Champions of Wayne Blog
Below is a letter from Alexus, a senior at Wayne Memorial and a participant in Champions of Wayne, to her former mentor, Darcy DeRoo.
Dear Ms. DeRoo,
As many people may know, Wayne Memorial is very lucky to have such an amazing program like Champions of Wayne. The Champions program has pushed many students to meet their goals, academic and otherwise, (which is the primary goal of the program), but Champions has also drawn mentors and mentees extremely close.
I probably will never forget my first year at Wayne. I wasn’t in the Champions program yet but it was when I first met my mentor, Ms. Darcy Deroo, a.k.a you. You didn’t start with all the other teachers, (my first semester Algebra I teacher moved to a different district) so you became the long-term sub. I do have to say, sitting in class with a bad teenage attitude, dark clothes, dyed black hair over my eyes, and heavy eyeliner, people wouldn’t expect us to click. You being the complete opposite to me with your optimistic attitude, blonde hair, and colorful personality, but we did. I think it’s pretty safe to say we both had a rough first year at Wayne. In your defense, being a new teacher halfway into the year was definitely an enormous challenge (especially with the freshman in my class). But through every disrespectful remark, countless people not doing their homework, and the obvious people not paying attention during your teaching, you never lost your sense of humor or your optimism. That was probably the thing that drew me to wanting to stay after school with you. I started staying after class to have conversations with you, started coming back after school to do homework. You are probably the biggest reason I came out of my shell of pessimism. It became so much fun to just go talk to you and doing Algebra that Algebra eventually became fun, which carries on in me still today. You felt like more of an older sister to me than a teacher.
So when the summer passed and 10th grade started and other teachers were talking about the Champions program, I knew who I wanted my mentor to be, even though I didn’t have you as a teacher. We just grew closer, and I started helping students in your classes after school with you. We started having weekly meetings, and you completely pushed me in my journalism career in the school newspaper. We even did a commercial for the Champions program together for the Chevy website, which was probably the most interesting thing I’ve ever done. Things were great and I met my Champions goal both semesters you were my mentor. 10th grade came to an end and throughout the summer we stayed in touch. You sent me a notebook and pens for meeting my goal and told me not to stop writing no matter what. I took the advice very seriously and am now pursuing a career in journalism and have been writing almost everyday in the same notebook you sent me. I was excited of course to go back to school with our meetings and rejoining Champions with you as my mentor once again, when you told me you were moving to Denver, Colorado for a new job. I was devastated but I figured it must be a really good opportunity for you, which I was excited for.
Now I just finished the first semester of 11th grade without you, and it was hard. I had no one to complain to with all my new classes and new life changes. I was really confused with what classes to take next year, and no one to talk to about them. A lot of different things have happened. A lot has changed in my life and I’ve done so many new things in and outside of school. I haven’t been able to see or talk to you since the summer, which is so not fair! I miss you as my mentor, even though I have a new mentor it’s not the same. I wish you would come back to Wayne.
For seven semesters, Gillian Abicht has been working toward earning a 4.0 GPA, and she’s finally on track to do it. “I was absolutely sick of missing it by just a little bit,” Gillian said. “It was always one class, and I remember staying after school so many times to get extra help from teachers.”
This year, Gillian credits a lot of her success to two things: her commitment to senior year and her new champion, Ms. Martha Ware. “We’ve been ‘buds’ since freshman year,” Gillian said while laughing. “I’ve connected with her really well. She’s always been a mentor to me, so I thought that this year I should make it official and ask her to be my champion.”
While she used to feel intimidated by her goal, Gillian decided that this year she would work as hard as possible to make it happen. She is determined to graduate from Wayne Memorial by finally earning that long sought after 4.0. While some seniors choose to take easier classes or fall victim of “senioritis,” Gillian remains committed to challenging herself. Enrolled in several advanced classes as well as Sociology 100 and Psychology 101 (classes offered through Wayne Memorial’s partnership with Wayne County Community College) she plans to continue to challenge herself for the rest of the year.
According to her champion, “Gillian is strong young lady who is committed to making her goal. She is a pleasure to have in class because she has a great sense of humor and doesn't allow others to interfere with her education. With her strength and determination I know she will achieve almost any goal she puts her mind too.”
Looking ahead, Gillian recently committed to attend Defiance College in Ohio. Once there, she plans to play soccer and study athletic or physical training. This past school year, she was the kicker for the Wayne Memorial’s varsity football team.
Ever heard the saying “you never know how much you love something until it’s gone?” I never thought I’d feel this way about high school. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss waking up at 6am every morning, well some mornings in my case (senioritis, and junioritis for that matter was a very real thing).
