Friday, April 15, 2016

News and Notes: Volume 2, Number 26

Special Education Millage
May 3 is an election day, and an important proposal from Washtenaw's Intermediate School District (WISD) will be on the ballot. Specifically, the WISD is requesting a Special Education Millage increase. Information and key elements of this proposal will be presented at the next meeting of the WLPS Board of Education on April 18, 7 p.m. in the Whitmore Lake High School Media Center, and I invite those looking for additional information to attend.
Some quick facts if you cannot attend the meeting:
  • WISD is requesting a 1.5 mill increase for ten years.
  • Why is this important for Whitmore Lake? The increase will allow WLPS to recover more of its costs associated with providing education to students with special needs. This will free up resources which WLPS will use to benefit all our students.
  • Costs not covered by WISD next year are expected to approach $500,000, meaning that $500,000 will need to come out of our general fund should this millage not pass.
  • Approximately 17% of our students receive services from special education.
  • Most homeowners in WL would experience an annual cost of $75 - $100.
More information on this student-centered millage can be found on the WISD website
HERE. The WLPS presentation will be posted on our website following the Monday, April 18 meeting. 

Another Strong Trobot Season 
If you have walked through the hallways of the high school these past couple days, you might notice a certain level of swag and sophistication missing. Yes, the Trobots, our high school Robotics team, have left the building. They made their way to Grand Rapids this Wednesday for the FRC State Championships. As they wrapped up the final match of the day yesterday, they were 4-0! Keep an eye on their Facebook page HERE for continued updates. From here, the Trobots will find out tomorrow if they qualify to head to the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri April 27-30. 

Every year, the Trobots have six weeks to design and build a robot from scratch to compete in the season's unique competition. This year the robot's quest is a sort of “capture the flag” scenario (click HERE for more details). I liken it to the scene in the movie Divergent, but instead of watching Tris Prior attempt to capture the flag, you get to watch robots.   

Following a strong season last year where they made it to the State Championships and World competition for the first time, the Trobots have yet to disappoint. At their very first meet of the year, they won the Excellence in Engineering Award, celebrating advantageous features of a robot that are done in an elegant manner. They continued on to their second meet of the year, coming in second place, only one point behind the first-place team, which was their highest finish in a competition to date.

The team then headed to Howell for another competition early April. Things started off rocky, going into the competition ranked 25th. But it didn't take long for them to successfully make it through the quarter and semi-finals heading into the final rounds of play. The team did lose in the second match by just eight points, making for a very exciting match and putting the team in a strong position to qualify for states, which, they did.

The learning opportunities our students have by being involved in Robotics is invaluable. The mission of the organization that coordinates the competitions, FIRST, is "to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes". Instilling a passion in our students for problem solving, thinking outside the box, and learning and using marketable skills to work together to achieve their goals is a great benefit of this program.

We couldn't be prouder of our team, all they have accomplished thus far, and what they will continue to accomplish. If you would like to support the Trobots, check out their GoFundMe page to help fundraise to cover the costs of attending States and Worlds here: I also want to give a special shout- out to their Lead Mentor, Lynne Mead, and all the parent supporters who proudly support our students. 

And as a side note, for our younger students in grades 5-8, registration for our Middle School team will be opening up later this year, so keep an eye out for a flyer on PeachJar in May or June. The team is looking for 15 students looking to experience the benefits of robotics competitions. The season runs from September through December. And More details can be found here:

Go Trobots!

Whitmore Lake High School Winter Athlete Honors
While spring sports are underway, I want to recognize our winter student-athletes who received honors. See the list below, and make sure to congratulate these students and coaches next time you see them. 

Competitive Cheer
Finished in top 4 at Districts to advance to Regionals
All-District and All-Region Coach of the Year: Ashley Guastella

1st Team All-District:
Alexa Florkowski
Samantha Lustig

Savannah McCormick
Kaitlyn Easter

2nd Team All-District:Hannah Monroe

All-Region Honorable Mention:

Alexa Florkowski

Girls Basketball:
All-Conference Honorable Mention:
Alivia Foster

All-Conference Sportsmanship Team:
Chelsea Spangler
All-Conference Academic:
Alivia Foster
Mary Ramirez

Boys Basketball:
All-Conference Sportsmanship Team

All-Conference Honorable Mention:
Deacon Fountain
Spencer Iaquinto

All-Conference Academic:
Deacon Fountain
Spencer Iaquinto
Austin Tanner
Ryan Kadaguchi
Blake Vershum
Ryan Thoman

Community Scholarship Fund


Today is the deadline for our seniors to submit their applications to receive a community scholarship. For those who do not know, we have a dedicated organization in Whitmore Lake, the Community Scholarship Fund (CSF) made up of retired and current staff members, community members, alumni and parents of past and current students, who have been awarding scholarships to WLHS graduating seniors since 1974. Last year they awarded eighteen $1,000 scholarships alone to the students picture above! Their goal is to continue to increase the number of scholarships awarded each year.

In partnership with the CSF, by filling out the application, students qualify for a series of other scholarships from community organizations like Kiwanis, WLPS Transportation, Athletic Association and more. In total, between the CSF and these community organizations, our students received almost $28k in scholarships. When I met with seniors early this week, I encourage any and all to apply, not to count themselves out because they don't think their GPA is high enough or they aren't involved in enough extracurricular. We have groups who have created scholarships designed specifically for students who might have had a rocky start to school, but persevered to finish strong, as an example. The chance of getting $1,000 to fund their post-secondary plans is well worth the time it will take them to complete the application.

CSF accepts donations year round, and when you make your donation, you can designate it to go one of the scholarships honoring Anna Bella Hunt, Donna Ball, Larry Steeb, Sue Johnson or Glenn Bachman if you wish. Or it can go towards the fund at large. All donations big or small are welcomed. For more information, and to make a tax-deductible donation, visit their website here: And if you are a parent of a senior who has not completed the application, they can e-mail them to WLHS Counselor, Kathy DeKeyser, until midnight tonight.

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