Art & Music

By Sara E. Teller

BOBBY EMMETT IS A TALENTED COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN FROM THE DETROIT AREA who originally played in a band called The Sights. When he decided to pursue a career in music, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and it didn’t take long for success to come.

“I moved to Nashville around 2012 to take a break from the treadmill garage scene, and work and play on Sturgill Simpson’s first record,” he said. “The day I got to Nashville, coming right off the freeway, Dan Auerbach was in the parking lot of the bar I arrived at. He hired me to play on a song, which turned into several full albums with him.”

Soon after that, Emmett was doing sessions for Dave Cobb in the morning, and Auerbach in the evening. “I sort of hit the ground running,” he said. “Those studios are insane. The coolest. I also made a soundtrack to a film that won an Emmy.”

Emmett spent a couple of years playing on records in Nashville. He was involved in what he describes as “some really cool stuff,” including working with John Prine, Kurt Vile, Bombino, The Arcs, Chris Hennessy, and Cowboy Jack Clement’s final album. “I also got a call from Rick Rubin to do a record with him. That recording session was hilarious,” he reminisced. When he began to work with Simpson, they opened for Guns N’ Roses and even made an appearance on Saturday Night Live. “Sturgill’s stuff started getting big and he asked me to tour with him,” Emmett said. “We made another record that won a Grammy for Country Album of The Year last year.”

EMMETT IS STILL PLAYING WITH STURGILL. He also recently produced and played on a new record for a band called Welles. “I am back in Michigan now, engaged to the love of my life,” he said. Emmett lives in Hazel Park and is pursuing another passion-project. “I bought a condemned house and completely gutted the entire thing, rebuilt everything. It was a true test of will power, standing on a dirt floor swinging a sledge hammer for a year with snow coming in the windows, no heat or water, and no end in sight. It turned out really beautiful, though. Never worked so hard on anything in my life.”

He’s also been spending some time on a project with this partner, saying, “My favorite thing that I am doing right now is with my fiancé. We have a project called Monster Fighters. It’s both of us singing and playing mostly everything, very ‘60s rock ‘n roll influenced. We work really well together. The stuff is really special to me.”

As far as future plans, Emmett said he played at Fuji Rock Fest last year in Japan, and brought home “this thing called a Daruma Doll. The concept is you color in one eye, write a goal on the back of the doll, then color in the other eye when the goal is achieved.” The goal the couple has in mind is to make a song together as Monster Fighters with a focus on getting a TV/movie sync to pay for their wedding. He explained, “So we plan on doing that, and having a family. We are always working on really cool music – doing her solo record now, too, which is sounding incredible. I also have a record of my own in the works. Never ending. I’m still trying to work my way up to getting a DMA nomination –maybe one day.”


HOW DOES A CITY FIND A WAY TO STAND OUT from its neighbors? And how can it highlight its residents and bring them together? The City of Hazel Park is using art as one way to set itself apart.

The Hazel Park Arts Council was founded in 2010 when City Council Members Andy LeCureaux and Jeff Keaton discovered they shared a love of art and wanted to display the work of local artists. Amy Aubry, treasurer of the Arts Council and Chair of the Art Fair Planning Committee, explains the goals of the organization:

“To bring art, in all its forms to our community. This means everything from public art installations with sculptures and murals to finding ways to feature our performing arts such as dancers and musicians, as well as hosting events that feature our local artists and engaging our residents in making their own art,” she says.

In the group’s eight years, they have built an art garden and created three annual events to pro-mote the creativity and craftsmanship of residents. The most permanent of those is the Art Garden, dedicated to former Mayor Jan Parisi and located next to Dairy Park at 21809 John R Rd. It features a sculpture by local business owner Richard Gage, and has a chess table, benches and a “Little Free Library” where residents can take and leave books. The group is working to bring more sculptures and murals to the city.

“This not only beautifies our town but provides work for our local artists,” Aubry says.

Another way the Arts Council brings local art to the forefront is through their events, the largest of which is the Hazel Park Art Fair. Now in its seventh year, the fair is held August 25th and 26th at Green Acres Park.

“Currently we are focused on having between 50 and 70 amazing artists who bring a variety of work to the fair,” Aubry says. “In addition to live music, we have artists that will produce art on-site while you watch, a magician is known to make an appearance or two, and even aerialists. The fair is free, so come join us to see it all!”