Now that I’m a college student, I realize just how easy we had it in high school, I’d do anything to go back to days with no homework or only having to read a chapter a night. I can’t believe I used to complain about reading one chapter. Missing a day in high school was no big deal and I’d catch on easily the day I’d return, but if I miss one 50-minute lecture at Michigan State I feel like I’ve missed a whole month of classes and spend countless hours in the learning resource center trying to figure out just how the professor seemed to make it through a whole textbook in 50 minutes, honestly it’s ridiculous.
Although it may seem very small, I miss my teachers knowing my name. In a lecture with 300 other students, there is no time for a professor to get to know all of you, let alone learn names. I miss being close with my teachers, just to know that someone cares and wants to see you succeed.
As I see the 2017 seniors of Wayne Memorial celebrate their last moments as a Zebra, like their last homecoming, last football game, etc. I realize just how important these moments were for myself. These may seem like small things again, but I encourage all seniors not to take these moments for granted, I won’t say these are the best moments of your life, but you are definitely forming memories that will last a lifetime. I know it’s hard but take time to enjoy your last moments walking the hallways of Wayne Memorial and enjoying each other’s company instead of counting the days until graduation, you will miss these moments next year when you’re prepping for mid-terms, serving our country, or whatever you’re destined to be great at.
Attend every game possible, establish relationships with faculty, staff, and your fellow classmates, join a new club or sport, spend as much time as possible with your closest friends, and most importantly live in the moment. When May comes around and your finishing up your very last final exams as a high school student you’ll want to be able to say that you have no regrets and that you did everything you wanted to in high school.
Dream big, apply for your dream school, and as many scholarships as possible (seriously, student loans are no joke). Get excited for college, because it truly is everything it’s made out to be, exciting, fun, and stressful, but don’t let that consume you, you’ll get there, I promise, we all do, enjoy these last moments as a carefree high school senior. Good luck!
Until next blog…
P.S. A special shout out to the educators at Wayne Memorial who made my high school experience a great one, you all truly have changed my life for the better, Sean Galvin, Andrew Dodds, Theresa Weaver, Meghan King, Katie Sullivan, Martha Ware, Amanda Baker, and Katherin Lawson-Rhodes, thank you.
Savannah, a junior at Wayne Memorial, has decided to go above and beyond a 4.0 GPA. She's collaborating with two friends, Oli and Olivia, to create a biweekly podcast called Rambles and Tangents.
Arion Logan is a 2016 graduate of Wayne Memorial who has overcome significant obstacles to get where she is. Her persistence in pursuing the Spartan Advantage Scholarship, which is awarded to economically disadvantaged students, has resulted in a full scholarship and a previously unforeseen array of opportunities. This is her story in her words.
Unless you’re some sort of math wiz, or the next Albert Einstein, you’ve probably faced a hardship in math at least once throughout your lifetime. Rather it be elementary arithmetic, or high school calculus, math can be extremely difficult. For me, math has always been something I’ve struggled with. I realized in high school that math was not something that would be easy for me, and thus began my struggle of all things math. Although I hate math, I choose a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) major anyway because I have a passion for science. Ultimately I want to become an anesthesiologist, a doctor who administers anesthesia to patients before a major procedure.
As a freshman at Michigan State University, there is a requirement to take a placement exam to determine what math class you will be put into. After taking my placement exam I was put into MTH 103, college algebra. Although I was proud of myself for this accomplishment because I tested out of the intermediate level math classes, I was afraid that I wouldn’t do well.
Now, 5 weeks into the semester, and MTH 103, I have failed 2 quizzes and am questioning if a STEM major is for me, or if I will ever do well in math. The answer to both of those questions is yes. I will not change my major just because a bump in the road occurs. Also, I will find a way to do well in math, whatever it takes. I am at Michigan State to succeed in all things I do, and that will happen.
I have came to the conclusion that math is and will always be difficult for me, and it takes more time for me to understand it, but with a little extra work I will make it. It will take many hours of studying, tutoring sessions, determination, and countless tears, but math will not be my downfall this semester, or any other semester for that matter.
Until next blog…..
Sharon Carpenter is a 2016 graduate of Wayne Memorial High School. At the end of her senior year, she was uncertain of where she would attend college and how she would afford it. Now, she is attending Michigan State University and receiving a full scholarship.
By Sharon Carpenter
It is official, I am settled in and a happy spartan. I have last blogged about my internal feelings on the way to state, but now it is time to do an update.
