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New Venue Enhances Experience for CTA Choirs

Middle School and High School students combined for “Carol of the Bells” during the winter concert.

Middle School and High School students combined for “Carol of the Bells” during the winter concert.

On Monday, Dec. 12, the middle and high school choirs at CTA put on a holiday concert. This was a year of many firsts for the choirs. This was the first time that the choirs performed a holiday concert. Due to scheduling, last year’s choirs were not able to do a holiday concert. Many students were excited about being able to perform the well-known songs. The other “first” for this concert was the opportunity to perform at Cedar Springs High School. The professionalism and hard work of the singers was complemented by a beautiful venue. The final “first” happened at the very end of the concert when all 62 singers (middle and high school) performed the song “Carol of the Bells” together. For many in the choir and the audience, Carol of the Bells was the favorite moment of the concert. Many audience members praised the combined effort and loved the power that the combined group was able to achieve. The middle school singers got to experience the excitement of singing with the high school choir and the older students got the opportunity to be leaders for the students coming up. CTA’s first holiday choir concert was a great success!

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CTA From the Eyes of an 8th Grader

Tori Lynn Wierda

Tori Lynn Wierda

My name is Tori Lynn Wierda. I am thirteen years old, and I am in the eighth grade. My school of choice is Creative Technologies Academy. I have been going here for eight years now. I love going to CTA; they treat you like family most of the time. The teachers and staff love you and all your flaws. I remember when I was younger that the principal at the time had to carry me up to the office when I got in trouble because I refused to walk up there. Yet, they forgave me and I am still welcomed here today.

Also, I love how we have all these fun programs such as Women’s/Men’s Choir (which gives students the chance to sing at outside venues), basketball (which gives us the chance to play a sport that a lot of us love), Drama Club (because some of us just need to let-it-out somewhere), and cross country (where we get to run and have fun and compete in races). I love all the reading, writing, cheer, music, and basketball they offer here. Also, I love that they have activities here that I personally love to do. I love reading because it makes me feel like I’m separated from the world once in awhile. I love writing because it is a way for me to express my feelings on paper. I love singing because it calms me and makes me happy when I’m mad or depressed. I love Cheerleading because I get to have fun with my friends and perform for people. I love basketball because I love the feeling of competition. I also love dancing because it’s a way to express your feelings through one of the many ways of art.

Speaking further of things I enjoy, I really love going to CTA because I have friends here that I never would have thought I could ever make. My friend/sister Maddie is one of them. She is my best friend and without the love and care CTA provides and encourages, I probably would have never met her in third grade. She is to this day still my best friend and we share everything with each other. There is not one thing she doesn’t know about me and vice versa.

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HS Hands On Hatching Lesson

Biochemistry students Sierra Medwayosh, John Foss and Caleb Cook show the three chickens that were hatched during their hands-on mitosis and meiosis project.

Biochemistry students Sierra Medwayosh, John Foss and Caleb Cook show the three chickens that were hatched during their hands-on mitosis and meiosis project.

How can there be 8 billion people on earth, yet not a single person is genetically the same?

Such questions can be answered from Biochemistry students at Creative Technologies Academy. Over the course of 3 weeks, students learned about mitosis and meiosis. The class incubated chicken eggs to demonstrate how cells can reproduce and be identical (mitosis) or different (meiosis). Biochemistry students were responsible for the viable living conditions for the chicken eggs. The incubation period for chicken eggs was 21 days. Each day, students were responsible for maintaining a constant temperature of 99.5 degrees fahrenheit and carefully flipping the eggs three times a day, both conditions are essential to the development of the chicken embryo.Through the process, students also learned responsibility. If students neglected the eggs, the chance a healthy chicken would hatch decreases. “I am proud of the students and their handling of the eggs,” commented high school science teacher Ben Fredrickson. “Out of a small batch of eggs, we had three chicks hatch due to the dedication and responsibility of the students.”

