Editor’s note: Baldwin Junior and Senior High School staff and parent of the month is a monthly feature highlighting the outstanding service of a school staff member and school parent chosen by Principal Calvin.

BALDWIN — Students who are having behavioral issues during class or on school grounds go to Jennifer Debruyne, a para-professional in the Responsible Thinking Classroom at Baldwin Junior and Senior High.

“The students usually get sent to me before having to go to the principal’s office,” she said. “I help students who are having behavioral issues. We sit down and discuss what the issue might be, and get to the source of why they were sent to the RTC.”

In addition to helping students through their problems, sometimes teachers send students with an assignment and Debruyne helps them with it if needed.

“I have pretty good relationships with the students, and they all open up to me. Many of them call me their aunt or mom,” she said. “Students stay just long enough to collect themselves and go back to the classroom.

“I look forward to coming to work each day. The kids greet me with hugs. As challenging as my job can be at times, I really enjoy it.”

Debruyne started working at Baldwin Community Schools in January 2009, when she started out as a classroom para-professional. She then moved to her position at the high school in August 2016.

“I moved to the area from Canada,” she said, explaining her husband, who she met online, was a native of Bitely. “I was born and raised in Otto., where I got credits for early childhood at one of the local colleges.”

She and her husband, Scott Debruyne, who is the Lily Township fire chief, have four children, one who is 20 and moved back to Canada. She also is on the fire department. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, hunting, fishing and sports.

Hyatt raising grandson to succeed

BALDWIN — Making sure her grandson is equipped with everything he needs to be successful at school — but also encouraging him to enjoy being a kid — is something dear to Patricia Hyatt's heart.

Her grandson, Bryson Hyatt, has special needs and just entered seventh grade at Baldwin Junior High.

"Five of my seven grandchildren attend school at Baldwin, but Bryson is the one I raise," she said.

Patricia makes sure Bryson is involved in after-school programs and other school functions, such as helping with the Feed America food truck when it comes to the school.

"Bryson isn't allowed to participate in contact sports because of his physical disabilities, so we make sure he gets to participate in activities such as band and bowling," she said. "Even though he don't get to play a lot of sports, we sure love watching all the live basketball and football games at the school."

One of her favorite programs the school offers is the grandparents class, which supports grandparents raising grandchildren.

"Bryson and I have been going to the grandparents class for 12 years, since he started school. We love going, and it really helped me through when I first began raising Bryson. We meet once a month."

Patricia said Bryson is doing well with the transition from the elementary to the middle school.

"The school is very patient and helpful with students who have disabilities," she said. "We have a strong support system at the school. We are really pleased with principal Calvin Patillo and all the staff here."

Bryson said his grandma encourages him to look to the future.

"I have been waiting to get out of elementary and am looking forward to high school and receiving the Baldwin Promise scholarship," he said. "My goal is to become a paleontologist and dig up dinosaur bones. I want to get into Michigan State University, where a degree is offered in paleontology."

Patricia said Baldwin Community Schools has taught Bryson a lot, and he soaks up random facts like a sponge.

"Bryson would rather watch the Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian Channel than cartoons and other programs popular with youth. He loves to learn," she said.

Patricia said with her working two jobs now, she still does what she can to be involved in every area of Bryson's life.

"My husband of 34 helps a lot too, even after having a stroke three years ago," she said.