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My Town: Spring Lake High School students donate hundreds of toys

SPRING LAKE,  Mich. -- WZZM 13 is celebrating the end to yet another successful Toys for Tots School Spirit Challenge, thanks to an army of students scattered across West Michigan.

More than 40 schools participated in this year's drive, collecting more than 11,000 toys. Spring Lake High School is donating 250 toys to the cause.

For additional toy totals and videos, visit the WZZM 13 Toys for Tots page.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids hires school recruiters

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Diocese of Grand Rapids has hired two more people to ramp up enrollment for its Catholic schools.

Dan Plachta will serve as an admissions enrollment field consultant, guiding the diocese’s 29 schools in outreach and recruitment. While supporting current students, the diocese plans to focus on traditionally underserved groups who could take advantage of school tuition assistance, which is quadrupling to $1,000,000.

Plachta is an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament School (now All Saints Academy) and Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

“As a graduate of Catholic schools in the diocese, Dan brings a personal passion for the importance of Catholic education in West Michigan,” said David Faber, superintendent of Catholic schools.

My Town Grand Haven: GHHS announces new varsity football coach

My Town Grand Haven: GHHS announces new varsity football coach

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GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- Grand Haven High School Athletic Director Scott Robertson has confirmed that Interim Grand Haven Buccaneer Varsity Football Coach Jason Duram has been permanently hired as head coach.

"Jason did a great job leading the varsity team during this interim basis," Robertson says. "His passion for student athletes and commitment to developing a successful football program was key in our decision."

Duram, a GHHS social studies teacher, has been on the varsity coaching staff since 2003, before taking over as the interim head coach this past season.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is boosting tuition assistance for students, but time is running out to apply for it.

The deadline for applying for first round funding is Nov. 22.  The first round of grants will be announced in early February and distributed in early fall.

Bishop Walkowiak recently announced the Diocese is more than quadrupling tuition assistance, from $240,000 to $1 million each year.  The funding boost, made possible through donations and diocese scholarship accounts, is part of a three-year effort to make Catholic schools affordable to more families.  According to Private School Aid Service, even after all tuition assistance is distributed, Catholic school families still need $1.2 million a year.

The Aquinas College Foundation Announces $2.5 Million Gift From Wege Foundation


Gift to establish the nation’s first collegiate economicology program as envisioned by Peter Wege

Aquinas College and the Aquinas College Foundation today announced a $2.5 million gift from the Wege Foundation to establish the nation’s first-ever economicology program at the collegiate level; which the late Peter Wege envisioned for Aquinas. Peter Wege coined the term economicology to define the balance necessary between economy and ecology. He believed in the importance of educating the public about how a prosperous economy depends on maintaining a healthy environment.

“The Wege Foundation has long been a generous friend and supporter of Aquinas College,” said Juan Olivarez, Aquinas president.

School of Choice for Teachers

School of Choice for Teachers

Thanks to Schools of Choice programs in Michigan, students are afforded the opportunity to choose a school environment that best meets their learning needs. These programs also offer our state’s educators opportunities to teach in environments that are best suited for them. Just as some teachers flourish in a traditional school, there are those who prefer teaching at a virtual public school, such as Michigan Connections Academy, the school where I teach.

I work with an incredible team of teachers – they are state-certified, specially trained in online learning, recognized as Highly Qualified under the guidelines of the No Child Left Behind Act—and live in Michigan. In fact, even though we teach in a virtual school, more than 60 teachers travel to the school’s office in Lansing every day to lead online instruction for more than 1,700 students across Michigan in grades kindergarten through 12.

Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids Awarded AdvancED Accreditation

Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids Awarded AdvancED Accreditation

Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids, a “blended” tuition-free public high school for students in grades 9-12, has been awarded accreditation from the national accreditation commission, AdvancED. The accreditation report praised Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids for its ability to: effectively use technology to align student schedules based on needs; provide students with immediate feedback on assignments; and to operate the school in an efficient manner for student success.

“Receiving the AdvancED accreditation demonstrates our commitment to excellence and the high quality of our school,” said Dan McMinn, Nexus Academy of Grand Rapids principal.