For Immediate Release
TSD Comm. Specialist
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TSD Press Room: 20-21 Press Releases
- 6/21/2021 - TROY HIGH ALUM (2005) RECEIVES NATIONAL SPORTS EMMY FOR PRODUCTION OF HBO SPORTS ‘THE SHOP'
- 5/24/2021 - 15 Troy High Seniors Commit to Athletic Programs on Signing Day
- 5/19/2021 - athens track and field wins milk grant, gives back to others
- 5/18/2021 - Oakland Schools Awards Scholarships to CTE Students
- 5/14/2021 - 2021 Troybery Winners Announced
- 5/13/2021 - Troy High Students Recognized with Global Impact Awards
- 5/13/2021 - TCCHS Student Receives Scholarship from Women of Tomorrow
- 5/13/2021 - Next Wave of National Merit Scholarship Winners Announced
- 5/10/2021 - TSD Middle Schools Take Awards at National Science Olympiad
- 5/4/2021 - Schroeder Girls Scouts, the “Robo-Dragons,” Design, Fundraise and Create Playground Communication Board
- 4/27/2021 - Athens Staff Earns ESGR “Above and Beyond” Award
- 4/27/2021 - Athens and IAE Students Win US Agency for International Development Science Champion Award
- 4/27/2021 - ATHENS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT COUNCIL PARTNERS WITH FRIENDS OF FOSTER KIDS TO PROVIDE MUCH NEEDED ITEMS
- 4/20/2021 - Athens Student Council Holds Successful Community Week Amid Pandemic
- 4/20/2021 - Michigan AG Nessel Chooses THS Alum as New Press Secretary
- 4/12/2021 - ATHENS HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT LEAD STILL SERVES DURING PANDEMIC
- 4/9/2021 - Athens Future Problem Solvers Place 2nd in State Competition
- 4/7/2021 - Troy Again Named Best Community for Music Education
- 4/7/2021 - International Academy East Student Selected as Semifinalist in NASA’s “Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest”
- 3/19/2021 - 4 Recent Competition Wins for Biology Competitions Club
- 3/19/2021 - Troy High DECA Chapter Sweeps Virtual State Competition Qualify for Internationals
- 03/19/2021 - athens senior ian clark named B&gct youth of the year
- 2/26/2021 - TSD 2020 GRADUATE ACHIEVES EAGLE SCOUT, FIRST CLASS OF FEMALE SCOUTS
- 2/24/2021 - TROY HIGH STUDENT SELECTED FOR UNITED STATES SENATE YOUTH PROGRAM
- 2/19/2021 - “Log Off & Lace Up!” to Encourage Health and Fitness
- 2/19/2021 - TROY HIGH SCHOOL ADVANCES TO “SWEET 16” ROUND OF IPPF GLOBAL DEBATE COMPETITION
- 2/12/2021 - TROY HIGH SCIENCE TEACHER NAMED 2021 SCIENCE & ENGINEERING FAIR TEACHER OF THE YEAR
- 2/9/2021 - BARNARD STUDENTS WIN TOP HONORS FOR OAKLAND COUNTY CLEAN WATER COMPETITION
- 2/2/2021 - 52 TROY STUDENTS ARE NATIONAL MERIT FINALISTS
- 1/25/2021 - Three Troy School District Schools Named State Schools of Character
- 12/22/2020 - Troy United Girls Hockey Players Trade Helmets for Santa Hats
- 12/19/2020 - School Board Swears In New Trustees
- 12/18/2020 - Troy School District Announces Supervisor of Educational Equity, Inclusion and Community Relationships
- 12/17/2020 - Three Troy School District Students Named Coca-Cola Scholars Semifinalists
- 12/10/2020 - HAMILTON 5TH GRADER LEARNS LIFE LESSONS FROM RBG
- 11/23/2020 - TROY STUDENTS UNLOCK KEY2FINESSE, SUPPORT GIFT OF LIFE
- 11/20/2020 - TROY HIGH ORCHESTRAS MAKE DO AND MAKE MUSIC UNDER THE TENTS
- 11/18/2020: TROY HIGH GRADUATES REACH FOR THE STARS, SEE GENETICS PROJECT SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
- 11/13/2020 - TROY FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE PROVIDES TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR TEACHERS
- 11/06/2020 - ATHENS CROSS COUNTRY "GETS MILK" GRANT, GIVES BACK TO OTHERS
- 10/20/2020 - Longtime Troy School Board Member Earns Prestigious MASB Award
- 10/07/2020 - Bemis Elementary Receives 2nd Blue Ribbon Award
- 9/1/2020 - Athens Principal Dr. Lara Dixon Receives Patriot Award
- 08/12/2020 - Troy Historic Museum Celebrates Class of 2020’s “Resilience”
- 8/4/2020 - Troy Robotics Teams Compete Virtually, Bring Home Awards and Accolades
Kevin McGrail (THS ’05) always knew he’d make films. During the dog days of summer, young Kevin enlisted kids in his Troy, Michigan neighborhood to create movies – a friend to write the screenplay, another to recruit kids and parents as actors, others to assemble wardrobes, scout locations, find props, build sets. Kevin organized and collaborated with his ‘crew’ to direct, film and produce. His mom, Nancy Philippart remembers, “Kevin always had a camcorder in hand and was planning or shooting footage for his films. When he and his friends graduated from high school, we had a neighborhood block party to watch the movies our kids had made together! It was amazing to see how far they’d come!”
Kevin’s passion for production led him to earn one of the highest awards in the film making industry. On June 8, 2021, he and his co-producers were awarded a Sports Emmy in the Outstanding Edited Sports Series category for The Shop: Uninterrupted.
The Shop was conceived in collaboration with basketball superstar, LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted to give viewers a one-of –a –kind barbershop experience in which celebrities in sports, entertainment and politics engage in honest, spirited discussion on important topics in the ‘sanctuary’ of a barbershop. Kevin and business partner, Brandon Riley, formed the production company, Frēhand to produce the show as an experimental web series for the Uninterrupted website in 2017. When HBO Sports got wind of the idea, they wanted to get involved. Kevin and Brandon produced an episode that aired in 2018. Ratings were strong as people enjoyed hearing celebrities speak openly and completely unscripted about sports, music, business, world events and other cutting-edge topics. The partnership with HBO and Uninterrupted grew to two more episodes, then into a second, third and currently a fourth season, which films in barbershops across the county. With political and racial tensions heighted due to the COVID pandemic and George Floyd killing, LeBron invited former President Obama to the barbershop for a candid discussion about the state of the country. This was the episode that resulted in the Emmy nomination and win.
Kevin says producing The Shop “provides a platform for idolized people to speak candidly on their sacrifices, failures and successes. Their real-life experiences and perspective give us a look into their unique world.”
About Kevin McGrail
Kevin is currently the production manager for a new TV Series Paper Girls for Amazon/Legendary/Plan B. He started his first company, Dynamite Films Productions, while an undergraduate at Michigan State University in 2008. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2009, Kevin recognized that the same problem-solving skills he learned in engineering could be leveraged for a more innovative approach to production management of film and television content, especially in the areas of logistics and finance. He moved to Chicago to study production at DePaul University’s groundbreaking Digital Cinema Program. Since then, Kevin has supported the management of over 100 productions. A member of both the Directors and Producer’s Guilds of America, some of Kevin’s notable credits include Noah Hawley’s Fargo Season 4 for MGM/FX, Joe Chappelle’s An Acceptable Loss for IFC, Austin Vesely’s Slice for A24, Joe Swanberg’s Easy for Netflix, in addition to The Shop for HBO Sports
About The Shop
The Shop is a collaboration with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterupted that presents unfiltered conversation and debate from some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment and politics. Airing on HBO Sports since 2018 and currently in Season 4, the show has featured musicians, actors, sports stars and politicians like rappers, Drake and Snoop Dogg, Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams, comedian Jimmy Kimmel, sports celebrities Draymond Green & Kevin Durant and politicians, Gavin Newsome and President Barak Obama. The show was nominated for a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Edited Sports Series in 2020 and again nominated in this category for 2021 as well as for Outstanding Production Design/Art Direction. The Shop was selected as the 2021 winner for Outstanding Edited Sports Series.
About the Sports Emmys
The Sports Emmy Awards are presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) in recognition of excellence in American sports television programming, including sports-related series, live coverage of sporting events and best sports announcers.
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Congratulations to our 15 student-athletes who signed today to continue their academic and athletic careers at their respective school!
The day was filled with friends, family, coaches, and administration who watched these student-athletes succeed on and off the field. A special THANK YOU to the parents of these student-athletes for sharing your son/daughter’s talents with our coaches, programs, and teachers.