Other events produced by the Arts Council include Art in the Park – a free children’s crafting event held during the Growers and Makers farmers market on Sundays through summer and fall – and the Artober Art Crawl where temporary art pieces are installed around Hazel Park throughout the month of October.

Art Council currently has 10 members and Aubry encourages anyone to join, noting you don’t have to be a resident to become a member. Just fill out an application at

Aubry and other Art Council members, including its Vice President and City Council Member Alissa Sullivan, praise the city and its residents for their creativity and involvement, and realize they wouldn’t be here without the support.

“The community is so very helpful and supportive – they have embraced our art ‘offerings’ and really seem excited to participate,” Sullivan says. “It’s nice to bring things to our community that other communities have – art fairs, bazaars, murals, free kids art. I’m proud to be a part of that!”

By Ingrid Sjostrand

ARTS PROGRAMS IN K-12 SCHOOLS ALWAYS SEEM TO BE THE FIRST TO GO WHEN BUDGETS GET TIGHT, AND SCHOOLS OFTEN HAVE TO GET RESOURCEFUL TO FIND FUNDING. This is what prompted the creation of Hazel Park Creative Arts, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the Hazel Park School District’s art programs.

“We noticed that while the band program had a booster organization to raise money for the band, the other art programs did not,” Mike Vanderveer, president of Hazel Park Creative Arts, says. “We formed Hazel Park Creative Arts in an effort to support all of the art programs in the Hazel Park School District that do not have their own booster organization.”

Since its founding in 2014, the group has accomplished quite a few noteworthy projects. They started small by collecting art supplies for Hoover Elementary and tuning the piano for the high school choir, but quickly moved on to larger, more impactful goals like procuring a new kiln in November 2016.

“Our first major project was an effort to replace the pottery kiln in the high school. The kiln was estimated to be about 30-years-old and was showing its age in down time, repair costs and electricity usage,” Vanderveer says. “Working with the high school art department, we helped raise $15,000 to replace the old kiln with a brand-new, front-loading kiln. Many students in the district have been awarded scholarships for their ceramic art abilities, and the new kiln is a small part of that success.”

Most recently, they replaced the high school auditorium’s lighting control console. The mechanism was 15-years-old and produced by a company no longer in business, making it hard to find repair parts. Hazel Park Creative Arts was able to raise $6600 through fundraising and had the new lighting console installed just in time for theater season.

“The new console arrived at the school in February of 2018, and was used for the first time in the Hazel Park Drama Club’s performances of Seussical the Musical in April,” Vanderveer says.  Hazel Park Creative Arts is made up of four board members that meet the first Monday of each month. The majority of their work is completed through fundraising events; their two largest being a Fall Dinner held at the Junior High on October 5th and a Spring Night Out the Friday before the high school drama club performance.

“We very much appreciate the support the City of Hazel Park, its residents, and local businesses have given our organization and fundraising events,” Vanderveer says. “It’s great to see our city come together to support the arts in the school district;  None of what we do is possible without that support!”
Hazel Park Creative Arts is currently looking for their next major project. Anyone interested in attending board meetings or donating can reach out through their website,

By Maggie Boleyn

THE PHOENIX CAFÉ, FORMERLY LOCATED AT 24198 JOHN R RD., CLOSED ITS DOORS ON DECEMBER 23, 2017. While founder and co-owner Steve Gamburd says it wasn’t so well-known by Hazel Park
residents, it continues to hold a legacy among artists and musicians in the area.

“We created an art and music scene like no other, and it was never a bar! It was one of the few all-ages venues at the time, and now there are none in the area,” he says. “Unfortunately, I would guess that only five percent of the population of Hazel Park knew what we were.”

First opening in 2009, Gamburd, along with partners Hans Barbe and Michael Wiggins, successfully hosted themed art shows, concerts, community fundraisers and other events. The original goal was to create a community that supported sustainable living and held workshops; my goal was to have an art gallery, concert venue and community space,” Gamburd says. “Others that shared this vision made this place what it was.”

