Ottawa Hills Local Schools District Newsletter
3600 Indian Rd., Toledo, Ohio  43606

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
May 9, 2014

Superintendent's Message

Here's to Mom

This is my mother. Really, she’s my mom. Anyone can be a mother—they give birth. But a mom invests her time, her energy, her attention, and her love in being a connected, important, influential person in the lives of her children. She sews costumes for the school play and she makes cookies for the bake sale. She spends evenings watching baseball games and nights nursing fevers. She’s the last to sit down at the dinner table and the first to get up in the morning. She often puts in eight hours and then comes home for a second shift. She chauffeurs, chaperones, organizes, fixes, proofreads, picks up, puts away, hugs, scolds, praises, and worries.
That’s what Carlotta Miller did for my four brothers and me. She was my mother, but more importantly, she was my mom. And the lessons I learned from her are a large part of who I am today.
She was an incredibly unselfish person, willing to invest her most precious resource—her time—in her family. As busy as she was trying to tend to the basics of picking up after five boys, washing clothes, and preparing meals, she always seemed to have time to come outside to put on a ball glove and play catch. It was rare that she would miss a track meet, a basketball game, or a band concert. She was a get-down-on-the-floor-and-play type of mom, and when the grandchildren came, they enjoyed that same type of engagement with their Grandma Miller. I remember mom wrapping a towel around her arm so she could hit the volleyball without hurting her arm. She wasn’t about to be left out of the backyard game when the net was up. My  mom would much rather invest in a memory than a new couch any day.  
She loved us unconditionally, even when we didn’t deserve it. I would never have said it then, but one of the greatest gifts my parents gave to my brothers and me when we were growing up was that they loved us enough to step back and let us suffer the consequences for our actions. Being a parent myself now, I understand that it’s not an easy thing to do. But it is one of life’s most valuable lessons. Good choices lead to good outcomes. Bad choices lead to problems. But through any personal challenges, we never doubted our parent’s love or their support. My mom never tried to be my friend. She was my mom, and in that role, she made decisions that I hated as a child, but I admire as an adult.
With Carlotta Miller, there was no “just wait until your father gets home.” She took care of it herself. You didn’t mess around with mom. I remember the first time I was allowed to take the car out. I came home a half-hour after curfew. When I opened the door, there she stood, and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be here today. She didn’t say a word. Just "the look." After what seemed like an excruciatingly long time, she turned around and went to bed. I was never late again. 
She knew that the family unit was the foundation of all we were and all that we would become. My mom knew long before researchers pointed it out that some of the most important times for children’s social and emotional growth happen around the dinner table. Lots of connections are made there. Nightly dinners were required to take place around the table, not in front of the TV. And even when school activities pushed our arrival home to later in the evening, we still sat at the table to eat and talk with mom as she finished up the dishes. We always kidded that mom didn’t have a dishwasher—she had five of them. There were many nights that she would wash the dishes and one of us would dry. And typically, beside her was the next day’s spelling list or study guide, so while she washed and we dried, she quizzed us. Test preparation was happening, but more importantly, connections were being made.   
She knew what was important.
My mom was an elementary school secretary for twenty-five years. She trained many a good principal in that time. I always said she could run the school by herself with one arm tied behind her back. She’d go to school every day and apply those same standards of care and concern to an entire building of teachers and students. I’ve always said that you don’t have to stand in front of a classroom to be an educator. And I tell you, my mom was an educator. From her office desk, she provided more support, encouragement, insight, wisdom, and direction than many who have years and years of formal education.  
She grew up as the tenth of eleven children (that's her on the far left). Her father was a meat cutter. And there were times when the family had to go on welfare. During those times, they had to do government work, making mattresses in their home. She knew what tough times looked like, and they made her resilient.
My mom is no longer with us. She passed away in August of 2000 at the young age of 67 after a long battle with cancer. For seven years, the disease would show up—first in the parotid gland, then the lungs—and each time, she’d beat it down. She was one tough bird. But after having what we thought was a long bout with the flu, she was admitted to the hospital. I was in the room when the doctor came in and said, “Carlotta, I’m afraid you have three egg-sized tumors in your brain.” She was calm, but I was a mess. And when I said, “Why couldn’t this be happening to someone else?” her response was, “Then it would be someone else’s mom, wouldn’t it?”  
People stood in line for two hours at the visitation. That’s how many lives she had impacted—in our school, in our church, and in our community. The funeral director stared at us with a look that gave away his thoughts, “Who WAS this woman?”
She was Carlotta Miller. A giving, determined, loving, selfless, stubborn, loving woman. She was my mom.
During really tough times in my life, she’d say, “I love you, and God loves you, and that’s all that matters.” Those words still resound in my mind during especially challenging days. It’s one small piece of an indelible legacy that she left not only to me, but also to a multitude of others.     
George Washington himself wrote, “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” Moms are truly children’s first, and best educators. I know my mom was mine.    
As we approach this Mother’s Day weekend, I thank you for allowing me to recognize my mom as representative of all the moms who have an unmistakable hand in raising and molding the children we have the privilege of working with each day.
If your mom is a short drive or a phone call away, then you are indeed a blessed person. Make sure you wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Honor her for being your mother, but thank her for being your mom.  

