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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2013
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
Photo Advisory: Farmington Hills Teacher Wins $2,000 Classroom Makeover

CINCINNATI - Mary Gage, a local teacher at Steppingstone School in Farmington Hills, Mich., was chosen as the third place winner of the Great American Classroom Makeover, a national contest sponsored by Great American Financial Resources. Gage received thousands of online votes throughout the month of February and was selected from hundreds of entries submitted nationwide to receive $1,000 to purchase items needed for her classroom. An additional $1,000 prize will be awarded to the school.

What: Live check presentation by executives from Great American Financial Resources
When: Thursday, March 28, 7 p.m.
Where: Steppingstone School - 30250 Grand River Avenue, Farmington Hills, Mich.

How many schools accept the challenge of converting a used car dealership into a school? Gage will use a Classroom Makeover to create a weather-tight, temperature-controlled environment that supports great art and science, complete with wash basins, canvases and more. According to Gage, "Receiving this grant will not only finish a project that never ends, it will allow it to get started!"

About Great American Financial Resources

The subsidiaries of Great American Financial Resources offer retirement solutions through the sale of traditional fixed and indexed annuities in the education, bank and individual markets. The company's subsidiaries include Great American Life Insurance Company® and Annuity Investors Life InsuranceCompany®. GAFRI is a member of the Great American Insurance Group, whose roots go back to 1872 with the founding of its flagship company, Great American Insurance Company. The members of Great American Insurance Group are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. AFG's common stock is listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "AFG". Learn more at www.GAFRI.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 2, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
PIRATES TEEM AT STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL
 "Yo-ho-ho," sing (standing top left to right) Lindsay, Amelie, Daniel and Ryan with a chorus of shipmates below (left to right) Alex, Hugh, Anneka, David, Chase and Michael aboard their pirate ship. In addition to flying their flag, students built their ship, the "Thrashing," using picnic tables, a workout pell and volleyball net standards.

"Aaarghgh," growled "Captain Gutterman" of PIRATES, a Steppingstone School Summer Camp, as she greeted student "shipmates." In a week of fantasy role-playing, students from Western Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties also learned some history, real and fantastical. To play their parts, "pirates" designed their own costumes and built their own ship as well.

With "First Mate Tobin," students learned to use a padded cutlass, practicing techniques of martial arts as well as dueling on ground and on the plank (laid on the floor). Other physical-sensory activities included walking the (floor) plank blindfolded to develop balance.

"Avast," declares Anneka while sister Lindsay walks the plank, holding her cutlass in a relaxed position to provide counter-balance. Occasional activities such as these have ample room for expression in the 15,000 square foot former Holiday Chevrolet body shop, which is part of Steppingstone’s new home.

Making sure that wits and intellect were also exercised, students deciphered treasure maps, studied clues and did some logical problem-solving in their hunts. They also learned traditional pirate "lingo," the symbolism behind pirate flags, and how to navigate by the stars.

"Learning the difference between romanticism and reality" lay behind many of the activities and discussions during this summer camp led by Heather Gutterman, founder and head of Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study. Polaris uses the North Star to represent guidance in finding one’s way through conflicts. This is a major premise for the western martial arts studies offered by Polaris, an adjunct program of Steppingstone School. In addition to the summer camp sessions, After School and Saturday programs are also offered during the school year.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 2, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
"DISCOVERING NEWTON" WITH GRANDPA DON AT A STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL SUMMER CAMP
Alex and Anatasia test the qualities of the Newton’s Cradle Alex and Anatasia, residents of Farmington Hills, MI, test the qualities of the Newton’s Cradle, which was constructed with Grandpa Don (on the right) during the Steppingstone School summer camp session, Discovering Newton.

"Newton is one of the greatest scientists in the history of mankind," said Grandpa Don Gaines, the instructor of one of last week’s summer camp sessions at Steppingstone School, the Center for Gifted Education, located on Grand River in Farmington Hills. Grandpa Don, as he prefers to be called, is also the instructor for "Science Is Super," a Saturday Science Program at Steppingstone School. He is a retired engineer and inventor. One of his most well known patents was the light sensor for night lights.

As a retiree, Grandpa Don has been dedicated to inspiring young students to learn about science through the process of inquiry. "He’s a natural," said Kiyo Morse, Head of School, in reference to his ability to teach using this particular approach, "and an inspiration to other teachers as well."

Students at the summer camp session, "Discovering Newton," studied Newton’s laws and applied them in the construction of a seven foot, large scale model of Newton’s Cradle and in the construction of smaller individual models that could be taken home as mementos of their studies.

