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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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