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Tag Archive | "Vicki Burke"

Kids who wrote giraffe book take trip

Last Thursday, September 21, the students and teacher who wrote April’s Baby spent the day at Boulder Ridge Animal Park, in Alto, celebrating their publishing success.

Joining the students, was Corey Dwyer, April the Giraffe’s Zookeeper from Animal Adventure Park in New York. He was so touched by the kids’ book, he wanted to come out and personally meet them and be with them when they met Boulder Ridge’s giraffes up close for the first time.

Despite the heat, everyone had an incredible time, not only with the giraffes, but all the animals as well.

“This was a day of memories that will last a lifetime,” said teacher Vicki Burke. “Corey being here with the kids was the icing on the cake for this incredible project. They watched him so many times taking care of April on the live feed, it was almost surreal when he was standing right in front of them. He was so gracious, spending time answering questions, signing autographs, and taking photos with each student. They were thrilled to be able to meet and spend time with him.”

This opportunity was made possible with gifts from Ryanne Donahue of State Farm Insurance and Jerry Gavin and Dean Transportation. “I am so grateful for everyone who made this day so special,” Burke added. “It was perfect!”

To see or purchase the book, go to www.amazon.com and search for “April’s Baby.”

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Students illustrate and publish their own book


book cover

book cover

April’s Baby 

Students at Beach Elementary illustrated and published a book about April the giraffe.

Students at Beach Elementary illustrated and published a book about April the giraffe.

Second and third grade students at Beach Elementary School in Cedar Springs celebrated March is Reading Month c by illustrating and publishing a book about the internet sensation, April the Giraffe. This project, titled “April’s Baby” was the brainchild of visual art teacher Vicki Burke, after overhearing her students talking about April the Giraffe.

“When I saw the fascination the students had for the giraffe April, I just knew I had to turn this interest into a lesson,” explained Burke.

Thirty-one students, affectionately dubbed “Team April,” volunteered their drawing talents for a short story titled “April’s Baby,” which Ms. Burke penned and graphically designed. Although the project began in March, the actual publication was delayed until the celebrity giraffe delivered her calf.

“The students were onboard from the very beginning and were so excited about the entire process,” Ms Burke explained. “This lesson became much more than an art or literacy lesson; it also taught the importance of the stewardship of our world, its resources and animals, and stressed the selfless act of volunteering and giving.” All proceeds from the book will go to Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Animal Adventure Park, whose live web feed of their Giraffe April inspired this project.

This book is illustrated by children for children, however adults will find it enjoyable as well. Ms. Burke added, “If you followed the adventures of April, as so many of us did, you will appreciate the inside jokes and funny references to the giraffe watching experience.”

You can purchase your very own copy of “April’s Baby” from Amazon in soft cover or ebook formats.

From Createspace (softcover):  www.createspace.com/7057351

Kindle e-book: www.amazon.com and search for April’s Baby.

For more information please contact Vicki Burke at vicki.burke@csredhawks.org or 616-696-0350 ext. 6021.

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“I ARTED” Art Club


Every Thursday students from Cedar Springs High School “get their art on” by meeting together, being creative, and spending time with peers who share their interest in art.  The “I Arted” art club was formed by art teacher Vicki Burke and Student Advocate Nicole Kukla as part of the High School Peer Acceptance Program after several students approached Ms. Burke requesting this opportunity.  Each week students gather to work on art projects, share snacks, and have conversations. “It’s been a wonderful experience, not only with art but with sharing the day-to-day happenings and issues of the students. It’s a casual setting but we talk about some pretty heavy things,” Ms. Burke explained.  Nicole sums up what the club means to her: “Art club is everything to me. It’s a place I can go and feel accepted. It’s a place where I can let every guard down and just truly express myself; not only artistically but mentally. The group of kids that come every week have become my family, my support group, and my friends. I’d be lost without it.”

Ms. Burke shares her mentor duties with CSPS employee Kellie Robydek who attends with her daughter, Bailey. “It always amazes me to see the talents these kids have. With so much pressure in life to fit in or keep up, it’s nice to have a place to just be accepted the way you are! The art they share is so beautiful. So glad to be a part of it,” Kellie adds.  Because of how successful the group has become, plans are already in the works to continue the club in the upcoming school year.

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