Alumni in Pinckney Return To Coach

Local basketball teams successfully assisted by former players

St. Mary’s Athletic Director, Scott McGlade, was facing a difficult situation. The school’s fifth and sixth grade boys were ready to begin the J.V. basketball season but he was still looking for an experienced assistant coach. His search ended when the news reached veteran players Thomas Tarske, Ryan Burke, and Bob Salowitz. Upon hearing the news of a possibly having to cancel the season, all three St. Mary Pinckney alumni committed to volunteer to coach.

Thomas Tarske, a 2013 Pinckney High School graduate, and current Washtenaw Community College student explained, “My dad told me that the team was in need of an assistant coach so I stepped up to help. My brother is in sixth grade, and I knew I could make an impact on the team. Initially, I returned to coach my little brother in his favorite sport, but I wound up achieving more than that. I learned that it is important to be a good role model because the kids look up to you whether you know it or not.”

Bob Salowitz, a high school senior shared, “I enjoy giving back to the community. My family has been involved with St. Mary basketball for many years and I wanted to be a part of that tradition.”

Although the three assistant coaches began the season with the intention of teaching their young charges, they all said that their young players taught them as well. Ryan Burke, also a senior noted, “This team helped teach me patience. I was able to grow in this virtue and enhance my leadership abilities. Having an opportunity to grow in patience and leadership is incredibly important as I will need to refine both these qualities throughout my life.” Rob Salowitz, the head varsity coach remarked, “I think when the players hear something from the high-schoolers, it has a different perspective – it helps bridge the gap between the coaches and the players.”

Salowitz said it is not unusual for players to return to help coach, but “This year, things have stepped up a notch. I have 5 former players, now in high school, helping coach. I can’t tell you how cool it is to have these boys around to help us.  Not just because of the extra help we have, but more importantly, because we are seeing these boys become responsible young men who are stepping up to help in the community and to give back to their school.  Having coached these kids since they were in elementary school it is great to see them grow to where they are now.”

Principal Veronica Kinsey pointed out, “We have a great sense of volunteerism both at St. Mary and beyond in our greater Pinckney community. These young men stepped forward to help which meant giving up their part time jobs and a significant amount of free time all for the benefit of these kids. We are extremely proud of their sacrifices and commitment to the players on the team.”

Eight St. Mary Runners Medal at Coaching Legends Classic
Pinckney, Mich., October 6, 2018: The St. Mary School cross country team finished with eight medalists on Saturday at the annual A2 Run Co Coaching Legends Classic at Huron Meadows in Brighton. Almost 900 competitors represented 16 area schools.
Erin Stuk had the best finish among 7th-8th grade girls, placing first out of a field of 109 runners.
In all, eight of the 11 Wildcats runners medaled by placing in the top 75 event finishers.
“We were thrilled by the terrific team performance at the Coaching Legends Classic,” said Veronica Kinsey, Principal. “We’re proud of Erin’s first place finish, and proud of all of our runners. This is the eighth year of cross country at St. Mary thanks to the dedication of coaches Randy and Colleen deBeauclair, who started the program from scratch.”
Wildcats medalists:
Grade 7-8 Girls, 109 runners
Erin Stuk (1)
Grade 7-8 Boys, 190 runners
Evan Kinter (54)
Grade 5-6 Girls, 108 runners
Norah Stuk (12)
Isabella Wittrup (53)
Grade 5-6 Boys, 150 runners
Charlie Connelly (10)
Connor Burke (55)
Luke Elgas (70)
Patrick Burke (71)

The Robotics’ Program will transport teams into space, where students will explore, challenge, and innovate in the vast expanse of space. Students who participate in First show a substantial increased interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).    Participates demonstrate a higher understanding in STEM and are more likely to participate in more challenging math and science courses in high school and college.  The core values of FIRST® are Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, and Fun.  To learn more about First Lego League Challenge, please visit

Costs for the program will be $2500.00 for our two teams.  If you would like to help bring this exciting program to our school children, please email Mrs. Kinsey at mrskinsey@stmarypinckney.orgor call the school office at (734) 878-5616.

In the News:

St. Mary Catholic School to Offer FIRST LEGO League Robotics

September 29, 2018

St. Mary Catholic School to Offer FIRST LEGO League RoboticsSt. Mary Catholic School to Offer FIRST LEGO League Robotics

The St. Mary Catholic School in Pinckney will be offering its students FIRST LEGO League Robotics for the first time.

FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling and energy, and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS.

School officials say FIRST LEGO Robotics is fun for students while they learn to apply science, technology, engineering, and math concepts (STEM), with a dose of imagination to solve a problem. Robotics is also said to help students develop critical thinking and team-building skills and basic STEM applications, in addition to practicing the program’s core values, which emphasize discovery, teamwork and good sportsmanship.

St. Mary School officials say interest and participation in FIRST LEGO Robotics has been strong. The school has four teams, led by parent volunteer coaches, with two teams made up of Kindergarten through third graders, and one team each made up of each fourth and fifth and sixth through eighth graders. Teams will go through the process and compete in a limited number of challenges this first year.

Principal Veronica Kinsey says, “FIRST LEGO Robotics has generated a real buzz in the school”, adding that both students and parents have shared in the excitement.

1) Jimmy Hogan, Andersen Meisner, and Katelyn Sanchez

2) Left bottom and around: Madison Cooke, Grace Lackey, Mr. Caldie, Trenten Caldie, Joseph Moltane, and Peter Hilliard.


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