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Saturday, 19 of April of 2014

October Camping Trip
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Students show off their free-standing structure, which was constructed using only logs and twine.

October, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is not typically ideal camping weather, but Burt Township is not your typical school. So when the high school administration and staff proposed a two-night, team building, camping trip to the school board for the 16th, 17th and 18th of the month, the vote was unanimously in favor of the idea. Not only did students participate in several team-building activities, but they also set up tents, and gathered and cut wood for their campfires over which they prepared their own meals

Coincidently, October is also National Bullying Prevention Month, and statistics indicate that team-building activities can greatly reduce the incidence of bullying.

 


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Agri-Palooza
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Dave Kronk teaching the students trail etiquette.

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Students enjoying an after lunch ice cream treat.

Kindergarten through fifth grade students recently traveled to Chatham to take part in the Alger and Marquette Conservation Districts’ Agri-Palooza. Area students gathered at the MSU Agricultural Experiment Station to visit different stations to learn about topics like trail etiquette, soil science, invasive species, groundwater protection, endangered species, how we are connected to our environment, and more. Students also enjoyed a hay ride and ice cream donated by Jilbert Dairy.


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School Forest Scavenger Hunt
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Students in Burt Township School Forest.

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Checking out the Sucker River.

Elementary students trekked out to our beautiful school forest to participate in a scavenger hunt. With the sun shining brightly, they set about their scavenger hunt where they used their observation skills to find some obvious and some not so obvious natural treasures. The upper elementary students were able to utilize classroom i-pads during their hunt.


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Welcome Back Bears
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The 2013/14 school year has brought many exciting changes to Burt Township Schools. We have a new and able captain, Heidi Homeister, at the helm, who has set our sails to continued success. In the kitchen, Lois Kinlaw, a native-born Polar Bear, is serving up nutritious meals that keep those cubs coming back for more. Adam Bedwin, a NMU graduate, is the ship’s newest History/Econ teacher, and is pretty handy at the Tec stuff as well. We are also honored to welcome Hannah Grimm, a foreign exchange student who has braved the journey all the way from Germany to share the American Experience (and beef up our soccer team). Down stairs, in Mrs. Kristin Scaife’s class, we have enrolled two full time kindergarteners and a halftime early-five student that will soon be scampering up the mainsails. Last but never least; Mrs. Amy Ross also had the pleasure of adding a third grader to her roll call bringing our total student enrollment, k-12, up to 32 students.

While we may be small, it appears that, at least on the soccer field, we are mighty. The Bears bested Copper Country in a skirmish on the 6th of September, and then took down the Mackinac Island Lakers on the 13th and 14th, all with the home field advantage. On the 17th, the Bears engaged Munising Baptist in Munising, and again walked away the victor. While we are still untested against Beaver Island, Hannahville, and Paradise this season, we are hoping for another shot at the Northern Light’s League Championship.

We look forward to a great year, academically, socially, on the field, and on the court. We wish to thank the school board and community for it’s continued support and know that whether the waters be smooth or rough, Grand Marais will always serve as our safe harbor.


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Fourth of July
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Cindy gears up to sell the patriotic sugar cookies.
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Cindy gears up to sell the patriotic sugar cookies.

Fourth of July Fundraising

In Grand Marais, The 4th of July is like Old Home Week. Driveways that set empty 50 weeks out of the year contain multiple vehicles, hotels and cabins are booked well in advance, tents pop up in the yards, deer camps swell with visitors of all ages, boats fill the harbor, golf carts zip up and down the road, and pedestrians grace the streets until well after sunset each night. Those who live in Grand Marias start preparing for the guests weeks in advance. This year the classes of 2014 and 2015 geared up for The 4th by organizing fundraisers to earn money for their class trips.

In their senior years, the graduating classes of Burt Township Schools visit the Nation’s capital, as well as surrounding sites. This event takes an immense amount of money, so each class uses every opportunity available to raise the funds needed. The 4th of July is just one of those opportunities. Selling hot dogs, brats, and beverages, the class of 2014, set up the ever famous “Greasy Weenie,” in the green space. Class advisor, Helen Scaife, stated that the class did very well and sold out. She went on to say that after expenses they cleared $510.00. The class of 2015 decided to try something a little different. With the help of Lois Kinlaw, Brandie Nyman Williams, and class adviser, Dixie McCormick, they baked and patriotically decorated 480 homemade sugar cookies, which they sold at the parade and fireworks for $1.00 each. The product was a huge hit, and thanks to the sales and donations of the community and visitors, the class cleared (after expenses) just under $500.00 dollars!

Both classes wish to extend heartfelt gratitude to community members and visitors alike. Thanks to their generosity, both classes are a little closer to their goal!


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Mural Project Success!
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As you venture to Bayshore Beach in the coming weeks of summer, hopefully you will notice the new mural painted on the once drab bathhouse. Over Memorial Day weekend Burt Township teachers, students and community members completed the mural that was the 2013 yearlong service project. The project began as one of my Township beautification ideas, and would have stayed in the idea phase if it hadn’t been for the art teacher, Ms. Kim Amthor’s zeal and expertise with this type of project.

