Steve Coron's Forum
The Coron Forum started their Friday at 10 a.m in the gym of Community High School, jumping into their day with a Buti Yoga class. Buti Yoga is a combination of tribal dance and yoga, created to cleanse both the body and the mind. A forum member described the experience as strange, but fun!
Fresh out of yoga, the Coron forum went downtown to grab lunch from Jerusalem Garden. The Forum took their food to-go, and took a walk downtown, heading through Nickels Arcade on their way to University of Michigan campus. They enjoyed their falafels and shawarma on the Diag lawn, eating lunch and soaking up the sun.
After they’d all finished eating, the forum walked to a local arcade, Pinball Petes. Some of the Forum played arcade games and pool while other members went to nearby places, like Insomnia Cookies, to grab a snack. After the forum members had spent the majority of their money, they traded in their tickets and headed home after a long day of fun.
Liz Stern's Forum
“It’s just so interesting to be with so many people at one point,” said freshman Elliot Rhodes, a student in the Stern forum. “I didn’t really know any of you [forum members] at first. But I’ve been given the opportunity to interact with you, and now I feel so much more comfortable.” Thursday, Oct. 3 marked the first forum day for many, including Rhodes.
“I think that forum day is beneficial in a way,” Rhodes said. “It’s an opportunity for you to get to know others in your forum, to share their experiences. And you’re able to just have a better variety of experiences.”
For forum day, the Stern forum planned to have a “sleep-under:” where people have a late night mingling and no one sleeps over at anyone’s house.
The night started off with the forum meeting at forum leader Liz Stern’s home for a potluck. As the students waited for Stern’s husband, Hue, to grill hot dogs and burgers, they played a competitive game of Outburst Jr. The forum then got to chat amongst themselves while feasting on chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, spaghetti, potstickers, cookies and more.
After eating, the forum the walked over to Revel and Roll for a few rounds of bowling. The students rolled light-up bowling balls and played games in the arcade, and the night was filled with fun, laughter, and lively conversation.
“I have a new overall thought on the concept of forum,” Rhodes said. “It’s a way to connect with people in your forum from all different grades. And you get to know more about the people around you and your experiences. And I’m glad I was able to have that today.”
Robert Morgan's Forum
On Oct. 3 at 5 p.m., Robert Morgan’s forum members gathered in his first-floor classroom. The forum’s original plans were to go camping in tents at the Brighton Recreation Area, but those plans were cancelled as a result of concerns about the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus.
In a very fast turn-around, the forum decided to have takeout at the school from Chela’s and see Downton Abbey at Quality 16. Morgan proposed to the forum that they “dress to the 9s,” and some of them did. Morgan wore a suit and a bow tie, and several of the seniors dressed up: Grace Bates chose a black, beaded gown; Max Mellor wore a navy suit; Isaias Gonzalez dressed in his prom garb; and Ojanis Frometas and Puck Gatto wore button-ups and khakis. Several other forum members selected fancier outfits as well.
After everybody had their preferred meal from Chela’s, the forum went to the back lawn for a photo. Following the photo, they walked down to Blake Transit Center to take the bus to Quality 16. The group got concessions and enjoyed the movie, heading home after a night of fun.
Tracy Anderson's Forum
After aborting their original camping plan for Forum Day, the Anderson forum decided on a more low-key night at a downtown dinner, games at Pinball Pete’s, and Ben & Jerry’s before topping off the night off with “Mean Girls” at State Theatre.
Although it was hard to have to break the Howell camping tradition for the forum’s fall forum day, they were able to avoid the rain, mosquitoes and switch things up from the norm. Instead of Howell, members of the forum met at CHS at 7 p.m. before walking together to Noodles & Company for a forum dinner. The dinner was a great chance for incoming members to bond with their new family and get to know everyone over a bowl of pasta.
“Bonding well at dinner made the rest of the night more fun,” Eli Hausman said, a member of the Anderson forum. “We were really cohesive and getting to know everyone at dinner made playing games and getting ice cream more enjoyable.”
Staying lucky with the weather, the Anderson forum walked through the Diag to their second stop of the night: Pinball Pete’s. Air hockey, pool, skee ball and arcade basketball were all unorthodox, but fun ways for new freshmen to become closer with their peers.
After about an hour of earning tickets and winning prizes, the forum had about 45 minutes before they had to be back across the Diag to the State Theatre to watch “Mean Girls” on Oct. 3, the fifteenth anniversary of National “Mean Girls” Day. And with a little extra time to spare, a stop to refuel at Ben & Jerry’s was crucial for getting some great ice cream before the movie. A late start time, 10 p.m., meant a late ending to the night, and the evening finally concluded after the walk back to CHS close to midnight.
