Friday, November 18, 2016

News and Notes: 3.10

I received a nice compliment this week on our sinking fund passing. The parent was really supportive of our schools. The conversation quickly turned to the value of conferencing with teachers (WLES Parent Conferences are next Monday and Tuesday). "My kid is doing great. Should I go?" the parent asked. "Yes!" I replied.  I couldn't have said it fast enough.

First, elementary teachers will teach every parent something new about his or her children. Second, the teachers are incredible. After each visit I make to a classroom, I leave impressed with their dedication, knowledge and caring. They move fast and efficiently but never miss a chance to compliment and encourage.

I also encourage you to take time to enjoy your family next week. Take a cue from our elementary and never miss a chance to compliment and encourage kids. The effort they put into school pays off in many ways.

I am most thankful to be a part of this staff.
2016 Volleyball Season: Interview with Coach Coleman
While the winter sport season is underway, I want to take some time to recap a successful fall girls volleyball season. How successful was it? Well as a point of reference, last year the varsity team finished 9-29-1, 0-14 in the Tri-County Conference. This year? This year they were 29-10-1, 12-2 in the TCC. That is quite a turnaround.
Maria Carter-Ewald, Community Relations and Recreation Director, had a chance to interview head Varsity coach, Kathy Coleman, on the season and her hopes for next year. Join me in congratulating them on a wonderful season. We can't wait to see what next year brings.
Q: Your team achieved A LOT this season! Competed in the district finals this year, finished 2nd in the TCC, won the Hudson Tournament and even got honorable mention in Class C rankings as you headed into district playoffs. What do those accomplishments mean to you and to the team?
A: The girls really worked  hard. Many of the girls had never had a winning season in any of their sports. This season they really saw positive results for all their hard work. It also gives us great building blocks for continued success in the future.

Our JV team had a good season as well, finishing 21-10-1 (11-3 in the TCC) under head coach Jamie (LaBram) Jackson, former WLHS volleyball  player and member of the class of 2005.

Q: What do you think lead to the Class C honorable mention? 
A: We had a good enough season to get noticed. We won some big matches: we beat Clinton twice (they are historically a good team/program.) We beat Lincoln, Belleville, Melvindale--all class A schools. Class A schools are much bigger than we are thus having a bigger pool of kids to make up their teams. And we were 9-0 in conference until late October.

Q: To what do attribute this season's success?
A: I wish I knew exactly to what I should attribute our success--then I could repeat it every game!

I think that the girls are really good friends and that is a big component, surely the commitment to volleyball through the summer and fall is a major part. We spend 10-20 hours in the gym every week. I also think that our new strength and conditioning program, Blue Lion, has really helped. The girls are so much stronger physically and mentally than they were previously. Since last January the volleyball players have participated 3 times a week in conditioning. It really gave them confidence and tenacity that I hadn't seen in them previously.

Q: How many seniors are you losing, and how will that affect next year?
A: Varsity is losing seven seniors--that's a ton. The make up of our team will surely be different, but that's part of the "gig." We will absolutely have some holes to fill next season, but I have no doubt the girls will work hard to compete for those and the other positions as well. Our team really wants to put a plaque on the championship board. We came close this year. We're working hard to use this as a stepping stone to get there.

Q: Anything else to add?
A:  It was a really fun season--time flew by. I enjoyed watching the girls have fun playing and winning volleyball. They really haven't had that experience much so it was great to see the joy they got out of a game that I love so much.

Chrysler LeBaron "Groovy"fied

If you see a 1986 Chrysler LeBaron around town that looks "groovy" you are witnessing the artwork of WLHS students in Artists and Techniques class taught by Krisanne Rae. Owner of the car and community member, David Gibbons, bought it 6 months ago and set out to transform it into a "hippy car." He began by painting a white peace sign on the hood and some red stripes. After realizing he was sticking true to Trojan colors and realizing the limits to his painting abilities, he had the idea of contacting WLHS to see if any students would be interested in helping him complete the art work. And the school project was born.

It has taken students 4-5 days to complete the 70s theme, covering the car in flowers, butterflies, peace signs and a variety of sayings. Most of the artwork is done by permanent marker that Mr. Gibbons plans on covering with a spray enamel to do his best in preserving the student's work. The car is equipped with its own "hitch-hiker" named Zork, a smiley face emoticon in the passenger seat.
This is just one of many unique art projects students have in the works. The ceiling of the art room will soon be adorned with 2"x2" squares painted by students. Before Thanksgiving the hall will display a paper weaving project along with a CD project completed by our middle school art students. And next time  you are in the media center check out the cardboard sculptures done in the style of young German artist, Bartek Elsner. So far students have created a lamp, cupcake, record player and toaster. They will be on display along with some incredible acrylic landscape paintings students are finishing up.
College Month Celebration
We featured College Month activities in News and Notes 3.5. Today was the celebration of all our students' accomplishments. Jumping off the "Saddle Up for College" western theme, the celebration included a pizza party, personalized boots filled with jolly "ranchers", Texas sheet cake and a mechanical bull from Xtreme Play N Go Party Rentals in Ypsilanti. Students who completed all three College Month tasks (a college application, the FAFSA and a college scholarship application) were entered in a drawing to win one of three mini fridges! We are proud of the class of 2017 and the bright futures they have ahead of them. Check out the videos and photos from today's event on our Facebook page.

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