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Our Community

March 2015   

In This Issue

Superintendent's Message


News & Events


Student Spotlight


Education in Action


Partner in Education

Partners in Education

Learn more and order your tickets online today!
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Learn more and register here!


View current community events and opportunities


TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,


I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the Board of Education to lead TCAPS. I will continue to work tirelessly to advocate for children and our schools and I will listen to and seek input from our parents, staff and stakeholders. Together, we can ensure our school district is a point of pride for our community. Thank you for the opportunity to continue working on behalf of our region’s learners. I look forward to seeing you in our schools and around town.


I wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable break.









Paul Soma


Traverse City Area Public Schools


Superintendent Selection


The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, March 23, 2015 and selected Paul Soma as Superintendent of Schools.

TCAPS Calendar Reminders


Upcoming schedule for Traverse City Area Public Schools:


  • Thursday, March, 26th - Half day for students and a full day for staff
  • Friday, March 27th - No school for students and a full day for staff
  • Monday, March 30th - Monday, April 6th - Spring Break
  • Tuesday, April 7th - School resumes

Crosstown Campus 10k—Saturday, May 2nd

The second annual Crosstown Campus 10K – sponsored by the TCAPS Alumni Association – will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, beginning at 8:00 a.m. at West Senior High School.


The Crosstown Campus 10K is a great opportunity for TCAPS alumni, staff, families and the community to come together to enjoy a fun event. You can participate as a runner, volunteer or event sponsor.


All proceeds will benefit the Students in Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), which helps hundreds of area students each year who lack fixed, regular and adequate housing. Visit to register, volunteer or review a course map.

Community Events & Resources


Looking for something to do? Check out the TCAPS Community Events & Resources page! There you will find student enrichment opportunities, family-friendly events, services, and support groups available to families in our community. Visit

Local Harvest of the Month


March: Dried Beans


Dried beans are part of the “Legume” family, a class of plants that produce seeds, or “fruits” including dried beans, jicama, field peas, lentils, and peanuts. Legumes grow underground, while the surface plant blooms with flowers. Dried beans provide protein, fiber, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc) and folate.


Most people buy dried beans in cans. If you haven’t tried soaking them yourself or using a pressure cooker, try it! The links below provide guidance on how to use a pressure cooker, cook with legumes, and learn fun new facts.

Bean & Legume Recipes

Fun Facts About Beans

Pressure Cooker Tips


April: Frozen Fruits


Local produce can be hard to find in April. Luckily, we have frozen options. At TCAPS schools, we are able to get local frozen fruits and vegetables through Cherry Capital Foods and Goodwill Industries.


Goodwill Industries’ “Farm to Freezer” program also makes locally produced frozen fruits and vegetables available at several area grocery stores. [List of participating stores]


TC West’s Model United Nations Team Wins 10th Best Prepared School Award

West Senior High School Honors Model United Nations team.


The Traverse City West Senior High School Honors Model United Nations Team was recognized at the Mid-American Model United Nations (MAMUN) Conference held at the Kalamazoo Radisson Plaza from March 10-14, 2015. The team received a number of awards, including its 10th straight Best Prepared School Award, the highest honor given to a team at the conference, as well as awards for Best Delegation in the General Assembly and Best Delegation in the Economic Social Plenary.


MAMUN is the largest Model UN conference in the Midwest with more than 600 students from 30 schools competing each year.