Again, to our student-athletes:
“I want to recognize your balance between academics, with the pursuit of excellence in your sport. You have endured one of the most robust public educations in the state, coupled with your athletic success is a major accomplishment. Congratulations!” -Mr. Hynes
- Chris Baxter | Adrian | Lacrosse
- Jessica Green | Lawrence Tech | Soccer
- Alexandra Armin | Kalamazoo College | Soccer
- Maria Croci | Univ. of St. Francis at Fort Wayne | Track & XC
- Paige Anderson | Kalamazoo College | XC
- Lauren Gumma | St. Mary’s College | Basketball
- Angela Anderanin | Lawrence Tech | Tennis
- Manny Al-Nsour | UofM Dearborn | Hockey
- CJ Noon | Hope College | Baseball
- Brody Parker | Oakland University | Basketball
- Ethan Emerzian | Madona | Basketball
- Jake Emerzian | Madona | Basketball
- D’Anthony Hamilton | Concordia | Basketball
- Chris Worrell | Northern Michigan | Soccer
- Ryan Peluso | Central Michigan | Football
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The Troy Athens High School track and field team was recently awarded a chocolate milk grant from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. The team is using chocolate milk as their recovery beverage during this season because it contains the right three-to-one mix of carbohydrates and protein scientifically shown to help refuel muscles. In fact, it helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and helps replenish what the body has lost during exercise.
The Athens track and field coaching staff were grateful for the grant.
“Our workouts are hard, so as a staff we make recovery a high priority,” coach Tom Cook said. “Chocolate milk helps our athletes start the recovery process after a workout and can help reduce the risk of injury. The grant helps us keep our athletes safe and healthy.”
“We are always emphasizing proper nutrition with our student athletes,” coach Shawn DuFresne added. “Our athletes are now even more conscious of their food choices, and how their decisions relate to a healthy lifestyle.”
The track and field teams are led by senior captains Aronor Chisholm, Andrew Dionisio, Anthony Kapala, Dean Kapala, Sydney Kott, James Lee, Nathania Nartey, Ryan Meitzner, Tristyn Phillips, and Le-Thi Stephens, as well as junior captains Hannah DiGiovanni and Malina Dumitrascu.
- “Chocolate milk is the perfect recovery drink after my workouts,” Chisholm said.
- “Chocolate milk after practice every day has been amazing,” Lee said.
- “Having milk after each workout is a godsend, and it certainly brightens my day,” Dean Kapala said.
Grant recipients were encouraged to raise funds for a food bank to purchase milk, one of the most requested items, and the team recently donated $350 to the Troy People Concerned Food Pantry located at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Troy. The pantry, which relies on donations of the parish and the local community, assists all city residents. “This will help our Troy families who are in need of help to supply nutrient milk for their families,” Kim Houseman, Christian Service Director at St. Anastasia, said. “Usually we are unable to offer milk due to lack of funds. This donation is very generous and unexpected, and it will be greatly appreciated.”
The runners were happy to contribute. "I could not be prouder of our team for raising money for such a great cause,” Stephens said. “It is an honor and privilege to be a part of a program that values teamwork not just within track and field, but the teamwork it takes to help our community and support them as much as we can.”
“I was super excited to find out we raised so much for the community,” Kott said. “I always love it when we are able to support those around us.” “I'm so honored we're able to give back to our community through this fundraiser,” Nartey said. “Athens and the community have given us so much, and I'm glad we're able to pay it forward.”
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Photo courtesy of the Troy School District: Troy Athens High School track and field captains recently presented a monetary donation raised by the team to Fr. Steve Wertanen, pastor, and parish receptionist Florence Parent of St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Troy, where the Troy People Concerned Food Pantry is housed. From left to right: senior Nathania Nartey, senior Le-Thi Stephens, junior Hannah DiGiovanni, senior Sydney Kott, (Florence Parent and Fr. Steve Wertanen), senior James Lee, senior Andrew Dionisio, senior Anthony Kapala, senior Ryan Meitzner, and senior Dean Kapala (not pictured: senior Aronor Chisholm, junior Malina Dumitrascu, and senior Tristyn Phillips).
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Nineteen Career Technical Education (CTE) students from across Oakland County have been awarded funds from Oakland Schools’ prestigious Scholarships for Success program.
Scholarships for Success is organized by the Oakland Schools Education Foundation (OSEF) with the goal of helping to provide CTE students who have attended one of Oakland Schools’ four Technical Campuses (OSTC) with financial assistance to attend college, trade school or an apprenticeship program.
“We had 96 students apply for these scholarships and these are the best of the best,” said Oakland Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson. “These students have worked their hardest and, as a result, are a step closer to achieving their dreams. Our OSTC campuses provide tremendous opportunities for those who choose to take advantage of what we have offer.”
Three students from Troy were recognized as follows:
$1,000 awarded each to:
Preston Duller, Troy, OSTC-SE, Cybersecurity
Abigail Rizk, Troy, OSTC-SE, Health Sciences
$500 awarded to:
Matthew Koontz, Troy, OSTC-SE, Cybersecurity
“All of the Scholarships for Success applicants this year were extremely thoughtful in their descriptions of accomplishments and areas of interest and involvement,” said Dr. Gary Gabel, member of the Oakland Schools Education Foundation. “I wish all of them great success as they pursue their CTE goals.”
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You’ve heard of the Newbery Reading Award, but have you heard of the Troybery? A mock-Newbery medal program, Troybery has encouraged Troy middle schoolers since 2000 to read the best middle grade books published that year and then vote on their favorites. The contest usually begins in the fall, with students reading nominated books and then voting for them in a March Madness-style tournament. But this year was different.
“Our ultimate goal is to get kids excited about and interested in reading,” said media specialist Christine Chatel. But it couldn’t happen in person this year due to COVID. This was the first year that Troybery was all virtual—students could access e-book and audio book copies of Troybery and Newbery books online via a special app, track their reading on a digital form, watch video book talks made by the media specialists, vote online, and view the ceremony online.
For the 21st Annual Troybery Award Program, TSD middle school media specialists Christina Chatel and Kathy Loch decided to choose a reading theme that would make it easy for all students, whether in-person or virtual, to access books to participate. In a normal year, the Troybery program would focus on the best current books of the calendar year, but the pandemic led our media specialists to take Troybery in a different direction.
“Team Troybery versus Team Newbery” became the theme for the 21st annual Troybery Award Program, focusing on what originally inspired Troybery: the Newbery Award, given each year by the American Library Association to the best children’s books. Mrs. Chatel and Ms. Loch challenged students to read (or re-read) the Newbery AND the Troybery winners from 2001-2020, and in April, middle schoolers voted on whether they liked the Troybery or the Newbery winner best for each year. The winners were: for the Troybery—The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; for the Newbery – New Kid by Jerry Craft. To see the exciting reveal, visit: https://youtu.be/gwmWe-vu9Ag.
And as is tradition, a special guest author was invited to SKYPE with the students in realtime. This year, Alicia D. Williams, author of Newberry winner Genesis Begins Again spent an hour virtually with students, sharing her story of how she became a story-teller, and encouraged students to have the courage to be “Bold, daring, courageous and DREAM big.” And to not let others’ opinions sway or distract them from writing. She took questions from the students and ended her presentation with a quote from the Wizard of Oz: “You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn and find it yourself.”
While different for sure like many things this year, Loch and Chatel felt this year’s Troybery program was a success: “The 2021 Troybery reading program involved timeless award winners and classics, books that have been cherished over the years by generations of readers; many of the titles were already on students’ bookshelves at home or available with a click of a button on the iPad, making for easy access and affording students a chance to snuggle up with some of their favorite books, discover new titles, and find comfort in getting lost in well-written story.”
For more information about the Troybery program, visit http://troymiddleschoolmediacenter.weebly.com/troybery.html.
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Photos courtesy of AliciaDWilliams.com
Seventy-two students from Troy High School are being recognized for community service as National Award earners and as inspirations for other students to get involved in their community.
The 4th Annual National Community Service Awards connect student service activity to the UN Global Goals. This year we have additional recognition for students working toward a world of Zero Hunger and Zero Waste. This award program has been designed to elevate and expand the awareness of youth leaders contributing time and talent to drive positive progress toward global issues. THS students have made the choice to include community service as part of the educational experience at Troy High School and have donated over 6,000 hours of their time toward this program.
