Our stars are shining:
Zeeland West High School junior Joshua Parks earned a top composite score of 36 on his recent ACT test. On average, less than one-tenth of one percent of all national test takers earn the top score. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.
Parks was not overly surprised by the results of the exam, stating he felt confident in his answers while taking the test.
“He is an exceptional student, and such a bright person,” added ZWHS Principal Colleen Johnson. “Whether it be his humble nature, his musical talent, or his academic drive, Josh is an absolute awe – inspiring, integral part of our ZWHS student body.”
ACT test scores are accepted by all major US colleges, and exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead. Joshua is the son of Jeffrey and Tami Parks.
It's been an exciting time for ZPS teacher Tony DiLaura. Early in March, DiLaura learned that the Open Geometry Course he created had been named by Apple, Inc. one of the "8 Outstanding High School Courses" in the K-12 iTunesU space. To top it off, DiLaura learned that he has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator, an award given to teachers who Apple feels " do amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities."
I've always wanted to be featured on iTunes . . . I'm just not musical."
—Tony DiLaura states on his blog, Playing in the Sandbox
The soft-spoken educator spent four years teaching math at Zeeland East High School. With the distribution of iPads to high school students in 2011-2012, DiLaura launched the first flipped classroom in the district, an approach where teachers create video lectures for students to view at home, then work with students in class to understand the concepts of the lesson. iPads allowed students to download DiLaura's video lessons at school, then study them at home without the need for an Internet connection. During that time, DiLaura amassed a large number of video courses in geometry and posted them on iTunesU.
This school year, DiLaura was named an instructional technology specialist, which means he now works with fellow teachers to show them how to best use technology in the classroom.
It's been an exceptional year for Zeeland East senior Michael Custer. The starting point guard helped carry the varsity Chix' basketball team into the district finals with a 23-point onslaught against Holland. Earlier in the year, Michael served as quarterback, leading the Chix to a 9-0 regular season and the OK Black title. In the classroom, Michael has a 3.6 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. Those accomplishments earned him the WZZM and Meijer Scholar Athlete for the week of March 4. Congratulations, Mike!
Dux volleyball standout Zoe LaCroix has signed a letter of intent to play the sport next season at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana. Kevin Ulmer, the Bethel Pilots' head coach, witnessed Zoe's signing along with West varsity volleyball coach Chris Mack, junior varsity coach Michelle Ensing, and Zoe's parents, Doug and Nicole LaCroix.
Zoe, a veteran setter on the Dux team, earned a spot on the First Team All Conference in 2011. She also maintains a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. Zoe was the sixth recruit signed by Bethel for the 2013 volleyball season.
PICTURED: Zoe LaCroix signs her letter of intent.
Witnessing the event, from left, are Dux junior varsity volleyball coach Michelle Ensing, Dux varsity volleyball coach Chris Mack, and Bethel Pilots coach Kevin Ulmer.
Troubled by the extreme hunger she witnessed among orphans on a family trip to Ghana, Zeeland East tenth grade Emma Dryden recently challenged her fellow students: wear a t-shirt to the Winterfest dance instead of an elegant dress or a tux. More than 40 students stepped up, paying $45 to wear a t-shirt with a special message to the February 2 event.
Their donations—and those of 50 other individuals who have joined Emma's campaign so far—have been forwarded to Feeding the Orphans, an international organization committed to providing food and water for beleaguered children in Ghana.
Emma's campaign is called 1 shirt, 1 child, 1 month.
Purchase of "1 shirt will provide food and clean water for 1 orphan for 1 month," Emma states. " It's my dream and goal to help feed starving kids in Africa."
The Zeeland Board of Education honored Emma for her effort at its February board meeting. We salute you, Emma. Keep up the good work!