Members of the TC West Honors Model UN Team


Jack Archer Natalie Hammond Jacob Renaud
Anna Bahle William Hutchinson Alex Reynolds
Emma Bixby Dana Kjeldgaard Anna Roth
Betsy Borre Eric Kolarik Allison Shaughnessy
Eva Brunetti Trent Kolbusz Noah Springer
Sophia Carmichael Kieran Laursen Alex Tokie
Mario Cassem Haley LeFluer Ben Traines
Zach Crewes Chloe Love Emily Tyler
Tyler Cypher Jerry Marek John Urquhart
Justin Edick Connor Mayer Carl Vanderklipp
Sam Elmi Jackson Mort Sam VanHoorne
Kyle Flynn Kayla Norris Paris Wagner
Mateusa Gapinski Collin Oosse Zach Watson
Megan Gronek Maddy Porter Garret Williams
Quinn Hall Dani Priest Colby Winter
Marissa Hammond David Ransom Faith Zagore


Hall of Fame

Charles N. Rennie – Advisor from Traverse City West Senior High School and former delegate from Traverse City Central High School was inducted into the Model U.N. Hall of Fame.

Eastern Elementary Stars Launch Rocket Reading Program

Eastern Elementary School students celebrate March is Reading Month.


The two-week long “Rocket Reading Program” at Eastern Elementary School challenged students to read each day. Classrooms tracked their progress toward reading goals and the winning classroom was awarded a personal teleconference with NASA! Program events included “Read Around the Halls” where students read with classmates and staff and “Dress Like Your Favorite Character Day.” Eastern families also donated new or gently used books, which will be given to a local charity, and classrooms voted on their favorite book. The winning titles were announced by members of the student Library Club at an assembly held on March 24th.

Eastern Elementary School students celebrate reading during their Rocket Reading assembly.

Westwoods Elementary School “Wax Museum”


Students at Westwoods Elementary School held a “Wax Museum” on March 25th for parents and the community. Students dressed in character and presented information about a famous person they chose to research. Student presentations included information about the person’s life, a presentation and photos/illustrations. Do you recognize these famous faces?

Albert Einstein

Frida Kahlo

Walt Whitman

Helen Keller

CHS and WSH Student Senates Raise Funds for the Community


The West Senior High School and Central High School Student Senates hosted the first ever Central-West Dance in January. The dance raised more than $1500, which will be donated to Pete’s Place/Child & Family Services. Pete’s Place is a shelter for youth ages 14-17. It provides a safe, supportive place for area youth to seek shelter and assistance.


FIRST Robotics Competition: Road to the State Finals

Central High School's FIRST robotics team, Raptors, qualify for state finals..


More than 300 First Robotics Competition (FRC) teams from across the state are striving to qualify for the Michigan FRC State Championship. Each team competes at two district events and earns points based on performance in the qualification and elimination matches. Points are also given for awards earned by teams in areas like innovation and team spirit. The results of the final three weeks of district events will determine who qualifies for the FRC State Championship. The FRC State Championship will be held April 8-11, 2015 in Grand Rapids at the Deltaplex Arena.


As it gets closer to the final competition, two members of the Central High School Raptors robotics team answer questions about their quest for the championship.


Alex Anderson

FIRST Robotics Team 1711, The RAPTORS


Q: Now that you are on the road to the state finals, how are you preparing?


A: We are doing both robotics and logistics preparation. We are adding the component to our robot and currently designing it. And for states we are also organizing our award presentations and travel planning.


Q: Are you nervous about the finals?


A: Very, but excited as well. We think our robot truly has a lot of potential to do well at states. There are going to be a lot of tough teams there, but we are excited to see how our robot is going to perform in matches.


Q: What has been the most memorable part about being a Raptor?


A: Just being able to be a part of a team, see four robots be built from the ground up, and see how our various members over the years have dealt with these challenges.


Q: What advice do you have for younger students thinking about joining a VexIQ team?


A: Get involved! It is a ton of fun and a great learning experience being on a robotics team—and it is even more fun and more educational if you are a large participant in building, design, etc.


Alycia Gerber

Co-Captain, FIRST Robotics Team 1711, The RAPTORS


Q: Now that you are on the road to the state finals, how are you preparing?


A: We are making minor adjustments to the robot, including potentially adding a "bin grabber" so that we can more effectively get the recycling bins from the middle of the field. We are also preparing for a presentation we need to make for the Engineering Inspiration Award. It is something we won at our district competition here in Traverse City, and at the next level of competition we are required to make a presentation.


