by FINE ARTS SUPER CREW PUBLICITY COMMITTEE The East Rockford Middle School sixth-grade Fine Arts Magnet (F.A.S.C.) will be performing “Annie Jr.” “Annie” is a unique musical play about a young girl whose parents left her at an orphanage when she was a baby. Annie had a note from her parents saying that they would come back for her, so she tries to run away, but Miss Hannigan (who owns the orphanage) stops her. The richest man in New York City wants to have an orphan spend Christmas at his mansion. His private secretary chooses Annie. Annie is amazed by how she is treated with such respect and awed by the wealth surrounding her. Will Annie have to deal with the disrespect from Miss Hannigan ever again? Come and find out! The dates are Tuesday, March 8 at 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 9 at 9 a.m., and Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. in the East Rockford Middle School cafeteria. “Annie Jr.” is a book by Thomas Meehan. Music is by Charles Strouse, with lyrics by Martin Charnin. It is presented on Broadway by Mike Nichols, and was originally produced by Irwin Meyer, Stephen R. Friedman, Lewis Allen, Alvin Nederlander Associates, Inc., the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Icarus Productions. “Annie Jr.” is based on “Little Orphan Annie” by permission of the Tribune Media Services Inc.
East Rockford Middle School
Community Gardens to grow in two locations by BETH ALTENA If you don’t have a spot for a plot on your lot, your site isn’t sunny or you just have a bad case of black thumb, Rockford Public Schools (RPS) has just the fix. RPS unveiled last week plans for two community gardens, open to individuals, businesses or groups, complete with help from multiple master gardeners. “Apparently great minds think alike,” said Lisa Jacobs, director of RPS Community Services. A local restaurant sous chef, a group of environmentally minded middle school students and RPS staff all began thinking of the possibilities of a community garden and how one organized by the school might happen. Michael Farrell, sous chef at Reds on the River, approached RPS to talk about starting such an endeavor and found out the school was already putting together a tentative proposal for a community garden system. That was a year ago, and plans have blossomed into a new way for the community to partner with the schools and grow their own flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. “We are so out-of-our minds excited,” said Meredith Gremel, of Gremel Communications, who is helping organize the gardens along with Jacobs. A kick-off meeting was held Tuesday, Feb. 15 at the Rockford Freshman Center, and the public turnout showed the strong interest in sharing ground for growing at two locations. The Community Gardens are planned for the administration building at 330 North Main Street in downtown Rockford and East Rockford Middle School at 8615 9 Mile Road. Students at East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) participate in Earthkeepers, a magnet focused on environmental and nature studies (see related story, page 8). As they used nature-related ideas to learn language arts, math, science, social studies and more, the idea of creating a garden on the property of the school came up. Principal Mike Ramm saw the possibilities. “Earthkeepers is about getting your hands dirty while learning,” Ramm said. “That gave ERMS the idea of a garden.” He said the possibilities of skills needed in gardening, architectural and structural, healthy living and foods, math and budgeting, all can be used in planning and growing a garden. According to Ramm, one extremely enthusiastic student, John Wiley, really pushed for the […]
Environmentally friendly education leaves the schoolroom by BETH ALTENA They learn about everything with a nature in mind. The East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) Earthkeepers magnet includes sixth- and seventh-grade students who, between them, not only cover the different areas of traditional curriculum with nature-themed studies, but are also literally changing the landscape around them. The Earthkeepers convinced Principal Mike Ramm to propose a community garden on school property, a plan which dovetails nicely with similar plans underway at the Rockford Administrative Building property in downtown Rockford (see related story, page 1). They hope to further involve the public in promoting environmentally friendly practice with the use of rain barrels and hope to ask the City of Rockford to jump on board as well. Along with the members of the Izaak Walton League, the school is working with Groundswell, a coalition of community partners with a goal of hands-on environmental learning. The class was visited late in 2010 in preparation for spring of 2011, when they hope to be prepared to present the public with rain barrels as a fundraiser but mostly to promote environmentally friendly use of rainfall. “Any time you can create excitement by making curriculum come to life and even branch out into the community, you can see the students’ passion and