by Andrea Tennyson
Well ladies and gentlemen, by the time that you will be reading this in the Hometown Gazette, I will have had my hernia surgery that was originally scheduled and then canceled in March.
The date and time of the surgery were sprung on me last week less then a week before the scheduled surgery date, surprise!
What does this mean for you?
I will not be able to complete a May 20 newspaper due to healing time. While I would love to get a paper out to you that week, it is just not possible. So, May 20, will count as one of the two week's that we take off each year. Usually we have a long time to give you this notice, but not this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes.
If you have a story, or ad that you would like published in the paper for May 27, we would need that no later then Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. to make our printer deadline for that week.
If you are an Athens grad, parent, or business that wishes to have your information or ad in the Athens graduate tab that will be in the May 27 newspaper, we would need your submission no later then Monday, May 18.
We thank you for your patience and understanding in advance during this time and can't wait to "get back to it" soon.
Take care Hometown Gazette family!
May 7, 2020
Dear Community Members,
The Michigan Department of Education is allowing schools to continue to distribute meals during the month of June. This is a change from what we were told in April, which stated we had to cease providing meals on the last published day of school as noted on the district calendar. Because of this change in policy, Athens Area Schools will continue the meals program through the end of June.
Next week we will be sending out a letter along with a Free and Reduced Lunch Application. I am strongly encouraging families to complete the application based on their current financial situation. We are doing this because many families' economic situations have radically changed with the current restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Having correct information is important since much of the federal stimulus aid is being distributed based on who and how many qualify for these programs. While it is true that the school district's federally-funded programs are also allocated by this, it also benefits individuals as well. Recently, the families of students in the elementary received additional funds for food because East Leroy Elementary provides free meals based on the number of qualified students. I understand having pride in providing for your own family, but not completing the application can also keep others from getting what they need. Please, if you can complete the application do so. You're helping not just the school and yourself, but also your neighbor.
Graduation is a very popular topic in the news and in the community. Since no one knows when we will be able to have it, I have been delaying trying to schedule a date. Based on a lack of solid information, the only option is to pick a couple of dates and see which will work, given the restrictions at that time. The best information available makes it appear that late August would be the soonest we could have a traditional graduation ceremony. Since we need to be mindful of when kids go off to college, the first possible graduation ceremony date is August 19, 2020. The next period of time that we would have kids home from college would be over Winter Break. Holding the graduation ceremony between the holidays makes the most sense, so the second possible graduation ceremony date is December 29, 2020. I am well aware that these are not optimal dates for every senior or their families, however they allow for the greatest chance of having strong participation when restrictions may be lifted to allow large gatherings.
The Athens Area Community Foundation Scholarship and Awards Night will be held on the night before graduation, either August 18 or December 28, 2020.
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!
Joseph C Huepenbecker
High School Principal/Superintendent
Athens Area Schools