So many teachers have inspired career choices and life choices for their students over the years. For me, it was Brother Jim at Gabriel Richard High School, who introduced me to the wonderful world of marketing. I am sure each of our readers can instantly say who that special teacher was. This past month, I have seen so many heartfelt posts on Facebook about so many special teachers here in Trenton and many other communities Downriver.
It seems we are particularly fortunate in Trenton to have so many teachers who care enough to go over and beyond today’s curriculum. Our family has had the fortune of crossing paths with many teachers, coaches and administration that go that extra mile.
One teacher who had both of my boys in sixth grade has been incorporating a program into her curriculum for 40 years. I am sure you may know about syllabus papers that parents must sign with every new semester, but this educator assigned “parent homework!”
At first I sighed, “Great, one more thing to do,” but decided to do it, since it counted toward their grade. But this homework was a real wake-up call for me as she asked parents to actually describe their child. Things like: What type of student are they? How do they like school? What motivates them? What do they enjoy doing? What struggles are they dealing with? What aspirations do we have of them and what do they want out of life? It really made me as a parent reflect about the qualities my children might aspire to.
“It is interesting. Over the years I have learned how long a mother was in labor with my students, their favorite foods and some very private matters, I did not even ask for. But it really helps me to get to know my students.” Gail Vos said. “This is something I actually borrowed from Aaron Segedi.”
She then got another idea from retired teacher Helen Lipinski to take this concept a few steps further. Before students leave her class, they are asked to write a letter to themselves, a type of time capsule journal, that they will read when they are older.
“Helen had a system of file folders for every one of her students over a six-year period that she shared with me,” said Vos. “Every year I rotate the files and the graduating class members receives a letter from me, a little graduation gift and their letter from themselves. For the graduating class of 2000, I wrote and mailed a record 200 letters!”
The year my oldest son graduated from Trenton High School, he received the letter to himself and was really surprised and appreciated that Mrs. Vos even remembered him enough to save the letter. What a thoughtful and genuine gift for Trenton High School graduates who have had Mrs. Vos.
Before becoming an educator, Vos was a student at Eastern Michigan University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Eastern and received a special education degree from Madonna University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University. Vos has been married to her husband, Bruce, for 39 years. They have two sons, Justin and Bryan, both Trenton graduates. In her spare time she enjoys camping with her husband, being a grandmother to her four amazing grandchildren, reading, knitting, working on the computer and traveling.
Wouldn’t it be great if because of this article, Mrs. Vos and any other teachers received a few letters of how her thoughtfulness has affected a student’s career or life choices? Send to: Mrs. Gail Vos, Arthurs Middle School, 4000 Marian Dr., Trenton, MI 48183.
Kathy Kane is business manager and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 676-0850. Comments and story ideas also can be emailed to the Trib at email@example.com
Why is it that love is unconditional for babies, puppies and other small critters but not always for everyone else? What can we do as adults to be more lovable? What can we do to see everyone “in general” as more adorable? (read more…)
My son came home for the holidays and shared a speech that he gave in one of his classes at Central Michigan University. I thought it had some really intuitive concepts, or, depending on your perception, it may just be some really good fluff.
Regardless, by using his story, it gave me time to focus on other areas of our business, like taxes, W9s and 1099s instead of writing a column this month. This speech brought back memories for me when I came home from college with new concepts that I shared with my parents and they just nodded and smiled. Now it is my turn. (read more…)
Business and organization often start their yearly planning processes with a mission statement. As I plan to reorganize my marketing business again this month to accommodate the growth of the Trib, I have reflected on what has succeeded and what has failed in 2016.
Through this yearly inspection, we can tweak and improve our mission and our marketing plans for the upcoming year. (read more…)
Sometimes the best gift during the holidays or other times of the year is not a gift, but it may be a memory. This is why sometimes our family likes to plan a trip, rather than exchanging gifts during Christmas time.
I recently read about parents who were deciding on what to do for their 1-year-old baby’s birthday. They asked themselves, “What will a 1-year-old remember as a spectacular gift?”
They ended up coming up with the most thoughtful gift that surely will be treasured for years to come. Instead of gifts for their 1-year-old, they asked for a note from each person in the family or friends that would be given to her on her 18th birthday. Seven of the people who wrote to their daughter were no longer living and the abundance of cards, wishes and letters were the best gift this young woman said she ever received.