enthusiasm. They know they are making a difference,” said Ramm. Ramm said the kids are divided into magnets at ERMS according to their own interests. Earthkeepers is just one of several, and creates an interesting dynamic. Teacher Linda Spencer points out that the environmental nature of the magnet draws the students who like outdoor activities such as hunting as well as nature-lovers who want to save the rainforests and whales and don’t understand hunters at all. Among the projects students undertake as they learn core curriculum studies—such as math, science, social studies, language and technology—are building rain barrels and planting gardens. Rain barrels are a project that is ideal for many reasons, but especially suited to school groups. According to Georgia Donovan, local Izaak Walton League president, rain barrels can be made cheaply and by pretty much anyone. Along with past president and board member Duane DeVries, Donovan walked the students through the creation and use of rain barrels. “You […]
Public invited for a day of family fun The Izaak Walton League of America (the “Ikes”) has had another busy year with many activities at the local Dwight Lydell chapter. The nonprofit conservation club has stayed active in environmental issues at the state and local levels, following their interests in water quality, energy, fishing, hunting, and their love of nature. Some of their members also participate in other groups concerned with Great Lakes fisheries, Asian carp, and the Rogue River watershed. With the Ikes you can be as involved as you want to be, from simply attending dinners, to volunteering, to activist. This past year, 2010, started with an annual event that is just around the corner again: Winterfest! Last year’s was a lot of fun, with ice-fishing and skating at their pond, archery, making candles over an outdoor fire, cross-country skiing, snow castles, and exploring the beauty of nature in the wintertime, plus a free lunch. On Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, the Ikes will open their gate to the public again, at 5641 Myers Lake Rd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Ikes hold many events that spread their message to the public. Each year they give two $1,000 scholarships to area seniors pursuing careers in an environmental field. A Conservationist of the Year award is given every year at their annual fundraising banquet. An interesting speaker is found, and many great items are collected for a silent auction, which is their main fundraiser for the year. This year’s banquet will be in March, with a program about salmon in Lake Michigan. Fishing is dear to the heart of the group, and they have many days devoted to getting children involved. Every Saturday morning in May they open their pond, supplying gear, bait and advice to those who want to give it a try. On Wednesday evenings from mid-June to mid-July, volunteers bring fishing equipment to the dock at Versluis Lake, helping any kids that meet them there. During the spring and fall, Ikes president Georgia Donovan and vice president Barb McGuirl have an after-school “Kids’ Nature Club,” where kids play and explore outdoors in an unstructured way. The idea is to allow them to feel at home in nature, become familiar with […]
Natural leader has a strong moral compass Kory Young, 14, is the son of Brian and Kim Young and brother to Brianna, 11, and Christina, 9. Kory’s teachers call him responsible, trustworthy and hardworking. “Kory is so accepting of others,” staff at ERMS said of him. “He shows that it is a good thing to have good character and it is a good thing not to judge.” Kory is the type of student you can count on to do what needs to be done. When he is given a challenge, he will follow through one hundred percent. He is reliable and works without supervision. His teacher said she would trust him to watch over children because he has so much character and a strong sense of morals. In football, it is easy to see Kory’s strong natural leadership. He is captain of his team and makes sure no one is left out. He is also a leader in his video production class. His positive attitude is reflected in his determination to improve any situation. He pays attention to details and has a natural moral compass as his guide. He challenges himself and rises to meet those challenges. Kory has been chosen as Student of the Month at East Rockford Middle School and is on the National Junior Honors Society. He earns a placement on the Principal’s Honor Roll and has been Writer of the Month. Kory became a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do when he was just 8—only two levels below a black belt, the highest level. He enjoys baseball, football, snowboarding, drawing, painting, hiking and mountain biking. He volunteers at God’s Kitchen to help those less fortunate. Kory is a hard worker and natural leader with great strength of character. His ability to put his best effort in all he does, yet still make sure those around him receive any help he can offer, make him an Example in Excellence at East Rockford Middle School.