Q: Are you nervous about the finals?


A: No, not exactly. More excited to see how we respond to the tough competition. The top teams in Michigan are all really impressive, and we want to be one of those teams. I can't wait to see how we perform.


Q: What has been the most memorable part about being a Raptor?


A: All of the hard work that we put into making this possible. The late nights, the brainstorming sessions, as well as all of the fun we've had at competitions, has been awesome. Being on the team has given me great experience as a leader and working with others, as well as solving problems. As a senior, I couldn't have asked for a better 4 years on the team.


Q: What advice do you have for younger students thinking about joining a VexIQ team?


A: Do it! You won't regret it. The skills you gain, as well as the fun you have working with others to solve a problem is irreplaceable.


Let’s All Do the NMC BBQ May 17th—Tickets Available Online Now


Learn more and order your tickets online today!

The Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) BBQ draws in more than 10,000 hungry revelers each year on average, and raises about $40,000 for special projects around the college.


Last year’s funds supported seven projects, including equipment needed for the Nursing Department’s simulation lab. Items for the lab included demonstration tables and stools, a newborn infant dummy, pulse oximeters, shelving units for storage and a prompt dummy.


This year’s barbeque will be held on Sunday, May 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on NMC's main campus. It will feature the same great menu items as in years past, including buffalo burgers, hot dogs and sides, provided courtesy of Oleson’s Food Stores.


This year’s event will also help support the TCAPS Peer to Peer Mentoring program. The program creates opportunities for student mentors to engage with peers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students work with each other on a weekly basis, creating a consistent, comfortable environment for students to build their skills.


For every ticket purchased online under the “Buy Tickets To Support TCAPS" category before 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15th, one dollar will be donated to the Peer to Peer program.


Let’s all do the NMC Barbecue! To purchase your ticket, visit: (click the tickets link, then select “Buy Tickets to Support TCAPS” to donate $1 to TCAPS Peer to Peer mentoring program).


April is Autism Awareness Month. Learn more at:

Sports Physicals

It is coming up on sports physical season. As a reminder the Youth Health & Wellness Center (YHWC), part of the Grand Traverse County Health Department, does sports and comprehensive physicals year round for youth ages 10-21.


YHWC is open all summer long and can see your child for a comprehensive sports physical before the fall sports tryouts begin! You don’t need to wait until the season is about to start, a sports physical given any time after April 15th is good for the entire school year.


Schedule an appointment for your child for the months of April, May & June and mention this article to receive a $5 discount (now only $15) on the cash price of a physical (and depending on insurance plan and other factors you may qualify for a free physical).

Youth Health & Wellness Center

Office hours 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday

Call for an appointment: (231) 922-6416

Walk-ins welcome if time is available

YHWC is a Medicaid enrollment site and can help you get medical coverage for your child.


About the Author: Chris Roggen is the Adolescent Health Supervisor at Youth Health & Wellness Center.

Kids Up North E-Newsletter


MyNorth Media has partnered with Munson Medical Center to help reduce childhood obesity in Northern Michigan. Kids Up North promotes healthy, active lifestyles for kids. Each issue you’ll find everything from recipes to fun ideas for active things to do. Check out the March issue for healthy fun: and sign up for the free monthly email newsletter at

TCAPS Partner In Education Program: An opportunity to support schools, teachers, programs, teams and clubs!


The TCAPS Partner In Education (PIE) program works to connect community members, businesses and organizations to our schools through sponsorships, financial contributions, in-kind donations or givebacks. Your sponsorship or donation can benefit the school, teacher, program, team or club of your choice. Sponsor space is available at all TCAPS schools, Thirlby Field stadium, electronically via our e-newsletter and new this year, the TCAPS Food Truck!


Contact Karyn Hertel at 231-933-5654 / or visit to learn more.


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Traverse City Area Public Schools

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