When The Phoenix Café hit a lull in late 2012, they decided to spend some time and money renovating. “I wanted a space free of old carpet, with matching furniture, an open stage, a solid cafe counter and a nice gallery. I wanted people to come in and buy art or enjoy a show in a clean space,” Gamburd says. “We completed renovation within six weeks and had our grand re-opening party on February 15th, 2013.”

After re-opening, some roles shifted with Wiggins leaving for other projects and Been Frank, a community organizer and music producer, joining the team. Been acted as sound engineer and helped coordinate events at The Phoenix Café, like Maybash – a popular, four-night concert series over Memorial Day weekend.

“Soon enough, our art events were huge, as well as many of our concerts. We had Tuesday figure drawing, Wednesday Open Jam Club, and Friday and Saturday shows on a regular basis,” Gamburd says. “Artist Steve Czapiewski became a major Phoenix associate with the figure drawing classes and art exhibits.” That success continued with local press attention for their festivals, involvement in the Hazel Park Arts Council and planning of the Hazel Park Art Fair, and a variety of themed art exhibits at The Phoenix – including Hallow Art, Steampunk Art Show, See What Stacey Started Art Show and a Nintendo Art Show. Musicians were thriving there too.

“Many bands got their start at The Phoenix, many musicians formed new bands out of the Phoenix, touring bands made The Phoenix an easy go-to for booking,” Gamburd says. “We were known on a national and regional level for booking in Detroit as a primary D.I.Y. space and resource.”

Despite success, in 2017 Gamburd made the decision to shift his career focus and close The Phoenix Café. “I wanted to be an artist again, create more and gig more with my bands. “We threw a huge, four-night closing party just before Christmas and invited all of the bands that frequented the place over the years.”

While the space has closed, pieces of its legacy remain. Several Hazel Park bars have started picking up where the Café left off: Joebar hosts occasional concerts and Cellarmens books bands and hosts monthly figure-drawing classes. Even its mural (hand-painted by Gamburd) still remains – for now – on the north wall of the barber shop and men’s clothing store that previously filled the space.

“My mural of the phoenix on the north wall of 24918 John R states the motto of Detroit, ‘We hope for better things. It shall rise from the ashes’,” Gamburd says. “As 2018 began, we already have spread our wings and are now both mobile and stationary at new venues!” Gamburd continues to hold figure-drawing classes around Metro Detroit at places like Scribblz in Utica and held a fundraiser in May for the Art Council with Hazel Park BDT. Frank still uses The Phoenix Cafe’s social media for booking concerts at Hamtramck Korner Bar and New Dodge Bar.

Gamburd sees this continued success as an extension of The Phoenix Café, and doesn’t expect it to change anytime soon.

“The Phoenix wasn’t just a space. It was and still is a strong community that will be in our hearts forever!”

By Jon Szerlag

MUSIC, ESPECIALLY ON A WELL-CRAFTED INSTRUMENT, IS ONE OF THE FEW THINGS THAT INFLICTS EACH OF THE SENSES. It can stir emotions at a single strum of a guitar or stanza of lyrics. There are songs of romance and heart-ache; persecution and redemption; empowerment and admitting weakness. The thud of a beat you feel in your chest can make you want to move, and a three-chord song can stop you in your tracks.

Music is powerful, and the owners of a newly opened music store in Ferndale, Andrew Pursell and Joel VanderLinde, want musical instruments to be within reach for anyone, no matter their economic status or talent yet to be discovered.

Bayberry Music, located at 23420 Woodward Ave., primarily only stocks acoustic stringed instruments – from guitars to ukuleles, banjos to violins – but also carry accessories for acoustic and electric. The location also performs repairs on stringed instruments.

THE OWNERS DON’T NECESSARILY COME from a musical background, but life took them down a path where music became an integral part of their existence, including making and repairing stringed instruments from their basement before opening their store.

Pursell, who grew up and lived in Illinois before moving to Michigan, obtained a degree in engineering. He moved to Michigan with the thought of working for the Big Three in the early 2000s, but work in the auto industry was not easy to get into during that time. So, his brother, who was working at a violin store, offered him a job.

“[My brother] said, ‘You like woodworking, come work for us,’” said Pursell. “I happened into it, which led to here – I found a passion for it and I never looked back. I started making instruments out of my house 11 years ago, while I was working there.”

