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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

----NEWS RELEASE--

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.

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

My Town: Schools awarded funding to take students to art hot spots

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Thousands of students interested in Michigan’s cultural hot spots will now have a set of wheels to get there.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs this week announced the recipients of its latest round of grants for its Arts & Culture Trek grant program.  The organization is awarding $60,000 to 161 schools across the state, to pay for field trip transportation.  Each grant is worth up to $500 and must be used between Jan. 5, 2015 and March 29, 2015.

"A record-breaking number of Michigan K-12 teachers applied for an Arts & Culture Trek Grant this year, and the vast majority of recipients were awarded the full amount they requested," said Marianne Dorais, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts. "From Detroit to Kalamazoo to Flint to Marquette, this program will serve thousands of students from 42 counties across the state."

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

My Town Kalamazoo: WMU players trade basketballs for books

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students at Paramount Charter Academy recently welcomed some special guests during reading time.

Eight members of the Western Michigan University Women’s Basketball team read to students Nov. 21, in honor of the school’s college day.  The athletes also shared their reasons for attending WMU and joining the team.  Each student took home a WMU sports poster.

Paramount Charter Academy serves students in young 5s through eighth grade, focusing on a college-bound curriculum.

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

GREENVILLE, Mich.—School arts programs in Greenville and Kalamazoo are getting a financial boost from a new program.

Greenville Middle School and Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo are two of 43 schools in the state to get a grant of up to $1,200 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Michigan Youth Arts.   The funding will be used toward buying or repairing classroom materials used for the arts, including visual arts, music programs, writing and media arts. 

“Applicants from across the state requested a total of $128,000 in grant funding, which exceeded well beyond our expectations, said Marianne Dorais, executive director of Michigan Youth Arts. “While this highlights the success of the program’s debut, it also shines a light on the increasing need for funding within arts education classrooms.”

My Town: South-Town development the focus of Kalamazoo PlacePlan

My Town: South-Town development the focus of Kalamazoo PlacePlan

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Improvements may be on the way to the city’s transportation system.

The city’s PlacePlan project calls for a sustainable network of biking, walking and transit around Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new healthy living campus.  The plan created by community members also focuses on opportunities to grow the farmers market.

About $42 million in new development is already planned for the South-Town area, including a new culinary institute and food innovation building for Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

“Once the campus is open we will hope to have developers saying, ‘Hmm, these students are going to need housing and they’re probably going to want to eat and shop so maybe we should consider some residential units, mixed-use, and some new restaurants,” said Rebekah Kik, city planner for Kalamazoo