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Chargers Basketball Off To A New Start


The CTA Lady Chargers headed into the 2016-17 season looking to improve on last year’s 4-11 record.

Lady chargers have 9 returning players, including senior captain Holly Fahling. “We are looking to Holly’s leadership to continue to help our younger players grow,” head coach Steve Washington commented. Along with Fahling, the Lady Chargers returning starters are sophomore Brin Calkins, and freshmen Hannah Hofstra and Faith Watson. The Ladies are rising to the challenge so far, and have started off with 3 wins and 5 losses so far this season.

The boys basketball team is developing an offensive system (with only a single court practice with new head coach Todd Bowmar), they have a strong defensive presence and the boys have bought into the idea of team success. Coach Bowmar shared that when he joined CTA, there was a lot of talk of the CTA Way, which he understood the concept of. “Today was a demonstration of that philosophy – Chargers don’t quit. Chargers play the game the right way. Chargers hold themselves to the highest expectations,” shared Bowmar as he referenced a recent game against an incredibly talented team. “I am proud to be a part of the CTA Way.”

Bowmar, who is also CTA’s high school english teacher, is looking forward to the opportunity to work with the students outside of the classroom, “ I would like to thank the players and parents of CTA for such a wonderful opportunity to work for these young men. As a team, we are growing so rapidly. I have high hopes for the rest of the season.”

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Santa’s Elves Busy in the Workshop

Elementary students work to craft gifts during the PA Santa’s Workshop.

Elementary students work to craft gifts during the PA Santa’s Workshop.

The CTA Parent Association put a new spin on Santa’s Shop this year and hosted a Santa’s Workshop for grades K-6. Students were able to make ornaments for friends and family. They painted, measured and decorated. In the end, they had sliced wood ornaments painted with snowmen, hot chocolate ornaments, yarn Christmas trees and unique easel paintings. Many Parent Association volunteers worked hard to make the day a success and saw many smiling faces!

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CTA Spring Performances

Coming in March 2017, CTA’s high school choir, Charger Voices, will be performing in the District 7 choral festival at Greenville High School. This will be the first time the choir has participated in festival and the choir students are working diligently to prepare. The choirs perform two prepared pieces and will also be required to sight read music for a judge. After they finish, the judge will work with the choir in an effort to help them grow and get better. This will be a great step for helping the CTA choral program continue to grow.

The CTA Drama Club is set to produce its first play. Auditions are complete, the show has been cast and come May, the CTA Drama club will be putting on the play, “Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit.” The show is a comedic take on the popular Law and Order TV series and features some of the most beloved fairy tale characters and a Whodunit-style mystery. You will not want to miss this production which will be performed on Fri., May 19 and Sat., May 20.

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Coffee Time Schedule


Please join Dan George, CTA School Leader/Superintendent, for coffee and donuts. This time is set aside for parent-driven, small group conversation regarding school concerns, policies, suggestions and more. Please RSVP to dgeorge@ctachargers.org.

8 – 9:00 a.m. – CTA Cafeteria

Monday, Feb. 13

Monday, March 13

Monday, April 10

Monday, May 8

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January 26 Girl Scouts

27 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-2 Dismissal at 12:50 p.m.

3-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:40 p.m.

Popcorn Day

Basketball Game vs. Big Rapids Home School @ Cedar Springs Middle School

31 Basketball Game vs. WMAES

February 2 Girl Talk

3 EL Library Day

Basketball Game vs. WMAES

7 Basketball Game vs. West Michigan Lutheran (Girls Only)

10 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-2 Dismissal at 12:50 p.m.

3-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:40 p.m.

Basketball Game vs. Algoma Christian

13 Coffee Time with School Leader

17 Student Early Release – (2 hours early)

K-2 Dismissal at 12:50 p.m.

3-5 Dismissal at 1:00 p.m.

6-12 Dismissal at 12:40 p.m.