Pursell was talking with his friend VanderLinde about making ukuleles, and VanderLinde took an interest. From there, an online music store came to be with both working out of their basements.

VanderLinde, who has a degree in computer science, fell in love with music, and his sales and business expertise made it a perfect fit for the two to go into the stringed instrument business.

“I love playing guitar, and I built my first ukulele with Andy,” said VanderLinde. “After that I was hooked. [Before Bayberry Music] I had some office jobs and it didn’t feel right. With Bayberry Music, everything fell into place. I get to build a little and sell a little, and still do some computer science.

AFTER HAVING AN E-COMMERCE STORE for roughly five years, the demand they saw for instruments, repairs and accessories was growing. Moving to a brick-and-mortar location was natural. And Ferndale was a perfect for them.

“Ferndale is fantastic, and we love it here and we love the community,” said VanderLinde. “It is a big change from working in the basement by our-selves all day. We love seeing new faces walk through the door every day.”

With their mindset of music being powerful and important for everyone, they not only offer stringed instruments at different price points, but they also are giving back to the community by helping organizations, like Detroit Youth Volume, by performing repairs on their instruments.

“We love music. It bridges the gap of classes and culture and it is a peaceful thing that everyone can get behind,” said VanderLinde.

“Our sole mission is that music should be easily accessible to all people,” said Pursell. “People should be able to get a good, quality instrument for themselves, or for a child to learn to play on.”

To contact Bayberry Music, you can visit their location, call 248-439-0700 or visit their online store at


Story by Jeff Milo
Interview with singer/songwriter Maggie Cocco

SINGER/SONGWRITER MAGGIE COCCO RECORDS AND PERFORMS UNDER THE MONIKER “SCIENCE FOR SOCIOPATHS,” and she realizes that hearing that phrase “…might scare some people.” But it’s an integral part of her story and she wants anyone out there listening who has a similar story to not feel alone.

“I used to be afraid to tell this story,” Cocco said. “It’s not that I’m saying: ‘Hey, pay attention to me.’ It’s that it’s so powerful to meet somebody else who’s been through something traumatic. That’s how my producer (Benjamin Warsaw) and I first connected, because he had a similar story and said that he just wanted to be a part in creating music that speaks to this experience.”

Cocco is already a professional, even at 27. She’s been playing music from a very young age, and has been a lifelong writer (first poetry, then songs). She was raised in Sterling Heights, listening to classic rock, Motown and some of the heavier alternative groups of the ‘90s. She played the viola between sharpening her lyrical sensibilities with poems, but went to study classical music at Oakland University. She started making an impression around the local music scene by the age of 22, but says she really came in to her own only recently, and blossomed, with Science for Sociopaths.

Cocco said her father, also a musician, exhibited ostensible sociopathic behavior as her manager when he instituted a ‘pop-star-or-bust’ level of expected perfection. Circumstances were exacerbated enough to where Cocco struck out on her own, three years ago, and has since developed her own solo career—writing a blend of blues, Americana-rock and jazzy folk ballads that are radiant but raw, presenting beautifully melodic odes of unvarnished truths that tap into experiences that could be specific to her yet nevertheless create an empathic and relatable response from a listener.

“I’m not over-assessing my writing, like before, wondering whether it’s commercial enough or not,” said Cocco. “I used to feel really isolated, like no one has gone through this particular life experience. All the stuff I’ve gone through might not be universally relatable, but it is to some people on a deeply personal level. It’s not going to be fun-time dance music, but it’s relatable and I see a lot of value in that. That’s the music I’m drawn to, anyway.”

Cocco is newly inspired. She’s constantly working on material; she released two EPs earlier this summer and already has a full set of songs for another album after that. What’s changed, said Cocco, is that she’s receiving positive encouragement. The musicians she’s working with now, along with Warsaw, “respect me as a songwriter and I’m feeling very encouraged. After my Dad, there was a period where I didn’t trust anybody… But I’ve realized there’s a ton of really great people out there who are just passionate (about this music) and offer to help, and that just makes me want to try my best, because I want to be worth it.”

The intention, above all, is catharsis. Writing and performing her music and sending these lyrical messages is one unique way in which Cocco can make a difference. She’s been able to impact the lives of others through other outlets,like teaching and volunteer work, but she can’t ignore the potential that her music has to reach people; people who might be in dire need of receiving a message of hope.

