward the students for their hard work.

In March, the reading rewards piled up fast and students watched Principal Amena Moiz kiss an eight foot boa constrictor, one of the deans rode a tricycle around the gym, and a second dean was sprayed with silly string.

In April, Dean Mike White lived up to his promise and read a book from the top of the school roof while Dean Pa Madris dressed up like the book character  in "A Bad Case of Stripes".  The students enjoyed all of the reading rewards and are proud of their accomplishment.

My Town: Kent Career Tech Center names first National Tech Honor Society members

My Town: Kent Career Tech Center names first National Tech Honor Society members

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A dozen students from Kent Career Tech Center are now members of the National Technical Honor Society.

The students were inducted into the Tech Center’s inaugural NTHS class for demonstrating outstanding skills in their program and overall academic achievement.  The NTHS is similar to the National Honor Society, but with tougher requirements, including involvement in a career or technical education program, a 3.5 or higher GPA and community service hours.

My Town: Transforming 2,000 water bottles into a beneficial greenhouse

My Town:  Transforming 2,000 water bottles into a beneficial greenhouse

WYOMING, Mich.—A new greenhouse made out of 2,000 water bottles now sits outside Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center.

Students, along with teacher Char Walsh and school staff teamed up with Goodwill AmeriCorps members to build the eco-friendly greenhouse last Friday, using water bottles collected by the Heart of West Michigan United Way and Grand Rapids Community College.  Many of the additional building materials were donated by a local lumber company.

Students, teachers and the female clients of Dégagé Ministries will grow and harvest vegetables in the greenhouse to make salsa, which will then be sold, with all proceeds going to  Dégagé.

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

My Town: Kent Intermediate School District gets health program grant

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  The Kent Intermediate School District is getting a federal boost to physical and nutritional education programs. 

 U.S. Department of Education has awarded 67 grants totaling more than $33 million to local education agencies and community-base organizations.  Only two groups in Michigan were awarded funding; KISD is getting $429,404 for programs to help K-12 students develop healthy lifestyles and meet state standards for physical education.

“A healthy, active lifestyle is an important ingredient of academic success,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants are a resource to help schools and communities develop programs that teach students the importance of staying active and developing healthy lifestyles. We need more states, districts, schools and communities to recognize the critically important role of physical education in improving student engagement and achievement.”

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

My Town: The Hashtag Battle over the 2014 Jump Jam

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  What started as a hashtag battle about the 2014 Jump Jam has turned into a friendly wager between Grand Rapids Public Schools’ superintendent and Spectrum Health’s senior vice president.

GRPS posted the hashtag battle between Theresa Weatherall Neal and Steve Heacock to YouTube last Friday.  In the video, Weatherall Neal challenges Heacock to a friendly bet on two of the Jump Jam teams, with the loser buying lunch from either the hospital or school cafeteria.  Mayor George Heartwell makes a surprise appearance at the end of the video.