Yes, the left bunk was mine. Kaylie (my roommate) and I did not have to do a rock paper scissor show down, she just plaining called the right side. When i first walked in Kaylie was not there. I think that worked out the best because as girls we packed way too much to be unpacking at the same time. I noticed the set up of the room was most definitely not cutting it. So I had a feeling of being rushed. I know it might of been a little hectic for my grandparents, dad, and brother due to the fact that I was giving orders. I began to feel a little stressed but I got through it. Kaylie finally got there and we both unpacked our clothes and started to re-arrange the room to our liking. Both of our families were there to help us move heavy things and put together dressers and the couch. The family saying goodbye was pretty hard. Yes both my grandparents cried that day, which of course made me cry. I just told myself that Its my time shine, meaning do well in school and create my own life. When we were all organized and settled in my stress faded off a cliff and my excitement increased. Kaylie and I might have had chair races with girls that lived on our floor, but I will not get into deep detail about that.
My first day of class went very well. The day before class I made sure to do a run through of my classes. I woke up on time and got to class about ten minutes early. This is still currently happening, which I believe helps me get ready for the hour or two hours. My favorite class currently would be my fisheries and wildlife lab class. In this class we travel and go to nature centers, lakes and even went to a prairie a couple weeks ago. I am a hands on learner and being in this lab class is an advantage to me. All my classes are very well. In high school there was a lot of times when college students would come in and tell us seniors about what they wished they did differently their freshman year. Their advice always stayed in my thoughts. So for the past month and a half I have been using their advice and found so many great resources and I feel more confident as well.
College is a lot different than high school. Two weekends ago I went to a high school football game and I started to reminisce of my high school football game days. I watched the student section from a distance and realized, that was me last year. It was so crazy to me, it felt like I was another person looking from the outside in.
Time management is something that sticks with me. I know I wrote it in the last article but it is very important. At college the workload is a lot heavier than in high school. Using time management I can successfully get things done and not have to stress. Stress is common in college, and is something I want to try and avoid. I notice stress can change people to do different things. I believe as long as my time management is organized then my stress probability will decrease.
I am currently in the process of getting a job in the mechanical engineering building. Which is going to change my schedule of free just a tad. I am very excited to be working again. I like to keep busy and working will help me maintain a good schedule. I am also in the fisheries and wildlife club, and apart of the fisheries committee. This club is going to help me network and gain great opportunities as well as having fun.
I am very happy here at Michigan State, although the football team is not doing so hot lately I still bleed green and white. Thank you for all the people who have supported my past blog, and hope you enjoy this one as well.
Until next blog...
Sean Galvin is Executive Director of Champions of Wayne and makes a point establish a new good habit each semester so he can keep up with the impressive feats of Wayne Memorial students. While his accomplishments of earning a Ph.D. and running ten marathons (and counting) are impressive, he has eaten like a total loser for upwards of 35 years and is embarrassed (as he should be). This is his story:
By Sean Galvin
Today begins day #9 of the 14 day no sugar/carbs challenge. Here's what I've learned thus far:
1. This isn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. By loading up on everything I WILL be eating each Sunday, there's no need to think about eating anything else. I have a plan and I stick to it.
2. Days 2-4 were relatively uncomfortable. Fatigued, sweaty, bloated, and forced to use the men's room with startling frequency, my low point came when I improperly cooked whitefish on my Foreman grill, watched it flake off into little pieces when attempting to move it to my plate, and then just started barehanding flakes of fish off the countertop into my mouth because I was ravenous from a lack of sugar/carbs.
3. My biggest challenges: evening cravings--relatively easily overcome with a steady supply of nuts, and ice water is more satisfying than you'd think.
4. I had a (full-sized) spare tire going before I started this: As a habitual marathon runner, I assumed I was fit as can be...not the case. After 8 days, I can see the fat falling off of my belly, and my previously-unnoticed love handles are rapidly diminishing as well.
5. I sleep better. And wake up with a clearer head.
6. Waking up is easier. Oh yes.
7. I'm maintaining steady energy throughout the day: No more spikes, crashes, needs for an afternoon coffee or nap.
8. Increased ability to focus. My productivity wheelhouse, normally 8am to 11am, now extends well into the afternoon.
9. Biggest life hack I've figured out thus far: bulletproof coffee. I've come up with my own variation, which is coffee with a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, heavy whipping cream, and coconut oil. This morning routine provides me with 500 calories (none from carbs, obviously) and a steady source of energy throughout the day.
10. Routines and "staples" have been key to early success. Unless I've gotten creative, the standard operating procedures are:
I see you, bro
Will I continue this strict diet after the mandatory 14 days?
While I refuse to answer this question now, I can promise the following:
1. I will carry an increased awareness of what enters my body from now on
2. Permanent diet changes are imminent
3. There will be cheat days (goodbye to pizza forever? I think not.)
4. I don't really have any cravings anymore, and I'm into this steady energy and clearheadedness
Stay tuned for my post-14 days wrap up and plan for the future!