Coach Steve Finamore, from Brooklyn to East Lansing High School

Finamore’s road to coaching has been long and a bit different than most coaches’ paths. The Brooklyn, New York native came to Michigan in 1996 and ironically served on Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State from 1999-2001.

Since then he’s coached at Jackson Community College, St. Peter’s University in New Jersey and has worked one-on-one with numerous college and professional players from all over Michigan.

Religion in America: Chinese students’ perspectives and experiences

A missing religious identity

For the first 16 years of Jiahe Hui’s life growing up in Beijing, religion never crossed his path until he began his studies in America. Hui is one of over 300,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S., and first felt pressure to put a label on his beliefs after beginning his schooling at a Catholic High School in Philadelphia. “I read the Bible from the first page to the last, and it didn’t make any sense to me,” Hui said. I then went on to read the Quran and I got the same feeling. After that, I just kind of started to become atheist.”

Douglas Sjoquist, a visiting professor in MSU’s Department of Religious Studies, said atheism is the norm in China.

Jewish students juggle academics during the High Holidays

Fall on Michigan State’s campus brings the enthusiasm of a new semester, Spartan football tailgates and, for about 3,500 Jewish undergrads, the celebration of the High Holy Days that overlap academics and social events. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins the “10 days of repentance,” ending with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Both holidays typically fall in the months of September or October. For 2017, Rosh Hashanah began at sundown on Sept. 20 until Sept.

Photo by Alexa Seeger

Pioneering place- and project-based learning

The lights from the Mackinac bridge winked through the haze. The drizzle coursed down the students’ plastic ponchos as they walked Lake Michigan’s shore with one of their teachers, Charlotte Hagerman. Hagerman showed a group how to skip stones, since many had never done so before.

“Then this little guy, now he was a tough kid,” Hagerman said. “He comes up to me, ‘Ms. Hagerman, Ms. Hagerman,’ and he holds a shell up. And he says, ‘my first shell.’”

In order to build community and reach students at multiple grade and ability levels, Hagerman and Bobo looked to supplement lecture style teaching. After attending conferences and a chance meeting with another teacher pioneering place-based learning in Frankfort, the two teachers implemented project-based and place-based learning in their classroom.

MSU student leaders combat declines of religiosity

Sprinkled throughout the first two rows of sand-colored seating in Conrad Hall, the Michigan State University Gospel Choir rehearsed its rendition of Kirk Franklin’s “Brighter Day.” The five-minute song was practiced in complete A capella, with some members swaying to instrumentals they played in their heads and others using their hands to mimic the song’s thunderous beat. In harmony, the choir bellowed the chorus, sounding much louder than its size. The second largest religious or non-religious group in the U.S. is non-religious. Close to one in four Americans consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. At MSU, the size of its Gospel Choir, a Christian organization founded in 1971 reflects the  trend of decreased religious participation.

MSU students embrace diversity during “War on Christmas”

When Starbucks released its cranberry-red and forest-green holiday cups in 2015, void of snowflakes or anything reminiscent of Christmas, Michigan State junior Arianna Dickason wasn’t a part of the outrage that ensued. To her, the blank canvas didn’t wage a “War on Christmas” that many politicians and holiday enthusiasts claimed. Instead, she considered it a nod toward inclusivity, drank her coffee and moved on. Two years and a re-installment of festive Starbucks cups later, President Donald Trump has declared a victory on his vow to end the “War on Christmas.” The Trump family’s official holiday card reads: “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” with the hashtag #WHChristmas.

Concussions continue to plague male and female high school athletes

The Michigan High school Athletic Association reports that, after boys football, girls basketball and soccer have the next highest reported concussions in the state. Trainers and members of the MHSAA are working to find ways to better protect those athletes.