FIRST Robotics Open House is May 20

This past year, Ottawa Hills students Elizabeth Ruvolo, Anna Becker, Roman Langenderfer, and Patrick Giolando joined students from eleven other Toledo-area schools as part a FIRST Robotics Team. FIRST Robotics is for high school students and is a follow-up to Junior FIRST Lego League (grades K through 3) and FIRST Lego League (grades 4 though 8).
To learn more about what the students do in FIRST Robotics, visit their website at In short, each year the team builds a robot to meet the requirements set forth by the league for that year’s competition. For example, this year, they had six weeks to build a robot that was able to harvest a gymnastic ball, “hand” it to another robot, toss it over a truss, and put it or throw it into a goal. During the build season, the students meet three days a week, working for three to six hours or more building and programming their robot in preparation for competition against other teams.

Students are encouraged to consider joining the FIRST Robotics Team next year. Current 8th through 11th graders are invited to attend the team’s open house, to be held at the Dana Corporation on Tuesday, May 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can see more information about the Open House here.

"Ride of Silence" Will Honor Dave Larabee

Join cyclists worldwide in a silent, slow-paced ride in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways. The 5th Annual Toledo "Ride of Silence" will be held on May 21, 2014, starting and ending at the University of Toledo's Parking Lot 1 North, located at the corner of Bancroft and North Towerview Blvd. The ride will be slow paced (12 mph maximum), covering 7.8 miles. Riders will be escorted by Toledo City Police, Ottawa Hills Police, and UT Police on route. Helmets are required.

There are no sponsors, no brochure, and no registration fee. However, you can find out more about the "Ride of Silence" by visiting the website here. You simply show up at UT's Parking Lot 1 on the 21st. The group will depart promptly at 7:00 p.m.

The "Ride of Silence" has special significance for the people of Ottawa Hills, as the group rides past Ottawa Hills High School to honor Dave Larabee, a beloved Ottawa Hills High School teacher who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle to school in September of 2005. The group has plans to stop at the bike racks which have been installed at the junior/senior high school. The bike racks were purchased with funds from OHSPA and through donations given by faculty, staff, and community members in memory of Mr. Larabee.  

OHSPA Spring Luncheon is Next Tuesday

OHSPA invites all members to the annual meeting and spring luncheon on May 13 at 12 p.m. at Inverness  Club. If you are the parent of an Ottawa Hills student, you are considered a member of OHSPA. The luncheon will replace May’s monthly member meeting. The new slate of OHSPA board members and committee chairs will be presented, and there will be time for socializing and enjoying a lovely meal. Please complete and submit this form  by May 9 to Margot Estes, 5026 W. Dauber Dr., 43615. Please note “OHSPA luncheon” in check memo.

Next Friday is "Green Bear Nation Celebration"

Get ready for OHSPA's 2014 Carnival--"Green Bear Nation Celebration." The Carnival will run from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the lawn of the elementary school next Friday, May 16. This year's event features lots of fun games and attractions, such as the popular Adrenaline Rush! Once again, the Boosters will be providing the food and refreshments.

Pre-sale carnival tickets will be sold at the elementary school on May 14 and May 15, 2014, from 11 -12 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. Pre-sale tickets will also be sold from 11-12 p.m. on Friday, May 16, 2014. Pre-sale tickets are 5 for $1.00. Tickets at the carnival are 4 for $1.00. Only cash is accepted at the Boosters' Food Trailer.

Also, we would like to congratulate third grader, Ella Berenzweig (right), for winning the carnival naming contest with “Green Bear Nation Celebration.”  Congratulations also go to sixth grader, Emily Shawaker (left), for drawing the winning t-shirt design! If you forgot to order a t-shirt, a limited supply of t-shirts will be for sale at the carnival for $10.