And even though the name of the project might put some on edge, Cocco knows that it will nevertheless draw an audience. She said she was done trying to be a pop star and appeal to everyone. Now, she’s writing down, recording and releasing whatever comes to her and putting it out there so that it can be found, so that it can speak to someone, rather than fixating on reaching everyone.

Cocco set up a Patreon to create an online community for fans of Science for Sociopaths, including exclusive access to her new releases. Her output continues to accelerate—she’s been delivering a new song each week to Patreon supporters online (which could be a new single, a new cover, responding to a special request, or just jamming with other artists).

Science for Sociopaths performs August 17 at PJs Lager House. After, she’ll be leaving for a patron-sponsored week-long tour in Ireland (Sept 3-10).

By David Ryals

SANDA COOK’S PAINTING IS INFLUENCED BY THE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES AND ARCHITECTURE OF HER NATIVE ROMANIA. She studied art at the Brasor School of Arts, and her travels throughout Europe, Japan, and the U. S. have given her work a unique perspective and style. Cook has shown her work extensively in Metro Detroit, including exhibits at the Scarab Club, River’s Edge Gallery, Downriver Council of the Arts, Carr Center for the Arts, Detroit Artist Market, Grosse Point Art Center, Ariana Gallery, 4731 Studio, and the Padzieski Art Gallery. Here in Ferndale, she’s recently had showings at Level 1, the Conserva, and M Contemporary.

In an exclusive interview with Ferndale Friends she said, “Art for me is a way of being alive, of connecting myself to the mysteries of the universe, nature, and the magnificent human soul.”

Though she has lived and studied abroad, she has settled into Detroit and considers it her permanent home. The city has adopted her and vice versa.

“I’ve loved teach painting classes at my studio in Hamtramck over the last few years, and a couple of my students are selling art and showing in galleries after just a little over a year of taking my monthly classes. I am so proud of them, and I am happy to inspire others. I also do individual art classes. I love to give back and help with my art donations. This year will be my third year of supporting the Matrix Foundation, and I have painted two Little Free Libraries in the last two years. One is in front of Belle Isle Conservatory, and the other will be in Berkley in front of the beautiful art store, Vitrine Gallery & Gifts.”

Her travels have inspired her art in lots of different ways. “I love to travel and explore the cultures and people of different countries. I am a U.S. citizen, and very thankful to live in a country with such great opportunities. Romania is my birth country, and growing up I enjoyed the outdoors and nature after school with my watercolor supplies. I started to paint at ten. Both places, Romania and Michigan, have their unique beauty. I love to capture in my watercolors or canvasses the beauty of places and people. Each country has its particular energy, traditions, and beauty and I love to immortalize. I take my sketchbook and water-colors everywhere to make sure I don’t miss any opportunities.”

ALONG WITH PAINTING, Sanda is a tarot card and palm reader. “When I was 27, I too a class reading palms and tarot. I worked from 2004-2009 for Cosmic Eyes in Wyandotte and from 2012-2017 at the wonderful Boston Tea Room in Ferndale.

The subjects of her work are bent towards nature and the cosmos. She explained what draws her to these subjects: “Nature is pure beauty. Mother Earth is so loving and generous with humans. I love the art of Vincent Van Gogh, Georgia O’ Keefe, Frida Kahlo, and Jackson Pollock. When I walk into the forest, I feel home. It is pure, it is peace, it is magical. I feel the same swimming or being next to the water.”

IF YOU’VE EVER CONSIDERED GOING TO MOVEMENT DETROIT MUSIC FESTIVAL, this may be the best year to attend. Why? You won’t want to miss the history making 30th anniversary performance of Inner City – the Billboard chart-topping group essential to techno in Detroit and around the world.

Started by Kevin Saunderson in 1988, the band experienced phenomenal success with hit songs like “Big Fun” and “Good Life” while their debut album Paradise reached Platinum status in the UK. Saunderson is renowned in the music world in his own right; known as one of the Belleville Three, along with Derrick May and Juan Atkins, who started as high school friends and are credited with creating Detroit Techno.

