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

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
September 27, 2013

Superintendent's Message
Kenyan Adventures--Part 2

In light of the tragic events in Kenya this week, it’s good to know that our students who spent three weeks there this past summer had an experience that exposed them to the beauty and hospitality of the country. Seniors Ben Bogart, Jimmy Brunner, and Jack Hylant went to Kenya to spend time with Fred Roberts, a 1979 graduate of Ottawa Hills and a good friend of the boys’ parents. There, they stayed at Batian’s View Experiential Education Center, Fred’s reserve which provides “world class team building and experiential learning courses for corporates, schools, and other groups.” (See the Batian’s View website here.) As part of their experience, our students daily taught a variety of subjects in area schools.
“They have very little, but they’re incredibly happy,” reflected Ben. “I can’t tell you how many songs were sung to us. Jimmy sang the Star Spangled Banner for them. I danced. They loved it.” Jimmy agreed, “The kids there never argued or complained. They loved to sing, even the kids who were in orphanages. I was impressed by their work ethic. They don’t take vacations. If the students had a week off of school, they would go home and work on the farm.” “It’s a whole different view on life,” added Jack.
While the enjoyment of singing and dancing was universal, there were many differences in the schools that the boys noted. “The students go to school through eighth grade, but then they are separated into tiers. Tier one kids get to go to schools in the bigger cities and the government pays for their education. It’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll get to go to college. Tier two kids will go to a boarding school. The government will also pay for their education, but these kids will probably not get to go to college. Tier three kids go to a local day school. Their future is probably farming.” Many Kenyans work in the fields for a wage of about $2.50 a day. Some are taxi drivers. Others are simply sustenance farmers, raising enough food to feed their families.  
English is taught in the Kenyan Schools. Mr. Roberts explained to the boys that the area tribe is the Kakuyu, so up until grade three, the students speak Swahili, although they start introducing the students to English in kindergarten. From third grade on, everything is taught in English. Students are even disciplined severely if they don’t speak in English. Getting used to the fact that students were whipped with rulers, sticks or hoses for not doing well on tests was something that Ben, Jimmy, and Jack never quite got used to.
The food was a challenge, and there wasn’t much variety. “They ate lots of beans, rice, and corn,” remembered the three. “The meals were pretty much the same every day. Porridge for breakfast and lunch, and then for dinner, they had ugali—which is just flour cooked with water. They loved potatoes too. We were never so happy to see a regular bottle of ketchup.”  
Our students posted blogs during their trip. I don’t have blog examples from all three (Jimmy had to post a blog entry for Ben because he lost a bet—little did he know that Ben could eat a handful of raw beans and chic peas), but to gain deeper insight into the Kenyan trip, you can check one of Jack’s blogs here or an entry from Jimmy here. Just to give you a taste, read Jimmy’s description of their arrival at Batian’s View: 
Finally, after a smooth four hour journey we arrived at Batian's View, unpacked our things, and met the three other members of our team who had arrived the previous night. After lunch and an orientation to our surroundings by Mr. Roberts, we took off for a long hike across the Naro Moru River, which runs a long the property.  Our first challenge was to cross the river, which meant using an Indiana Jones type cable crossing over the rushing water.  The hike was pleasant as we went from fields of tall grass into dense scrub bush.  At times the trail was very narrow and we frequently encountered bundles of thorns and tightly packed shrubs, but we pushed on as it allowed us to see countryside that was completely new to us. Nowhere in America do I ever remember being able to see miles upon miles of land with absolutely no buildings or roads. When we finally walked through a clearing, we could see Mount Kenya over the horizon, it was truly a great introduction for our African adventure. 
It’s just a hint of a great adventure that was chock full of lessons for these three O.H. students. No doubt, the Kenyan school children learned many great things from their new Ottawa Hills friends. But Ben, Jimmy, and Jack agree that they learned from the Kenyans. The most valuable lesson? “Be OK with what you have,” the boys reflected. “The Kenyans lived a simple life and they had an amazing work ethic. Value what you have. It makes them an incredibly happy people.”