The project engaged not only student’s artistic abilities but also their civic skills.  They practiced drafting business letters to gain permission to paint the mural from the Township Board as well as to ask for financial support for all the paint needed. Then from their individual letters one master letter was polished and sent. Some students were present at the Township Board Meeting to explain the project and answer any questions left by the letter. Once permission was granted, Woodshop students measured the dimensions of the building, calculated its square footage and then estimated the total number of paint cans that would be needed.

Students, K-12th grade, were then asked to submit a proposal for the theme and overall design of the mural. Many very interesting proposals were entered, but rather than select one individual’s design, we decided to select parts of different students’ proposals and to go with the a beach theme mixed with Grand Marais’ tag line, “Nature in Abundance.”

At first, many students expressed their doubt in the possibility of this project getting done, or looking good when it was done. But after the first day of painting, all of them were very excited about the work they had done and also by how well it looked. In education, it is a truly beautiful moment when you see a student’s self doubt vanish to be replaced with a proud sense of accomplishment. A powerful moment indeed, and hopefully one BTS students will go into their future remembering.

The mural project has also inspired the Township Board to improve the inside of the Bathhouse as they are currently painting all the interior walls, planning to place a new floor over the old concrete and perhaps to even replace the worn out roof, showing that a little creativity and compassion can turn a blighted area of town into its crown.


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New Cross Country Ski Trail Map in School Forest
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This school year, Mr. Prill was lucky to receive an Excellence in Education grant from the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development to work with Burt Township High School students to develop a map of the School Forest Ski Trail Network. This project had two goals, the first being to develop the map so as to have fewer lost skiers frantically searching for the way back to parking lot, and also to teach students of potential careers in the Geographic Information System (GIS) field and acquaint them with Global Position Systems (GPS) units.New Map

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After school a few days during the winter, volunteer students skied with Mr. Prill using a Trimbol GPS unit on loan from the National Park to collect the data needed to develop the new map. After gathering the data, the GPS was sent back to Bruce Leutscher, the Chief of Science and Natural Resources at Pictured Rocks for him to analyze the data and develop the new map. Then Bruce came to the school to present the new map to the students and discuss with students the process involved in making the map while also teaching them of the potential careers and high demand for people proficient with Information Technology and GIS.

Students in Woodshop have been working to build the bulletin board to post the new map, which we are waiting anxiously to receive. During the summer, students have volunteered to help place map along with 10 “You Are Here” small maps throughout the trails to better aid skiers.  Overall this grant was a success and has greatly improved our Ski Trail Network while also teaching students of the possibilities in the GIS field.

Bruce presenting to studnets
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Bruce presenting to studnets

Students involved in project

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Mackinac Island YAC Presents…
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Mackinac Island YAC Presents...

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The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of Mackinac Island proudly presents us with a $2000.00 check from their hard work in procuring a grant from the Detroit Pistons Grant Challenge.  The money they were awarded from the Pistons Grant Challenge along with other funds they have procured enabled them to offer us a grant of up to $2000 as a ‘match’ if we could come up with $2000 on our own.  Fortunately, due to fund raising and left over funds from our Outdoor Adventure Club–which disbanded last year–we were able to match the money and are now using the total $4000 for several hands-on learning activities and field trips our students would not have been able to attend otherwise.  How awesome for our students.  Thank you Mackinac Island YAC!


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Field Trip Grant
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While the Mackinaw Island Lakers and the Grand Marais Polar Bears are often adversaries on the field and court, the Lakers have proven that good sportsmanship and compassion extend far beyond the athletic season. In the photograph above, the Grand Marais students and staff pose with a check that represents the generous matching grant of $2000.00, which the Mackinaw Island Youth Advisory Council allotted to the Polar Bears. The grant is being used to help fund educational field trips for the Grand Maris students, one of which is an elementary and Jr. high field trip to Whitefish Point. Additionally, as a result of the grant, the high school students will be attending the Lake Superior Youth Symposium at Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Michigan.
The Polar Bears extend a heartfelt Thank You to the Lakers. Their generosity and goodwill serve as a positive example to which we shall strive to emulate.


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Excellence in Education Banquet
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April 22-26, 2013, Burt Township Schools celebrated Excellence in Education Week in conjunction with Marquette and Alger counties. As part of that program, Grand Marais honored it’s 7th-12th grade students with a 3.3 and above GPA with a banquet and award ceremony.

The school’s former principal and father of Elizabeth Scaife, Thomas Scaife, wrote,

“For Excellence in Education week the Burt Twp. School hosted a dinner April 24 for those students maintaining a 3.3 GPA during this school year.  Special guest Patty McGuire spoke about important people that influence us as we learn and grow, and chef Bob Stocking dished out a sumptuous roast pork meal.”  Scaife also provided the group photo.

Pictured above

sitting:  Robert Rauff, Michaela Bauknecht, Elizabeth Scaife, Dominick Kinlaw, Leroy Ward-Harbaum, and Tyler Woodruff. Standing: Miranda Potter, Cassandra Somes, Jesse Ross, and Kelcie Lundquist. Kneeling: Landon Stachnik and Chaese Ward-Harbaum

 


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