Friday, February 24, 2017

News and Notes 3.17

Highlights from a Week Spent in WLPS
Graduation is 99 days away and most soon-to-be graduates are making college selections, identifying careers or firming up plans to serve in the military. Some have signed a letter of intent to continue playing their favorite sport in college. It has been fun to watch Evan Ward (lacrosse); Ryan Kadoguchi (baseball); and Audrey Lama (volleyball) make their choices, and see their talent and effort pay off.

Our elementary school recently completed a survey aimed at improving our learning opportunities. Some good results came out of the work, including college and career readiness. Our BOE will be using these results to plan for continuous improvement. One thing that I noticed over and over again on the survey was the deep care parents felt from all the staff at the school. I could not agree more.

I have heard (literally) that our middle school and high school students are loaded with outstanding choir students. So much talent deserves further development. Mrs. Fixler, our choir teacher, thinks so too. She is starting an A Cappella Club. This group will meet after school, and the interest in it will hopefully grow. Our aim is to meet the needs of our students and families in WL. This club is a great example of programming we are adding to improve the quality of our education and improve the experiences of our students in WLPS.

It is a great day to be a Trojan.

Free Basketball Camp
Last year, thanks to Team Alliance Plastics’ (TAP), Whitmore Lake Community Recreation (WLCR) and the Michigan Pond Hockey Sports Charities (MPHSC), 45 boys and girls in grades third-eighth who weren't heading on vacation for spring break participated in a free basketball camp. And we are excited to welcome the program back for a second year. 

A main sponsor, TAP, was founded in 2000 by Mike Cohen. Cohen played basketball for Iowa State University and continued to dedicate his life to the sport by funding basketball camps all over Michigan until losing a long battle with brain cancer in April, 2012.

In his memory, Cohen’s brother, Sheldon, and son, Matt, have continued to fund basketball camps across Michigan with a couple spring break camps in the works and plans to have more in the coming years. 

At the center of bringing the camp to Whitmore Lake is WLCR Recreation Coordinator and and WLPS Athletic Director, Brad McCormack. McCormack met Cohen years before he passed away when he quickly became one of McCormack’s biggest inspirations. His constant devotion and passion for getting kids involved in sports was something McCormack admired. 

“He was one of the toughest guys I knew, always pushing kids to their limits. But despite all of the long hours of practicing and yelling, Cohen was the nicest guy I’ve ever known,” McCormack shared.

With the mission of providing families financial assistance to help their children participate in youth athletic programs, when McCormack approached Sam Iaquinto, president of the MPHSC with Cohen’s story and the goal of bringing another camp to Whitmore, Iaquinto said helping make that happen was a no-brainer. 

And even though the Pond Hockey Tournament has been cancelled the past two years because of unseasonably warm weather, crippling their fundraising efforts, the group still stays dedicated to the cause, providing enough funding for 80 kids to participate in the camp! 

This year, the camp also welcomes a new sponsor, Brian Bower of Thrivent Financial.

Bower is no stranger to high school athletics or small towns. His dad was an Athletic Director and Varsity Basketball Coach for over 25 years at the small high school he attended in the Upper Peninsula and he played every sport offered to him. Currently he officiates for basketball and football at the high school and collegiate level, in addition to coaching his son's baseball and basketball teams.

"Sports teach so many valuable lessons to young people. Not only do they provide physical activity, but they teach kids about leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship," said Bower. 

Having lived in Whitmore Lake for the past three years and enjoying the small-town feel, similar to where he grew up, Bower was excited to connect with WLPS and give back to the community.

In addition to his work with the Spring Break Basketball Camp, Bower is also sponsoring the WLCR Youth Basketball League banquet, providing the pizza.

Registration opened this week, and we already have 26 kids registered. The deadline for registration is March 24 or until filled. For more information, contact To register click HERE or call 734.449.4461 x3057.

The WLCR department of Whitmore Lake Public Schools would like to sincerely thank TAP and the MPHSC for their generous support, along with their new sponsor Brian Bower of Thriven Financial. 

For more information on the Michigan Pond Hockey Sports Charities, check out their website here:

And for more information Thrivent Financial, check out their website here:

Rounding Up Our Tiny Trojans
Last Sunday a parent of an upcoming kindergartner shared one of the best posts on our Facebook page. I've shared it here. It is of her daughter "gearing up for kindergarten round-up. #TrojanPride." I love it. At a young age, she already knows she is getting ready to join "the school with the spirit" and ready to show off her #TrojanPride.

It also presents us with a great chance for us to remind our Trojans with tiny ones that two important events are coming up: Kindergarten Roundup and Preschool Registration. You can head to the Facebook events for more details or check out the flyers below. And for those who know young families, I encourage you to share that information with them as well. We are a school of choice, so even if they do not live in the district, we welcome them to these events to see the exceptional, personalized education we have to offer.

Next week for our March edition of Facebook Live Friday, I'll be joined on a school bus by a few WLES kindergarteners and our Elementary principal, Sue Wanamaker, to learn what it is like being a kindergartener at WLES. Tune in at 12:30 p.m. to our Facebook page, next Friday, March 3. I can't imagine anything better than chatting with kindergarteners on a live broadcast! It will be a ton of fun!

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