"I've Got Your Back" Collecting Backpacks and Books

Senior Jimmy Brunner did his part to change the world during his three weeks in Kenya, but he continues on with the spirit of making the world a better place through a program he calls "I've Got Your Back." Jimmy collects children's books and backpacks and distributes them to different charities in the Toledo area to be used in conjunction with various children's programs, such as Kids Unlimited. The backpacks are provided to children who otherwise would have none, and the books are sent to homes that don't have books for children to read and enjoy. If you would like to make a contribution of books or backpacks to "I've Got Your Back," contact Jimmy Brunner at 419-356-1956 or email him at  

Fall Festival--Something for All Ages; Involvement by All Ages

Tomorrow, September 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Geresy Field, celebrate the arrival of fall by attending the ninth annual Ottawa Hills Fall Festival and Marketplace.  Admission is FREE! The festival is sponsored by the Ottawa Hills Schools Parent Association.

The marketplace will include a variety of art and fall decor. There will be pony rides, a cornhole tournament, pumpkin contest, wagon rides and activities for all ages. Enjoy food from the Boosters, Shorty's, Chick-fil-A and Coldstone. Entertainment will feature the OH cheerleaders and band, Otto Hill and His Hillbillies, Forte Trio, Haywire and more. Again this year there will be a Car Show. Come and view special, exotic, unique and classic vehicles. Vote for your favorite car during the fall festival.

Vendors will represent a wide variety of interests. For example, OHES fourth grader, Joseph Cohn will have a booth. He’ll be selling CD’s of music that he made himself using GarageBand (Joseph has taught this software program to his fellow students.) Joseph will even have a listening station set up for people to check out his compositions at the booth.

Joseph has expressed a passion for art and music his whole life and now especially enjoys composing and recording his own songs. He plans on using the money he makes at the festival to pay the program and material costs for a free art camp that he will be facilitating next summer for children who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend a camp. Check out Booth #28--JC Productions--for just a taste of the wonderful diversity--and ingenuity--that Fall Festival affords to all in attendance.  

Drive 4 UR School

Give a few minutes of your time at the Fall Festival tomorrow to help raise up to $6,000 for Ottawa Hills Schools! Ford Motor Co. will donate $20 per test drive to Ottawa Hills Schools at NO cost to you! The more people who drive, the more we'll earn for our schools. The Drive 4 UR School program is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. The test drive will be taking place in front of the high school from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The test drive will have a mapped-out course on village streets and should take 5 - 7 minutes of your time. The Ottawa Hills Schools Parent Association is working with Kistler Ford to organize this one-day only event. No purchase is necessary. Even if you drove in 2009 and 2010, you can drive again! So please join us and test drive a Ford tomorrow. Test drives are limited to one per household, 18 and over. A valid driver's license is required

Follow Green Bear Athletics and School News on Twitter

O.H. Athletic Director, Tim Erickson, has been tweeting scores to all of the varsity games for fall sports since the start of the fall sports. Get the most current athletic news by following @GreenBearSports on twitter. You can also follow school news by following @OHHSprincipal.

Village Parents Discuss Underage Drinking

On Thursday, September 19, dozens of parents gathered under a giant oak tree in the backyard of Brian and Cindy Hoeflinger to discuss strategies to curb teenage drinking and substance abuse in our community. The event was sponsored by the Ottawa Hills Prevention Advisory Committee (OHPAC) and is part of a regular series called “Chew On This.”  For more information about the event, visit the OHPAC website by clicking here. The next event will be on Thursday, October 17. It will include a presentation on "Brain Development in Children and Adolescents: How Alcohol and Other Drugs Affect the Brain" by Dr. Victoria Kelly. OHPAC's Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist, Debbie Dolgin coordinated the event at the home of the Hoeflinger's, and it was moderated by Bill Geha, who also provides drug and alcohol prevention services to area schools.

O.H. Linksters Continue Green Bear Tradition: Capture League and Sectional Crowns

The O.H. Golf Team has been rolling through a successful golf season, and they added two more achievements to their awards this past week. For the fifth year in a row, the team took the TAAC league title with scores of 71 by Ben Silverman and Michael Denner, 78 by Ben Dayton and Matt Abendroth, and 82 by RJ Coil. Ben Silverman became a four-time TAAC individual champion and a three-time TAAC golfer of the year. Coach Jim McGill was named the TAAC's Coach of the Year for the seventh year.

The team followed up their league championship on Monday with a sectional championship on Thursday. Ben Silverman blazed the course, shooting an outstanding 67. Ben Dayton carded a 72, while Michael Denner and Matt Abendroth both shot a 74. RJ Coil rounded out the team score with an 88. The team will now compete in the district golf tournagment next Thursday, October 3, at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Bowling Green. Good luck, Green Bears! We're proud of you!  