The jam-packed night full of activities kept all forum members enjoying themselves from start to finish, and gave everyone a chance to get to know each other without the traditional icebreakers. From 7 until midnight, the Anderson bonded and got to utilize all of what downtown Ann Arbor offers in order to have a fun and successful fall Forum Day.
Matt Johnson's Forum
On Thursday Oct. 3, around 6 p.m., the Matt Johnson Forum met up at member Nadia Naines’ house. The original itinerary consisted of a trip to a corn maze Thursday evening and a trip to cider mill the next morning, but due to the Eastern Equine Encephalitis warning, the forum ended up staying in for a night of fun and games.
While the movie Beetlejuice played on a projector, members enjoyed pizza and a bonfire. When night fell, the entire forum congregated into Naines’ pole barn to play a couple rounds of Codenames: a two-teamed, code deciphering game.
“I liked how we were all involved rather than everyone doing their own thing in their own little groups,” said Delaney Sperlbaum, a junior in the Johnson Forum.
In the morning, the forum had pancakes and bacon along with gallons of cider and bags of donuts, for a “traditional fall breakfast” according to forum leader Matt Johnson. Once bellies were warm and full, the forum members packed up their sleeping bags and parted ways around 11 a.m., completing their Forum Day fun.
Judith Dewoskin's Forum
Gathered around the campfire, the DeWoskin forum sat, eating their smores just 24 hours after a hectic rescheduling effort. With their annual camping trip canceled, Judith DeWoskin, the adored leader of her forum at Community High, along with her forum students, scrambled to find a backup plan. Milo Chalin; a junior at CHS and member of the DeWoskin forum; and his family offered to host all 27 members for a sleepover.
When DeWoskin was asked what her overall impressions of the event were, she responded, “What I loved [was] how forum parents ponied up and really helped.” “I frankly, loved basketball and bananagrams. Hey, I can throw free shots. So there, I loved it,” she continued.
Ken McGraw's Forum
“We played a bloody game of mafia, and the mafia won,” said Ken McGraw, beloved english teacher and forum leader at Community High School. The McGraw forum was originally supposed to go camping at Green Lake State Park on Thursday evening, but due to the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, they changed plans and went to Tai Tworek’s house for a mosquito-free celebration. Snacks including cheeto puffs, cookies and Timbits were passed around as the group engaged in the complex game of one night ultimate werewolf (a complex version of Mafia) and later, regular Mafia, where a group sits in a circle and they are slowly killed off by chosen mafia members.
“It was really fun,” said Sophia Muraski, a sophomore who switched into the McGraw forum this year. “I bonded with my forum, even though it’s my first year.” Forumettes spent the evening playing air hockey and ping pong, and got to know each other better by bonding over personal discussions.
At 11 p.m., the party disbanded for some much needed sleep, tired from yet another successful McGraw forum celebration.
Janelle Johnson's Forum
On Oct. 4, Community High School celebrated forum day. Janelle Johnson’s forum decided to stay around Ann Arbor rather than go somewhere far and camp like many other forums. They met at the school around 9:30 a.m., and walked to the Blake Transit Center to catch a bus to Zap Zone in Ypsilanti, MI.
They entered the laser tag arena and competitiveness filled the room. The first round was made up of two teams, the blue team: upperclassmen, and the red team: underclassmen. The underclassmen ended up losing by four-thousand points. For the second round, the forum was split by home schools — Huron and Pioneer High School. Pioneer took the win.
After two strong games of laser tag, the J. Johnson forum walked to the close by Red Robin to eat lunch.
Four years ago, the J. Johnson forum did this same exact activity and decided to recreate it for the seniors — who were freshman at the time. The forum sat down and ordered root beer floats, which are unlimited at Red Robin. The record for root beer floats was six for the past seniors and many present seniors were ready to beat this record. Unfortunately, the seniors only got to four. A new tradition was created this day in the J. Johnson forum.
Anne Thomas's Forum
The Thomas Forum did their traditional sleepover at Anne’s house this Forum Day. The night was jam-packed with food, football, ice cream, board games and a whole lot of bonding. At around 6 p.m. that Thursday, the students gathered at Anne’s, potluck food in hand. As they devoured homemade mac-and-cheese made by Dan, Anne’s husband, they started the night with some mingling. With new friendships forming, cracks in the class’ cliques brought a profound joy to the forum leader.
Having fueled up, the students craved some activity. First on the list was a walk to Bach Elementary. There, they threw around football, took full advantage of the play structures and successfully avoided Triple E. Next, the students walked to Washtenaw Dairy. After finding their favorite flavors, they filled the benches outside and enjoyed each other’s company.
Eventually, the class made their way back to the house. They crowded Anne’s newly redone downstairs and played the game psychiatrist. As laughs filled the room, not just freshmen, but everyone seemed to open up a bit more than usual—one of the many wonders of Forum Day.