Anatasia and other students built small scale models of Newton’s Cradle Anatasia and other students built small scale models of Newton’s Cradle at the Steppingstone School summer camp session, Discovering Newton.

Grandpa Don often teaches a couple of different sessions, and his last session of the summer will be about castles. He plans to integrate a little history with the subject of castles, castle safety and the construction of a trebuchet.

His summer camp sessions are always enriched with additional experiences, not necessarily directly related to the theme, but always related to science. During "Discovering Newton," students also had a chance to spend a day observing a box turtle with a six-inch shell diameter and going on a field trip to The Teddy Bear Factory to experience the engineering process and stuffing of their own individual teddy bears.

The teaching techniques Grandpa Don employs are similar to those used in Steppingstone School’s day school and are very hands-on and interactive. The depth and breadth of the day school curriculum can be favorably compared to his summer camp curriculum. Grandpa Don is as beloved as his classes are greatly loved.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
A WEEK OF STAR WARS FANTASY: JEDI TRAINING STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL SUMMER CAMP – JEDI TRAINING
Padewan, Anneka, Ryan, Amelie, Aidan, Harrison, Evan, Aidan, Wesley, Helen, and Ethan practice light saber guards Shown from left to right, local (MI), southern (LA) and western (CA) Padewan, Anneka, Ryan, Amelie, Aidan, Harrison, Evan, Aidan, Wesley, Helen, and Ethan practice light saber guards at the Jedi summer camp at Steppingstone School in Farmington Hills.

Steppingstone School for Gifted Education recently held its summer "Jedi" camp which was open to "Padawan" of all ages.  During the week-long camp, young Jedis assembled from Metro Detroit and the far away realms of California and Louisiana. The Jedi Master for the week, Heather Gutterman, is both a Steppingstone Instructor as well as Head of School at Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study.  She has practiced and taught western martial arts, self-defense, and conflict resolution for over 15 years, drawing experience from a wide range of styles and resources.

Initial Padawan instruction included the many aspects of light saber combat using foam swords to prevent the youngsters from accidental injury.  Specifically, the children practiced how to properly attack as well as defend oneself, all while using some flashy moves worthy of the next Star Wars movie. 

Padewan Anneka and Helen From left to right, Padewan Anneka and Helen spar under the instruction of "Master" Heather Gutterman (not shown) at the Jedi summer camp of Steppingstone School.
Although training for combat, the campers also practiced the art of good sportsmanship and the importance of sparring with your partner while maintaining control of yourself and your weapon.

Additionally, the children began their quest to better understand and use "The Force" by means of meditation and mindfulness, two skills that are essential to their real life development as well.  When asked about The Force, one camper responded, 'I cannot wait to go home and try using The Force on my parents!'

On the first day of camp, the children were outfitted in their Padawan robes with each costume uniquely tailored to the child.  Other hands-on activities were included, providing them with keepsakes of their week at the Jedi camp.  One camp favorite was the Yoda origami that the kids learned to fold and then use as a finger puppet.  At the end of the day, many of the kids were enthusiastically talking to Yoda about the engaging activities that day. By the end of the week, the campers were more than excited to demonstrate the skills that had been acquired during their Summer Jedi Training Camp to any unsuspecting adults or siblings who crossed their paths.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
COMPUTER TAKE APART SUMMER CAMP AT STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL
Computer parts, and microscopes. In the background are the microscopes used to examine computer parts during the Steppingstone School, Computer Take Apart camp last week. Each week new camps are offered throughout the summer up to August 24th.

One of the first camps at Steppingstone School, the Center for Gifted Education, was "Computer Take Apart." The instructor, Dr. Philip D. Morse II, PhD, guided elementary and middle school students in the process of taking computers apart and identifying components. A microscope was used to take a close look at how the parts work, alone and together. At the end, students were allowed to choose parts to take home as souvenirs of their week of study.

Emmett and Harrison A couple of the youngest students: Emmett (6 years, left) a local Farmington Hills resident and day school student, and Harrison (7 years, foreground) a traveler from New Orleans.

In addition to taking screwdrivers to screws and uncorking the cases, students also examined monitors, disk drives and other computer-related components. In an ode to "Mythbusters," Dr. Morse took a torch to the plastic casing when it was too hard to open conventionally which provided a thrilling experience to those who observed. While generally not allowed at home, the students were encouraged to handle the individual pieces and inspect them at their own pace while learning just what makes the machines tick.

