During an hourlong ceremony Tuesday, seven Grosse Pointe residents were recognized for their contribution to the community. Each received a Pointer of Distinction Award from the .
The stories of achievement were vast. One is a successful business owner of two restaurants in the Woods. Another one volunteers with so many different organizations the list was is seemingly endless. Another was spurred to begin her own business after she received phenominal response for freelance work.
Then there are the youth achievement winners, whose accomplishments are many. Three local high-schoolers who each have success academically as well as within the community through volunteer work, tutoring, coaching, starting up a successful business, teaching and more.
Ted Everingham, the master of ceremony, described how thankful he is to live and work in a community with such talented and giving people. He said everyone in Grosse Pointe should be proud.
The winners are:
- Daniel E. Curis, owner of and in Grosse Pointe Woods, received the Excellence in Business Award. He has owned the Big Boy since 1978 and then took on Champs just as the economy began to suffer, Everingham said. He has has tremendous success with both restaurants and is possibly getting involved in a third business soon.
- , owned by Mary Conway Scott and her husband Bill Scott, received the New Business Enterprise award for the tremendous success their business has had since opening. Scott Advertising is located on the Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms and began after Mary Conway Scott was bombarded with freelance requests in 2009.
- Benjamin J. Burns, a City of Grosse Pointe resident and the head of the journalism program at Wayne State University, received the Community Service Award. Among the places and organizations with whom he's volunteered: Children's Home of Detroit, Rotary Club of Grosse Pointe, Services for Older Citizens, Senior Men's Club, Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, Historical Society of Michigan and the Detroit Historical Society. What he gives back to the community is far more than "resume fillers," Everingham said, noting he is now chairing in which voters will be asked to approve in the February primary.
Three teenagers were given the Youth Achievement Award:
- Michael Meyering, who attends
- Charles Sorge, who attends
- Suzanne Vyletel, who attends
Meyering is aiming to become an eagle scout by this summer and is organizing a clothing donation drive through his church to help stock a clothing bank in Detroit. He founded Liggett's Quiz Bowl team and has since been the team's captain. He is a varsity athlete, the student council treasurer and has a 4.09 grade point average.
Sorge plans to attend University of Michigan for history and then wants to go to law school. He is an honor roll student, has received recognition for academic honors with athletics, received honors for DECA, is the student senate vice president this year, tutors elementary students and has coached a Detroit little league team to playoffs two years in a row. He plans to coach again this summer.
Vyletel has received awards for being an AP scholar, for journalism and French excellence and she tutors elementary students in English, math and science. She teaches Sunday school at her church, jazz and ballet classes at the Grosse Pointe Dance Academy and she operates her own business along with a friend called Culinary Kids. The business offers cooking classes to children ages 6 to 10, with a regular schedule in the summers and periodically throughout the year otherwise. The company recently began offering birthday parties as an option, Everingham said.
Tuesday was by the Chamber of Commerce. Many officials from the various Grosse Pointes and from Grosse Pointe Public Schools attended in addition to many business owners.
Several judges reviewed applications and nominations to determine the winners. The judges included: Grosse Pointe Farms City Manager Shane Reeside, Grosse Pointe Public Library Director Vickey Bloom, JP Morgan Private Wealth Management's Gary Branceleone, Grosse Pointe Woods City Manager Al Fincham and State Farm Insurance Representative Ed Lazar.