Rockford Rotary is currently hosting a student from Germany, but is also looking for an outbound student. As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you’ll spend up to a year living with a few host families and attending school in a different country. In Rotary’s long-term Youth Exchange program, you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, and maybe even a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process. More than 8,000 young people each year have experiences like these through Rotary Youth Exchange. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Are you ready for it? Did you know that our locally based Wolverine World Wide did business in approximately 180 countries and territories around the world in 2009? Rotary has exchange programs in over 40 countries. Germany is one that is available, or perhaps you would like a Spanish-speaking country, or Japan, Taiwan or something more exotic like Zaire. Rockford Rotary, along with Rockford High School led by Dr. Ryan Kelley, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, will be hosting an informational meeting Monday, October 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rockford High School in the main office. The meeting is for any students, with their parents, who are interested in becoming an Outbound Student to a foreign country. Application deadlines are October 25 for the full completed application. What is Rotary Youth Exchange…? One of our returned students call it “The best year of my life.” Have you met Julius Loebbecke, our inbound exchange student from Germany yet? He’s been participating in the band and with the soccer team. Come to the meeting. He will be glad to share his experience with you. Do you want to add a new cultural dimension to your family life? Host Julius for the third trimester. Call Rotarians Tony Astras 866-4283 or Jim Tol 696-2259 for more information or visit Rockford Rotary’s website www.rockfordmirotary.org, click on the Activities to take you to the Youth Student Exchange site.
Rockford Public School
The National Merit Scholarship Program has announced that Rockford High School senior Mackenzie Young has earned finalist status. In the fall of 2009, 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. took the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Young is one of 15,000 finalists and one of 8,200 Merit Scholarship winners nationwide. At Rockford High School, Young earned a 4.49 grade-point average, was an Odyssey of the Mind world finalist, sang with the high school choir in Washington, D.C., constructed and raised funds for the Habitat for Humanity home with Youth Initiative, and is an academic All-State athlete for varsity tennis. She plans to attend Northwestern University in the fall, considering the field of science research with a possible concentration in biochemistry and molecular biology. Young was recognized for her achievement at the May 24 Rockford Board of Education meeting.
Despite skies that produced rain throughout much of the morning, a giant step toward a bright summer was taken Saturday, May 1 when Rockford Little League (RLL) began its season with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at East Rockford Middle School (ERMS). The skies cleared in time for the ceremony, which officially opened the district’s new athletic facilities at that location. The complex was planned and developed through a cooperative effort between the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) and Rockford Little League. This year RLL provides opportunities for over 800 area youngsters between the ages of 5 and 18 to participate in one of more than 70 T-ball, softball and baseball teams. The Rockford league’s affiliation with the National Little League program offers many advantages, including safety and educational programs, mandatory requirements for safety equipment, rule guidelines, insurance options, and others. The new complex at ERMS includes nine softball and baseball fields. It was funded by the passage of a bond issue in May 2008, which also provided funds for many other improvements throughout the district. RLL also contributed funds for some equipment at the facility, and will be making an additional investment in the form of a permanent building that will house a concession stand, storage area, and restrooms. The league also helps defray school district costs related to the complex by helping with the maintenance of the fields. The opening ceremony started with the presentation of colors by a color guard from the Merritt Lamb American Legion Post 102, and the playing of the National Anthem by a brass quartet from Rockford High School. Warren Lanphear, RLL president, then addressed the crowd with a few remarks in which he thanked the RLL board members for their hard work and the community as a whole for their generous support of the funding that made this “field of dreams” possible. He recounted years spent by the league trying to develop and execute a plan for such a project, and thanked the RPS for their cooperation in making the complex a reality. Lanphear’s sentiments were echoed by Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent of RPS, who also spoke at the ceremony. Shibler applauded both the RLL and the entire Rockford community, saying that he has never witnessed such a spirit of […]
Rockford junior Amber Wobma recently accepted a full-ride athletic scholarship offer from the University of Arizona. Wobma is a Level 10 gymnast, who trains 24 hours a week at Geddert’s Twistars in Lansing. She has trained at Twistars for the past eight years, and has had a very successful gymnastics career, including USAG Region 5 (Mich., Ohio, Ill., Ind., Wis.) champion on vault, beam, floor and all-around, second place at Level 9 nationals, and numerous state champion titles. She has worked extremely hard for this at both gymnastics and academics. Her coach stated, “Size, talent, attitude and academic ability all play a major role in the recruiting process, and Amber has shown that she has the entire package. Small, powerful, smart and determined make for a great college prospect. Recognizing this… many schools had their hats in the ring, but the final decision came down to a tough battle between Penn State University and Arizona with the Wildcats claiming the prize.” Wobma had several schools recruiting her, and also received a full-ride scholarship offer from Penn State. Recently competing at the Level 10 Region 5 championships, Wobma made the Region 5 Dream Team, and will go on to compete at USAG Jr. Olympic nationals in Dallas, Texas, in May.
‘It comes down to our elected officials doing their job’ Rockford’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Shibler recently held a meeting between RPS staff, recently laid off staff and elected officials to discuss ideas to fix the state crisis in school funding. Shibler has long been chair of a grass roots effort to push Michigan’s legislature to reform school funding, and was in agreement with State Representative Tom Pearce, who attended the meeting, on possible solutions. “It has to be a combination of cost containment and an increase in funding,” Shibler said. His ideas, also supported by a group of Michigan CEOs, and other financial boards, are threefold. Cutting costs by requiring all state employees to pay part of the cost of their health benefits, increasing income by lowering the state sales tax to 5.5 percent and applying it to some services, and cutting the Michigan Business Tax are the core of the plan. “In the national average, public and private employees pay 28 percent of the cost health care,” Pearce said at the meeting. He and Shibler propose starting with all public employees paying 15 percent, and allowing each district to remain in control of the choice of benefit providers. For Rockford, this would save $1.2 million annually to save jobs. “Michigan, because of the strong union history, has fought those changes for years,” said Pearce. “This has to come from the state. Districts can’t fight those battles themselves.” “I anticipate angry response from teachers who say we’ve voted to take pay cuts not to pay part of our health care,” said Shibler. “I understand that. The state will have to keep cutting public safety and corrections on down the line. That’s what is going to happen in the state.” Shibler also said future cuts in school funding will be devastating if legislatures do not fix the problem. Anticipated cuts on top of those already taken next year would be the equivalent of $600 to $700 per child. The state proposes cutting another $260 per child, but in addition, the pension contribution for all districts in the state next July 1 will increase 2.5 percent to 19.4 percent of payroll. That will cost Rockford another $1 million immediately. Health care costs have risen […]