My own Mom and Mom-in-law threw us a baby shower for our first child in the month of October, so we made it a Halloween baby shower. Each guest came as what they thought or wished for my child to be when he grew up. We had a priest, a couple moms dressed as M&Ms (yes, the candy, not the rapper), a devil, a doctor, a hockey player, a judge and many other fun characters.
Each of them also wrote a special note on what their hopes were for my future babe. I don’t remember all the baby gifts we received that day but I do remember these special thoughts and these notes have been kept in a safe place for future reading when my son has a family.
While cleaning out my coat closet last month, I found the shoebox scribbled with the misspelled words: Time Capsol — “Do not open until Jan, 2025.”
When my kids were 5 and 7 years old on a snowy New Years Eve in 2004, we gathered up their most treasured items and I asked everyone in our family to write what they would be doing in 2014, shoved it in the box sealed with packing tape and stored it on the top shelf of the hall closet.
When we opened the box, 10 years later, on New Year’s Day 2015, we found some adorable pictures from their hockey teams in 2004 and my oldest son found a letter stating he would still be playing hockey and the game cube in 2014. My youngest boy found his note that said he still would be playing hockey, golfing and would know how to read by then. He also said he would still like candy and still not like broccoli.
Thank goodness that the youngest could actually read pretty well in 2014, and he definitely still liked candy and not broccoli, but they both were no longer in hockey and of course the game cube was no longer cool either.
We also found some notes saying they apologized for fighting with each other and a few “A” papers from school along with a couple of action figures and baseball cards. After a good discussion about these memories, the boys, now 14 and 16, decided they were going to add to the box some things that were happening in their lives now and re-tape it for another grand opening in 20 years, January 2025.
I have no idea what they put in there, but am sure when we open it in another nine years on New Year’s day, it will again be a great gift that will bring laughter, tears and some more great memories.
Kathy Kane is business manager and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Though my brother-in-law loves to remind me I am one year older than him, I have always embraced the belief that 50 is the new 30.
I’ve felt pretty good about the fact that I know most of the words to all the latest songs and keep up to date on the latest kid tech and talk. (read more…)
As a business owner, it is often challenging to hand new sales people a list of telemarketing and cold calls and tell them to go for it. I have always preferred to get them involved with a community group and then a sale really just becomes a meeting with friends.
In the Downriver area, there are many choices and my companies have joined most of them. These all provide various networking opportunities and they all have events that are relevant to education and business growth. (read more…)
It’s back to school time, when many parents and students are making changes to their lifestyles. Whether it is transitioning from pre-school to elementary, elementary to middle school, middle to high school or high school to college, there are a lot of anxiety and emotions out there. This is an awesome time to start fresh with new clothes, a new haircut and a new look at life. (read more…)
Ever had a series of really strange dreams you can’t stop thinking about all day? Years ago I bought a book of dreams and challenged myself to remember every morning so I could analyze my night thoughts.
Have you ever recalled a bad dream from your childhood? When I was between 5 and 12 years old, I had a reoccurring night terror about being in the basement and something jumping out from behind the furnace. Thanks to my Dad for that one, who always warned me about the boogey man in the basement! (read more…)
I originally downloaded Snapchat to check out the business applications, but quickly found it really is not worth the effort unless you are a major corporation with big pockets, an entertainment venue or just have time to devote to promoting your business to a different demographic who needs daily changing entertainment.
What I did find however is a great way to stay connected with my kids, husband and family in a new playful way. For me, since not many friends or other family are on this, it is not too much work, just a quick snap to let them know I am thinking about them. You can only send snaps to those who accept your friend request.
One of our staff at the Trib was an early adaptor to Snapchat. She originally joined to keep tabs on her teenager’s activity and ended up as the “Cool Mom” who actually “knew” what she was doing on the very quickly evolving app.
Basically, you can take your selfie to another level. After scanning your features, the app can transform you into a zombie, a beauty queen, a contorting face, your face with various amounts of facial hair, as well as many other changing, daily options, some complete with audio effects.
Snapchat also doesn’t reverse your selfie picture as your regular camera does in case that is important to “your look.” These special effects can be captured as a picture or as video. (read more…)