The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star


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Ann Arbor celebrates its bicentennial year

The year 2024 is special for Ann Arbor in many ways. Not only is it a leap year, but it is also Ann Arbor’s 200th anniversary. Founded in 1824 by John Allen of Virginia and Elisha Rumsey of New York, though only made a city in 1851, it was named for the founders’ wives, Ann Allen and Mary Ann Rumsey. The “arbor” part of the city’s name came from the existing clearings that attracted the founders to the site, according to

“Ann Arbor has really come a long way!” Clague seventh grader Claire Svoboda said. “And we are so lucky to live here.” After all, Ann Arbor is #1 city in the state for families to live in, and #8 in the country, according to

“I think that it’s really exciting that our city has been around for so long,” Svoboda added.

On Jan. 19, a bicentennial kickoff celebration took place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater to celebrate the 200th anniversary of our city. As City Administrator, Milton Dohoney, writes in an open letter to the Ann Arbor community on Jan. 4 according to, “The plan is to celebrate the bicentennial throughout the entirety of 2024. We are not simply planning some blowout event on a single day.” 

The Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) also has a celebration planned: a project called Ann Arbor 200. Throughout the year, 200 pieces of digital content, including histories, essays, dozens of original audio interviews, oral histories, over 25 new video documentaries, paintings, original prints, works of fiction and poetry, newly digitized collections, and musical pieces will be released, according to AADL production librarian Andrew MacLaren. Each of them will feature different topics from Ann Arbor’s history.

“We’ve already released an interview with and collection about Ann Arbor folk trio The Chenille Sisters, a history of the MLK Day Unity Marches put on for decades by the Second Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, an exhibit of historical photos alongside their contemporary counterparts by local photographer Rick Cocco, an interview with former Ann Arbor councilperson (and one of the first openly-gay people to serve in office in the country) Jerry DeGrieck, and the Ann Arbor Observer digitized going back to its beginnings in 1976,” said MacLaren. “On February 4, we will premiere (both online and in person at the Michigan Theater) the film There Goes the Neighborhood, a 40-minute documentary about Ann Arbor’s historically Black neighborhood, the school (Jones School) that was central to its life, and the crumbling of that neighborhood through school desegregation, urban renewal plans, and gentrification.”

Of course, this is nowhere near all the celebrations Ann Arbor will be home to this year. According to, a group of teachers from AAPS will be compiling historical photos to improve local social study lessons for every grade. There will be a wide variety of different projects around the city as well, such as creating a statue to honor Kathy Kozachenko, who was elected into public office in the US on April 2, 1974, and was the first openly gay individual, during which time she earned a spot on the Ann Arbor City Council.

“Celebrating a city’s 200th anniversary is not an everyday event. Thanks to the community and the Ann Arbor Bicentennial Committee, dozens of fun, unifying and meaningful activities are planned throughout 2024. In addition to celebrations, several projects have been chosen, either by the committee or city, to allow the community to contribute to a piece of Ann Arbor that will transcend 2024 and create a legacy for future Ann Arborites to enjoy,” said Lisa Wondrash, City of Ann Arbor Communications Director.

Throughout 2024, there will be many events; some of the upcoming ones, taking place May 17-25, include a Bicentennial Bikeapalooza, an official 200th anniversary celebration that will cause a block of Liberty St. downtown to be shut down, and an art exhibition, according to Additionally, the specific 200th birthday of Ann Arbor is May 25th. Click here to learn more about different upcoming celebratory events!

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About the Contributor
Saanvi Kulkarni
Saanvi Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Saanvi is a 7th grader at Clague Middle School. This is her first year doing yearbook/newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, write stories, do karate and play piano, as well as hanging out with her friends. Also, she spends way too much time wishing for a pet.

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