January 19 2012
Cadiz, Spain has been the home sweet home for Ashton Ferguson for the last three months. From October to December 2011, Ashton flew to Spain to live with a host family and teach English, at the same time being immersed in her favorite foreign country. Ashton studied Spanish four years at Rockford High School and graduated with the class of 2010. She joined the Geovision Program, which specializes in placing students who want to travel and teach English, and Ashton was excited to be able to be immersed in Spanish language and culture. Her travels took her to Gibralter, Granada, Jerez De La Frontera, Priego De Cordoba, Sanlucar, San Fernando and Ubrinqer. Her host brother Salva, pictured, enjoyed showing her around Sevilla. While there, she experienced Halloween and Christmas and even learned some flamenco dancing. Her host family toured with her to see many castles and mountains in the countryside. Ashton noted some interesting things in cultural differences. “I was surprised to see that birthday parties for all ages are very big events and that siestas last from 1 to 6 p.m., prime shopping time for Americans. You learn to adapt and slow down a lot. I was very happy in that the family I was placed with had a police officer for a father. I was in good hands.” Her mother, Cynthia Ferguson, and siblings, William and Courtney Ferguson, were able to Skype with her during her time there and keep her informed of what was happening back home. “I’m just glad there was no civil unrest that took place while she was there. There is much civil unrest going on in Europe due to the austerity measures, including Spain. My prayers were answered that she returned home safely.” Ashton is back in the U.S. and resuming her college studies in her last semester at Grand Rapids Community College, then off to attend Michigan State University afterward. She is very grateful for such a wonderful host family and life experience.
SCHOOL BEAT The Gift that keeps on Giving by DAVID KELLER Rockford School Board Trustee It was Winston Churchill that once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” While I didn’t realize it at the time, the act of “giving back” was instilled in me at a young age with the help of my parents. With eight children, my parents didn’t exactly have the money to give back financially, but they were able to give back with their time. We always volunteered for the Sunday chicken dinner at church and various other activities as a family. My dad coached several of us in sports throughout grade school. It seems that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. From the inspiration of my dad and my children’s passion for sports, it was about 10 years ago that I began coaching them and other children in our community. My first experience was in baseball and then many years in basketball. It certainly took time away from other things I could have been doing, but heck, I was with my children and I was sharing my talents and developing skills of so many great young kids. It was an unbelievable experience to see them build their self-esteem and confidence during their improvement from the start to the end of the season. As my coaching career is winding down, I know that the time I spent as a volunteer coach had a positive effect on all of my players. I made a difference in their lives as they did in mine. What a gift, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. About six years ago, I chose to become more involved in our community and was fortunate to garner enough votes to be elected a member of the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education. In addition to our careers, the seven board members of the Rockford Public Schools each put in hundreds of hours of work every year to guide and support our district. Each year we are offered compensation for our services and each year we decline this offer. It’s one way we are all able to “give back” to our community with our time, knowledge […]
Leading charter school operator, National Heritage Academies, recently recognized 41 of its 600 middle school teachers across the U.S. for their astounding middle school data based on their students’ results in math, reading, and language usage. Of these 41 top performing teachers, four Chandler Woods Charter Academy teachers took a top 10 spot on this list. These outstanding local educators include (pictured l–r) Jen Clawson, Katie Hesley, Pat Brase, and Ryan Hathaway (sitting in front).
Rachel is the daughter of Glenn and Sharon Border. She has two siblings, Jenna and Cassie. School activities that Rachel is involved with include swimming, track and playing clarinet in the band. Rachel enjoys reading, writing, creating websites and playing her clarinet. Her favorite college is Ohio State. Rachel would like to one day become an author, an Olympic swimmer, or a band director. Rachel’s favorite movie is “Pirates of the Caribbean”, favorite books are any mystery or horror book, and she loves to eat Ramen Noodles. She is most proud of her involvement with her church. Andrew is the son of Jim and Yvonne Johnson. He has one sister, Vanessa and a dog named Pepper. School activities that Andrew participates in are National Junior Honor Society and lacrosse. His favorite college is the University of Michigan and he one day hopes to become a college football analyst. His hobbies include watching Michigan Football and playing lacrosse. Andrew’s favorite class is wood shop with Mr. Larson. Some of his favorites include reading the Percy Jackson series, the movie “The Blind Side”, and eating steak. The person that he admires the most is his dad. Emilia is the daughter of Sara Ruiz. She has a 5-month-old sister, Alejandria. Emilia is involved with the Girl Scouts and enjoys the NRMS After School Program. Her favorite college is the University of Michigan and she would like to become a meteorologist someday. Emilia most enjoys Math, her favorite food is tamales and she loves everything Harry Potter. The person that she admires the most is her baby sister. Matthew is the son of Pam and Gordon Jendritz. He has an older brother, Stephen and a younger sister, Elise. Matt has a pet gecko named Puntos. School activities Matt is involved with include basketball, track, and cross country. Matt enjoys snowboarding and hanging out with friends. Matt’s list of schools that he would one day like to attend include Stanford, Harvard or Michigan and he hopes to become a doctor. Matthew is most proud of his sports accomplishments and his grades. Matthew’s favorite teacher is his third-grade teacher Mrs. Bakita. He loves to eat doughnuts, his favorite band is the Blue Oyster Cult and the person that he admires […]