Approaching the wee hours of the night, the fun had just only begun. Ten fingers, Ping pong and pull-up competitions still needed to be done. Eventually, tiredness took over and the students found their respective corners to snuggle up in.
Maneesha Mankad's Forum
The Mankad Forum met at Community High School around 9:30 am on Friday Oct. 4. The first activity on the plan for the day was brunch at the Broken Egg. Breakfast was a good bonding experience because everyone got to know each other better.
The forum headed back to the school as some members of the forum wanted to change into warmer clothes. After this, the group walked down to Argo Canoe Livery. The walk was peaceful. As the forum waited for the Argo Livery workers to arrive, Maneesha decided this was a good opportunity to take the forum photo. Everyone gathered on the dock and the photo was captured.
Everyone prepared to head out kayaking, they put on their life jackets and grabbed their paddles. The temperature was low but the sun was shining. Everyone partnered up and got into two-person kayaks.
There was no end goal for the forumettes, the group just paddled around Argo pond. They adventured and bonded as a group. This bonding experience was important, especially to Maneesha.
Danelle Mosher's Forum
They were all laughing and talking with each other, growing friendships and making memories.
“Everybody was very positive, they had a good time and thanked me. They’re very sweet,” said Danelle Mosher, a French teacher at Community High School (CHS) and a mother to all the students in her forum.
Mosher has been at CHS for over twenty years and has seen many students come and go. She enjoys making connections with the staff and administration, but especially the students.
“As a French teacher, I get to see my students year after year, more so than some of the other teachers,” Mosher said. “I feel like I get to have relationships with the students in my classes as well.” She enjoys making deeper relationships with these students and understanding them.
“We ended up going to IHop for breakfast, so we had breakfast first and hung out there for awhile, and then we walked over to Zap Zone and played two games of laser tag,” Mosher explains.
Her original plan was to go to Brighton Recreation Area and stay in a rustic cabin and a yurt, as well as putting up some tents in the area. Unfortunately, plans got cancelled due to cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis found in the area.
“We had everything lined up, but when the district said that we couldn’t be in the woods, due to the danger of mosquitoes,” Mosher said, “We had to make a quick plan.”
Danelle says that her students still had a good time hanging out with each other and, because of the schedule change, more students were able to come. The students who weren’t able to come due to sports and clubs ended up coming.
They bonded, talked and laughed with each other.
“It’s not exactly the same bonding situation you get when you’re pitching a tent together, and putting together meals and spending a whole night,” said Mosher.
Her hope is that next year, during the spring, they’ll get the opportunity to go camping. She enjoys seeing those deeper connections you can make without a phone in your hand, or a schedule to abide by.
Ryan Silvester's Forum
The Silvester Forum — dubbed the “Silvester Florum” by its members in honor of former forum leader Elena Flores — met on Thursday evening at Community High School (CHS) to begin their Forum Day celebration with a murder mystery party. They came in costumes as prewritten characters and used provided clues to solve the fictional murder of “The Crazy Hatter,” played by Romeo Klobucar. The culprit turned out to be Betty Archer, played by J Kincaid-Beal. They enjoyed a potluck dinner, including a chocolate fountain, and ended the evening with the movie “Spy Kids.”
I thought it was a blast,” said forum leader Ryan Silvester. “People really got into it, they dressed up and had an enjoyable time. I think it was really successful, it was a great forum day.” This experience held true for many in the forum.
“It was a lot more fun than I thought [it was going to be],” ninth grader Lydia Cocciolone said. “I was a little scared for the murder mystery, but it was cool.”
The next day the forum met again at Zap Zone to play two games of laser tag together. Although the competition was heated, everyone had a good time.
Most of the Florum members were looking forward to forum day, and their expectations were surpassed. “I was very excited,” Chappell-Lakin said. “l wasn’t really sure how the murder mystery party was going to go, but I love my forum, so I knew we were going to have fun whatever happened.”
Brett Kilgore's Forum
One of the forum days unaffected by the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, the Kilgore forum completed their plans almost as soon as they started discussing them. Freshman Isabella Gilb offered to host an overnight: this was the second time in two years the home was used for a Kilgore forum day, Gilb’s older sibling had hosted before.
The overnight started off with pizza and bulk snacks that forum leader Brett Kilgore had bought from Costco. After every forum member had arrived, Kilgore brought out several pumpkins from his car for the highlight of the evening, a pumpkin carving contest — much like the forum day two years ago. The forum split into multiple groups in the backyard, and primarily had to rely on a few plastic tools to carve out their designs.
