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My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide:

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

My Town: Metro High School Police Academy welcomes 40 students

WYOMING, Mich.—While school is out for most districts this summer, another academy is starting up classes this week.

Public safety and police departments from Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville, Walker, Rockford, East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University are teaming up for the 19th annual Metro High School Police Academy.  The Michigan State Police Rockford post and Kent County Sheriff’s Department are also participating in the academy, which runs now through June 20 at Grandville High School. 

Approximately 40 area high school students are taking part in this year’s training program, which will give them a snapshot of what a real police academy would be comprised of- patrol operations, criminal investigations, community policing and physical training.  A graduation ceremony will take place at Grandville High School beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.

My Town: Lowell teacher donates his shag to charity

My Town: Lowell teacher donates his shag to charity

LOWELL, Mich.—A teacher’s head is a little lighter this summer, after winning a very hairy bet to help others.

As a retired Army officer, Rob Stevens had always kept his hair trim; that’s why his friend Steve Cannady thought he could win an easy bet by challenging Stevens to growing his hair to at least ten inches.  If Stevens could resist the urge to pick up a pair of scissors, Cannady promised to donate $20 an inch to the charity of Stevens’ choice.

Earlier this month, Stevens celebrated his first hair cut since November 2012, during an assembly at Cherry Creek Elementary, where he teaches fifth grade.  The Humane Society of West Michigan was on hand to accept the $200 donation.  The hair will go into a wig for Children With Hair Loss.

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool
------------------------NEWS RELEASE---------------GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (First Steps Kent) – A collaborative team of parents, educators and advocates in Kent County launches a coordinated spring-summer marketing campaign for state-funded free preschool this week. Designed with bright colors, bold graphics, and adorable children, the materials focus on the benefit of preschool for little ones throughout the county. Campaign posters, flyers and yard signs will be shared by schools, preschools, doctors’ offices, salons, grocery stores and more—essentially, any organization serving parents of preschoolers. “We don’t have buckets of money for a big advertising push, so we are taking it to the streets with our amazing network of parent volunteers, community advocates, and grassroots activists,” said Judy Freeman, director of Great Start Collaborative for Kent County.

My Town: Kenowa Hills graduate delivers farewell rap

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  Kenowa Hills High School’s newest graduates will likely never forget the first speech delivered during their graduation.

On Wednesday, May 28, Sean Beachnau stepped up to the podium and with one deep breath, launched into a four minute rap.  Beachnau posted the entire address on YouTube with the message, “a great way to end my years at Kenowa Hills.”

Beachnau, who served as the senior class vice president, will attend Grand Valley State University in the fall.  He plans to major in international business.  Wheaton College, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are also among the schools this year's graduates plan to attend next.

Pennington says 212 seniors participated in the graduation ceremony, which lasted about 90 minutes.  More than 1,000 people attended the event, filling Kenowa Hills Fieldhouse to capacity.  Additional guests watched the ceremony from the performing arts center.

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Construction is underway on a greenhouse designed by pre-engineering students at West Catholic High School.

The students raised more than $8,000 for the greenhouse, which they will design and build right outside the school.  In a photo posted on West Catholic High School’s Facebook page on May 6, you can see the students putting up the walls.