Morenci has two new teachers on staff 2012.08.29

Written by David Green.

Morenci has two new teachers on staff this year.

aj.garrAJ Garr

The name “Morenci” is well known by an individual at the large Portage Central High School near Kalamazoo. That’s because the band director there, Patrick Flynn, once taught in Morenci.

When he learned that Morenci needed a band director, he told a young acquaintance that he should investigate the job. That’s how Morenci’s new director, Alex “AJ” Garr, found his way here.

He left his job working with kindergarten through eighth grade students at a charter  school near Kalamazoo and has moved to Morenci.

“I had the desire to work with older kids and I heard that Morenci had a really, really good reputation,” the Pinckney native said.

AJ was told to expect about 20 students in the band, but he’s known as a recruiter.

“I went to find the kids who quit band,” he said—several because of scheduling problems.

When the band takes the field at the Aug. 30 home football game, AJ expects to have 37 marchers plus a drum major—all from the high school. That includes five cheerleaders and four football players. He said he’s willing to share.

The band will present a Beatles tribute for the first game, then work on at least one more show for other home games. Fancy formations won’t be the goal with only 37 members. Instead, the band will work on maximizing volume.

In addition to the marching season, AJ intends to put emphasis on solo and ensemble competition, to get the sixth grade band organized, and finally, to get to know the elementary school students and spark an interest in instrumental music.

AJ attended Central Michigan and Wayne State before earning a degree in music education from Grand Valley State University.

 

teacher.hoardMichelle Hoard

Spanish teacher Michelle Hoard is about to engage in something never before tried here: a foreign language teacher shared with another district.

Michelle describes the arrangement as an emerging program, noting that it could change in the future. As of now, however, she will divide her time every other day in Morenci and Hudson—five days in each district within a two-week span.

The Pittsford High School graduate earned a degree from Calvin College, then went to work in the family business, Sir James Outerwear. She also raised a family with her husband.

A few years ago she decided to earn a teaching degree and enrolled in Siena Heights’ post-baccalaureate intensive certification program.

Michelle taught Spanish and accounting for two years with the Pittsford school district (“I speak Spanish and numbers,” she said) before taking the Morenci/Hudson job.

When she’s at Hudson, her Morenci students will supplement their classroom time with a combination of the on-line Rosetta Stone language program and internet research on the culture, history and geography of Spanish-speaking countries. The cultural aspect would have been part of a five-days-a-week classroom program.

Michelle has coached several sports and still serves as Pittsford’s junior high basketball coach.

She enjoys a variety of outdoor activities in her spare time.

  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
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    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
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    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
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    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
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    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
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