Author Archives: lapeercs

County Press Editorial: Lightning energizes, sets example for our community

sue4The following editorial was published by the Lapeer County Press on Wednesday, October 29:

Lightning energizes, sets example for our community
The Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education and superintendent Matt Wandrie couldn’t have scripted it any better. With an unbeaten Lightning football team highlighting the first year of what might have been a bittersweet, if not bitter, consolidation of East and West high schools, year one of the reunification is looking pretty darn good.

While we must give Wandrie and his team credit for the planning, communication and implementation of a solid consolidation plan, you have to admit a 9-0 football team cast a bright light that has placed the minor glitches of the first week of school into the near-forgotten shadows.

As wonderful a story as the Lightning football team is for a community that has been on the outside looking in at football glory since the 1995 Lapeer West State Championship, the best story today is about how the students of the former Lapeer East and the former Lapeer West have come together.

Anyone who had a student attend either East or West knows well the stories of hubris and prejudice that for nearly four decades separated Lapeer’s high school system into an unhealthy rivalry. That rivalry was founded on the envy and innuendo of parents’ perceptions that guided the next generation into the same ‘us and them’ trap of their moms and dads.

That selfish outlook tried to take control of the simple task of naming a new mascot for the reunited high school. A vocal minority would have wrestled that choice from a well-chosen group of students tasked with finding a new mascot name and decried the Lightning moniker in letters to the editor in this paper and on social media sites.

Above the howls of some glory days windbags, Lapeer’s teams were christened as the Lightning going into the 2014-15 school year. The Lightning name was put in place not just for the high school but also for every school and team in the LCS system. Another good move by the LCS administration.

Today, merely two months into the school year, the students and staff of Lapeer High School have shown our community what can happen when an organization chooses to ignore the naysayers from without and from within and instead chooses to get on with the business of building a culture of excellence.

For sure, the success of the Lightning football team gives the story an exciting focal point, but there’s much more to this story than the autumn exuberance surrounding the Lightning’s gridiron success.

Every Lightning team, regardless of their win-loss record, is a lesson in healing decades-old crosstown ill will. Something that we used to call school spirit has returned to the extended LCS campus including the middle schools and elementary schools as students of every age and grade level rally round the Lightning banner.

Call it corny if you will, but we think something that gets our students excited about going to school and gets them engaged in a culture of positive community is a good thing.

When the football season comes to an end for the Lightning they can be proud of their accomplishments on the field. Likewise for all the sports teams, the marching band, choirs, academic teams and every other Lightning team that competes.

But the accomplishment that every Lapeer Community Schools student, teacher, administrator and staffer — and our community as a whole — should be most proud of is the remaking of their culture and showing the rest of our community what can happen when we realize that our common needs and goals outweigh our differences.

That’s a lesson that should hit home for the rest of us like a bolt — of Lightning.

Four middle school students will lay wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier next month

On Wednesday, November 5, Lapeer 8th graders Ethan Lily, James Scott, Autumn Locke, and Ashley Hoeft will be taking part in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The event is scripted and very precise in detail. The Relief Commander at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will lead the wreath bearers to assist in the placing of the wreath to the sound “Taps.” The group will move forward with the wreath and the Commander will give the command of “Present Arms.” All military personnel in uniform will render the hand salute and civilians will place their right hand over the heart. These are the same procedures followed by elected officials when they participate in honoring the fallen.

To be selected to represent Lapeer in the ceremony, the students wrote an essay on the following topic:

Write an essay addressing why participating in this ceremony was important “to you, to all of us as Americans, and to our Country.”

Super Science on Saturdays at Marguerite deAngeli Branch Library

The Marguerite deAngeli Branch Library of the Lapeer District Library, located at 921 W. Nepessing Street in Lapeer, will be offering a stimulating workshop for children and their families. The Sloan Museum of Flint will be facilitating this workshop that will allow the children to explore and learn scientific principles while having a fantastic fun time.

During the workshop called “Whooo eats who?” kids will be dissecting owl pellets

and collecting bones to take home. They will also make an owl food web nesting craft. The workshop will be Saturday, October 11, 2014 with identical sessions held at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. This workshop is intended for children in first grade and above. Registration is required and may be made by calling (810) 664-6971 and asking for the children’s desk. During last years’ workshops, registration filled very quickly, so parents are urged to register immediately. Since this science may get a little messy, it is suggested that children not wear their best clothes. Parental attendance is not required for this program, but it is encouraged. It will be a fantastic opportunity for families to explore science together.

The Friends of the deAngeli Library is graciously funding this workshop.

For more information contact Jan Curtis at 810- 664-6971.

LCS announces hiring of new Athletic Director/Assistant Principal at Lapeer High School

logo no wordsLapeer Community Schools is proud to announce the hiring of Shadwin Spilski as the new Athletic Director/Assistant Principal for Lapeer High School. Spilski, who comes to Lapeer by way of Buffalo, Wyoming, recently relocated to Michigan.

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie said Spilski’s experience as a teacher, coach and administrator make him a great fit for Lapeer.

“Shad comes highly recommended from everywhere he’s been,” Wandrie said. “We are excited to get him in place as we continue to ride a wave of momentum with our fall sports programs. He couldn’t come at a better time.

Spilski fills the position vacated last month by former athletic director Brian Shelson, who took a position in Grosse Pointe.

Spilski earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Wyoming and a Master’s Degree in Education from Chadron State College in Nebraska. He has served as the Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Buffalo High School for the last four years. Prior to taking that position, he spent six years as a social studies teacher at Whiting High School in Laramie, Wyoming.

