Schools of choice option gains popularity in Michigan, benefits Meridian

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Michigan, the number of students in schools of choice increased from 66,560 in 2005-06 to 115,209 in 2012-13, an upsurge of 73 percent. Schools of choice enrollment also made up a larger percentage of the state’s overall student population, rising from 3.7 percent of 1.8 million students in 2005-06, to 7.1 percent of 1.6 million students in 2012-13. Administrators in Meridian Township are seeing a similar trend. “We do have many students that are interested and go ahead and make applications for schools of choice for Haslett [High School], and not only Haslett, but for Haslett Public Schools,” said Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke. “I think we’re probably about 18 to 20 percent schools of choice [students] for this district.”

According to Joshua Cowen, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, this increase in the program’s popularity is not only a trend in Michigan, but in the nation as well.

Okemos High School guiding students to college through its guidance department

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — Every year, thousands of students apply to colleges with the assistance of numerous people. Okemos High School has instituted an assistance program that allows students to have all the tools necessary for applying to their colleges, as well as finding the colleges that fit for them. Hedlun Walton, the director of guidance services at Okemos High School, said the process begins in the spring of a student’s junior year. The school hosts an evening presentation, where they invite an admissions representative from Michigan State University or the University of Michigan to come and give general advice on completing applications and writing essays. “Our assistance begins with helping students position themselves to have a competitive application and to do the appropriate amount of college exploration to make sure they are selecting schools that would be a good fit for them,” Walton said.

Okemos High School opens Strength and Conditioning Center

By Tamar Davis
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS – On Feb. 17, Okemos High School opened their new Strength and Conditioning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new high-tech fitness space. With this being twice the size of the old weight room, it will give every sport team the opportunity to use and develop their weaknesses they might think they need improvement on. “This was a really great move for Okemos High,” said Michigan State Associated Professor Of Kinesiology Karin Pfeiffer. “This gives kids and young people the opportunity to work out somewhere after school for free.

Hard work, wealth drives Okemos High School’s continued excellence

By Erica Marra
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — After being rated the 10th-best high school in the state of Michigan by U.S. News & World Report in 2015, Okemos High School is striving to continue their high rankings into the current year. The U.S. News & World Report base their yearly rankings off of factors including student-to-teacher ratios, college readiness, and proficiency in mathematics and reading. By earning high numbers across the board, Okemos received the U.S. News & World Report’s “Gold Medal” award, which is given only to the top 500 schools in the country based on highest college readiness. In order to sustain classroom success in the 2015-2016 school year, Okemos High School English teacher Laura Ross said that the school implemented new plans and policies to increase student comprehension and engagement. “We’re working really hard to reach all segments of our student body,” Ross said.

In battle of Meridian schools, Okemos High School tops Haslett counterpart

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Statistics show Okemos High School tops Haslett High School in state and national ranking, despite their proximity. While the academic environment of Okemos High School outperforms Haslett High School, both schools remain better than both the state and national averages. According to U.S. News, Okemos High School maintains its position as the 10th best high school in the state of Michigan, while being 494th in the country. Haslett High School ranks 38th in the state and 1,176th in the nation. Both schools fall under the jurisdiction of Meridian Township as public schools and are just over five miles apart from each other.

Indoor tanning rates declines nationally, remain low for Okemos students

By Samantha VanHoef
The Meridian Times

According to a national survey, the rates of teens who use indoor tanning have declined in the past five years. The study by the Journal of the American Medical Association compiled data from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey— a survey that uses samples of teens from private and public high schools from around the country— found that rates for teenage girls dropped by 5 percent between 2009 and 2013, and the rates for boys dropped 2 percent in the same time frame. But for Okemos teens, if there was a decrease in indoor tanning, it was less apparent. “I haven’t noticed a drop in tanning bed use locally, but that’s probably because most people— at least at my school— try to keep their tanning subtle,” Okemos High School senior Darby Hopper said. “They know they’ll be mocked if they look orange.

Parkinson’s Walkathon Brings Awareness to Greater Lansing Community

By Jennifer Raye
The Meridian Times staff writer
OKEMOS, Mich.- More than 400 people participated in the “I Gave My Sole for Parkinson’s” Walkathon and 5K run, organized by the Michigan Parkinson Foundation at Okemos High School on Oct. 1. The second annual Greater Lansing area Michigan Parkinson Foundation Walkathon and 5K run had more than 100 participants compared to last year’s walkathon, which had around 300 walkers and runners. “We’re bringing people together from all over to celebrate their coping with this disease,” said Debby Orloff, CEO of the Michigan Parkinson Foundation. The Greater Lansing area has 30,000 to 35,000 people currently affected by Parkinson’s disease.