Dr. Morse is a Biophysics Professor Emeritus from Illinois State University, the Director of the SMART Center (Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training Center), the current President of Scientific Software Services, and Steppingstone’s Computer Programming Instructor. He greeted students with a smile and the comment that, "Four years of medical school and a surgical residence are not required to dissect a working computer! Be prepared to have fun!"

Students ranged in age from 6 to 12 years of age. Most lived in or near Farmington Hills, but a few traveled from areas as far away as Brighton. The other camp offered last week was Spanish. A few students even return regularly each summer from residences in other areas such as New Orleans and California.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL STUDENTS SURVIVE THE WILD

For the 11th year, Steppingstone School students (Gr 6-8) of Farmington Hills camped in the Manistee National Forest. After hiking with backpacks for one mile to an alum-owned wilderness site, they spent 7 days camping.

Pranav, Danny, (Counselor Tobin), Meli, Filip, (mascot Abby), Collin, Max A., Gia and Max G. Steppingstone School campers around a campfire they built, clockwise from the top: Pranav, Danny, (Counselor Tobin), Meli, Filip, (mascot Abby), Collin, Max A., Gia and Max G. Not pictured are Counselor Keiko Morse and Dr. & Mrs. Morse, backup personnel. Participants live primarily in Farmington Hills but also in the surrounding areas of Northville, Southfield and W. Bloomfield.

The wilderness survival program was designed to give children the opportunity to learn that they can take care of themselves. Most of the time, students camped in tents and cooked over campfires. For 2 nights, they slept in shelters fashioned from scratch using natural resources such as branches and ferns.

Under the guidance of Eagle Scout Doug Tobin and teacher Keiko Morse, students also designed workshops to teach each other survival skills. Workshops included basic first aid, sanitation, water purification, knife safety, fire building and fire safety, plant identification, rafting, campfire cooking, composting and shelter building with natural resources.

Dr. Morse and founder and Head of School, Kiyo Morse, accompanied the class as backup staff.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL PERFORMS "THE QUILTMAKER’S GIFT"

Steppingstone students produced and performed The Quiltmaker's Gift at the school's Fine Arts Fair. Steppingstone School (www.steppingstoneschool.org) is an independent school for gifted elementary students, grades K-8, located in the former Holiday Chevrolet auto dealership on Grand River Ave in Farmington Hills.

Melissa & Danny, the King and Queen in The Quiltmaker's Gift. Melissa & Danny, students at Steppingstone and residents of Farmington Hills, star as the King and Queen in this year's Fine Arts Fest performance, The Quiltmaker's Gift.

In addition to the Day School, Summer Camp sessions are open to the public, and a year-round, one-of-a-kind science research program is available to high school and undergraduate students. This is offered through the Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center, which teaches students experimental design through the use of electron spin resonance technology and data collection and analysis software. The program is directed by Dr. Philip D. Morse II, PhD, professor emeritus, Illinois State University.

The Fine Arts Fair is an annual event which incorporates many aspects of their fine arts program – visual arts, music theory and composition, writing, drama, set and scenery design, costume design and stage management.

Alison Kenyon, former Stage Manager said to students, "Believe me when I say that what you did in such a short time surpasses some professional theatres I have encountered. If any lines were forgotten (and I doubt that they were), your deliveries remained flawless, which is something it takes trained actors years to accomplish ... Keep up the great work!"

A pre-performance presentation of student compositions was featured by Robby Gall, Music Teacher. For viewing pleasure, Mary Gage, Artist-In-Residence and Art Instructor, organized a showing of Art Portfolios for each student. After the performance, students, parents, families and friends joined faculty and staff for refreshments, featuring ethnic foods.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
TARGET EMPLOYEES AND POLARIS STUDENTS JOIN STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL FOR MAY DAY, CAMPUS BEAUTIFICATION.

The sun was hidden in the morning, and the temperature was suited for outdoor work. It was a perfect day for working outside on Steppingstone’s school grounds. Steppingstone is an independent elementary school, grades K-8, for gifted children. In addition to a full academic and enrichment program, a one-of-a-kind science research program is directed by Professor Emeritus Dr. Morse for high school and undergraduate students using the technology of electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy with data collection and analysis software. For more information, visit the website, www.steppingstoneschool.org.

Target and Polaris Volunteers

Believe it or not, between 10 am and 2:30 pm, 6 truck-loads of wood chips (donated by Joe Pettit of Great Lakes Tree Service and Evan Burger of Arbor Man) were moved into beds being landscaped for flower beds. In alignment with Farmington Hills’ Corridor Improvement goals, beautification at the Steppingstone School campus began along Grand River Ave!

