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My Town: Kalamazoo marks a decade of keeping 'The Promise’

My Town: Kalamazoo marks a decade of keeping 'The Promise’

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This year, "The Kalamazoo Promise" community -- where anonymous donors put college education within the reach of every child here -- is celebrating a decade and nearly 4,000 scholarships thus far.

Kalamazoo Public Schools is the district where all high school graduates can count on full-tuition scholarships to any community college, public university or, new this year, a select group of private colleges in Michigan.

The Kalamazoo Promise is the famed initiative that sparked a national movement. Today, more than four dozen communities around the country have sought community transformation through free tuition strategies modeled at some level on the Kalamazoo effort. Most recently, President Barack Obama launched an initiative promoting free tuition for community colleges.

WMU Fraternity “Freezin’ for a Reason” Fundraiser, February 24-26

WMU Fraternity “Freezin’ for a Reason” Fundraiser, February 24-26

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KALAMAZOO, Mich.-- Members of Western Michigan University’s Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity will camp out for 48 consecutive hours to raise funds for Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity, February 24-26. The current weather forecast is calling for highs in the 20s, sub-zero lows, and snow showers. The ATO brothers hope to raise $3,000 and are prepared for the weather, they claim, because they know they will be “freezin’ for a reason.”

The campout will take place at the flag poles in front of the Wesley Foundation from noon on Tuesday, February 24 to noon on Thursday, February 26. The community can visit the campers, learn more about Habitat for Humanity, and, of course, make a donation.

My Town: WMU-Grand Rapids research highlights barriers for women leaders in social work

My Town: WMU-Grand Rapids research highlights barriers for women leaders in social work

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 23, 2015 – Research surrounding barriers for women leaders in social work was recently presented by professors Dr. Barbara Barton and Dr. Dee Sheerwood, along with WMU-Grand Rapids student Courtney Dunsmore, at the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference in Las Vegas.

The paper, “Falling Silent: Analyzing the Voices of Women Leaders in the Social Work Profession,” qualitatively explores how 10 women experienced support and barriers in their development as leaders within nonprofit organizations, higher education or governmental agencies.

My Town Kalamazoo: Marti Hearron's final gift to WMU establishes a fine arts professorship

My Town Kalamazoo: Marti Hearron's final gift to WMU establishes a fine arts professorship

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After decades of joyfully supporting the fine arts and students at Western Michigan University, the late Martha "Marti" Hearron of Kalamazoo made one final major gift to be revealed only after her death.

Hearron, a renowned biostatistician for the Upjohn Co., died Nov. 29. Her estate included a $2 million gift to WMU that will establish the Arthur E. and Martha S. Hearron College of Fine Arts Distinguished Professorship. It also will provide funding for some of her favorite arts programs as well as endow a new Medallion Scholarship for students in the fine arts.

The gift, and the fact that the endowed professorship is the first in College of Fine Arts history, were announced Feb. 5 by Dean Daniel Guyette at the college's annual Dance Advocacy Award ceremony that was part of the Winter Gala Dance Concert.

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU senior named a finalist in international trombone competition

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU senior named a finalist in international trombone competition

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 A Western Michigan University senior has been named a finalist in an elite international trombone competition and is headed to Spain.

Evan Clifton, of Howell, Michigan, has been named a finalist in the Donald Yaxley Bass Trombone Competition and will travel to Valencia, Spain, in July to compete for a 2,000 euro gift certificate toward a new trombone at the 2015 International Trombone Festival.

My Town Kalamazoo: Local Optimist Club to sponsor oratorical contest for students

My Town Kalamazoo: Local Optimist Club to sponsor oratorical contest for students

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The Breakfast Optimist Club of Kalamazoo (BOCK) is encouraging area students to speak their minds about the topic: "How my Optimism will help me press on to ‘Greater Achievements of the Future’" as part of the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for the 2014-2015 year. It is scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at the Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors (GKAR) auditorium, 5830 Venture Park Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.

The Optimist Club will judge the local students’ speeches based on content and presentation to determine the top winners. Winners will receive medallions and prize money. The winning speeches will be sent to the zone level, and possibly the district level for the opportunity to win college scholarships.

Students under the age of 19, who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent, are eligible to participate.

My Town: No school, no problem! Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

My Town: No school, no problem!  Four tips to keep your student learning over the holidays

During the winter break from school, many students will pack away their books and turn their attention away from learning. 

To help ensure your students are still learning, statewide virtual learning school, Michigan Connections Academy, is sharing activities you can do as a family to keep your young students busy and their brains active over the break.

1.       Practice math while baking holiday cookies. Students struggle with fractions and always want to know when they will “use math in real life.” The perfect time to practice fractions is while you are baking cookies. Two-thirds of a cup plus 1/3 of a cup equals one whole cup, which your child will see as you work on making those cookies, helping develop a real life connection to what they are learning in school.