Congratulations to Student Awardees at Troy High School
Ambassador Awardees: Rupal Athalye, Emily Baek, Charlie Chu, Shraddha Doddaguni Harish, Aksheet Dutta, Elizabeth George, Haarshini Gunalan, Ayushi Gupta, Deeksha Hadagali, Elise Hsiao, Nidhi Ikkurthy, Rebecca Johnson, Shreyana Keeta, Om Khuperkar, Noyonima Masud, Vishnu Nair, Tanisha Panchal, Esha Patel, Aanya Shah, Ivy Shi, Smriti Suresh, Sharanya Swaminathan, Sabrina Tallu, Sarayu Uppara, Cynthia Wang, Lily Wei, Helen Xiao, Dorothy Yin, Jiaying Zhou, Tianhui Zhu
Honor Awardees: Lisa (Seo Hyun) Baek, Arpita Bhandari, Arkesh Das, Yutong Du, Rithvik Girish, Mariska Goswami, Akul Gunukula, Allison Liu, Sriyan Madugula, Kyra McIntyre, Yumena Nagai, Naina Nagar, Anagha Nair, Nishit Palepu, Kush Parikh, Ashley Sawicke, Vidhya Harini Srinivas, Shreya Srugaram, Ruthesh Thavamani, Rachel Yang
Merit Awardees: Prisha Agnihotri, Grace Booza, Shannon Cai, Emily Chen, Hayley Chenfang, Dhruv Dighrasker, Vinati Donthireddy, Tyler Evans, Ananya Gummadi, Aranav Gupta, Nandita Jagan, Lekhana Katuri, Minwoo Kim, Isabelle Lamug, Lauren McIntyre, Minji Nam, Esha Sura, Vienna Thieu, Claire Wu, Erin Xia, Blenda Yan
Zero Hero Awardees: Rupal Athalye, Charlie Chu, Arkesh Das, Miguel Gambalan, Rithvik Girish, Akul Gunukula, Kyra McIntyre, Lauren McIntyre, Sarayu Uppara, Helen Xiao
The announcement of their awards can be viewed here: https://innerview.org/award/members?schoolyear=2020&school_id=1836
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Kayla Sage, Troy College & Career High School senior, is the recipient of a partial scholarship from The Women of Tomorrow, a group dedicated to mentoring young women.
A dual enrollment student, Sage has successfully completed two college classes at Macomb Community College as a high school student. She has been involved in Student Leadership and participated in a summer study program through Hillsdale College in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Gettysburg as a sophomore. She has also been competitively participating in the sport of fencing since she was 11 years old.
The St. Clair Shores resident is planning to attend Oakland University in the fall to prepare for a career in a science-related field.
The Women of Tomorrow program inspires, empowers, and motivates young women by pairing them with highly-accomplished professional mentors from the metro-Detroit area.
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Photo courtesy of the Troy School District
Eleven students from the Troy area are winners of the second round of the National Merit Scholarship, which awards $2500 to each recipient.
The first round of corporate-sponsored scholarships were announced on April 21 and included 14 students from Michigan.
For each state, the number of winners is proportional to the state's percentage of the nation's graduating high school seniors. The program says the winners are the finalists "judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies."
More than 1.5 million students applied for the highly competitive scholarship and the program says that around 7,500 students will go on to win scholarships in 2021 that total $30 million. Winners of the college-sponsored scholarship will be announced in June and July.
Here are the Troy winners of the $2,500 scholarships:
- Madhavan V. Iyengar - Troy HS
- Annie Y. He - Troy HS
- Diksha Iyer - International Academy
- Saaim Khan - Cranbrook Kingswood School
- Heeweon Kim - International Academy
- Esha R. Munagala - Athens HS
- Swarith Reddy - Troy HS
- Sabrina H. Song - Troy HS
- Jasmine Q. Wu - Troy HS
- Alexander J. Xu - Troy HS
- Katherine A. Zhao - Troy HS
A total of 16,000 students were selected as finalists for the scholarships and the final winners are candidates "judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies."
Troy School District Middle Schools performed impressively at the recent MS Science Olympiad state contest which was held virtually this year, competing against 51 state middle school teams for the top two spots that qualified for the National tournament which will be virtually held by Arizona State University from May 17 to May 22, 2021.
Science Olympiad is a STEM based competition that includes 22 challenging events faced by 15 team members. This is the first time in Smith's 10-year participation history that they placed 2nd AND also the first time Smith has qualified for Nationals! TSD middle schools rounding out the top 10 are Larson Middle which came in 6th place, and Boulan Park Middle at 10th place.
The 15 team members (and one alternate) are:
- Aanya Deol (8)
- Advait Pravin Pingle (7)
- Amav Sinha (8)
- Ayaan Deol (7)
- Hansini Ramini (7)
- Jons Jaison (8)
- Kashifah Hossain (7)
- Matt Zhang (8)
- Mukundan Iyengar (8)
- Nikhil Nair (7)
- Omkar Prabhu (7)
- Rishabh Rao (8)
- Rushir Teli (8)
- Shivam Shah (8)
- Sri Sowmya Sanka (8)
- Armaan Soni (8)
Smith Middle will proudly represent Michigan, Oakland County and the Troy School District that includes representation of the top 60 teams from various states of the nation! “We are so proud of our 2021 team of 30 students (both primary and secondary teams) that together realized a 10-year dream chased by several students and parent coaches,” said Smith teacher Jenn Vente. “We count on support from fellow Smith MS Knights and will do our best to utilize this great opportunity that our students earned.”
“As we compete in the nationals, we proudly represent Michigan, Oakland County and Troy School District and we hope that we make our own mark in a competition that includes top 60 teams representing various states of the nation,” said parent coach Sachin Prabhu.
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Can you imagine not being able to talk with your friends at recess and tell them what you want to do? This is the problem that the Schroeder Elementary Robo-Dragons Girl Scouts team wanted to fix. The Robo-Dragons, Megan Hatto, Samantha Downs, Isha Chawla, Shalini Srinivas, Tatum Sheckell, Lily Bastien, Lila Sieber, and Edy Mayotte, have been a robotics team together since Kindergarten. They settled on helping kids with disabilities for their innovation project in their First Lego League Robotic competition. The Girl Scouts goal was to help kids with severe communication delays, such as students with Autism or Down Syndrome, have fun at recess. The Girls did research and they found that the best way to make this happen was a Playground Communication Core board.
One member of the team, Megan Hatto explained that, “It’s a board that has pictures representing words. If kids can’t talk or have limited language, they point to a picture with a friend and then they will be able to play if the word says ‘play’”. Speech Pathologist Jenny Michalek said, “This is a good way for kids with a communication delay whether severe or moderate to be able to let people know what they want. This can help prevent tantrums or an isolated feeling.” Using the communication boards, kids can combine pictures to create many messages, such as “I want swing,” “I like you,” “I go on playscape,” “I want help,” and “I get ball.”
In order to raise money for the communication board, the Robo-Dragons Girl Scouts team started with a presentation to their Schroeder Principal, Mr. Brian Canfield. Mr. Canfield allowed the team to host a Pajama Day at Schroeder Elementary. Students were able to wear pajamas at school for a $2.00 for a donation to the communication board. The Schroeder students and staff were so supportive and raised over $200 from this event. One student, Peyton Glynn said, “It should be near the swings on the 1st and 2nd grade playground because that is where a lot of kids play.” Glynn also decided, “This can help kids learn better and have a good environment to learn in.”
The Robot Dragons worked with Mr. Pryde, a special education teacher at Schroeder, to write a grant for the Troy Women’s Association for $312. Two Girl Scouts members created a small neighborhood business for making and selling handcrafted soap. Between the grant, the Pajama day fundraiser, and the soap sales, the team raised all of the money to purchase the communication board. Canfield was proud of his students: “It is impressive to not only see our students excel at Schroeder, but for students to really embrace helping others and serving the school. The Girl Scouts saw a need in their community and worked to help others.”
The Robo-Dragons Girl Scouts team is so thankful for the support from Girl Scouts Southeastern Michigan, Mr. Canfield, Troy Women’s Association, and the Schroeder community. Said scout Samantha Downs: "Its so exciting, because we worked hard on it and it was finally on the playground so Schroeder students can use it at recess and be social together." Scout Megan Hatto agreed: "I am so proud of our team’s accomplishment!! I hope this will help the Schroeder community for years to come.”
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PHOTO CREDIT - TROY SCHOOL DISTRICT: The Robo-Dragons: Megan Hatto, Samantha Downs, Isha Chawla, Shalini Srinivas, Tatum Sheckell, Lily Bastien, Lila Sieber, and Edy Mayotte
This past week, the staff at Athens High School was presented with an “Above and Beyond” award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) organization, nominated by Athens physical education teacher and coach Nick Lusk, who is also a Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist, Petty Officer 2nd class with the US Coast Guard. This Award is presented by ESGR State Committees to recognize employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by providing their Guard and Reserve employees additional, non-mandated benefits such as differential or full pay to offset lost wages, extended health benefits, and other similar benefits.
According to Lusk, the Athens High School Administration Team has from day one supported his reserve duties and pride for our country. The Administration team is comprised of Principal- Dr. Lara Dixon, District Athletic Director-Tim Fulcher, Assistant Principal & Athletic Director- Bob Dowd, Assistant Principal- Michael Munaco and Assistant Principal- Kristin Meldrum. “The support started with hiring me as a full-time teacher, even knowing that at any time I can be called into Active Duty, then hiring me as the school's strength & conditioning coach and weight room supervisor, along with allowing me to volunteer as the assistant powerlifting coach.”
The “Above and Beyond” award is given in limited numbers by State Committees to employers who have had at least one of their supervisors/managers recognized with a Patriot Award (Dr. Dixon received the ESGR Patriot Award this past August), and who have signed an ESGR Statement of Support. State Committees are authorized maximum discretion in considering an Above and Beyond Award for Patriot Award nominations of smaller firms, those with no individual supervisors specified, and other similar situations.