Volunteers are still needed for the rides, games, and ticket sales. Please visit OHSPA’s website,, to volunteer!


smART Show Showcases Creativity at Ottawa Hills

Hundreds of parents, students, staff, and community members turned out for the annual smART show for an amazing exhibition of student creativity, critical thinking and art across the curriculum. This year’s theme, “Juxtapose”, encouraged visitors to consider how artists and thinkers place contrasting objects or ideas next to each other for the sake of comparison and dramatic tension.   

Congratulations to the smART Prize winners: 1st place Claudia Fuhrman; 2nd place Mac Veh; and 3rd place Kara Kime. Congratulations to Anna Gustine for her winning design for the Back to School 5K run/walk.

Thanks to many people for making the smARTshow possible: show organizers Steve Wipfli, Kristin Johnson, James Kinkaid, Kate Hunyor, and Noreen Hanlon; teachers who displayed student work and/or shared their workspace; student volunteers; custodians Eric Miklovich, Don Monroe, and John Docis for making sure the school looked its best; and Chuck Eighmey and Dennis Clere for beautifying the school grounds. Thanks to Julie Visser, Shane Patacca, and Brooks Spiess for constructing a giant screen to display selfies and smART prize winners for the smARTy pARTy. Finally, thanks to everyone who sent in a “selfie” over the last week. In case you missed it, check out the smART show website by clicking here.

Breakfast Honors Teachers and Students

On Friday, May 2, Ottawa Hills students Michael Geisler and Ella Rohm-Ensing attended the annual "I Make A Difference" Breakfast sponsored by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West. They were asked to select a teacher that had a profound impact on them during their time at Ottawa Hills. Michael chose Darrin Broadway and Ingrid Mendez was chosen by Ella. Congratulations to our amazing students and teachers.

Third Place Finish For Bais YBTC Challenge

The You Be The Chemist (YBTC) challenge is an academic chemistry competition for students in grades 5-8. On April 19, 25 students participated in the state YBTC competition at Imagination Station. Congratulations to Rahul Bais, an eighth grader at OHJHS, who earned a third place finish at this competition. 

The Chemical Educational Foundation's You Be The Chemist® (YBTC) programs are designed to enhance K-8 science education by introducing the central role of chemistry in all the sciences and in our everyday lives. To accomplish its mission, CEF relies on the collaboration of industry, educators, and all members of a community to enhance science education among every generation, beginning with our youth.

Many thanks to science teachers Nicole Silvers and Brandon Aigner for organizing the local competition. More information about YBTC can be found by clicking here.

5th Congressional District Art Awards

Steve Wipfli and Kristin Johnson selected artwork from Sara Eskandari, Kara Kime, Audra Swan, and Lauren Miller to enter in the Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District Invitational Art Exhibition.  Over sixty students from eleven schools located throughout Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District submitted their original artwork for the chance to have it displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. “The Congressional Art Competition is a tremendous opportunity for us to showcase the wealth of artistic talent in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District,” said Congressman Bob Latta. Kara Kime’s New Life From Old Relics (shown here) made from old trail maps from Park City, Utah received an honorable mention award. Her work will be displayed in Congressman Latta’s office over the next year. Congratulations, Kara!

Quiz Bowl Team Competes at Nationals

The Ottawa Hills High School Academic Quiz Bowl Team made it to the playoffs in the first ever NAQT Small School National Championship this past weekend to finish 17th out of 50 teams represented from all over the country. The Green Bears were proudly represented by senior Harrison Leinweber, juniors Kathleen Johnson, Adam and Quinn Wright, and sophomores Jack Wolff, Kirsten Cousins, and Waverly Hart. The Quiz Bowl team went 5-4 in the preliminary rounds to make the playoffs, and then went 1-2 in the playoffs to bow out in double-elimination.

"My hope was for the team to make the playoffs, which was a lofty goal for a team that lost many good seniors last year. They really pulled together to pull it off, and then rallied to pick up a win in the playoffs, which was an extra treat," says coach Anthony Torio. Mr. Torio is very proud of the team for their fine play, excellent sportsmanship, and classy way they represented the school district. "They work well together and are always supportive of each other. Moreover, other schools seem to gravitate toward our team because of our appreciation for fine play and genuine friendliness and sportsmanship. I really enjoy seeing our players chatting with other schools, seeing how they did or wishing them luck. Quiz Bowl is just a really neat fraternity of intellectual students with a competitive edge, and coaching this team is a true pleasure." 