Basketball Game vs. Wellspring Prep @ Grace Bible College

20 No School – Mid-Winter Break

21-23 Student-Led Conferences (HS Only)

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Elk hunting season recap – 2016

David Bowman of North Branch harvested a dream bull elk during Michigan’s December elk hunt. Photo courtesy Toby Parker.

David Bowman of North Branch harvested a dream bull elk during Michigan’s December elk hunt. Photo courtesy Toby Parker.

Michigan’s latest elk hunting season, considered the late or December hunt, is complete, and preliminary hunting results are in. A total of 100 state licenses were available—30 any-elk and 70 antlerless-only licenses.

“Fortunately, because of the nature of our elk season, we are really able to work closely with hunters,” said Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Shelby Hiestand. “The December hunt had a 92-percent success rate for our state hunters, which is great.”

During the nine-day hunt period, running Dec. 10-18, 54 cows, 29 bulls and nine calves were harvested. Weather was favorable, with some snowfall just before the season making it easier to track and see animals within the elk hunt unit. The December season allows hunters to take an elk within any elk management hunting unit, maximizing the 10-county hunting unit at the “tip of the mitt” of northern Michigan.

The earlier elk hunt period, which ran from late August to early October for 12 days, also had great hunter success, with 85 percent of state hunters able to harvest an elk.

“Regulated hunting is the most effective tool in managing wildlife numbers,” said Hiestand. “We are able to efficiently and quickly get results in a very hands-on and specific approach.”

Hunters are able to work with DNR staff members to find animals and landowners in areas where there is a desire to have fewer elk.

“Elk are large animals that travel in herds, which means they can change an area quickly, with the amount of vegetation they can eat,” Hiestand said. “Our wildlife management goals are always to balance the numbers of animals with the habitat that’s available.”

Elk population estimates are derived from aerial elk surveys, which in recent survey years showed population estimates exceeding the stated elk management plan goals of 500 to 900 elk. As a result, the 2016 elk license quotas were increased from the prior hunting season and the elk survey frequency will be increased. Aerial elk flights will begin this week if weather allows for good flight and visibility.

“Michigan’s current elk population is a historical feat in wildlife management,” said Hiestand. “The elk hunt is just one more way many people’s lives are touched by elk, which is pretty special.”

To learn more about elk, and for locations with the best chances for viewing elk in northern Michigan in the summer or fall, visit mi.gov/elk.

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Chasing Birds

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller


Grand Rapids Audubon Club 2016 Christmas Bird Count, Kent County Center at 2 Mile & Honey Creek Roads 

Fifty-nine species of birds were seen (Table 1) by forty-three traveling observers and 1 bird feeder watcher on 31 Dec 2016. A Rough-legged Hawk, Great Horned Owls, and Barred Owl were additional species recorded during count week. Count week is the three days before and after count day. Count week species are reported separately from count day species totals and numbers are not reported.

Total individuals sighted was 9342 and was almost 2000 less than last year’s but was similar with two years ago. Travel conditions and weather were good for field exploration. Mostly frozen still water helped concentrate waterfowl but flowing water was mostly open.

Weather conditions were 100% cloudy. Temperatures were between 33 and 39 F. Winds 0-15 mph with gusts to 30 from the west. Snow cover was 1-4 inches.

We totaled 76.75 hours in vehicles traveling 673 miles. 19.5 hours was spent on foot covering 17.25 miles and 5.5 hours at feeders. A combined total of 690.25 miles were on foot and driving. Groups totaled 199.75 hours of daytime birding. There were 15 birding parties in the morning and 10 in the afternoon with one feeder watcher recording. To count birds at feeders one counts the most seen for each species at any one time during observation time.

Wittenbach/Wege Agri-science and Environmental Education Center (WWC) co-hosted and we appreciate use of the facility. We encourage everyone to visit and enjoy the WWC grounds and to support their community programs.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.


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