Yak’s Corner

This student magazine geared toward kids in elementary and middle school will be delivered to classrooms quarterly and will also be available online.


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Yak's Corner Favorite Book Character Contest
Sponsored by Michigan K.I.D.S., Inc.

Now is time to start thinking about your favorite book characters! Yak’s Corner asks all students in first- through sixth-grade to draw pictures of their favorite book characters.

Students should draw using their brightest, boldest colors on unlined white 8½ by 11 paper. The entry form includes space for students to write about what makes the character their favorite. Entries must be postmarked by February 1, 2017.

CONTEST RULES AND ENTRY FORM

To encourage exploration of superior children's literature, drawings have to be based on a fictional character that is NOT originally from a television show or film. That means no SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora or Pokémon drawings! Yak's Corner personnel select first- through third-place winners and honorable mentions. Entries are judged initially on artwork merit (70 percent), then writing skill (30 percent). If drawings are judged to be equally well-done, judges look at how well the entrant answered why a character was a favorite when selecting and ranking the winners.

Prizes: First- through third-place winners receive Barnes & Noble Gift Cards in the amounts of $40, $30, $25. Yak's Corner will feature artwork by the first-place winners in the May issue and on dnie.com. Certificates of Participation will be emailed to teachers who email their request to cathyyaknews@gmail.com.

On behalf of Yak's Corner personnel, please extend our thanks to the students who share their favorite fictional book character in pictures and words. Their artistry, creativity and ability to explain why they chose their character always makes it difficult to recognize the work of just a few students for special merit.

Click here to see last year’s winners.


When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he marked a milestone in baseball history. To celebrate that momentous event and keep the legacy of Jackie Robinson alive, the Tigers host the annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest for middle and high school students throughout the State of Michigan. Students may enter the contest by submitting an original work of art, essay, or poem in honor of Jackie Robinson, capturing one or more of Robinson’s Nine Values: Courage, Determination, Teamwork, Persistence, Integrity, Citizenship, Justice, Commitment, and Excellence. The specific contest criteria are as follows:

ART: Create an artistic expression that captures the spirit of one or more of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values. Works of art may include a painting, drawing, or rendering.

ESSAY: Write an essay about a barrier that you have faced. Explain how you faced this barrier by using one or more of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values. Each essay should be at least 200 words long and not exceed 700 words in length, typewritten, single spaced, and limited to one page. Essays will be evaluated based on creativity, rhythm and flow of language, organization, attitude, personality, character, and the technique used to convey meaning. All essays must be factual and based on the student's real-life experience. Fictional stories will be disqualified.

POETRY: Write a poem that explores one or more of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values. Each poem should be typewritten, double-spaced and limited to one page To enter, students must submit their original piece of art, essay, or poetry by 5:00 p.m. Sunday, March 5, 2017.

Click here for the contest flyer.

Click here for the contest entry form.


The 2016 Ford Freedom Award Essay Contest for Grades 4-8
Brought to you by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services in cooperation with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

The Ford Freedom Award is given to individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the African-American community and the world at large through their chosen fields. The theme of this year’s Ford Freedom program is “Men of Courage. Advancing the Narrative for African-American men.”

Throughout American history, African-American men have made significant and inspiring contributions to the growth of our nation. They have been builders and leaders and thinkers and motivators. They have been artists and athletes and coaches and mentors. They have been fathers and husbands and uncles and sons.

The Ford Motor Company Fund this year launched a national program to call attention to the wide range of achievements and contributions of African-American men, to strengthen communities and create positive social change. The program seeks to use storytelling to showcase how African-American men have inspired their communities, and to use those stories to change people’s perceptions.

DNIE partnered with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, and the Charles Wright Museum of African American History to bring the “Men of Courage” educational program to Michigan schools. (hyperlink to the program page). Students in grades 4-8 were invited to submit essays on the following topic:

Identify an African-American Man of Courage, think about the characteristics or qualities that made him successful, helped him overcome obstacles, or helped him inspire others. Think about how those characteristics or qualities could help you become successful in your life. Then write a short essay telling others how you have demonstrated those qualities of your Man of Courage and how they have helped you find success in your life and community.

A team of experienced Michigan teachers and writers read all 552 contest submissions and chose 40 semi-finalists. Then representatives from the Charles H. Wright Museum and the Ford Motor Company Fund selected 14 finalists to orally present their essays to determine the scholarship winners, which were announced on Tuesday, May 17 at the Ford Freedom Awards Scholar’s Lecture held at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. The winners are as follows.

First Place: Damond Dixon – 6th grade, Golightly Education Center, Detroit
$5,000 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Second Place # 1: Lillian Deering – 8th grade, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, Saginaw
$2,5000 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Second Place # 2: Louisa Karoub – 8th grade, West Hills Middle School, West Bloomfield
$2,500 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Third Place: Carrington Wash – 4th grade, Southfield Christian School, Southfield
$1,000 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Honorable Mention: Sarah Miller – 7th grade, Trinity Lutheran School, St. Clair Shores
$500 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Honorable Mention: Dan Brown – 7th grade, Paul Robeson Malcom X Academy, Troy
$500 Scholarship, Ford Freedom Award medal and certificate of merit

Winners of a $250 Scholarship and a Classroom Pizza Party:

Nafisa Choudhury - 5th grade, Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
Samantha Desmon – 6th grade, West Hills Middle School, West Bloomfield
Brenna Dean – 8th grade, Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy, Saginaw
Nathan Grobbel – 6th grade, St. Regis Catholic School, Bloomfield Hills
DeShaun Miller – 4th grade, Golightly Education Center, Detroit
Joshua Rogers – 7th grade, Gesu Catholic School, Detroit
Carlean Walls - 5th grade, Wayne Elementary, Detroit
Kendal Young – 5th grade, Walden Green Montessori, Spring Lake

Following are the additional semifinalists who should also be recognized and congratulated for their exemplary work.

Fourth Grade
KaNyah Hanspard - Schulze Elementary, Detroit
Belicia Sedan - Gomper Elementary/Middle School, Detroit
Justin Tyler - Schulze Elementary, Detroit

Fifth Grade
Mubashara Ahmed - Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
Nusrat Ahmed - Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
DeAngelo Bennett - Wayne Elementary, Detroit
Mashrafi Zidan Khan - Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
Kenyan Lee - Wayne Elementary, Detroit

Sixth Grade
Grace Bickersteth - West Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills
Arielle Chambers - Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods
Dylan Gilcher - West Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills
Mira Hughes - Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck
Kristin Krier - Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods
Sean Mammen - Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods
Ashlea Nwabueze - St. Regis Catholic School, Bloomfield Hills
Cassady Pierzinski - Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods
Nadia Sardar - Dickinson East Elementary, Hamtramck

Seventh Grade
A. Hadley Gorsline - Saginaw Arts and Science Academy, Saginaw
Jalen Hamlett - Gesu Catholic School, Detroit
Christina Inman - Saginaw Arts and Science Academy, Saginaw
Cale Piedmonte-Long - Meadow Montessori School, Monroe
Devin Powell - Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, Detroit

Eighth Grade
Kierra Davis - Levey Middle School, Southfield
Isabelle Harber - East Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills
Neil Janwani - Saginaw Arts and Science Academy, Saginaw
Carmen McCuen - West Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills
Benny Shaevsky - West Hills Middle School, Bloomfield Hills

Click here to see the 2015 Ford Freedom Award Essay Contest Scholarship Winners