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May 14, 2014

Turn Around awards honor deserving students

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Wolfe Middle School teacher Kimberlee Buchan-Quinn, right, and sixth-grade student Tayana Burton share a hug when Burton was presented with her Turn Around award May 6. Buchan-Quinn said the student never gave up when faced with struggles.

CENTER LINE — Last year, Wolfe Middle School student Casey Pascoe spent so much time in Assistant Principal Keith Morris’ office, he joked he was going to get her a suit and tie and put her on the payroll.

That’s not the case anymore. This year, Pascoe has proven herself a model student by earning A’s and B’s, making new friends, and more.

“When she got back to school this year, I noticed a complete change,” WMS counselor Colleen Berry said. “I think she embodied the idea ‘change happens from within.’”

Pascoe was among 16 Center Line Public Schools students recognized during the Turn Around Achievement award ceremony held May 6 at Center Line High School. The annual event gave district educators the opportunity to acknowledge students who did a “turn around” to improve academically, socially and behaviorally. Some students had issues at home to overcome, as well.

Each student received a plaque with his or her name on it, along with kind words from the nominating educators as proud family members looked on. During the event, there was an occasional hug and a few tears. Roose Elementary School Principal Shannon McBrady facilitated.

Roose teacher Denise McGraw’s pride was obvious when she honored three students: Jackson Bradley, Kailey Flores and Jestin Glover for the successes they have celebrated this year.

The Turn Around event gave Wolfe student Marvan Mushi the opportunity to share his accomplishments.

“Marvan came from Iraq,” teacher Michele Miller said. “He came here knowing very little English, American customs and even people. He was really struggling to adapt to the American lifestyle.”

In just a few short months, Miller has witnessed Mushi make gains academically and in his behavior. He is focused, participates in class and tells adults about issues that might be troubling him.

Wolfe teacher Kimberlee Buchan-Quinn praised student Tayana Burton for hanging in there although her family “had quite the number of challenges this year.”

“She wasn’t bitter. She didn’t blame. She used these and the faith within her to not give up,” said Buchan-Quinn.

“Mrs. Quinn has always been there for me,” Burton said when addressing the crowd. “She always finds a way to keep me strong.”

CLHS student Paul Kessler received kudos from counselor Crissy Karaszewski. The student athlete shared some words of wisdom from his grandmother, who was in attendance.

“If your dreams aren’t scary, they obviously aren’t big enough,” said Kessler, who, during his speech, also noted he’s carrying a 3.66 grade point average this year. “Without grades, you’re not going anywhere in this world.”

The following Turn Around students also were recognized: Academy 21 student Brianna Knox; Elizabeth Card, Pashanique Green and Alexis Bombery of CLHS; Wolfe student Celena Maharath; Roose students Zyone Cody-Young and Katleyn Cary; and Emma Berndt and Dalal Atta, who both attend Crothers Elementary.

The award ceremony included breakfast, and Rev. Tyrone Martin, of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice, was the keynote speaker. Martin is the pastor at the Greater Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Mount Clemens and also the vice president of the ICRJ, a Mount Clemens-based organization that works to build bridges of understanding among people of different cultures and faith traditions.

“It was a pleasure to be here and a privilege. Every school district should do this,” Martin said. “It gives the kids the chance and the understanding they can become better and they can do better. Kids always remember the teachers that really cared.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.