Saving Lives One Pint at a Time

The success of the Ottawa Hills High School blood drive continues with help from the OHHS Volunteer Focus Club. On Thursday, September 18, students recruited blood donors from the student body and the community. Officials from the Red Cross expressed their appreciation for the 19 usable pints of blood that were collected during the blood drive. Many thanks to Volunteer Focus members and advisor, Kristin Johnson, for organizing a successful event.  

Mr. Bobak and Mr. McCarthy Get Historical Perspective

On Saturday, September 14, social studies teachers Steve Bobak and Tom McCarthy  enjoyed an evening with Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough at a special fundraiser at the downtown library. McCullough spoke about the importance of our public library system and his upcoming book on the Wright Brothers. The event was organized to celebrate the library’s 175th birthday and to raise money for the Library Legacy Foundation. Steve Bobak and Tom McCarthy attended the event courtesy of villager Christy Stone from Health Care REIT. Also, many thanks to parents Heather Thurston, Erica Silk, and Katie Talbot for helping with the ticket search.

Yummy in My Tummy

Students in Julie Visser’s Chef's Delight class experimented with egg free cookies last week. Mrs. Visser says, “I love trying new recipes and changing 1 or 2 ingredients to make it a little healthier. It’s a great recipe for people who are allergic to eggs.” Students have been learning about different cooking terms and healthier substitutions.   Mrs. Visser is enjoying her first year at Ottawa Hills as our new Family and Consumer Science teacher. The recipe for those delicious cookies can be found at or by clicking here.

Girls Varsity Soccer Helps Out At Area Food Bank

Taking a break from their game schedule, the Girls Varsity Soccer Team bonded together on a Saturday morning, helping to sort canned goods and stuff envelopes at the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. For over 26 years, the Food Bank has distributed over 76 million pounds of food and grocery products to its member agencies. The Food Bank currently serves over 300 non-profit agencies and can always use a helping hand. The team intends to make the food bank a regular part of their ongoing commitment to service. The players  enjoy making a difference on the field and off the field and will next be hosting events to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. 

A Note from Mrs. Zake

It has been a very busy week at Ottawa Hills Elementary School this past week! Many of the experiences our students have had this week were made possible by members of our own community who have worked with our teachers to create amazing activities, presentations, and projects that have helped turn the new Common Core standards into memories that will last a lifetime. In addition, our teachers are always looking for ways to bring learning to life. Take a look at what’s been happening in our halls and classrooms this week!

First Graders Raising Painted Lady Butterflies

The first graders have been busy caring for and observing their painted lady butterfly larvae.  They have been amazed at the tremendous growth of the caterpillars.  They have witnessed the formation of the chrysalis and are waiting anxiously for the butterflies to emerge.  They have been tracking results and recording butterfly information in their butterfly journals. Many thanks to Dr. Lena Duran for making this experience possible for our First Graders!

Señora Dubon Brings National Hispanic Heritage to Life For Second Graders

The 2nd grade class enjoyed a delightful presentation by Ottawa Hills parent, Mrs. Jacqueline Dubon, about the history of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Señora Dubon taught the students songs in Spanish and played musical chairs, London Bridge, and "Going on a Lion Hunt!" with Spanish directions. Ottawa Hills students embrace all of the cultures and heritages that make up our diverse school community.  Gracias, Señora Dubon for sharing your story with us!

Fourth Graders Create Casts and Molds as They Study Fossils in Science

The students in fourth grade have experienced numerous activities learning about the formation of fossils. They made molds and casts out of play dough and melted chocolate that hardened "over millions of years". They created layers of sedimentary "bread" rock, which under extreme pressure created imprints of fossilized gummy bears. The students also made amber fossils with orange jelly and trapped an unlucky animal inside. As well as that, they experienced the terrible tar pits with maple syrup and honey to discover how animals can be preserved in these conditions. They have even been jurors at a fossil trial. To tie up the wonderful unit on fossils, the fourth graders took a trip to Fossil Park on Friday to become paleontologists and excavate their own fossil finds!

Students Recreate the William Tell Overture

Miss Bright’s students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades have been putting their music knowledge to work this week by creating remixes of the William Tell Overture. Students learned about the composer, Gioachino Rossini, and his inspiration for the famous overture, which led them into discussions about Orchestration and Remixes. This week they are applying this new information by working in GarageBand with a partner to create their own updated version of this well-known orchestral composition.

