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Tag Archive | "Tri County Middle School"

Tri County student wins state essay competition

(L to R) Dennis Stewart, representative from Howard City VFW Post; Jesse White; Carrie White (Mom); and Steve Johnson, Principal.

Jesse White, a 13-year-old 8th grade student at Tri County Middle School in Howard City, is the first place essayist in the entire state of Michigan in a nationwide youth essay competition known as Patriot’s Pen. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsors this competition annually, and all middle school students in the country are eligible to compete. 

Jesse wrote his essay has part of a school assignment, and his was one of the essays chosen by teachers to be forwarded on the Howard City VFW to be entered into the competition.

Jesse White is the first place essayist in the state of Michigan.

This year’s theme was “Why I honor the American Flag.” Jesse said that when he first received the assignment he hurried up and finished it, but then thought about it all night. He rewrote the essay as a tribute to his grandfather, taking pride in his family and country.

Jesse competed at a district level where he was one of six first place finalists that moved onto regionals. Regionals included six counties in the state. At this level Jesse won first place again, which moved his essay into the state level where all counties in Michigan were present. Jesse’s essay, a tribute to his grandfather, who was a POW, took first place once again. This means he will be the first student in Tri County Area Schools to have won state and will move on to the national level in early March of this year. 

The Patriot’s Pen competition is a nationwide competition for 6th through 8th graders to express their views on annual patriotic themes. The first place national award that Jesse is now a contender for, is currently valued at $5,000, with a minimal earning of $500. So far Jesse has earned $1,275. His state winnings of $1000, plaque, and backpack filled with patriotic souvenirs was recently presented to him by the VFW. He was scheduled to read his essay for the Board of Education on February 11.

Jesse is the son of Brandon and Carrie White, of Howard City.

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Tri County School tests positive for PFAS

Tri County County Area Schools received testing results from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week that showed Tri County Middle School tested positive for PFAS.

According to Superintendent Allen Cumings, the Middle School tested at 62 parts per trillion (ppt), which is slightly below the EPA required limit of 70 ppt. Tri County High School was negative for PFAS, and the elementary schools are on municipal water, which is currently being tested.

“Tri County Area Schools is committed to providing our students, staff and community with quality drinking water,” said Superintendent Al Cumings. “We are working closely with MDEQ and are taking immediate steps to provide bottled water while investigating the source of the PFAS issue.

Cumings went on to say that even though the test results at the Tri County Middle School are below federal limits, the district is taking the following measures to ensure safe drinking water is available: 

1. Providing bottled water for drinking and meal preparation (immediately drinking fountains will not be available for use) 

2. Retaining an independent Environmental Engineering firm 

3. Working with the MDEQ to identify a plan with a timeline to address this issue 

4. Working with MDEQ to evaluate alternative water sources 

5. Cooperating with the MDEQ with regard to additional water testing and its investigation 

District officials noted that with safe drinking water an issue of concern across the state, they had been cooperating on an initiative with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to test drinking water from schools using well water and community water supplies. The initiative is designed to determine if public health action is needed.

The testing process identifies man-made chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Since PFAS break down slowly and move easily into water, it is not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water. They are also found in stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and other household products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suggested limits for two PFAS in drinking water, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The EPA has not set health advisory levels for other PFAS compounds. All Tri County Area Schools are being tested by AECOM, the MDEQ’s contractor.

“We will keep our community updated as we work with MDEQ to resolve this issue. Look for a Frequently Asked Questions document soon to come,” said Superintendent Cumings. “The health and safety of our students and staff members remains our number one priority.”

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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