In partnership with employees from the local Target (Jason, Sherrie, Melissa, Cherrin, Shauna, Leah and Anthony) and from Polaris Martial Arts (Heather Gutterman, Doug Tobin, Mary Poirier, Shannon Marshall and Doug Scholl), the day started at 10 am with coffee and donuts. Steppingstone faculty and staff (Sandy Blay, Dr. Morse, Jason Roder, Keiko Morse and Shari Dudek) and parents (Cathy Bock, Zoran & Teodora Jevtic and Olga Mondrusova) worked alongside to move the wood chips until a pizza lunch break. Hungry Howie’s donated pizzas and Target supplied pop and bottled water. It was a true community effort!

Steppingstone’s parents and "Weekend Warriors," Jason Haase, Greg Bock, and Bill Wisniewski, re-caulked Classroom Building windows. "Chief Warrior" Greg Kenyon organized the crews to clean and empty a mezzanine in the former garages after the wood chips had been moved. Head of School Kiyo Morse, Admissions Director Donna Coffin, and mom Alison Kenyon worked with students (Danny & David Mondrusov, Grant Haase, Emmett Kenyon and sibs Aidan & Owen) to weed and clear flower beds next to the Classroom Building.

Thanks were extended to all these volunteers, and the next step for campus beautification was set for a Saturday next October. To volunteer, call Admissions Director Donna Coffin at (248) 957-8200.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL STUDENTS TEST WATER QUALITY OF THE ROUGE RIVER Students from Steppingstone School, an independent elementary school, grades K-8, located in Farmington Hills, collect samples from the Rouge River for water quality testing.  Data is collected annually for Friends of the Rouge, an environmental study group.

For about 20 years, testing the water quality of the Rouge River has been an annual event for Steppingstone School. Students, grades K-8, dedicate a day to collecting data for Friends of the Rouge, an environmental study group. The data is related to the contents of the Rouge River in terms of pollutants as well as desirable elements, including the variety of live organisms to be found.

Parents, staff and multi-age groups of students form four groups, which rotate through stations that are set up to test (1) water temperature, (2) amount of particles (turbidity) in the water, (3) pH, (4) speed of water flow, (5) number and variety of benthic macroinvertebrates or "critters", and (6) the amounts of dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, and fecal coliform in the water.

Rouge River testing

In addition to the science students learn from this hands-on experience, this is a volunteer community service – a way for students to give back to the community in a concrete and meaningful way. Because Steppingstone School is dedicated to providing a suitably challenging educational environment for gifted children, students as young as 5 years of age participate and learn from this annual event.

The general trends observed over the years have been a decrease in pollutants and an increase in the variety of "critters." Both are desirable indicators of an increasingly healthy river environment.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
LOCAL STUDENT NAMED MICHIGAN SEMI-FINALIST In National Geographic Geography Bee

Filip Jevtic, a resident of Farmington Hills and a 6th grade student at Steppingstone School, qualified as a semi-finalist for the 2012 Michigan National Filip Jevtic Geographic "Geography Bee." Steppingstone School is a day school for gifted children, Young-K through Grade-8. The school also offers extra-curricular and summer camp programs for the general public in addition to the Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center, the only laboratory in the world to guide student-designed scientific research completed by middle school and high school students.

Filip was one of the 100 top scoring students in the State of Michigan. On Friday, March 30, 2012, he will compete against 99 other Grade 4-8 Michigan students at the Fetzer Center of the Western Michigan University campus. The state winner will receive $100, the "Complete National Geographic on DVD" and will travel to Washington, D.C., to compete against other state winners in the National Finals at the National Geographic Society headquarters, May 22 – 24, 2012. The final round will be moderated by Alex Trebek, and local television listings should be checked for the viewing times in Michigan.

The first-place National Winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the Society, and an all-expenses-paid trip (with a parent/guardian) to the Galapagos Islands. There, the winner will experience geography first-hand through up- close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of Galapagos.

ABOUT STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL
The Center For Gifted Education

Steppingstone School for Gifted Education believes that every child deserves a challenging, satisfying and joyful learning experience. In order to receive this, gifted children need a different program. Steppingstone is an independent elementary and middle day school (Young K - Grade 8) with a full academic and enrichment curriculum dedicated to addressing the unique and individual needs required by many gifted children in order to remain motivated to learn and to reach their full potential as the leaders in their chosen careers and as the problem solvers of tomorrow.

