The teacher received a Port Huron High School Impact Award – The Voice

Several exciting things have happened recently in the Port Huron Area School District.

The Michigan College Access Network recently awarded its Ombudsman Award to four school counselors statewide, including Brandon Wardlow, who is currently a long-term substitute teacher of mathematics at Holland Woods Middle School.

Wardlaw earned recognition for his work through AdviseMI at Port Huron High School for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, district officials said in a news release.

MCAN recognizes the leadership and service of college counselors and coaches who serve throughout the state, and this award honors a member of every Michigan corps—AdviseMI, Michigan State College Advisory Corps, Michigan College Advisory Corps, and College Completion Corps—for their on-the-field efforts to reach “sixty in 30″ according to the statement.

The Sixty by 30 movement aims for 60% of Michigan residents to have a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2030, according to micollageaccess.org.

“This award recipients have a passion for reaching and succeeding in college, have persevered with challenges as they engage in their year(s) of service and proudly represent AmeriCorps to students, families, and the public,” the statement reads.

Through Wardlow’s efforts, Port Huron High School has been recognized by MCAN for being one of the top 10 schools in Michigan for improving its free application of the Federal Student Aid Completion Rate.

The statement states, “The FAFSA form is a critical component that students must complete in order to make them eligible to receive any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college.”

In March 2021, Port Huron High School Principal Mike Palmer acknowledged key supporters of the initiative and its success as Wardlaw, Cliff Thomason, Kevin Totti, Marion Stewart, and Tyrone Burrell.

“We are very proud of our students and the great results we achieved this year completing the FAFSA,” Palmer said in the statement. “Thanks to the College Counselor, funding from the PHS Endowment Fund and Athletic Factory support and their partnership, this is an amazing achievement for our school. It sets our students up for success in funding opportunities before they even begin college.”

Robotics programs offered to all students

Thanks to grants from the Port Huron Schools Scholarship Fund and the Michigan Department of Education, PHASD now offers robotics programs to all students.

Recently, the PHS Endowment Fund awarded $6,898 to boost robotics offerings in elementary and middle schools, district officials said in a news release. Prior to recent grants, the district has featured a FIRST Robotics team at Unified High School – Mecanum Knights Team 3667 – and programs at STEAM Academy at Woodrow Wilson, Michigamme, and Thomas Edison Elementary Schools.

Thanks to grants from the Port Huron Schools Grant Fund and the Michigan Department of Education, the Port Huron School District now offers robotics programs to all students.  (Courtesy of Team 3667 - Mecanum Knights/Facebook)
Thanks to grants from the Port Huron Schools Grant Fund and the Michigan Department of Education, the Port Huron School District now offers robotics programs to all students. (Courtesy of Team 3667 – Mecanum Knights/Facebook)

The MDE scholarship was contingent upon matching funds met. This has enabled the district to provide additional robotics programs to elementary and middle schools, as well as to update resources for existing programs.

“Every student has access to robotics programming this year,” Assistant Superintendent of Education Katherine Wollman said in the release. “This funding allows students at all levels to further pursue their interest in this field.”

The Mecanum Knights qualified for the premier tournament in Michigan during the 2021-2022 school year.

The lunch buddies program is back

The community-shared “Lunch Buddies” program, where community members can sign up to have lunch with and mentor students, is back at Woodrow Wilson’s STEAM Academy.

“The Lunch Buddies program was a popular and positively impactful program that our students really enjoyed before the pandemic,” said Sheila Eagle, Principal of the STEAM Academy, in a recent statement. “We hope community participants will return and are once again excited to support our students and build meaningful relationships as mentors.”

The commitment is one 25-minute lunch period each week or fortnight for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year. The staff at the STEAM Academy selects and pairs students and “buddies”.

Those interested in serving as buddies for lunch can contact the elementary school’s front office at 810-984-6530 or email Eagle at seagle@phasd.us.

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