Summit School students, families, and staff celebrated the graduation of five students May 20 in the auxiliary gym at Zeeland East High School. Leon Faucett, Alexandrea Hernandez, Katelyn VanOrder, Kris Velthuis, and Misty Williams overcame many obstacles to earn their diploma as well as the skills necessary to live a successful life. We congratulate students and their families on a job well done.
Remember covering your eyes and counting to 10 while playing hide and seek? Well, the rules have changed. Fourth and fifth graders at Lincoln, Quincy and Woodbridge Elementary Schools were recently charged with finding five hidden caches, and they did it scientifically: entering latitude and longitude coordinates into hand-held GPS units.
"They use so many skills in this activity, including geographical concepts, navigation, problem solving, and teamwork," technology teacher Lisa Shears explains.
Shears applied for, and received 17 GPS units through the Zeeland Public Schools Education Foundation.
“People will never know how far a little kindness will go.”
Colorado teenager Rachel Scott wrote those words in her journal, never knowing that the phrase would live on in the hearts of thousands in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre April 20, 1999. Rachel was the first student killed that fateful day. Her family has kept Rachel’s message alive through Rachel’s Challenge (http://www.rachelschallenge.org/main.php)
On April 14, all 455 students at Creekside Middle School learned much more about her message through speaker David Gamache of Colorado. He presented a moving testimonial to Rachel during a one-hour program at DeWitt Auditorium. Then, 46 Creekside students who had been hand picked for the task huddled with eight teachers and Gamache in the Creekside Quack Shack to map out a plan of action that would keep Rachel’s message alive on a daily basis.
The result is FOR (Friends Of Rachel), a group of Creeksiders that meets every Wednesday from 9:40 - 10 am in the Quack Shack.
With help from Holland Township firefighters, kindergartners at Quincy Elementary learned some important basics about fire. They learned to stay low if they wake up in a smoke filled room. They learned the importance of smoke detectors. And, with help from a firefighter, they got a chance to hold the fire hose while a strong stream of water surged through it.
Since the start of the school year, seventh and eighth grade drama students at Cityside Middle School have been creating anti-bullying skits for the sixth graders. On October 13, they unveiled their production to the young audience gathered in Lokers Auditorium. Students wrote their own scripts with the intent of sending a positive message about what to do when bullying happens at Cityside. Assisting the young actors in portraying the best ways to deal with bullying were school social worker David Moore and school counselor Jill Caesar. Later in October, the drama students will conduct follow-up workshops in the sixth grade classrooms. Teacher Jill Landes directed the half-hour stage production and worked with the students on their presentation and theater skills.
Twenty two young artists were recognized October 8 for submitting winning entries in the annual Pumpkinfest art competition. A total of $200 in prize money was awarded by the contest sponsor, Chemical Bank of Zeeland.
For the third straight year, Zeeland Public Schools is hosting the Division 2 state track finals at Zeeland Stadium on May 30. Thousands of athletes and spectators will converge throughout the day. Many hours of work goes into preparing the stadium and track complex for the event. These pictures were taken May 29 as officials made last minute preparations.
Family and friends nearly filled the ZEHS gym as the 232 graduates of the Class of 2009 took their place in history. Commencement speaker and teacher Kim Harrison shared a saying from her father to emphasize her point. Salutatorian Julia Bohl used the story of David and Goliath to spell out the challenges awaiting seniors, complete with a stone under each graduate's chair. And, Valedictorian Brandon Keelean brought forth a giant, illustrated book to recap the growth of his classmates.
Family and friends packed the Zeeland West gym May 27 to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2009. Guest speaker Doug Swenk of Winning at Home emphasized to the graduates the fact "people won't remember how you came, but how you leave." At that point, a young man clad in a kilt strode in, playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. Soon after, Swenk left, accompanied by the bagpiper. Swenk's dramatic exit prompted a standing ovation among the 175 graduates.
