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.train
    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
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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