Inner City spent much of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s touring the world. The band was comprised of Saunderson as DJ, singer Paris Grey, and Ferndale personality Tommy Onyx as music director and keyboardist. Onyx describes some of their experience over the last 30 years.

“It was an interesting kind of group to start in 1988, and to see the way technology has changed since that time. For us, every tour we did was drastically different in terms of production because of new gear and advances,” he says. “The first tour we did was 100 per cent live. At the time we started there wasn’t a new paradigm yet. We were going out with live instruments, and it just evolved as tours went on.”

And he sometimes can’t believe the memories they created through those touring years. “A lot of life experience boxes got checked on those tours,” he says. “You don’t realize how privileged or awesome things are when you’re in the middle of it, but we got to perform at the Apollo theater for Showtime at the Apollo. Looking back it’s crazy to think I got to experience that.”

INNER CITY TOOK A HIATUS IN THE MID-2000s, and has evolved in more ways than one since. And he members of the band have all created individual legacies since their time touring together. Saunderson still tours independently as a world-renowned DJ and runs his record label KMS, while Onyx started a successful web development and design firm now based in Ferndale.

“This is the third time Inner City has performed the Movement festival proper. The first time was when it was still called DEMF. We performed again in 2010, and this will be the third,” Onyx says. “We also performed the after-party at St. Andrews in 2012 but weren’t a part of the actual festival.”

As they reconvene for their 30th anniversary at Movement Detroit, the band has grown to include some changing and new members. One of Saunderson’s three sons, Dantiez Saunderson, has joined the band to DJ and mix alongside his father.

Fans can also expect the return of Dennis White, who hasn’t performed with the band in 25 years. White and Onyx were in the band Charm Farm together in the late ‘80s, and most recently White won a 2018 Grammy for Best Remixed Recording of the Depeche Mode song “You Move.” White will be on keyboards alongside Onyx and Nico Marks at Movement.

The most noticeable difference will be the transition of lead vocals from Paris Grey to Steffanie Christi’an. A Detroit native, Christi’an has per-formed with such artists as Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and Big Proof. She is also active in the Black Women Rock collaborative.

“She’s from Detroit, is a phenomenal singer and is from the scene – super excited to have her in the mix ” Onyx says. “We’ve been having her redo backing tracks because we weren’t looking to replicate Paris and wanted Steffanie to create her own part in Inner City.”

Movement Detroit takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 26th through May 28th and Inner City will perform Monday May 28th ahead of Wu Tang Clan, where they are planning to release two new singles.

“Everyone is at a stage right now – Kevin is considered a legend at this point, Dennis just won a Grammy, I have a web development business – this stuff is exciting but we could all easily go our separate ways,” Onyx says. “But we are all kinda’ excited to see if we could get another charting record again, one more box to check would be to do another tour with charting records.”

Story by Sara E. Teller

Ferndale Public Schools is made up of portions of four communities – Ferndale, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak Township,” explains Bill Good, Director of Communications and Pupil Services. “For many Oak Park residents, Ferndale Schools is actually their home district – many Oak Park residents don’t realize this.” As a ‘Schools of Choice’ district, Ferndale also welcomes students from Oak Park who are not assigned but wish to attend.

Ferndale Schools offers an intimate, interconnected environment for its educators, students, and families. “Ferndale offers a hometown, small school atmosphere that gives parents, students, and teachers, and community an opportunity to really get to know one another,” Good said. “The district is large enough to provide a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular offerings, but small enough to maximize student participation and maintain a community feel.”

Ferndale Schools has created a curriculum and school culture centered around each child’s age, developmental milestones, and specific needs. “It is a focused approach on the whole child that facilitates growth academically, emotionally, socially, and physically,” Good explains, adding, “Collaboration between children, teachers, parents, and community members creates a community of learners and a purposeful learning environment.”

The District uses social and emotional learning (SEL), the process through which both children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions; set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions. This concept that is rooted in the schools’ ‘whole-child’ philosophy has been recognized at both the state and national levels, and has been adapted by other districts.

Good poses the question, “What do we mean when we say educating the whole child? We recognize that learning is about more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. We are dedicated to educating and nurturing the entire child, so each student grows into a purposeful, lifelong learner. Our talented educators have developed a guiding framework that is integrated into the classroom every day which teaches social and emotional development skills and the benefits are clear – academic achievement increases, students feel more confident, and teachers have more time to teach.”