Five Summit School seniors and their families "circled up" May 14 to celebrate the joy, the pain, the ups, and the downs that brought them to this important threshold called graduation. The event took place in the Zeeland East High School auxiliary gym and followed a delicious chicken dinner. About 100 friends and family aligned their chairs behind the circle of chairs that served as center stage. Each graduate----Desiree Gilmore, Amber Hamilton, Alexander Jongekryg, Chelsy Millner, and Kimberly Rainey----stood and shared his or her experience at Summit School, an alternative program that operates within Zeeland East High School. Taking the microphone after them were the graduates' parents and grandparents. We congratulate the students for a job well done and commend the staff for their excellent work.
In one room at Roosevelt Elementary, students and parents played a game of Simon Dice (Simon Says), responding to teacher Ben Ashby's commands: Sentese, levantese ("sit down, stand up.") In the hallway, Zeeland high school students who study advanced Spanish quizzed youngsters on the names of household items and pets. In the gym, children and adults danced in a circle and did the limbo. This was Ziesta, a celebration on May 11 of Zeeland Public Schools' first year of Spanish for the 2,500 students in grades kindergarten through fifth. The district's plan is to expand the program through middle school.
A 1.5 mile walk carrying a gallon of water can weigh on a person. And it can serve to enlighten. Cityside seventh graders took part in the third annual water walk May 6, walking north of Creekside Middle School to fill up their gallon milk jugs with water. Once back at Cityside, students poured the contents into a filter system created by Aqua Clara International, a foundation dedicated to providing drinkable water to Third World countries. Cityside teachers involved in the project were aided by two parents, Dennis Nagelkirk and Ed Zwyghuizen, who are both active in grassroots efforts to maintain the world's supply of clean water. Also helping out was ZPS graduate Scott Parrott, who is a volunteer for Aqua Clara.
David Lockington, who is serving his tenth season as music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony, spent an hour with the Zeeland High School marching band May 8. He performed on the viola, sang a Ladino (Romance language derived from Old Spanish) folk song; shared clips of symphonic music by a modern composer; and described how Beethoven, despite a lifetime of grief and illness, was able to "put a positive spin on his suffering."
The unique presentation took place in the band room at Zeeland East High School. Band members are preparing for a trip to Washington D.C. where they will perform in the Memorial Day parade. The band's director is Keith Walker.
More than 50 speakers shared their knowledge with Zeeland high school students April 30 on a variety of topics from religion and Third World culture to disability issues and race. The project was organized and launched by students from the Zeeland East and West student governments and the Calling All Colors organization.
"Diversity Day gave students an opportunity to deviate from the norm and explore other areas of life that they may not normally be exposed to," Zeeland West Principal Colleen Johnson said. "The day was a huge success, beginning with an incredible speaker at the large group assembly and culminating with individual seminars the students could choose from. The whole day was student driven and organized. Our students worked hard and did a fantastic job."
Zeeland on Display April 27 gave the community a chance to gather downtown to show support for the Zeeland state champion swimming team, the Zeeland East state runner-up basketball team, and those great Dutch Dancers. The event was called Zeeland on Display. Zeeland Mayor Les Hoogland kicked off the event with words of praise for the swimmers and cagers. Team members and coaches were introduced, then presented with certificates. Main Place was then cleared to make way for Zeeland's Dutch Dancers who entertained with a winning performance despite sprinkles of rain.
With fellow students cheering them on, Quincy Elementary fifth graders played basketball against the teachers April 2, an event that has become a spring tradition for the district's newest elementary school. When the final buzzer sounded, the exact score could not be detected but it appeared to be a draw.
Students, their families, and friends packed the Royal Atrium at Royal Park in Zeeland Tuesday night (April 21) to view the Zeeland Public Schools’ spring visual arts show. Each year, hundreds of art pieces created by Zeeland students in all grades are displayed throughout the building. Free food and free music by Zeeland orchestra students add to the fun.