Wandrie said the District received interest in the position from a deep pool of qualified candidates, but is confident he found the right person for the job.

“His philosophy as an educator is very much in line with what we’re trying to do as an organization,” Wandrie said. “He is focused on what’s best for students, so we’re confident he will fit right in.”

Spilski started with the District on Monday.

For more information, visit

Homecoming Week Spirit Days for September 29 through October 3

logo no wordsHomecoming Theme: A Stormy Night

District Spirit Days for September 29-October 3:

Monday: Frazzled Day: crazy hair, inside out, backwards and mismatch day

Tuesday: Superhero/Sport Day – Dress like a superhero, create your own superhero, or dress up in your favorite sports gear/team gear

Wednesday: Class color – each grade selects a color

Thursday: Throwback Decades Day -Wear something from another decade: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s

Friday: Lightning Pride Spirit Wear, Green and Blue Day

The All Schools Homecoming Parade begins in downtown Lapeer on Friday, October 3, at 5 p.m.

LCS announces hiring of new assistant superintendent

logo no wordsAt Thursday evening’s special meeting of the Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education, members unanimously approved the hiring of Mark Rajter as the District’s new Assistant Superintendent for Business, Finance and Operations. Rajter is the former Assistant Superintendent for Business Services in the Troy (MI) Public Schools.

Rajter will start with the District on September 29, less than one month after former LCS Assistant Superintendent Kevin Rose was named Vice President for Finance and Administration at Spring Arbor University.

“Our district is very fortunate to have found a worthy replacement for a key member of our administrative team,” said LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie. “Mark is well-respected, highly-competent and a great fit for the future of our school district.”

Prior to his four-year stint in Troy, Rajter spent 14 years as the Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Oakland Schools, five years as the Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services and CFO for Southfield Public Schools.

Wandrie said the District received a high level of interest from qualified candidates across the state.

“We had many strong, talented candidates for this position,” Wandrie said. “Mark really showed the innovative qualities we were looking for to keep us on a positive track as an organization. This position is pivotal to the vitality of the District, and we’re confident we found the right person for the job.”

For more information, visit

September 22: College Night hosted by Lapeer High School

logo no wordsLapeer High School invites you to attend our 2014 College Night on Monday, September 22 at 6 p.m. Representatives from over 50 college, university, technical, business and aviation schools are scheduled to participate, meeting with students and parents and answering their questions about admissions, financial aid, student programs and more.

This is a great opportunity. You do not want to miss it!

For more information, contact Jan Ciaramella at

LHS cafeteria is really cookin': service station lines shorter, faster in week two

cafeteria shotAs many of you know, we totally revamped the cafeteria at Lapeer High School over the summer. The space looks much different now than it did a few months ago — new lightning lighting, service stations, tables, chairs, video monitors, etc.

During the first week of school, our food service staff and students did an awesome job adjusting to the new surroundings. On Monday, Food Service Director Scott Smith monitored all the service station lines in the cafeteria. We are pleased to report that the cafeteria is firing on all cylinders. There’s plenty of space, plenty of time and plenty of food!

Thank you Mr. Smith and staff!

LHS Start/end times per station
#1 #2 #3 #4
10:51-11:09 11:10-11:28 11:29-11:48 11:49-12:13  
20 minutes 18 minutes 19 minutes 24 minutes
Last Student through line
Play Bowls
inside 11:03 11:20 11:40 11:59
outside 11:02 11:18 11:41 11:58
Wild Greens 11:00 11:16 11:35 12:00
inside 11:01 11:18 11:37 11:57
outside 11:00 11:19 11:33 11:54
Ready-Set -Deli 11:05 11:22 11:38 12:00
line time
most 14 minutes 12 minutes 11 minutes 11 minutes
least 9 minutes 6 minutes 6 minutes 5 minutes

Lapeer Community Schools recalls nearly all laid-off employees

logo no wordsLapeer Community Schools is pleased to announce it has recalled 91 percent of the teachers who were laid off over the summer. Of the 22 teachers who were laid off, 20 have been recalled; the other two positions require specialized certifications. In addition, every effective paraprofessional who was laid off has been called back.

LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie said the District’s proactive approach to dealing with declining enrollment is already paying off.

“In an era of declining enrollment, still the stark reality for a majority of school districts in Michigan, our district has doubled down on innovation,” Wandrie said. “It’s difficult when the only answer to rectify budget shortfalls is to lay off staff. That is not a position we are accustomed to being in.”

Wandrie said the District is now in a position, at least in the short term, to be in a hiring mode.

“We couldn’t be happier that the programs we put in place are not only retaining current students but attracting others,” Wandrie said.

For more information, visit

M-24 Construction Project Update from MDOT

From the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT):

We are getting ready to switch traffic on the south end of the project.  Right now it’s looking like either this Saturday the 6th or Monday the 8th.  These dates are weather dependent.  We will still have the same configuration around Demille Road that we currently have, south of this area traffic will then be shifted to the southbound lanes.  With one lane in each direction from about Power Street to south of I-69.
The day we do the traffic shift we could have some delays.  As we move traffic from one side to the other and get all the traffic control devices lined up. 
Once this last major stage is complete for this year; we will need to top everything we did this year.  This will require us to move traffic over and adjust the drainage structures to the final grade, get the signals ready and place the final lift of asphalt.  Right now we are anticipating that we would wrap up the construction for the year around the middle of November, weather permitting. 


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