While taking a tour of West Bloomfield High School, Michigan State Sen. Mike Kowall, 15th District, visited 12 classrooms, including Mervet Ismail's Honors Chemistry class.
The senator was somewhat reluctant when Ismail asked him if he would like to light her hand on fire, but agreed to participate in the experiment. He appeared surprised when it ignited, but happy to have played a part in the demonstration – and nobody was injured.
As he toured classrooms ranging from ninth-grade Engineering Academy where students were learning to build bridges, to the Laker Express Honors Choir who performed the National Anthem under the direction of Sheryl Hauk, he stated, "I have been looking forward to visiting West Bloomfield High School to see first hand why it is consistently ranked among the best in our nation."
Principal Tom Shelton, Assistant Principal Mara Hoffert, Arthur Ebert and Pat Watson all joined the senator as he toured classrooms, including the high school's state-of-the-art television studio where Ashley Teffer teaches the school district's popular video journalism course. In the advanced marketing classes, students get a true sense of the common principles of the marketing mix, such as product, price, place and promotion in the school's own store, Laker Landing. Kowall walked out in true Laker Pride fashion as he donned a Laker baseball cap from teacher Eric Pierce.
He shared stories along the way of his own education and broad background, stating that he originally wanted to be an archaeologist because he enjoyed digging rocks when he was young, then later became certified in hydraulics and could have gained employment in Avionics.
The senator asked Counselor Lisa Graff a rhetorical question, on how we help kids decide on a career at the young age of 15 years old. She shared some of the unique programs that the school district has to offer, such as the political leadership where students get to work with professionals such as judges and attorneys, or the medical mentorship program, where they are able to shadow doctors at Henry Ford Hospital to help them decide if they are truly interested in that field or perhaps not cut out for it.
Kowall believed that "constant exposure is one of the best concepts we can offer." Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Pat Watson also noted that "we have a multitude of athletic activities for students to choose from as well and now have our own equestrian team."
West Bloomfield High School offers 24-advanced placement classes, more than most other high schools in the state. The senator commented that "most districts around the nation can't hold a candle to what we're doing in Oakland County and the schools in my district."