The Zeeland Performing Arts Booster Club launched a successful Street Festival March 27 in the hallways and classrooms of Zeeland East High School. A strong showing of families came out for the evening event, which offered music, dance, art displays, prizes, and great food. Proceeds go to the Norma Sneller Scholarship Fund as well as smaller scholarships that provide recognition for participating in the arts. Many thanks go to the students and adults who performed or submitted art work, to the art teachers, and to festival organizers Lori Wenzel and Colleen Ball.
Woodbridge parents Jeff and Amy Faber had a great "show and tell" project to share with Woodbridge students: their hot air balloon. Friday, March 27, proved to be an excellent day for the demonstration. It was cool but calm. The Fabers explained the steps involved in getting the balloon airborne. At the end of the half hour demonstration, the balloon was deflated and stored away for another day.
On March 19, Dr. Robert Spradling, the band director at Western Michigan University, spent three class periods work with the Zeeland high school bands in a clinic setting. The special class took place on the stage at DeWitt Auditorium. The lesson was the brainchild of band director Keith Walker, who has established a tradition of bringing in highly talented professional musicians to work with his students.
The chance to wear gear from World War I sparked much interest in Woodbridge Elementary first graders recently. They got to try on helmets, jackets, and even a gas mask. And, a cane owned by World War I's sole survivor, Frank Buckles, also grabbed the youngster's interest. Zeeland parent David DeJonge, a professional photographer who is working with Mr. Buckles to establish a World War I memorial in Washington D.C., passed the cane around, asking students not to touch the old metal handle because it would tarnish. DeJonge displayed a portrait of Mr. Buckles and explained their campaign to raise money for a fitting memorial to honor the dead of World War I. Mr. Buckles was born in 1901.
Author Buck Wilder, also known as Tim Smith, is spending the week talking with hundreds of Zeeland elementary students about writing, drawing, and making mistakes. Yes, he believes the eraser is often the most important part of a pencil. With it, he has corrected many of his own mistakes and, in the process, become a recognized author across the country. He shares his lesson with our five elementary schools and the Early Childhood Center. The public is invited to come hear Buck speak Thursday, March 19, 6:30 p.m., at Roosevelt Elementary.
The Zeeland boys' swim team---comprised of young men from both Zeeland East and West High Schools---captured the Division 2 state title in finals competition March 14 in Holland. We salute the athletes and coaches for a job well done!
Zeeland Cityside seventh grader Hillari Vashaw still remembers that magic moment in the Upper Peninsula when "a beautiful howl broke the night." That trek into the woods to study wolves cemented Hillari's resolve to learn all she could about the animal. On March 6, Hillari spent a day in a fourth grade classroom at Quincy Elementary sharing her love and knowledge of wolves. The day had a second purpose: Hillari, who wants to teach someday, was shadowing her grandmother, teacher Kathy Nemeth.
Step into the enchanted world of Broadway's modern classic, "Beauty and the Beast." This tale "as old as time" is filled with spectacular music, costume, and dance, with a cast, orchestra, and crew of more than 100 Zeeland high school students. Tickets are $6 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults. They may be purchased in person at Zeeland East High School from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on school days. Or, call 748-3148 for details.
Show times are 7 p.m. on March 4, 6, and 7 and 5:30 p.m. on March 5 at DeWitt Auditorium.
Creekside Middle Schools' Calling All Colors group recently sponsored an art contest that attracted a host of entries from young artists throughout the school. We thank the group for their hard work and salute those who took the time to submit artistic creations.
Cityside Middle School students celebrated Black History Month and Jazz History Month during a special concert at Lokers Auditorium February 20. A visiting combo played the music of Duke Ellington and other jazz greats. And, students learned the importance of teamwork.
The second floor of Cityside Middle School recently was transformed into the Great Wall of China. A visitor could walk the entire length of the hall and read 1,000 "bricks" with information about China. Students in Jessica Kiwiet's geography class were responsible for the epic production. Kiwiet said the hands-on project accomplished three things: students learned that China is BIG (size, people, and global influence); they learned a lot about China (and taught others); and students had a positive experience about a country that we are intertwined with financially.