Reading:  Your Passport to the World

The theme of the library this year is "Reading: Your Passport to the World."  In order to encourage our students to read as a means of exploring the world, as well as our library, first through third grade students are using passports to keep a record of the various genres from which they're reading.  Each page of the passport corresponds to a different genre, and students collect dated stamps after finishing books.  Students are encouraged to get stamps on as many pages as possible, so that they're certain to be reading from a variety of genres. Students get to bring their passports home at the end of the year as a souvenir of the places that they've "visited."

Art Room Volunteers Needed!

If anyone would like to help display art and assist with the Art Fair, please contact Mrs. Bodziak at or call (419.536.8329 ext.251). Volunteering begins in October. We’ll need help once a month.

Getting Ready for the Fall Fest Pumpkin Contest

If you pick up your child from school, you may have seen the Kistler Ford truck loaded with pumpkins for sale after school. Most of these donated pumpkins that sold for a mere $3 will be entered into the pumpkin contest at the Fall Fest. If you didn’t get your pumpkin, there will be one last opportunity to get one at the Pigskin BBQ tonight.  We will see you there!

Please Help Us Keep Our Students Safe

We work very hard to provide a safe environment for our students. In order to assist in keeping the children safe, we ask that you make a plan with your children for pick up after school. You should include what to do if they do not see you or you are running late. It may be helpful to meet your children in the same spot each day. Please stress to your children that if they do not see you that they should go to the office. Also, if any parent sees a child that looks lost, please assist them in getting to the office. You should never take a child off school grounds without permission from his or her parent. Again, our children’s safety is a top priority, and we appreciate the help, understanding, and patience of all of our parents to ensure that our students arrive safely home each day.

After-Hours Access to the Elementary Building

We have been having a lot of students return to school to get books.  At this time of the year students should be organizing themselves and making sure they have everything they need before leaving for the day. Returning after hours is not only a safety concern, but also disrupts the custodial staff from completing their work. If a student returns between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., he or she should report to the office before going to the classroom.  Once the doors are locked at 4:00 p.m., students should not go to the classrooms to get forgotten homework.

OH Happenings

9/27/13 Friday
3:00 PM Girls Varsity Field Hockey in MVCD Invitational @ MVCD School
5:00 PM Pigskin BBQ
Front of High School/Multi-Purpose Room
7:00 PM Boys Varsity Football vs Hilltop
OH Stadium
9/28/13 Saturday
9:00 AM Girls Junior High Field Hockey @ Columbus Play Day
TBD Girls Varsity Field Hockey in MVCD Invitational @ MVCD School
9:00 AM Coed Varsity Cross Country in Eagle Invitational
Pearson Park
9:00 AM Girls Varsity Soccer @ Delta HS
11:00 AM 9th Annual Fall Festival, Marketplace, and Car Show 
Geresy Field, Evergreen Road, HS Lawn
11:00 AM
1:00 PM
Boys JV & Varsity Soccer @ Anthony Wayne HS
1:00 PM Boys Varsity Golf vs. St. Johns HS (Titan Cup)
Stone Oak Country Club
9/30/13 Monday
5:00 PM Girls Varsity Soccer vs Toledo Christian Schools
OH Stadium
7:00 PM Boys Varsity Soccer vs Toledo Christian Schools
OH Stadium
10/1/13 Tuesday
4:30 PM Girls Varsity Tennis @ Anthony Wayne High School
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Girls JV & Varsity Volleyball vs Toledo Christian Schools
OH Gym
7:00 PM Boys Varsity Soccer vs MVCD School
OH Stadium
10/2/13 Wednesday
4:30 PM Girls Junior High Field Hockey vs MVCD School
OH Stadium
5:00 PM Girls Varsity Soccer @ Otsego HS
10/3/13 Thursday
9:00 AM Boys Varsity Golf in OHSSA State Districts
Stone Ridge Golf Club
9:00 AM Girls Varsity Tennis in OHSSA State  Sectionals
Defiance College
4:30 PM OHLS Spec. Bd. Mtg.
Community Room
5:00 PM Boys JV Soccer @ St. Johns Jesuit
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
Girls 7th & 8th Grade  Volleyball vs Gibsonburg
OH Gym
5:30 PM Boys Junior High Football vs Edon
OH Stadium
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
Girls JV & Varsity Volleyball @ Gibsonburg HS

Village of Ottawa Hills:

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.

Be a yardstick of quality.
People are not used to an environment
where quality is expected.
Steve Jobs
Copyright © 2013 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Toledo, OH  43606