After the pumpkin carving, the forum played a variety of card games and gradually, the forumettes moved into their sleeping bags and fell asleep for the night. After a short breakfast of donuts and apple cider, the forum members were picked up one-by-one after a successful bonding experience.
Robbie Stapleton's Forum
The Stapleton Forum went on an overnight trip to the Emrich Retreat Center in Brighton, Michigan. They did many activities including a talent show, playing games like Uno and Mario Kart and celebrated a birthday with cookie cake. But the trip was a very different experience for many of the students; they didn’t have their phones. At the beginning of the trip, every student placed their phone in a designated “phone box,” and was given it back in the morning.
“I thought it was really nice,” said Lauren MacNeil, a freshman in the Stapleton forum. “Everyone just hung out with everybody else. I got to bond with people that I didn’t really know.”
Robbie Stapleton began taking the student’s phones last year on their spring trip. It was met with such positive feedback that she decided to try it again this year. Because of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, the forum stayed indoors for most of the evening. This meant students spent hours together in the same room, without their phones.
Ed Kulka's Forum
On Oct. 3, Ed Kulka’s Forum met at Community High School (CHS) to enjoy a morning of fun. Originally, the Kulka forum had planned on doing a high ropes course or spending the night at a forumettes house, but with the recent spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the forum decided to stay indoors.
First the forum enjoyed breakfast in Ed’s classroom at CHS, before they caught a bus to their next activity. Emma Fader, a junior in the Kulka forum, works at Clueless Escape Room in Ann Arbor, MI.
“We split up into two teams and did an escape room, and then we hung out as a forum and had lunch there,” said Grace Thomas, a junior in the Kulka forum. “The juniors and sophomores won.”
Splitting into teams by having sophomores and juniors, and freshmen and seniors allowed everyone to bond. Overall it seemed everyone had a good time.
Becky Brent's Forum
On Oct. 3rd, the Brent forum arrived at CHS for a lock-in. They did many activities including zombie tag, taking a tour of the basement, participating in many different group activities and watching “The Shining”. For dinner, forumettes brought in different dishes for everyone to share. For breakfast, the forum made pancakes together.
Christia West's Forum
Christia West’s forum spent forum day at the Michigan Friends Center in Chelsea. On Thursday night, West forum met at the Friends Center and slept over until Friday afternoon. The night consisted of many things including, pizza, games, walks in the woods, coloring, forum bonding and a movie. The older members of the West forum enjoyed welcoming the new members into the forum.
Dianne Dudley's Forum
The Dianne Dudley forum spent their forum day at Community student Kat Foley’s house, playing games and swimming in Foley’s pool. Dianne brought potatoes and other ingredients to make Hobos, while groups of forumettes played card games and hung around the house. The highlight of the night was the cliff jumping into Foley’s pool. Students climbed over the railing and faced the water cheered by their forum mates. The Dudley forum stayed until 10 p.m., but met at Dianne’s house for pancakes and games Friday morning.
Courtney Kiley's Forum
Courtney Kiley’s forum overnight was filled with scary movies, stories around a campfire, spooky games, a ping pong tournament, and lots of food. The night began at Lydie Roebuck’s house at 6 p.m. People came with their hands full of pillows and sleeping bags. They quickly helped themselves to the heaps of food. Not long after, the boys started a pickup game of basketball outside on the court in Roebuck’s backyard. Everyone was running around, laughing and smiling as the sun set. Once it was dark, Kiley gathered everyone around a campfire to make s’mores and bond. She asked everyone to say their name, grade, favorite smells, and worst fears.
Once inside, everyone huddled together on the living room couch to watch a horror movie. Marcy McCormick, a chaperone on the trip, suggested the movie “The Strangers” and Kiley quickly agreed. People plugged their ears and covered their eyes as graphic scenes played. When the movie ended, a game of Sardines began. The game consists of one person hiding and everyone seeking the hider. Not everyone participated in the game – some played Minecraft and others continued watching TV. The night ended with a competitive ping pong tournament dominated by Sam Berkooz.
Chloe Root's Forum
Screams, laughter, excitement: all of which permeated the air in which the Root Forum spent their fall forum day in. The group met at forum member Maggie Hammer’s house each bearing ingredients to create the pizzas of their dreams. While each pizza was unique to the person creating it, fellow forum members were not hesitant in providing their thoughts on each other’s food choices.
Following dinner, the group moved to begin their annual game of Psychiatrist, leaving the freshmen to figure out what each of the older members of the group were claiming to be infected with. The game was filled with laughter and uneasiness as those who had played the game in the previous year remembered back to when they first played the game.
“While we do some of the same things from year to year, I always leave forum day feeling a lot more connected with the forum than going in,” said junior Brooke Rafko. “I really enjoy spending time with the group and getting to know each other in a much more personal way than we normally get to in regular forum time.”