Lusk feels proud to be encouraged by his employer and peers, who have supported him during recent deployments, most recently last spring when he was activated by Coast Guard Station Belle Isle in Detroit to support the Belle Isle crew during the COVID-19 pandemic. The station was running on limited crew members due to the restrictions of reduced workers allowed at the station at one time and personnel being quarantined. “When I informed my administration of my activation, they all supported me and showed their patriotic values. They all offered their support and thanked me for my service. This fall they again showed their patriotic values and love for our country and military members by allowing me to hang up an American flag and flags from each branch of the military in our weight room at the school.”
The respect is mutual, according to Dixon, who said “The Athens administration team is proud of Mr. Lusk and grateful for who is he is and his service both to our country and our students. Mr. Lusk is a great teacher, coach and person. We are honored and humbled by this recognition.”
Lusk concluded: “They never hold the fact that I can be deployed at any moment against me. They have even offered for me to join the School's Character Team, which has earned its State School of Character recognition within the 1st year of being established. I am truly honored to work in a building that is led by a team of individuals that are true patriots and have deep held American values, that they not only believe in but execute.”
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Photo courtesy of Troy Schools: L to R: Mike Munaco, Kristin Meldrum, Nick Lusk, Bob Dowd, Lara Dixon
Two Troy School District students (Raghav Subramaniam from Athens and Krish Desai from IAE) won a US Agency for International Development Science Champion Award for their project titled “Utilizing Augmented Reality and Idiosyncratic ‘Chorded Keyboard’ Input Methods to Develop a Ubiquitous and Cost-Efficient Live Time Transcription and Speech Synthesis Aid for Individuals with Auditory and Speech Disabilities,” which was presented to the International Development Science competition at this year’s Science and Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit.
The aim of the joint project was to utilize low-cost speech synthesis and AI transcription efficiently, so the deaf can interact with society with more ease and in a more cost effective way.
The project uses an ESP32 module affixed to the side of spectacles, that can project text in real time onto the inside of a lens (a low-cost AR replacement). A BLE 5-button chorded keyboard was created, then connected via BLE to a mobile device containing the mobile app, which synthesizes speech from the input sent from the chorded keyboard. Vice versa, the mobile application can also pick up conversations, transcribe them into text, then send it to the ESP32 so that it can be projected onto the inside lens of the spectacles.
The team believed that their low cost invention (less than $27) will make it more viable for use in developing countries, as compared to alternative high-end devices with lower functionality, and garnered the following praise from the Science & Engineering Fair and the USAID: “This recognition celebrates your project's potential to make an impact on addressing international development challenges. USAID is proud to support innovators, scientists, and researchers, both in the United States and across the globe. Together, we're working to solve some of the world's most pressing challenges.
We wish you all the best, and hope you will continue to leverage your skills in science and engineering to benefit those around the world.”
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Photos courtesy of Troy Schools
Athens Student Council recently held a donation drive for Friends of Foster Kids that exceeded their expectations. After collecting donations ranging from hygiene items to clothes to sports equipment from council members, they opened the drive to the Athens community with a drop off box. In total, over 800 items were collected.
Junior and executive treasurer Lilly Chrisopoulos, who has volunteered with the group in the past, was pleasantly surprised at the result. “I was clueless the entire time we were taking donations,” Chrisopoulos said. “I wasn’t sure if anyone was donating or what they were donating if they got the chance.”
“As you could probably guess, I was amazed and so excited when I heard the total,” Chrisopoulos added. “I’ve talked with members of Friends of Foster kids before and I could never imagine the struggle and trauma some of the kids go through. It’s important for everyone to think about those who are struggling and are in a time of need. It’s important for people in positions of privilege to remember to give back to the community.”
Friends of Foster Kids, based in Sterling Heights, is a non-profit organization that provides a “Christmas” and other activities through the year for foster children in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect and placed in temporary housing or shelters. According the group’s website, there are approximately 900 children from Macomb County in foster care each year. In addition, the organization has expanded its service to lend a hand to those who have aged out of foster care at age 20 but are still in need of assistance.
“I am proud that our kids have pursued ways to help others during this challenging year,” student council co-adviser Dina Chrisopoulos said. “The result of this project, which put a smile on so many children’s faces, was heartwarming.”
Other student council members were equally surprised and grateful. “I didn’t have any expectations since only part of our student body was in-seat, so it was amazing to hear how many items we collected,” junior and executive secretary Jordan Doyle said. “I am so glad that we got to help Friends of Foster Care because the items will go to such a great cause.”
“In past years when we would collect things over multiple days, we would have a daily total so we would know how well we were doing,” senior and executive second vice president Sydney Kott said. “But with this, we didn't know until the very end, which made it more exciting when we found out the number.”
Executive President Michael Awwad, senior, was proud of the group’s achievement: “It felt so amazing not only to have collected so many items for foster kids because of the amazing impact it will have for them but also to see our community come together again to do something great.”
For more information on Friends of Foster Kids, visit their website: https://friendsoffosterkids.org/
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Photo Credit: Athens and Troy Schools
PHOTO A: Athens High School Student Council sophomores Cooper Batzold, left, and Emma Leonard share items collected for Friends of Foster Families.
PHOTO B: Athens High School Student Council seniors Justin Esdale, left, and James Lee share items collected for Friends of Foster Families.
PHOTO C: Athens High School Student Council seniors James Lee, left, and Justin Esdale share items collected for Friends of Foster Families.
PHOTO D: Athens High School Student Council sophomores Cooper Batzold, left, and Emma Leonard share items collected for Friends of Foster Families.
To pivot in the pandemic, Athens High School Student Council recently created “Athens Community Week,” sponsoring a spirit week along with a few events to raise money for a charity suggested by the student body and picked by student council leaders. As a result, Alex’s Saints Foundation, a fledgling Troy charity named in memory of a former Athens student, was the beneficiary of $2,500 raised online.
Junior and executive secretary Jordan Doyle pointed out the challenges of offering activities this year. “While it was impossible to put on Charity Week this year, we did not want to lose an important piece of Athens’ culture—how we come together as a school and a community each year to make the world outside the walls of Athens High School a little bit better,” Doyle said. “We brainstormed how to honor this piece of our culture in a responsible and safe way, this year has reminded us of the importance of our community, and we wanted to celebrate and support our local community.”
Junior and executive treasurer Lilly Chrisopoulos stated the council kept safety protocols in mind during the planning phase. “We spent a lot of time trying to make activities fun and easy to participate in while abiding to Covid-19 restrictions,” Chrisopoulos said. “At the end of the week I was really thrilled to find out we raised so much.”
A main event offered by student council was “Flock your Friends,” where students and families donated to a have a flock of flamingos displayed on their yard for a day. Another event was Teacher Cameos, where students paid to have a teacher share or send a video message. In addition, first hour classes competed to raise money to earn an asynchronous class period.
Moreover, council members conducted an online raffle with gift card packages purchased from local businesses. Finally, classmates were encouraged to share pictures according to each spirit day, which varied from recommending a movie to posting a picture of a pet. “The final total made me absolutely ecstatic,” senior and executive first vice president Justin Esdale said. “However, the result is about more than the numbers, it’s about the fact that we were able to design this entire week without any precedent.”
According to the organization’s website, the mission of Alex’s Saints Foundation is “to provide life-changing emotional and financial assistance to young adults and their families, who struggle with addiction, while empowering long term recovery.”
Chairman and Founder Tyler Bettelon, a 2013 Athens graduate and classmate of Alex St. Pierre, established Alex’s Saints Foundation in May 2020 in memory of his friend. “We started this organization in honor of our best friend and former Athens student, Alex St. Pierre, who was taken away from us the day before his 25th birthday due to an accidental drug overdose,” Bettelon said. Bettelon stressed that it is important to bring awareness to the current opioid epidemic, especially during the pandemic. According to Bettelon, overdose deaths are up over 20% since the pandemic started, and thus it is vital to always check up with loved ones and to support them.
Senior and Executive President Michael Awwad was pleased that the week was organized to help others in need, and as a way for the senior class to be involved in a final charitable event.
“Raising money for Alex’s Saints Foundation was very important because in a time where mental health is more important now than ever before, unfortunately addiction is a path that people turn to,” Awwad said. “To be able to raise awareness and provide support to such a cause is vital during these times, as well as supporting our local businesses and bringing the community together.”
Senior and executive second vice president Sydney Kott agreed. “This has been such a crazy year, and I knew that it was a blessing we were able to do anything,” Kott said. “I know Alex's Saints Foundation will be able to do great things with the money raised. The week also helped raise awareness for locally owned businesses in our area, which makes me very happy that we got people interested in these businesses.”
"Knowing that Charity Week would not happen, our kids still found a way to help our community,” student council co-adviser Dina Chrisopoulos said. “As always, I am so proud to be a part of such a great group of students who decided to support a local charity which is in honor of one of our former students." “I am honored to work with this year’s council to help them forge ahead to find a way to lead and serve,” student council co-adviser Shawn DuFresne added. “The kids have been so resilient and positive throughout the year. They kept all options open and focused on what they could control.”
