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High school graduations typically celebrate the students. But a special ceremony held by Northwest Education Services (NES) at Creekside School in the Grand Traverse Commons on June 21 honored not just local migrant farmworker graduates but also their hardworking families. A page on the foldout printed program declared ¡Sí se pudo! “Yes they could” with a silhouette of graduates in caps and gowns tossing their tassels overlaying a scene of an apple orchard. Ellos creyeron que podían, así que lo hicieron. “They believed they could, and they did it.” “The motivation for holding a separate celebration was to celebrate the parents as well,” said NES bilingual parent liaison Beatriz Moreno. “Parents go through great struggles and sacrifices to help lead their children to graduation. Many of our parents did not get an education or had limited schooling. This is a thank you to our parents for helping get to graduation.” This was the first year the migrant graduation ceremony was held since 1997, when Moreno, herself, graduated from Leland.

“Houses are great, but I think this is real pretty,” Jacob’s Farm owner Michael Witkop said as he stood outside the hilltop Orchard View wedding barn and gazed north across their 10-acre corn maze to the red centennial barn, where workers scurried like busy ants to open the restaurant, bar, and outdoor music venue by early June. Beyond the M-72 corridor, which connects his destination to bustling Traverse City, the hills of Leelanau County hovered in the distance like low-hanging clouds. We’re featuring Jacob’s Farm as part of our series on innovative solutions to the farming crisis. On May 7, Witkop addressed 65 attendees of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s first-ever Agritourism Summit, which included a tour of local agritourism businesses that have succeeded in bringing customers directly to their farms—thereby forestalling the fate that has forced tens of thousands of small farms across the United States to close in recent decades.

The International Affairs Forum at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City has announced that longtime Leelanau County resident Dick Grout, who is 103 years old, will be presented with the French Legion of Honor by Yannick Tagand, the Consul General of France in Chicago, in a private ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at Kirkbride Hall in the Grand Traverse Commons. Grout took part in the Allies’ D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944—the seminal battle on the Western Front during the Second World War. He was earlier awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.

Lizzie Brown, a 2021 Glen Lake School graduate and 2023 Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) graduate who is currently enrolled at University of Michigan-Flint, reflects on her recent trip to Guatemala, and what she learned at a model preschool run by Planting Seeds International, a nonprofit with northern Michigan support.

It is New Year’s Day for many walking out of the Hagerty Center, where Northwestern Michigan College, the Grand Traverse County Health Department, and the National Guard have run a vaccination clinic since January 18. This week marks the one-year anniversary of COVID infections in Michigan. The first cases in the state were identified on March 10, 2020, the same day that Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

The Northwestern Michigan College student and community musicians kick off the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s 2019 Manitou Music series with a concert of wide-ranging favorites for the whole family on Wednesday, July 3, at 7 pm.

On Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. the documentary film Equal Means Equal will be shown at the Milliken Auditorium at Northwestern Michigan College. The film describes why now is the time for a constitutional Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

This year in the Glen Arbor Sun we’re publishing a series on the living legacy of the Native Americans. A desire to push back against the rise of xenophobia in contemporary America is not the only reason we chose to examine the living legacy of the local Odawa and Ojibwe among us. Across civil society in Northern Michigan, and throughout the nation, it seems that more and more people are interested in learning the Native perspective on this land and the human history it has witnessed.

An argument can be made that the stars stayed closer to the earth because people did move, because their homes and farms and land legacies were purchased by the feds to become the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

If you are a local or a frequent visitor to one of Glen Arbor’s premiere dining spots, you probably call this restaurant the WAG. The popular Western Avenue Grill is located in the middle of town on M-22 and adorns the streetscape with its handsome stone- and wood-clad building. The dining room has white birch bark beams and boasts a fisherman’s theme. The WAG has both indoor and summer-outdoor seating. Inside you will find a cozy bar separated from an inviting dining area with small tables and booths. The back of the restaurant includes an additional space for private dining parties.