Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

December 10, 2012

Cheers: 12/10/2012

- To the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative for awarding $1,500 in grants to 12 schools in Grand Traverse, Benzie and Antrim counties to fund year-long student environmental projects. The Initiative includes 39 teachers from 11 area schools to promote lifelong stewardship of the Great Lakes and other water resources. It is one of eight Great Lakes stewardship programs funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

- To Rob Humphrey for organizing a Dec. 16 fund raiser for 8-year-old Matthew Lichtfield, a "Star Wars" fan who is fighting a malignant brain tumor. Humphrey, who helps organize Cherry Capital Con, a Traverse City comic book convention, asked artists around the country to create original "Star Wars" art for a comic book to sell; 30 artists stepped forward. Matthew, who weighs 21 pounds and is three feet tall, has primordial dwarfism, a rare genetic disease that affects growth. Humphrey also contacted Lucas Films, which agreed to allow publication of the licensed characters. "He's a fighter, that kid," Humphrey said.

- To Maris Spaulding of Central Lake, who died Nov. 29 after a long battle with leukemia, and the family and friends who supported her. Maris, who was 18, was president of the student council and a three-sport athlete. She also was a member of the National Honor Society, editor of the school yearbook and an accomplished volleyball, basketball and softball player.

- To Akaya Ogawa, 18, a Japanese senior at the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, where she has been learning English for the past five months. She lost her mother, father, sister, uncle and grandparents in the March 2011 tsunami in Japan. She came to the United States through a charitable organization called Beyond International after meeting pop star Justin Bieber and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Roos. Brian Chatterley, admissions director at the Leelanau School, also helped. Beyond International picked up her travel expenses and the school agreed to cover her tuition and other costs.

- To the Grand Traverse Academy for sponsoring the Dec. 1 LEGO League Qualifying Tournament. Fifteen teams from as far away as Marquette came in hopes of qualifying for the state competition in Flint. Teams of up to 10 students in fourth through eighth grades built and programmed a robot to perform missions on a playing surface, while solving a real-world problem in a separate presentation. They were judged on their presentation, technical work and team work.

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