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Notre Dame 2nd grader Adit Gill says Michigan should have an official state food. He tracks down the governor and a state senator to help make that happen.

Notre Dame second grader Adit Gill is with Michigan State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (District 12) after presenting his findings on a possible state food.

Over the course of America's 243+ years, many of its states have adopted and named official "things" by decree, i.e., official state beverage, state bird, state tree and state fish, among many others. Michigan, too, has its share of official state items, including bird (America robin), tree (eastern white pine) and fish (brook trout).

But our state joins 14 others in the union that don't have a state food (Maine's is the whoopie pie; in Georgia, it's peaches, Vidalia onions and grits.)

For one student in Notre Dame Lower School, that's simply unacceptable.

"Adit has always loved to learn about U.S. states and he's particularly passionate about his native Michigan," said Preetinder Gill, who is second-grader Adit Gill's dad. "In March of last year, while doing some reading, he found out that Michigan is one of the states in the U.S. without any official food."

Gill goes over his state food project for fellow students at Notre Dame Lower School.

So Adit took matters into his own hands and began to research famous or popular local and state delicacies to see if any could be good candidates.

"He ended up with a list of eight food items he thought worthy of being our state food, and with the guidance of lower school principal Diana Atkins, second-grade teacher Donna Stuk and technology specialist Andy Hopkins, he created a real project out of his idea," his father said.

From Pontiac to Lansing

Adit, who has a sister in Notre Dame Middle School, then visited each classroom in the lower school to present his project and ask for votes on the items on his list. More than 200 students and faculty and staff members participated in his survey with "apple cider and donuts" coming out as clear winners.

"He even wrote to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to solicit her support for his cause," his father said.

Whitmer reached out to Adit last month and congratulated him for taking the initiative, and for his “creativity and ingenuity.” Whitmer suggested that Adit also reach out to members of the state legislature to help get things moving faster in Lansing. That move eventually paid off as he scored a recent meeting with State Sen. Rosemary Bayer, who represents Michigan's 12th district, which includes the city of Pontiac.

"He asked for her support to introduce a bill in the Michigan legislature and Senator Bayer assured him that she'd research the issue further and get back to him as soon as possible," his father said. 

Atkins said that Bayer also kept Adit's project portfolio on hand to display in her office. 

"I am very proud of Adit and the work he's done in taking his learning outside the classroom doors into the real world," Atkins added. "He took an idea and completely put it into action to achieve a positive result. This exemplifies the learning we strive for through the International Baccalaureate program with all our students. I look forward to seeing if Michigan will ultimately adopt a state food."


'We truly are blessed'

For Adit's parents, this project was still another example of how Notre Dame is offering such unique and diverse opportunities for its students.

"As parents, we want to thank the school for providing Adit with this hands-on learning opportunity," Preetinder Gill said. "Notre Dame Lower School is well equipped to provide young minds with a well-rounded education and a robust foundation for a lifetime of learning. Mrs. Atkins and her staff consistently help their students follow the school mission and ensure that they put the IB Learner Profile into practice. We truly are blessed to be part of the Notre Dame family.”

Gill created a pie chart to show the results of his school survey.

Comments or questions?

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at

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