Click here for the Ottawa Hills High School Quiz Bowl Team's results for the 2013-2014 season. Congratulations to our team on another outstanding season. Many thanks to advisor Tony Torio and to OHSPA for their support of the Quiz Bowl team and their unwavering support of many of our extracurricular programs.

Choraliers Charm Kids Unlimited

On Wednesday, April 30, the Choraliers put on a small concert for the students at Kids Unlimited.  Steve Mitchell, Ottawa Hills parent and Kids Unlimited Board member, invited our Choraliers to the school as a way to continue our partnership. “Ottawa Hills High School should be very proud of the fine performance the Choraliers put on for 178 K-4 students at Kids Unlimited Academy as part of a school pep rally. The children enjoyed seeing the musical talents of our high school group and even got to sing along on a couple tunes,” says Mitchell. Many thanks to Donna Wipfli and all the Choraliers for sharing their time and talents with the students at Kids Unlimited.


Jeans for Green Team

The OHES Green Team needs your old jeans. Well, they actually need the buttons and zippers from jean jackets, pants, or other denim clothing items for their 2013-14 Green Team art project. Old jeans can be placed in the box outside Mrs. L-K’s classroom, or dropped off in the office. Once completed, the framed art will be  displayed for all to see.

Toledo Opera tells a Silly Story Through Song and Movement

Tuesday morning was a treat for OHES students as the Toledo Opera performed in our new gym. Students learned that story telling through music can be both fun and funny!  The four opera performers combined the strength of their trained voices with movement to create dramatic situations, keeping students engaged and laughing throughout the performance.

Fifth Grade Wax Museum

History came to life during the Fifth Grade Explorer Wax Museum on Wednesday, May 7. After using books and online sources to research a European explorer, students wrote a profile of the person’s life. Students dressed up as these historical figures and shared significant information about their explorations and achievements during the Wax Museum. Parents, third and fourth graders, and other guests enjoyed their visit to the Wax Museum and learned a lot about these important European explorers. 

Lost and Found

Now that the outside temperatures are warming, it is time to display our Lost and Found one last time. Items are on display on tables in the main entrance of the school. The snow is gone, but many reminders of winter remain behind. We have many coats, hats, and gloves, as well as other items, such as lunch boxes, shoes, and sweatshirts. Please take a moment to look through the items and claim what belongs to your family. All unclaimed items will be donated after the last day of school.

OH Happenings

5/9/14 Friday
4:00 PM Coed Varsity Track and Field
Green Bear Relays
OH Stadium
5:00 PM Boys JV Baseball vs Maumee HS
OH Baseball Field
5:00 PM Boys Varsity Baseball @ Maumee High School
5/10/14 Saturday
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
Girls JV & Varsity Lacrosse vs Perrysburg HS
OH Stadium
5/11/14 Sunday
3:30 PM Boys Varsity Baseball @ Central Catholic HS
5/13/14 Tuesday
8:15 AM OHSPA Meeting
Community Room (moved to luncheon at 12:00 noon)
4:30 PM Boys Varsity Tennis @ Napoleon HS
5:00 PM Girls Varsity Softball vs. Delta High School
OHSSA State Sectional @ Delta High School
5/14/14 Wednesday
4:45 PM Girls Varsity Softball vs Toledo Christian High School
OH Softball Field
5:00 PM Boys Varsity Baseball vs. Sandusky St. Mary
High School
OHSSA State Sectional
@ Sandusky Dorn Park
5/15/14 Thursday
9:00 AM Boys Varsity Tennis OHSAA State Sectional
Defiance College
4:30 PM Coed JH Track and Field
TAAC Championship
Gibsonburg HS
4:45 PM Boys JV Baseball vs Gibsonburg HS
OH Baseball Field
4:45 PM Girls Varsity Softball @ Gibsonburg HS
6:00 PM Girls Varsity Lacrosse vs TBA
State Sectional
OH Stadium
Village of Ottawa Hills:

Ottawa Hills Parent Association:
In partnership with our community,
Ottawa Hills Local Schools
will challenge and inspire each student
to realize his or her unique potential;
to embrace learning as a lifelong process;

and to become an active, responsible citizen.

Mother is a verb.
It's something you do.
Not just who you are.
--Cheryl Lacey Donovan
Copyright © 2014 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Ottawa Hills, OH  43606