FERNDALE IS ALSO KNOWN FOR ITS HIGH SCHOOL IMPI ROBOTICS TEAM, which has qualified for the national championships the past two years. The Impi Warriors recently took it upon themselves to help spread STEM education across the globe, fundraising for the development of a new robotics team in Ghana. The FHS Football Team also made the playoffs for the second straight year in a row.

High school senior Jacob Keener recently received notoriety as one of just a handful of students nationwide who achieved a perfect score on both the ACT and SAT test, and senior Matt Ballard and Junior Donovan Pitts-Reed qualified for the state championship wrestling meet. Student athletes Jacob Keener and John Stellard were selected from a pool of more than 4,200 nominees to be among 16 finalists awarded the Michigan High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete (MHSAA) award. Students continue to excel at sports, academics, and extra-curriculars each school year.

The District also has some innovative plans in the making to promote educational growth. “With the explosive growth in technology the days of the traditional ‘library’ or ‘media center’ are past,” Good explains. “Last year, Ferndale Schools began our transition away from the old model and transformed half of the FHS Media Center into ‘The Nest’.” The Nest is a flexible learning space that teachers can reserve for small group projects and instruction. The tables and chairs in The Nest are all on wheels and can be moved and reconfigured to fit the needs of the teacher or groups of students. The Nest is also home to a mobile smart board which allows students or teachers to plug in their devices and share their display. The project was funded by a generous donation of ‘The Profit’ Marcus Lemonis and NBC/Universal who visited Ferndale Schools last year.

For an illustration of school assignments by area, please visit and click on the district map. Residents interested in joining Ferndale Schools through the Schools of Choice program can apply from March 13 to August 3 by calling 248-586-8686.

By Rose Carver


ENDOMETRIOSIS IS A PAINFUL DISORDER in which the tissue that normally lines in the inside of a woman’s uterus – the endometrium –grows on the outside. It affects your ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissue lining,and other organs throughout your body.

“Honestly, I don’t remember what my life felt like before endometriosis ruined it. I started having severe symptoms in 2006 when I was 25. I am now 36.”

Throughout her long battle with the illness, Douglas delved deeply into the study of her illness, traveling to specialists in Atlanta, and has debunked a few medical misconceptions concerning the treatment of endometriosis.

“Young women are still being told a hysterectomy can cure endometriosis when this is completely untrue,” Douglas said. “I would love to save women from the awful experience of having the wrong surgery.”

The right surgery, according to Douglas, is something called “robotic excision surgery.” The difference is basically cutting the endometrium off of the surface of the organs (excision) versus burning it off of the surface of the organs, which is a procedure called “ablation.” Douglas received the ablation surgery in the past at Beaumont hospital, and while the relief came it was temporary.

“There is such an extreme difference in the long-term success of excision surgery that I cannot understand why the outdated ablation is still being performed.”

Unfortunately, her decision to move forward with this excision surgery comes with a price tag, and she has plunged herself into debt.

“The bills keep coming, and since I was ‘self-pay’ I had no way of knowing exactly how much the surgeries would cost,” Douglas said. “It’s over $30,000, not including travel costs. It’s all more than I expected, and I’m glad I didn’t know because it may have deterred me from seeking care.”

Douglas has been collecting donations from friends and strangers to aid in her financial recovery.

“To receive money from strangers is surreal,” Douglas said. “At first, I thought I didn’t deserve it. But that was depression talking; everyone deserves a pain-free shot at living.”

The best thing about her life after surgery is, of course, the reduction in pain. Douglas says that the most exciting thing about her life post-surgery is that she can lay down on her back, on a bed, without pain. Before she would have to sleep sitting up in a lazy boy or else the pain would be excruciating.

“I look forward to finding out what a body that doesn’t hurt so much feels like,” Douglas said. “Endometriosis does not get the attention or compassion that it deserves. It is a serious issue when someone has to travel over 700 miles in order to stay alive.”

The recovery is long, but Douglas is optimistic. She plans to start creating art full-time once she can endure it, and bring more beauty into the world.

You can donate to help cut down Douglas’ debt by going to the web site: