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My Town Holland: "Big Read" grant to Hope College to support community program

My Town Holland: "Big Read" grant to Hope College to support community program

HOLLAND, Mich.- – A grant to Hope College through the “Big Read” program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will support a broad-based effort to encourage reading community-wide during the month of November.

"The Big Read,” which is managed by Arts Midwest, is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure.  Hope is one of only 77 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host a “Big Read” project between September 2014 and June 2015.

The Holland-area program will focus on “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee.  Hope is partnering with Herrick District Library, the Holland Museum, five area schools and others to organize reading groups and schedule a variety of related events throughout the month.

My Town Holland: Hope College seniors and graduates receive Fulbright Awards

My Town Holland: Hope College seniors and graduates receive Fulbright Awards

HOLLAND, Mich. – Three graduating Hope College seniors or recent graduates have received highly competitive awards through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Graduating seniors Susan Haigh of Carmel, Ind., and Steven Skawski of Elmhurst, Ill., have each received awards to teach abroad during the coming year.  Gretchen Baldwin, a 2012 graduate originally from Portage, has received an award to conduct research abroad during 2014-15.

Several Hope students or recent graduates have received the awards through the years, including four last year and a total of 22 since 2008.  In October of this past year, Hope was recognized by the program as a “U.S. Student Top Producer,” and was first in Michigan among bachelor’s institutions, for the number of students to receive Fulbright awards for 2013-14.

My Town: Ten local schools among most challenging in the state

My Town: Ten local schools among most challenging in the state

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Grand Rapids is home to one of the most challenging high schools in the Midwest, according to the Washington Post.

City High Middle School ranked fourth on the publication’s list of Michigan schools and is among the top two percent of high schools in the country.  The Washington Post based its rankings on the number college-level tests administered at the school in a single academic year, divided by the number of graduates that year.  City High Middle School has been consistently ranked among the top high schools in America.

The West Michigan schools that made this year’s list include:

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  It’s National Charter Schools Week and National Heritage Academies is celebrating a record number of applicants.

The charter school system says this year, so many children applied to NHA that 20,952 students were put on the wait list.  When it has more applicants than open seats, NHA uses a random lottery to determine who gets into its schools.

“We have experienced record numbers of applications and demand for our schools with wait lists of more than 2,000 students at some schools,” said National Heritage Academies President and CEO Chip Hurlburt. “We appreciate the support we receive from parents who feel so strongly about the quality school choice NHA provides.”

My Town Holland: Voters approve school funding proposals in two districts

My Town Holland: Voters approve school funding proposals in two districts

HOLLAND, Mich.—  Two school districts in Holland will get the funding they're asking for.

Tuesday night, voters overwhelmingly approved renewing Holland Public Schools'  operating millage for three years, by a 1,624-to-242 vote. The property tax will remain at 18 mills, generating approximately $8 million for the district in its first year, ensuring the district receives its per pupil foundation allowance.

West Ottawa Public Schools will also keep its operating millage at 18 mills this year.  Voters approved the proposed renewal by a 3,800-to-926 vote.  The district's $90 million bond proposal passed by a slightly smaller margin, 3,183 votes to 1,546 votes.   The bond will help cover the cost of school building upgrades, purchasing school buses, adding a new transportation facility and adding and developing playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities. 

My Town Holland: School funding proposals in two districts up for vote May 6

My Town Holland: School funding proposals in two districts up for vote May 6

HOLLAND, Mich.—  Voters will decide the future of two school districts in Holland when they head to the polls Tuesday, May 6.

Holland Public Schools is asking voters within the district to renew its operating millage for three years.  The property tax would remain at 18 mills, generating approximately $8 million for the district in its first year, ensuring the district receives its per pupil foundation allowance.

West Ottawa Public Schools is asking voters to approve a nearly $90 million bond proposal that would help cover the cost of school building upgrades, purchasing school buses, adding a new transportation facility and adding and developing playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities. The district is also asking voters to approve renewing its current operating millage of 18 mills for the year.

My Town Holland: Robotics team among the best in the world

My Town Holland: Robotics team among the best in the world

HOLLAND, Mich.--  Holland is home to one of the world’s best robotics teams.

The Holland C.H.A.O.S., Team 74 in the FIRST FRC Robotics league, celebrated a world championship title this past weekend.  The group partnered with three other teams from San Jose, California; Dallas, Texas and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan for the competition, held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  To see the full results, visit the FRC FIrst Robotics Competition page here.

More than 12,000 students from 38 countries competed in the three-day event, which put their engineering skills to the test.  The robotics challenges included throwing balls over a truss, catching balls and putting as many balls in goals as possible.