James Geshel has a very cool teacher, and now anyone who watches WGVU (or reads the Rockford Squire newspaper) knows it. An essay directed the public television station to choose Parkside Elementary’s Mrs. Wallis, first grade teacher, as winner of the Cool Teacher contest. As winner, her class enjoyed a pizza party and a slot on television. Geshel’s essay describes how cool Mrs. Wallis is. “She publishes stories with us,” he wrote. “She gives us homework that is fun… She gives us lots of writing minutes that is wonderful.” Wallis said she was surprised by the honor. “It’s interesting to see from their perspective,” she said of Geshel’s essay. “You try, but you don’t really know what they think. When they turn around and call you cool, it’s neat.” Students kindergarten through eighth grade nominate their teachers by writing a letter. Each winning teachers and the nominating student receive four tickets from Amtrack for a trip from Grand Rapids to Chicago. On May 11, 2010 WGVU will host a year-end awards celebration to honor all of this year’s winning teachers. Geshel, who also can name the presidents of the United States from most recent to first or the other way around, was a clear favorite in his class on the day of the pizza party and television filming. Sadly, two members of the class missed the excitement when they were required to report to the office right when the pizza and television crew arrived. Nonetheless, it was a great day at Parkside Elementary for Mrs. Wallis’ class. Geshel’s final comment on his winning essay regarding his teacher was reason number six on her list of cool qualifications: “I think my teacher should win because she is the nicest teacher in the whole entire world.”
John Ball Zoo, WGVU co-host Saturday Night Alive As fundraising galas go, Saturday Night Alive offers music, food and drinks. Yet there is something very different about this event. On Saturday, August 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., adults will rule the zoo. They will have their turn to pet stingrays and enjoy the animals, and they’ll be able to do it listening to live music, sipping a cocktail, and munching on delicious appetizers from area restaurants. To the guest, Saturday Night Alive will be fun, hilarious and sometimes even eye-opening. To the John Ball Zoo and WGVU, the co-host of Saturday Night Alive, the event will be a valuable fundraiser that will support future children’s programs both on-air and at the zoo. Also special about this event is the out-of-the-ordinary adult zoo tours. The favorite, “Odd & Unusual Animal Mating Behaviors,” will be offered a few times during the event. Expert “Kiss-n-Tell” Kristi Mumbrue will escort guests through the aquarium and Treasure of Tropics building, highlighting some of the extraordinary and remarkable “romantic tactics” of the animals. Also on hand for one-of-a-kind zoo tours will be Mountain Marv (Legends & Myths) and No-No Nancy (Scoop on Poop and Other Gross Facts About Animals). Two music stages will feature the Evidence Jazz Group and Brian VanderArk (formerly of Verve Pipe). There will be appetizers from 10 area restaurants, including Indulgence, Jimmy’s Ribs, Las Vegas Cheesecake, On the Boarder and Shiraz Grille, to name a few. A cash bar will also be provided. Saturday Night Alive is a ticketed, private event. Tickets are only $25 ($20 for Zoo and WGVU members), and are available by logging on to www.wgvu.org or by calling 1-800-442-2771. The event takes place at John Ball Zoo, 1300 W. Fulton, one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids. You must be 21 or older to attend.