Steppingstone was founded in 1981 by the current head of school, Kiyo A. Morse, to help a group of families who urgently needed an educational program for their gifted student body of rapid learners. After more than 30 years of development, the curriculum provides a finely tuned integration of basics, in-depth studies and enrichment as well as problem solving, critical thinking skills, and personal development. Supplementing the basic curriculum, the school also offers fine arts (music, visual arts & performance), foreign languages, discovery science, computer programming, and a unique physical fitness program that includes fencing, western martial arts and instructional swimming as well as recreational sports.

For students who are not part of the day school, enrichment classes are offered after school and weekends. Weeklong, themed Summer Camps are also offered. In addition there are several adjunct programs --- (1) the Steppingstone Music Academy (SMA) for strings and piano, (2) the Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center, guiding student-designed scientific laboratory research for secondary school students, and (3) Polaris, a western martial arts program for all ages.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2012
For more information contact
Sandra Blay
Media Relations
248-957-8200
STEPPINGSTONE SCHOOL WELCOMES COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI. November 2, 2011— Steppingstone School recently welcomed Robby Gall as their music instructor in residence.

Oliver Thompson, Steppingstone’s Music Instructor for the fall, has gone to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune in the film industry. He was wished the very best in this endeavor, and Steppingstone welcomes Robby Gall, Composer-In-Residence, who will teach music for the second half of this school year.

Mr. Gall, more familiarly known as Robby, or even more commonly as Max's dad, joined Steppingstone as Composer-In-Residence and Music Instructor for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. He came with a BA and an MMA in Music Composition from Wayne State University, degrees that were also accompanied by a variety of awards and scholarships. In addition to receiving these degrees, he also served as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Wayne State for 3 years, teaching undergraduate Music Theory and Ear Training. His teaching experience with younger students included volunteer work at Birmingham Covington School teaching Drum Circle and World Percussion Ensemble in after school programs. He has also taught private lessons for children and adults in music theory, drums, percussion and piano.

In addition to his experience as an educator, Robby has many professional experiences as a performer --- performing at Carnegie Hall and the North Seas Jazz Festival with the Henry Ford Community College Jazz Lab Band, local clubs and festivals with the "Rob Gall Quartet" and as half of the well reviewed performance art duo "Beat, Bop, and Eliot".

In the commons area of the Son Rm, Robby Gall, Steppingstone’s Music Instructor and Composer-In-Residence leads a drum circle. From left to right are Max Gall, Maya Sheth, Aahan Rawal, Milan Shah, Melissa Wood, Lindsay Bock and Pranav Gopalakrishnan. Students reside in a variety of communities - Canton, Farmington Hills, Southfield and Novi.

Mr. Gall also worked with film and television composer Joseph LoDuca which garnered him a "special thanks" for work his work on Xena Warrior Princess and an "Additional Music by" credit for his work on the successful Hollywood movie "Brotherhood of the Wolf". Additionally, Mr. Gall served 3 years as Music Director and Composer-In- Residence for the Detroit Puppet Art Theatre, composing music for three shows that are still in production - "Journey to Assamando" (an African folk tale of a journey from life to death), "The Earth on Turtle's Back" (a native American creation story), and "Bananas for Turtle" (a learning story for younger kids).

Steppingstone School for Gifted Education believes that every child deserves a challenging, satisfying and joyful learning experience. In order to receive this, gifted children need a different program. Steppingstone is an elementary and middle day school (Young K- Grade 8) with a full academic and enrichment curriculum dedicated to addressing the unique and individual needs required by many gifted children in order to remain motivated to learn and to reach their full potential as the leaders in their chosen careers and as the problem solvers of tomorrow.

Steppingstone was founded in 1981 by the current head of school, Kiyo A. Morse, to help a group of families who urgently needed an educational program for their gifted student body of rapid learners. After more than 30 years of development, the curriculum provides a finely tuned integration of basics, in-depth studies and enrichment as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills. Supplementing the basic curriculum, the school also offers fine arts, foreign languages, discovery science, computer programming, and a unique physical fitness program that includes fencing and instructional swimming as well as recreational sports.

In addition to the day school program, Steppingstone provides special programs after school and on Saturdays such as the Steppingstone Music Academy (SMA), offering violin and piano instruction. Two additional adjunct programs are the Steppingstone Magnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center and Polaris, a western martial arts program. Summer Day Camps are also available In June, July and August. Details for these programs can be found at www.steppingstoneschool.org.

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Steppingstone School for Gifted Education
30250 Grand River
Farmington Hills
Michigan 48336
248-957-8200
FAX 248-957-8203



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