On June 18, Extra Credit Union recognized five graduating seniors who received Richard J. Spence Scholarship: from the left, Megan McClellan, Nicholas Jasion, Janelle Jean-Baptiste and Grace Doakes, as well as Jacob Hutson, who was not in attendance.

On June 18, Extra Credit Union recognized five graduating seniors who received Richard J. Spence Scholarship: from the left, Megan McClellan, Nicholas Jasion, Janelle Jean-Baptiste and Grace Doakes, as well as Jacob Hutson, who was not in attendance.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Warren students, staff recognized at annual luncheon

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 21, 2019

 During Extra Credit Union’s annual Excellence Awards luncheon June 18, Mound Park Upper Elementary School fifth grade student Jordyn Neal, who was a teller in ECU’s elementary school program, was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her dedication and hard work.

During Extra Credit Union’s annual Excellence Awards luncheon June 18, Mound Park Upper Elementary School fifth grade student Jordyn Neal, who was a teller in ECU’s elementary school program, was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her dedication and hard work.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WARREN — Educators are forever finding creative ways to teach their students, but sometimes supplies are scarce because of budget cuts.

So every year, Extra Credit Union employees award a total of $10,000 in grant money from their Teacher Extracurricular Activity Money program. The winning teachers, who already used the grant money this school year in class, were recognized during ECU’s annual Excellence Awards luncheon June 18.

The teachers are from Warren Consolidated Schools, Center Line Public Schools, Fitzgerald Public Schools, Van Dyke Public Schools, St. Anne Catholic School and Armada Area Schools.

ECU School and Community Relations Coordinator Ashley Fordyce presented certificates to recipients and also showed a video that highlighted how the teachers used their grants. Fordyce said that since 2011, $90,000 in TEAM grants have been distributed.

Carter Middle School art teacher Julia Greenblatt received $1,000 to purchase materials for art students to create clay hand sculptures.

“I can’t stress (enough) the importance of having this around for teachers to take advantage of,” Greenblatt said when receiving her award. “With the arts, it’s just more and more no money. Everything is drying out. I can’t thank you enough.”

Karyn Kechechian, who teaches art at Wilkerson and Black elementary schools, received $575 to purchase stools for the art room at both schools. Like Greenblatt, she mentioned the difficulty in getting funding for art programs.

“This gives me a chance to provide actual seats for my students for both my buildings,” she said of her TEAM scholarship.

Nicole Davis and Nathan Landoski, of Crothers Elementary School, received $1,625 to take their fourth grade students to the River Rouge Truck Plant and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Landoski presented Fordyce with thank-you cards from the students.

“Michigan history was one of our units this year,” Landoski said, adding that the grant money was used to purchase ride tickets at the truck plant for the students. “They were able to experience the trains and Model-T’s we read about.”

John Gomola and Amber Williamson, of Sterling Heights High School, received $1,555 to purchase “The Plant Paradox” books for their classroom to tie the lessons of biology and chemistry together with the students.

Westview Lower Elementary School Principal Rebecca Akins and Mound Park Upper Elementary School gym teacher Deanna Murry received a $575 grant to purchase equipment to use in physical education class at both schools.

Melanie VanMaele, of Lincoln Elementary School, was presented with $500 to purchase a laptop for learning in her classroom. Mark Brandimarte, of Armada Middle School, received $985 to purchase equipment for fitness testing in gym class.

Jean Kotlar, of the St. Anne Catholic School preschool, used $1,500 to purchase portable air conditioning units for classrooms. Nicole Koleczko, of Westview, received $695 to purchase flexible seating for her classroom.

Wolfe Middle School educator Tracey Bailey received $601 to purchase CD players and batteries to help promote literacy using audiobooks. David Nielsen, of Crothers Elementary School, will use his $373 scholarship to take students on a field trip to the Play-Place Autism and Special Needs Center next school year.

Also honored at the luncheon were five graduating high school seniors who received scholarships from ECU’s Richard J. Spence Scholarship program to begin college in the fall: Megan McClellan, Stevenson High School, $2,000; Jacob Hutson, Utica High School, $1,000; Janelle Jean-Baptiste, Fitzgerald High School, $1,000; Grace Doakes, Academy of the Sacred Heart Bloomfield Hills, $500; and Nicholas Jasion, Lutheran High School North in Macomb Township, $500.

New this year was ECU’s Continuing Education Scholarship program. Created in 2018, the Continuing Education Scholarships will award up to five $1,000 scholarships every year to students who are going back to school at a university, community college or trade school.

This year’s five recipients were Lauren Maletski, $1,000, Grand Valley State University; Kelli Kwiatkowski, $1,000, Western Michigan University; Aubrey Fetzer, $1,000, Wayne State University; Neal Backus, $1,000, WSU; and Madison Caswell, $1,000, the University of Michigan Dearborn.

During the luncheon, attendees also honored Mound Park students for their participation in ECU’s elementary school program. Each student received a certificate. Jordyn Neal and Derricka Hawes were tellers, Mia Howard and No’elle Carroll were branch managers, and Makyla Ramsey was the security guard. Neal was the only Mound Park student present at the luncheon.

Applications will be accepted until June 28 for the Continuing Education Scholarships. For more information, visit the ECU website at ExtraCreditUnion.org. Applicants must be ECU members to be eligible.