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Young Giants on the Move

You'll have to excuse Justice Shoalsand Hannibal Spencer if they appear more as a blur than standing still. It's just that these two young men have so many irons in the fire, they're not comfortable in one spot for...

Sarah Waller: The Tech Center’s Iron Chef

Let it be said here and now – OK, so written here and now – that the raspberry patch in my back yard cannot grow fast enough, and I have a diminutive warrior of a teaching chef to blame. Her...

Dedicated educator retiring after 44-year career, during which “I knew ‘em all”

When the school bells ring and they throw open the doors at Northview Public Schools this coming autumn, it’s likely Dan Duba, principal at Crossroads Middle School, will be elsewhere. For the first time in 44 years...

Hayley Lee: Student ‘On Fire’

Before? Well, before, Hayley Lee was, by her own admission, a little sassy, too disrespectful, and variously disconnected -- unless you include some unsavory elements that were leading her down un-righteous paths. And today? Well, you got a minute? Hayley Lee has discovered...

From Childhood Terrors to Lofty Dreams

For weeks on end, she chose to hold her tongue, and at one point, an instructor finally asked her why. With absolutely no malice, she gently replied that perhaps her classmates chose their words too carelessly. That maybe some talked...

Brightening the Lives of 4th Graders

Even though the sun has officially launched summer, I still see Stephanie Gerdes standing at the helm of her 4th-grade classroom inside Kenowa Hills' Central Elementary School. I am thinking how lucky are the kids she's just promoted to...

Ryan Colburn, MacGyver of the vet world

Ryan Colburn is the only full-time veterinarian at the John Ball Zoo, and the man behind the scenes who makes sure that some 1,500 animals are physically fit for your viewing pleasure...

Friendships Break Down Barriers

I have pretty good recollection of who I sat with in the lunchroom during both my elementary and high school years, I can say with some certainty – and shame – that it wasn't any kids with special needs. So...

This Time Last Year: Ten-Year-Olds Start Fourth Year of Giving

Remember when you were 10? For a lot of us, life revolved around only a couple of things – simply playing outdoors, for example, and maybe trying to squirm out of homework. But for a half-dozen young ladies who...

A Special Chair for a Special Child, Designed with Love

It's billed as a "Health Sciences Early College Academy" for area high schoolers to get their feet wet in healthcare professions, biomedical technology and science in general. But what drew me to a trio of students engaged in the program...

India Stewart Dunning: Survivor and Scholar

Her clothes are arranged by color.Like Pippi Longstocking, she sleeps upside down, with her head at the footboard and her feet at the headboard. Ever since first meeting "Bucky" in the Disney flick "The Emperor's New Groove," she's been in...

A limp can’t slow this high-achieving fighter who helps others

Lauren Hudson, the most recent student recipient of the YWCA West Central Michigan’s Tribute Award, overcame the painful effects of a rare hip disease to do great work in school and for others...
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