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From The Principal

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December 3, 2021

Good afternoon Utica Families,

Obviously, this has been a challenging week. That challenging week was made significantly more manageable thanks to all of you! I want to thank this incredible community for reaching out, for being active partners in making sure out students are safe, and for responsibly engaging with the school and authorities to ensure we have had information that we need to make to sure our staff and students are safe. 

I know this has been stressful. As a parent of two school-aged children, we’ve had to have a lot of challenging conversations at our dinner table this week as well.   I applaud all of you for facing those conversations head-on, for having them with empathy, and for reiterating some of the important messages that we’ve shared.   I want to reiterate the importance of speaking to our children in a responsible way. Mr. Monroe’s message this week shared information about how to have meaningful conversations with our children.  The National Association of School Psychologists does an incredible job of providing guidance and I strong suggest that you look at their Tips for Parents and Teachers.

This is technically our progress report period.  It is a great time to check in at that mid-way point and look at your student’s Powerschool with them, talk about successes and opportunities for growth. It is critical right now as we are less than three weeks from the end of the semester with our exams starting on Friday, Dec. 17 and concluding on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Seniors are invited to apply for the 2022 Superintendent’s Scholarship awards program. The scholarships are funded with proceeds from the Utica Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence’s annual Evening of Excellence and other sources.  The online application will go live on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. Students are required to submit a copy of their high school transcript as well as receive one recommendation from a teacher, school counselor, administrator, or non-family member. The individual making the recommendation will need to submit an online appraisal. 

In addition to the Superintendent’s Scholarship, there are several optional scholarship opportunities within the application – the Brett Klenow Scholarship, the Stefan’s Hope Scholarship, the Larry M. Smith Memorial Scholarship, and the Richard LaBaere Educational Scholarship.   The application will be available on December 7 at: or on the UCS home page under “Students” in the mid-menu on the center of the page. The deadline to submit the completed application and appraisal is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.   

In addition, our Commencement Dates and Location have been approved and released.  Utica Schools will be returning to the O Rena at Oakland University for our 2022 Commencement exercises.  Utica High School will have its graduation on Sunday, June 12, 2022 at 5pm.  More information to come! 

Finally, a reminder to all students that ID cards are required to be on your person at all times.  Not only for security reasons, but because you need to scan them at lunch!  We must record who is getting a lunch even though you’re not paying this year.  So, please make sure you have that card. 

First, a well-deserved congratulations to Coach Michol who was recognized as MAC Coach of the Year in Swim. Those of us who know Coach Joe are not at all surprised!  Congratulations to Girls Basketball who started their season with a win at home this week and congrats to Utica Unified Hockey who increased their record to 5-0 and hope to continue that tonight at home against Cheboygan. Finally, a lot of fun news about our UHS Chieftains at the district level including a great article on Madelyn Karrandja’s participation in the Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day parade and more!  I love seeing our Chieftains in the news with pride!  Bowling has their first tournament of the year at the Farmington Early Bird and LCN Singles Tournament this Saturday and Sunday!  Good luck all!

Have a great weekend Utica High!  As always, I’m proud of this community, I’m grateful for your support, and appreciate the honor of serving your students!

Tom Lietz