Bettelon emphasized his organization is humbled by the support of the Athens community. “We are incredibly grateful to be chosen as the charity for Community Week,” Bettelon said. “As an alumni, it is truly humbling to be part of this tremendous week at Athens.”
For more information on Alex’s Saints Foundation, visit their website: https://alexssaints.org/
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Photos courtesy of Troy Schools:
--Athens High School student council representatives Erin Swartz, junior (left), and Jessica Jansen, freshman, share a flock of flamingos planted in a student’s yard as a fundraiser for the school’s Community Week held recently.
--The sign accompanying the flock of flamingos as a fundraiser for Athens High School Community Week.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced Troy High alum Lynsey Mukomel (2011) as her new press secretary in the Office of Public Information & Education.
"I am excited to have Lynsey join our team and am confident she will be an asset to this office," Nessel said. "Her career experience in news provides insight and perspective I believe will further strengthen my department and our commitment to serving the people of this great state." One of her former teachers at Troy High, Michelle Tedder, agreed, saying: “Lynsey was a student that stood out among the crowd, and it was easy to see that she would make a name for herself. She is a positive role model for young girls, and I am so proud of all the work she has accomplished."
Prior to joining the Michigan Department of Attorney General, Mukomel was an anchor and reporter for WOOD TV in Grand Rapids. Her work on important stories often led to contact with the department - including coverage of the Larry Nassar investigation, Flint water crisis and lawsuits related to the 2020 presidential election.
Mukomel is a Columbia College Chicago graduate, and a Troy High graduate from the class of 2011.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Department of the Attorney General
Athens Project Lead service club recently collected 175 items for The Bottomless Toy Chest in Birmingham. The club’s annual donation drive of small toys, coloring books, and crafts is usually a classroom competition, but this year there was a drop box at the school for students and the community to get involved.
“I’m glad to give back to the community which has done so much for me and for others, especially in this time of economic uncertainty,” junior and Project Lead Public Relations Officer Shaun Dantas said. “I’m happy that we helped Bottomless Toy Chest to give toys to hospitalized children,” sophomore and Project Lead Points Secretary Warda Zehra said. “Hopefully we can continue events like this to help others in the future.”
According to the organization’s website, the mission of The Bottomless Toy Chest is to deliver toys and craft projects “to hospitalized pediatric oncology patients … to lift the spirits and promote a positive state of mind in young cancer patients.”
Ashley Leslie, Program Director at The Bottomless Toy Chest, was grateful for the school’s donation.
“I would like thank the wonderful students at Athens High School and their Project Lead service club for hosting a drive for us,” Leslie said. “Never before has our mission of empowering children though the magic of toys been more meaningful.” Leslie explained that the group has been delivering toys to local hospitals, sending special care packages to patients’ homes, and supplying other pediatric cancer organizations with toys. In addition, the group has provided toys to organizations and shelters who help families impacted by COVID-19.
“Our students always impress me with their willingness to help others,” Project Lead co-adviser Brenda Rice said. “Even in a pandemic they are eager to help those less fortunate.” “I’m proud of our members who continuously look for opportunities to make a difference,” Project Lead co-adviser Shawn DuFresne added. “We obviously had to adjust some of our service to others this year, but the officers found a way to pivot with some of our projects, including this one.”
According to Leslie, Bottomless Toy Chest will deliver over 30,000 toys and activities to children facing extremely difficult health challenges. For more information, visit the group’s website: https://bottomlesstoychest.org
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Photo Courtesy of the Troy School District: Athens High School Project Lead members Divya Thirukumaran, junior (left), and sophomore Shreya Bala, share some of the donations collected by the service club to benefit The Bottomless Toy Chest in Birmingham.
Athens’ Future Problem Solving Team recently placed 2nd in the competitive Michigan Future Problem Solving Program and will be headed to Internationals in June. Team members are Justin Esdale, Julia Voyt, Arnav Shah, Sydney Buser, Alisa Voyevidko,Krishna Kottai, Shrishti Bagalkoti.
MFPSP provides creative problem solving activities for students grades K- 12. Spanning a variety of disciplines and content areas, MFPSP consistently demonstrates its validity in education as an integral part of a school's curriculum or as an academic extracurricular activity.
MFPSP meets standards for curriculum and instruction, language arts, social studies, science, the arts, math, geography, civics, technology, life skills, and behavioral studies.
The skills obtained by MFPSP students will last a lifetime and will help them in their academic and professional careers. Leadership, creativity, team work, time management, ingenuity, research skills, friendly competition, academic success, futuristic thinking and more.
There are several components to choose from. We have non-competitive options as well as competitive for all grade levels.
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It’s been quite a year. And even though many fine arts ensembles were unable to meet, practice and perform as they were used to doing, Troy was still named a 2021 Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas. The award recognizes the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made exemplary music education part of the curriculum.
This is the 14th consecutive year Troy has received this elite designation, and it is especially impressive given this year’s pandemic challenges changed so much of how our music programs functioned. “Our music programs at the middle- and high-school levels—choir, band and orchestra—by nature are ensemble programs,” said TSD Instrumental Music Coordinator Joe Havrilla. “This has been a year of adaptation and growth for performing arts teachers in the Troy School District as they need to continually “pivot” between 100% virtual -vs- hybrid classroom situations. Throughout this time, they have been able to maintain a varied and valuable curriculum for students. Some activities from previous years have been adapted to the new learning settings, but most of the music learning students are engaged in today are being created by teachers for their unique situations.”
One of the most difficult tasks has been simultaneous teaching to both in-seat and virtual students, while keeping each group engaged and active in the learning process. Teachers have risen to the challenge and created lessons and methods that can engage students, regardless of their physical location. In addition, new technology advancements have enabled students to develop their skills and knowledge using programs such as Acapella, iMovie, SmartMusic, Garageband, and Noteflight. These expanded options have also helped the struggling student musicians, allowing them more opportunities to work with teachers and get the support they need to be successful.
Throughout the pandemic, the Troy School District has made it a priority to maintain and support the Performing Arts. Music classes at all levels were adapted for online learning so that students continued to receive a well-rounded education and all music teachers retained their positions. “As we returned to a hybrid learning situation teachers rose to the challenge of providing rewarding lessons for simultaneous in-seat and virtual students,” concluded Havrilla. “Our staff has continually reimagined ways to provide enjoyable and educational opportunities for students to make music.”
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Photo courtesy of the Troy School District: Troy High’s Orchestras began the school year by getting creative and making music under a big tent, in order to accommodate COVID protections and social distancing.
International Academy East Junior Siddharth Gupta has been named one of 155 semifinalists in Future Engineers and NASA’s Artemis Moon Pod Essay Contest. This prestigious national competition challenged K-12 students to think about leading a one-week expedition at the Moon’s South Pole, including writing about their expedition’s crew and technology and imagining leaving their technology behind to help future astronauts explore the Moon. (Gupta’s essay about potential space solar power can be read here: https://www.futureengineers.org/artemismoonpodessay/gallery/38093.)
Approximately 14,000 essay submissions were received from K-12 students across the country and over 1,000 eligible judge volunteers comprised of educators, professionals, and space enthusiasts helped review essays.
As a semifinalist, Gupta received an Artemis Prize Pack filled with space-themed prizes plus the opportunity to attend a series of virtual Artemis Explorer Sessions with NASA experts. Bfor for all the students who submitted an entry: NASA will fly a digital copy of all 14,000 essays around the Moon aboard Artemis I.
Gupta was thrilled to learn his essay was going up into space and felt he had learned what astronauts would need to land on the moon and what is crucial for their survival and for future expeditions. “The most exciting thing about going to the Moon is the possibility of living there substantially and also people landing on the moon after 50+ years is remarkable,” said Gupta. He has always had a natural curiosity for science, technology and space, and credits the International Academy community with “helping to embrace my creativity and knowledge about the natural world and encouraging me to take part in this competition.” Of living there
Later this month, the contest will be narrowed to nine national finalists, who will be interviewed about their essays. In May, the grand prize winners will be announced, each of which will win a family trip to attend NASA’s Artemis I launch at Kennedy Space Center.
For contest details, including a full listing of the 155 state/territory semifinalists, please visit:
The NASA web feature can be viewed here:
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Photos courtesy of the Troy Schools and the Gupta family.
Congratulations to Biology Competitions Club Members and/or AP Biology Students on the following recent accomplishments:
At the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Jasmine Wu (senior) won 2nd Place and $1,500 for her research presentation titled: Modeling Michigan West Nile Virus Cases Amid Climate Change. Aryan Singh (sophomore) won 4th Place for his project titled: Hyperglycemic conditions impair lung epithelial innate response to Klebsiella pneumoniae infection.
Claire Wu (junior), Jasmine Wu (senior), Alex Xu (senior), and Ray Zhang (sophomore) are all Semifinalists for the USA BioOlympiad having scored in the top 10% of the nation against over 9,000 students on this very challenging multiple-choice exam and will compete in April to become finalists.
At the Science Fair of Metro Detroit, Angela Xu (junior), Ethan Chen (junior), and Jonathan Chen (sophomore) are the Grand Award Winners for their research on Non-contact Continuous Cardiovascular Monitoring System and they won a Yale Science and Engineering Association Award. This team will now compete at the ISEF Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May.
Also, at the Science Fair of Metro Detroit, Deepti Aggarwal (sophomore) and Sanya Chawla (junior) won 1st Place for their research on the Measurement of Reactive Nitrogen Species Using Automated Western Blot System along with an award from the Society for In Vitro Biology. Sonnet Xu (sophomore) won 2nd Place for her research on A Machine Learning Approach to Mortality Prediction in Maintenance Hemodialysis and an award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Sneha Dinda (senior) won 3rd Place for her research on Mechanochemical Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Hydrooxyapatite. Gary Xu (junior) won 4th Place for his research on Properties of Stella Binaries and an award from the American Statistical Association.
The Wyland National Mural and Art Challenge awarded Annie He (senior) the 12th Grade Individual Artist Winner which included a $50 gift card for her impressive entry shown below.
Earlier this week Troy High’s DECA Team attended the (virtual) State Conference Awards Ceremony and had a fantastic showing!!
Forty students qualified for International Competition (which will be held virtually in April) and the team received 184 medals overall for their test and role play performance. To break it down, Troy High students received 29 test medals, 35 role play performance medals, 80 finalist medals and 40 international-qualifying glass medallions.
The following students “swept” their category, meaning they won every award possible at state competition: Angela Li, Sophie Tomasello, Kenneth Gu, Zachary Yu, Ella Brandenberg, George Perakis, Jennifer Bricker, Allison Wei, Meera Manek, Sharanya Swaminathan, Sriyan Madagula, Pranav Bellad and Dilan Swami.
THS students who qualified for DECA International Competition in April:
- · Angela Li
- · Sophie Tomasello
- · Muhammad Qureshi
- · Kenneth Gu
- · Zachary Yu
- · Shreyas Athreya
- · Ella Brandenberg
- · Yuktha Pulavarthi
- · Grace Cueny
- · Jennifer Bricker
- · Navneet Ramadurai
- · Lily Renke
- · Dorothy Yin
- · Lauren Golden
- · Allison Wei
- · Sameer Khed
- · Vandhana Purushotham
- · Josie Billinger
- · Sissie Liang
- · Meera Manek
- · Ananya Ramanan
- · Sharanya Swaminathan
- · Angela Xu
- · Riley Lennon
- · Caitlin Dawson
- · Amay Baweja
- · Abby Liang
- · Kayla Moya
- · Elise Hsiao
- · Michael Young
- · Kyle Jung
- · George Perakis
- · Julia Mowrey
- · Matthew Zhao
- · Sriyan Madugula
- · Ayushi Gupta
- · Sarayu Bethamcherla
- · Alexa Michalec
- · Pranav Bellad
- · Dilan Swami
These students will join over 20,000 competitors from around the world in DECA’s Virtual International Career Development Conference to be held in April. Wish them luck!
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The Boys & Girls Club of Troy (BGCT) and Troy Athens High School are proud to announce that Athens senior Ian Clark was selected as the 2021 Boys & Girls Club of Troy (BGCT) Youth of the Year. This is his first time winning this award after being selected as the Jr. Youth of the Year recipient in 2020. Ian will now compete against members of other Boys & Girls Clubs in the state for the Michigan Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship courtesy of program sponsors which include Toyota and Mondelez International.
As the 2021 Youth of the Year honoree for the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, the 17-year old is among hundreds of teens across the country being recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.
BGCA's premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The program encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities.
"Ian has been one of the most active members at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy. From being a leader in our Keystone Club or helping kids grow as one of our Leaders In Training and as a Junior Staff, Ian has become an outstanding young leader. We have witnessed him grow over his 10 years at the Club and has become a positive role model for all of our youth here. I'm amazed by not only by how far Ian has come both academically and personally, but that he continues to give back to the club that has given him so much," said Boys & Girls Club of Troy CEO Jeff Evans. "His talent, personality and work ethic make him a well-deserved representative of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy and the local community."
"It is an honor to represent the Boys & Girls Club of Troy as the 2021 Youth of the Year," said Ian. "I thank the Boys & Girls Club of Troy for helping to grow me into the person that I am today. Thank you for providing me with a platform to share my story, to grow my voice, and to show pride and respect for my Club. I will also make sure that everyone knows how amazing it is to be a part of a great environment, the Boys & Girls Club of Troy."
Ian has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club for ten years. He has volunteered in a number of roles throughout the Club, most notably in leadership roles in the Keystone & Torch Clubs. Additionally, Ian has volunteered throughout the Club’s program areas and the Club’s Adopt-A-Road cleanup effort. Ian has also worked at the Club as a Junior Staff for the past two years and will be a part of this year's Summer Staff. He credits the Club with helping him to find his passion for math and science through the Club’s STEM programs. He plans to follow his passion to get a degree in Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University.
Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state and regional Youth of the Year events. Six teens, including five regional winners and a national military youth winner, advance to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth of the Year Gala & Celebration Dinner, where one outstanding young person is named Boys & Girls Clubs of America's national teen spokesperson. The National Youth of the Year is a role model, leader and advocate for the nearly four million youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs each year, and all of America's young people.
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Photo of Ian Clark courtesy of the Clark Family and Troy School District
Troy High ‘20 graduate Isabella Hom recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, becoming the first female Eagle Scout in Troop 1707G and the city of Troy. She joins the national inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts, since Scouting BSA opened its program to female youth in 2019 and is one of only 1,000 female Eagles across the country and of 35 in the state of Michigan.
“I have been a scout since elementary school, moving up the ranks and completing projects,” said Hom, whose family has quite a history with the Scouting program. “My twin brother, Alex, is an Eagle (received in 2018) and my father was a ‘life rank,’ (the step just before Eagle). My mom’s father and brother were also Eagles, and my mother was an Eagle Coach, who advised and helped scouts along their Eagle journey.” Scouting was something her family took pride in, and Bella appreciated the leadership opportunities and opportunities to help people by doing service projects. “When Scouting opened their Eagle ranks to girls, I knew it was something I wanted very much to pursue,” said Bella. And so she chose a project idea and pushed her way forward.
Her Eagle project benefited a homeless shelter in Pontiac by providing hygiene kits, touchless thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, and Naloxone medical supply cabinets. To fund these purchases, she organized Scouts to collect over 21,000 bottles and cans ($2,100), more than doubling her original goal of $800. The main purpose was always to help others, but Hom developed some personal skills along the way. “I learned the importance of communication, and of being organized,” she said, skills that will carry her into a successful future. “The Scouting Motto is ‘Be Prepared.’ Throughout my Eagle process I really learned organization, preparedness and time management,” continued Hom, who is a freshman Health Sciences major at U of M Dearborn.
And as a former member of the Troy Colt Marching Band, Hom had the privilege of being asked to be the Bugler for the inauguration of the first class of female Eagle Scouts, held online this past weekend, and visible at: Be the Change .
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Photos courtesy of Troy Schools and the Hom family
Troy high senior Kenneth Gu has been selected from among the state's top student leaders for the prestigious United States Senate Youth Program. Gu is one of 104 scholars from across the country (2 per state) who will each receive a $10,000 scholarship for undergraduate study. He will join Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters in representing Michigan during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held virtually March 14 - 17, 2021.
Kenneth Gu serves as the Senior Class president at Troy High. He has been an appointed student representative on the Troy School District Superintendent Student Advisory Board since 2018 and serves as the co-president of the Troy High chapter of DECA, a student organization focused on business and entrepreneurship. He has volunteered on Congressional and Senate campaigns, has helped coordinate a gardening club with his school and a local nursing home, provides support at a local hospital, and tutors his peers as part of the National Honor Society. An avid runner, Kenny was elected cross country captain for the Fall 2020 season by his peers, has finished in the Top 50 of the U.S. Biolympiad, a nationwide competition among biology students, and was runner-up in the Michigan Brain Bee, a statewide neuroscience competition.
Troy High Principal Remo Roncone is proud of his student, saying “It is such an amazing achievement for Kenneth. This is truly a special moment for him, his family, and our school. He is such a deserving young man. I’m sure that this is one of many more special moments to come in his life and we will be here cheering for him each step along the way.”
Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings the most outstanding high school students - two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity - to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. However, this year, due to the pandemic, the 2021 program will break ground as the first-ever fully virtual Washington Week, and is designed to be a highly interactive and exciting education and leadership forum for the nation’s most outstanding student leaders.
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Photo courtesy of Kenneth Wu and the Troy School District
Over the last year, our community has spent many hours logged on to devices and in front of screens for work and school. It has also been difficult to stay physically active for adults as well as students. The teachers in the TSD Elementary physical education department recognized this, and brainstormed ways they could help their students stay engaged and connected, and provide some fun, community activity and exercise opportunity.
And so, the “Log Off & Lace Up!” virtual walk and run was created--a virtual 1-Mile, 2-Mile or 5K run/walk that ALL students, families and staff can participate in. “Exercise is incredibly important, not just for physical but for mental health,” said Bemis PE teacher Sarah Redden. “Things are closed down, people aren’t doing their regular sports or activities, and it is so important for everyone—not just kids—to get some exercise,” agreed Hamilton/Barnard PE teacher Christina Attard.
What is a virtual run? Because of the continued COVID situation, it was unwise to try to plan a “physical” 5K. (Think about lots of runners close together, on your marks, get set, go!) Instead, people have the opportunity to sign up for FREE, and choose from several suggested routes including the tracks at Troy Athens and Troy High tracks and at all 4 of our Middle School (Baker, Boulan, Larson & Smith). You can even choose routes at many Troy parks, including Jaycee, Firefighters, and Raintree among several others, and several trails including at the Troy Stage Nature Center and the Sylvan Glen golf course. You choose the route, and then walk/run it on your own time and at your own pace.
Feeling a little out of shape? You can even set up an online training plan, in order to get in shape for your very own virtual run/walk.
“Log Off & Lace Up” is free and open to all ages, so there’s no excuse not to run! Registration is online, from March 1 – 31, and training and racing at your own pace will be completed from April 1 – May 31. Free printable running bibs will be provided, and race apparel to show your spirit is available for purchase through the Varsity Shop in Birmingham, who are providing the items at cost (no markup or profit). “We made the run FREE because our main goal is to get people moving,” said Redden. With all the time spent in front of computers and activities being canceled, people are spending less time being active. “This event is definitely not limited to people in Troy School District, but is open to anyone, anywhere. “We would love to get people all over motivated to get moving.”
To register, choose a route, get prepared, or for more information, visit https://logoffandlaceup.weebly.com/.
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Debate teams from around the world entered the 2020-21 International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) competition, but only 16 remain – including a team of students from Troy High School in Troy, Michigan. Sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, the IPPF is the first and only competition that gives high school students from around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. By advancing, the students remain eligible to compete virtually in the IPPF Finals, when the IPPF World Champion will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize. The Troy team is the only team from Michigan to advance this round.
“These students analyzed and debated the complex and timely issue of artificial intelligence,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and a founder of the IPPF. “The remaining 16 teams have emerged to compete in one final written round – in hopes of competing virtually in oral debates on a global stage. Despite the challenges students around the globe are facing due to the pandemic, these students chose to participate in a highly competitive contest and have excelled.”
The IPPF’s 20th annual competition began in October, as more than 180 teams submitted qualifying round essays affirming or negating the IPPF topic, “Resolved: The benefits of artificial intelligence outweigh the harms.” Those essays were reviewed by a committee, which determined the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word essay. The IPPF received more entries this year than it has since 2016 – making this year highly competitive.
In November, the top 64 teams began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with another team via email for the next six weeks. A panel of judges reviewed the essays in the order they were presented and selected the winning teams. In the “Round of 64,” Troy High School advanced over A&M Consolidated High School from College Station, Texas. In the “Top 32” round, Troy High School advanced over Kugnus Acts from Closter, New Jersey.
The “Sweet 16” round is now underway. Troy High School is competing against Millburn High School from Millburn, New Jersey. The top 16 teams represent schools from nine U.S. states and Austria, Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Slovakia:
- · Vienna International School from Vienna, Austria
- · Peak to Peak Charter School from Lafayette, Colorado
- · Slovak National Team from Bratislava, Slovakia
- · BASIS Scottsdale from Scottsdale, Arizona
- · Troy High School from Troy, Michigan
- · Millburn High School from Millburn, New Jersey
- · Viqarunnisa Noon School and College from Dhaka, Bangladesh
- · Potomac Oak from Rockville, Maryland
- · John Handley High School from Winchester, Virginia
- · Hobby School of Ulaanbaatar from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
- · The Hockaday School from Dallas, Texas
- · Hamilton High School from Chandler, Arizona
- · Montgomery Blair High School from Silver Spring, Maryland
- · Lambert High School from Suwanee, Georgia
- · Ivy Bridge Academy from Carrollton, Georgia
- · Davidson Academy of Nevada from Reno, Nevada
A On March 22, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. If Troy High School advances, the team will compete virtually in the IPPF Finals on May 1, 2021. The IPPF Finals give students the opportunity to supplement their written scholarships with oral advocacy – competing in debates in front of some of the world’s foremost experts in business, law and politics. Judges will include Brewer and New York University President Emeritus John Sexton, among others. The winning team will take home the “Brewer Cup” and the $10,000 grand prize.
The IPPF will be holding the IPPF Finals competition virtually in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the IPPF competitors.
More about the IPPF and the Brewer Foundation:
The IPPF was founded in 2001 by the Brewer Foundation and is now jointly administered with New York University. The program is available to all high schools around the world – public and private – for free. The IPPF is endorsed by leading forensic agencies, such as the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the International Debate Education Association, the Impact Coalition, Associated Leaders of Urban Debate Leagues, and the National Debate Coaches Association.
The Brewer Foundation is a private, non-profit organization funded by companies, individuals and the national litigation firm of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors. With offices in New York and Dallas, the Foundation has achieved widespread recognition for its efforts to create, fund and manage a variety of educational outreach programs.Visit the IPPF at www.ippfdebate.com, www.facebook.com/ippfdebate, on Twitter at @IPPF1, and on Instagram at @ippf1.
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Troy High Science Teacher Rebecca Brewer Named Science & Engineering Fair Teacher of the Year
The Engineering Society of Detroit has announced their Science & Engineering Fair Teacher of the Year for 2021: Troy High AP Biology Teacher Rebecca Brewer. Brewer was nominated by Troy High student Jasmine Wu, “for supporting many students participating in the annual Science Fair for the past ~16 years, many of whom have earned top awards at both the state and national level and have gone on to successful careers in science.” This is the first year that students were able to nominate, not just peers. “Teachers typically come to our attention when they enter their students’ projects into the Science Fair,” said Science Fair Co-Director Tim Fino. And he’s seen some of the same names come up over and over, Rebecca’s being one of them.
Established in September of 1956, the Science & Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit’s mission is to create student excitement for STEM, inspire interest in scientific subjects and research, develop respect for the scientific method, encourage personal growth, provide recognition for student research, and broaden career opportunities across Metro Detroit and the Region.
This year was a bit of a challenge because of COVID, because all the events (usually held at the Cobo/TCF Center) had to be virtual. But the excitement that comes from being named Science Fair Teacher of the Year still stands: “I’m extremely proud of Mrs. Brewer and all that she has done for her students. On an annual basis I continue to be amazed by her efforts to help her students succeed,” said Troy High School Principal Remo Roncone. “She is always looking for ways to learn and grow as an educator. Her passion for her students and Science is genuine and very deserving of this wonderful recognition.”
Continuing in her nominating packet, “In addition to mentoring numerous students for the Science Fair over her 21-year teaching career, Mrs. Brewer has arranged for multiple research opportunities in science labs for her students,” continued Jasmine. “She is a champion for all her students, spending countless hours supporting their academic and research interests and preparing her students for various competitions. No one is more invested in providing students authentic opportunities to practice science and she herself is a living example of success both in-and-out of the classroom as a national science leader, author, and role model to all who know her.”
And her students are the motivating force behind Brewer’s efforts, who said “I feel thankful for this recognition, but the reality is it's only because of the amazing students we get to teach at Troy High that this is possible. I am in the background supporting them like so many other incredible staff members helping our students to become standouts in science.”
Jasmine summed up her nomination saying “As a student both in and out of her classroom, no one in my life has been as invested in biology, education, and making sure we're doing okay than Mrs. Brewer. Truly, I would not be where I am today without her rigorous sharing of opportunities, deep-rooted enthusiasm for exploration, and constant support. Her work ethic and kindness are truly unmatched.”
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There’s something in the water at Barnard Elementary in Troy. The popular 2021 Oakland County Kids’ Clean Water Calendar Contest has resulted in great work being submitted by local fourth and fifth grade student artists across the county, and yet another sweep by Barnard Elementary School (Troy) students. Out of nearly 200 4th and 5th grade art submissions from across the County, Barnard 4th grader Aditya Yogesh, won the grand prize with his artwork titled, “Save Water, Save Nature” and is featured on the cover of the 2021 Kids’ Clean Water Calendar.
“When we learned about how so many countries in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, I wanted to create awareness about saving our water resources,” said Yogesh. Barnard teacher Gwen Simon encourages her students to participate in the annual contest because “…they know how vital the Great Lakes are to everyone in Michigan and know how important it is to protect our waterways.” The poster contest gives students a chance to teach others some of the ways we can have a positive impact on our environment. And its something Simon and the staff at Barnard have been on top of (literally) for years.
Out of the last 12 years, 5 Barnard students have been Grand Prize Winners, 37 have been Monthly winners, 32 have been Honorable Mentions and 47 have been Special Acknowledgement winners. That’s a lot of Bluejays, and this contest has become part of the fabric of what they do over at Barnard. “We are grateful that the WRC continues to honor our students for not only their beautiful artwork, but also for the important messages they share about protecting our waterways,” continued Simon.
The winners are selected by a panel of special guests. “The Kids Clean Water Calendar Contest is one of my favorite annual projects,” said Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash. “The fourth and fifth graders put great effort into their art and they learn a lot about how they can protect the environment and our water resources now and when they grow up.”
The 2021 calendar artwork gallery can be viewed at www.oakgov.com/water/resources/education/calendar-contest , and calendars can be ordered and picked up at the listed local libraries, including the Troy Public Library.
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Photo of Aditya Yogesh courtesy of the Troy School District and Oakland County Water Resources Commission.
Fifty-two Troy School District students were named 2021 National Merit Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. This honor is bestowed to less than one percent of students nationwide, based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT. Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools take the PSAT every year. Our students now advance as Finalists and will be considered for the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships of at least $2,500 each to be offered in March of 2021. For more information, visit nationalmerit.org.
“I am amazed by the large numbers of students from the TSD who are recognized annually for this National honor,” said Troy Schools Superintendent Dr. Rich Machesky. “This speaks to the dedication of our students, parents and teachers across our learning community who work together to provide the best educational opportunities for our students. “
Students are listed alphabetically by high school:
- Poulomi Dey
- Krishna S. Kottai
- Esha Munagala
- Nicholas P. Simon
- Matthew J. Villavicencio
- Harika Billa
- Diksha K. Iyer
- Mahith S. Kanuri
- Heeweon Kim
- Kishan R. Patel
From Troy High:
- Nina Anastasia Aitas
- Marcus V. Chung
- Sneha Dinda
- Prashanti Donthireddy
- Alaina R. Favret
- Archita Girmannagari
- Annie Y. He
- Madhavan V. Iyengar
- Shruti Jain
- Achyuth Kashyap
- Arjun N. Kashyap
- Raj A. Khuperkar
- Minseong Kim
- Amol V. Kirtane
- Nathan 0. Kovacs
- Sophia X. Liang
- Elliot Y. Liu
- Shifa Malik
- Sandhya Manivasagam
- Parvathi Nagappala
- Aarti Phatke
- Prajna Polamarasetti
- Lauryn A. Prokup
- Sohil Ramachandra
- Navneet K. Ramadurai
- Swarith Reddy
- Surya Sanjay
- Sabrina H. Song
- Sohan Vittalam
- Allison Wei
- Josiah Y. Wong
- Jasmine Q. Wu
- Alexander J. Xu
- Sarah J. Xu
- Lily X. Yang
- Ruicheng Yang
- Dorothy Yin
- Michael L. Young
- Darren Zheng Zeng
- Anna Zhao
- Katherine A. Zhao
- Erik Zhou
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Three Troy School District schools were named State Schools of Character for 2021 by Character.org, a national advocate and leader for character. Athens High School, Bemis Elementary and Troy Union Elementary were the only Michigan schools to receive the distinction, out of 76 schools nationally.
"We are pleased to announce today the 2021 State Schools and Districts of Character," said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, Character.org’s President. "We congratulate these schools on achieving State School of Character designation in a year filled with so many challenges. The educators and parents at these schools work together to ensure that every child understands, cares about, and consistently practice the core values that form the heart of each family and school. We are honored to recognize their efforts and share their inspiring work with schools and school districts throughout the United States and internationally.”
Superintendent Dr. Rich Machesky praised the staffs at each school, especially for their strong leadership during the challenging environment of COVID-19. “Congratulations on being named State Schools of Character. I know you and your teams worked hard to make this a reality. Given the timing and manner in which you had to work is even more impressive. Well done!” Athens’ Principal Lara Dixon acknowledged key staff in her building who went above and beyond: “I am proud of all of us on this school-wide effort and am especially grateful for Jessica Blake, Eric Flessa and Dan Mills, as they have helped lead this work. It has been gratifying to watch our commitment to character grow throughout the years.”
Each year, Character.org certifies schools and districts at the state level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. According to Troy Union’s Principal Mike Cottone,
“We strive to empower students to learn about and take action in the world through our CULTURE traits while fostering positivity amongst our community. Our staff has spent the past several years documenting and reflecting on how we have implemented the standards articulated in Character.org's 11 Principles Framework for Schools. I am humbled by this community. None of our successes happen without a beyond-amazing staff, supportive parents and hardworking kids.”
Needless to say, the road to State School of Character is a challenging one, one that not many schools ever achieve. “The Character Education process has been such a meaningful experience,” said Bemis’ Principal Jeremey Whan. “We have included parents, students and staff to provide input. Overall we are excited because our students are benefiting and understanding how they can help to make our world a ‘little bit’ better each day by being purposeful people who care about others.”
To learn more about the schools chosen today and those in the midst of their 5-year certification as State Schools of Character, please visit Character.org. Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character which includes providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort. The 2021 National Schools of Character will be announced in May 2021 and honored next fall in Washington D.C. Learn more about the National Forum at Character.org: Founded in 1993, Character.org is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. We work with schools, families, workplaces, and communities to educate, inspire, and empower people of all ages to be ethical and compassionate citizens. Our 11 Principles for Schools is a comprehensive framework that helps schools and school districts improve academic achievement, student behavior, and overall positive school climate. Visit www.character.org to learn more about the National Forum and the Schools of Character program, as well as a list of 2021 State Schools and Districts of Character.
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On Tuesday, the Troy School Board swore in two current trustees for their next 6 year terms:
Dr. Nancy Philippart, Trustee, has been a resident of Troy for 30 years and is serving her 12th year on the Board. She is married and has three Troy School District graduates. Dr. Philippart is a former engineer and executive in the automobile industry, currently owns and manages an early stage investment fund that supports local entrepreneurs and is an adjunct professor in the engineering and business schools at Wayne State University. She holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering, an MA in Economics from Wayne State University, an MS in biomedical/civil engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and a BS in Industrial Engineering also from Wayne State University.
And Vital Anne, Trustee, our newest Board Trustee, has been a resident of Troy for 16 years. She is married and has two daughters – a graduate from IA-East and a junior at Athens. Mrs. Anne is an IT professional with STEM background and has more than 25 years of experience in various roles from Project Engineer to Vice President. She has a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.
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Pictured with Mrs. Anne are her husband Siva Balusu, and daughter Nitya Balusu
Pictured together are Mrs. Anne and Dr. Philippart
Pictured taking the oath is Dr. Philippart
The Troy School District is pleased to announce the hiring of Cornelius Godfrey as Supervisor of Educational Equity, Inclusion and Community Relationships. This position has been developed as part of a comprehensive plan to focus the District’s efforts around critical issues in schools and the community. Recent staff vacancies have enabled a natural transition point to elevate the District’s social emotional learning work to become more inclusive of equity.
Mr. Godfrey comes to ONE Troy from the Clarkston School District, where he served as a Special Education Teacher and in a leadership role in the district’s equity, inclusion, and social justice work. He was a leading partner of the CCS Equity Taskforce, working to increase the cultural competence of instructional staff and cultural responsiveness of curriculum as well as develop and implement practices that honor the specific needs of marginalized communities within the district. Mr. Godfrey received a BA from Eastern Michigan University in Special Education/Emotional Impairment and a Masters in School Principalship and Site-Based Leadership from Central Michigan University. He is a member of the Oakland Schools Social Justice Cohort and has significant training and experience in trauma-informed instruction and restorative justice. Mr. Godfrey has spent both his career and his personal life as an advocate for inclusion and we are very excited to have him join our team.
In the past two years, the Troy School District has renewed its commitment to address issues of equity and inclusion, joining the National Equity Project, forming a new administrative, staff and student task force, providing targeted professional development, and robust book studies.
“Our work around Educational Equity and Inclusion is core to TSD’s mission to provide learning for all. This work is not one person’s work; it requires all of us to lean in to difficult and challenging conversations, to question our beliefs, structures, and processes, and to be willing to act,” said Christine DiPilato, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Instruction. This new position establishes a new teammate and advocate who will collaboratively design opportunities for the district’s students, staff, and community to engage in equity work together. “Troy has always been dedicated to the development and well-being of the whole child; our red pillar identifies many of these commitments,” continued DiPilato. “Identifying and hiring our Supervisor for Educational Equity, Inclusion and Community Relationships was a natural next step in our work to recognize, support, and celebrate all that our students and families bring to our learning community. We are very excited to bring Mr. Godfrey’s experience and passion to further this work across ONE Troy.”
Cornelius Godfrey will work out of the Teaching and Learning Department in the Services Building but he is most interested in getting out of the office to meet our staff and community (recognizing that this may be in a virtual environment at first.) He will begin his duties on January 19, 2021.
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Visit the Facebook Photo Album for additional Press Release Photos
Visit the Facebook Photo Album for additional Press Release Photos
Visit the Facebook Photo Album for additional Press Release Photos
Visit the Facebook Photo Album for additional Press Release Photos
District Engineering Inspiration Award
District Event Winner (Blue Banner)
District Chairman's Award (Blue Banner)
Regional Chairman's Award (Blue Banner)
Photo taken pre-COVID, courtesy of John Tu and the Troy School District