The Marching Band Goes Nordic!

miii0169If you’ve been to a Jenison football game at home you’re no stranger to the impressive talents of the marching band! This year is no exception as the band tackles the theme of ‘Valkyries’ who, according to Norse mythology, are female figures who fly over battles and decide who lives and dies. Those who are chosen to die are welcomed to the afterlife, or Valhalla.

miii0105The color guard will play the role of the Valkyries choosing their “victims” from the 153 members of the band. Director, Dave Zamborsky, develops, choreographs and arranges the performance from scratch. The first part of the show is set on a battlefield, the middle portion is when the soldiers are being slain and the first fallen soldiers being chosen and the show concludes with the final soldiers ascending into Valhalla.

But, of course, a production of this size can’t come together overnight. While you may have been sunning yourself at the beach this summer the Jenison marching band was busy training. They did a two day camp in June to learn marching basics and some show music. In July they spent their Monday and Tuesday evenings for three weeks learning music while the color guard worked toward a dance recital that was performed at the JCA. The first week in August they spend in pre-camp camp at Jenison [4 days, 8 hours a day] and then they travel to Hope College to spend another week training and bonding as a group. And finally, they spent 4 days in post-camp. Exhausted yet? Thankfully, the members of the band are happy to work hard and be part of the team. “The band gives a lot of students a community of belonging here at Jenison High School that they might not find elsewhere.”

miii9435The football schedule was a little unique this year with the first home game on August 25 – well before school began – but the marching band was there, debuting the first portion of their Valkyries performance. In fact, each home game, the band will reveal a little more of the performance as they continue to learn and develop the choreography and musical content.  “Part of what makes the fact that we’re a competitive band different [is that] we’re working on one show over the course of the whole season, really trying to enhance it and increase our production value throughout the season and, obviously, perfect it by the time we’re finishing our season.”

“We work on dance and body movements with the kids in the band because we’re expecting them to move in ways that are not traditional marching band; we’re expecting them to emote and put character into the show in ways that are more like theatre.”

The marching band has already begun it’s competition season with the Rockford Marching Band Invitational where they took home 1st place in their class in the categories of music, visual, color guard and they were named Grand Champion! On October 1 they are travelling to Toledo, OH for the Regional competition before moving on to Indianapolis for Nationals. But before they can conquer Nationals they will be at Detroit’s Ford Field on November 7 for state championships where they are looking to avenge their nail biting, second place loss [.05 points!] to band rival, Reeths-Puffer.

miii9582Marching band is about more than learning music; it’s a place for students to learn life skills.”I think the kids tend to form a very strong bond. As much as our focus is on music, it’s also on building a team and learning how to work together, be disciplined and mature. One of the things that make us different than groups that are playing a sport is that [the students] have eight and a half minutes of pretty complex musical and visual responsibility that all has to be memorized and if you zone out for a minute, we’re going to see it.”

miii0131Of course, none of the band activities would be possible without the support of the Jenison Band Boosters. Props used by the band and show flags used by the color guard are being built and sewn by parents. They chaperone camps and trips as well as organize and run the Jenison Invitational in mid-October which is the largest marching band competition in the state outside of state championships with 44 performances. If you’d like to find a way to support the Boosters’ efforts please visit their website here.

Be sure to check out the Valkyries performance at Homecoming – the last home game of the season – on Friday, October 7! Go Wildcats!

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Bond Dollars Hit the Road!

miii9763Last May the Jenison community voted in support of a Bond proposal that allows the district to keep up with the growing needs of our students, teachers and community. One of those very important [and practical!] needs was replacing ten buses in the current fleet which took place this summer.

According to Kip Medendorp, Director of Transportation, buses should be replaced every fifteen years to keep up to date on mechanics as well as gas mileage. However, with multiple needs facing the department, new buses had been put on hold until the recent Bond vote when the purchase of ten buses was able to move forward.

miii9745The old buses were sold at auction in July – the oldest of which was 23 years old [maybe some of our Jenison parents used to ride those Jenison buses?] and all of them experiencing some rust issues. The new buses are already out on the road and Mr. Medendorp says that both drivers and students are happy to have them and consistently show respect to the new equipment. One important safety feature on the new buses is a “sleeping student alarm” that requires drivers to walk to the back of the bus and push a button confirming the bus is empty within a certain amount of time. This, in addition, to the department’s policy to check for remaining students will continue to keep our students safe!

miii9782The transportation department isn’t stopping at new buses, though! The bond vote will also provide a new radio system and equip all buses with a GPS system. This will allow for the department to be able to locate a bus when needed. Additionally, they are planning to purchase tablets to be given to substitute drivers which will detail the route and each stop, replacing a print out that subs use now.  Finally, they are looking into putting cameras on every bus and joining an app for parents called, “Where’s my bus?” that would allow parents to locate their child’s bus at any time.

In accordance with the overall goal of improved communication, the department provides many online resources. You can visit their website here for information and complete their Transportation Request of Change form here. This school year, over 500 parents completed the form online saving the team and parents time!

Through the support of the community and the dedicated team in the Transportation Department, the whole student is honored, served well and kept safe from the beginning of their day to the end, “We try to make all the kids happy; we’re the first ones they see in the morning, the last in the afternoon and it’s a source of pride for our drivers to contribute to the students’ experience”.

miii9767-2Thank you to the Jenison community for your Bond support and to our bus drivers and transportation staff for keeping our kids safe! Don’t be shy when you see the Jenison buses on the road, give them a wave to say you’re thankful too!

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Pinewood 6th Graders Work to Solve Real-World Problem on Maplewood Lake

img_1942E. coli is not anyone’s favorite topic. In fact, it’s probably not discussed openly in polite company. Certainly, if you had an E. coli problem you wouldn’t want anyone to know. And that’s exactly what the students in Lori Barr’s 6th grade class last year decided to change.

In 2009 Georgetown Township closed Maplewood Lake to swimming due to E. coli concerns and removed the sandy beach, installing instead, a splash pad for Jenison families to enjoy the park and still get relief from summer heat.

img_1968Last year, Mrs Barr wanted to be proactive about project-based learning and design thinking for her students. How can they be prepared for the needs of the real-world workplace like leadership, idea creation and problem solving? She approached the township and asked if there was a problem they would like explored or even solved? When Supervisor, Dale Mohr told her that he wished people could swim in Maplewood Lake again, she took the issue to her students and they accepted the challenge!

With the help of local non-profits such as Groundswell and LGROW [The Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds], as well as Creek Connections at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania the students set out to perform water tests to determine how run-off effects our drinking water. Students tested for the presence of nitrogen, phosphorous and seven other paramaters and eventually, for E. coli.

LGROW asked Mrs Barr, “Are you sure you want to do E. coli?” and she responded, “I know I want to do E. coli” to which they told her, “Okay, no teacher has ever asked to do something this big.”

img_2275The organization had the students begin their project by designing door hangers that educated the community on the dangers and immediate implications for run-off and “how to dispose of things properly on your land and what choices to make with your  gardening and your lawn to avoid the phosphorous and nitrogen build up and what would cause the water quality to be compromised for the wildlife and organisms living there.”

Meanwhile, students spent five weeks collecting data from three different sites around Maplewood Lake for the E. coli tests and Georgetown Township offered to analyze their findings. They were feeling fairly confident with what they had found until a major water event occurred [such as a heavy rain] and the E. coli numbers went up significantly. They needed to figure out why.

img_2278However, the school year was drawing to a close and the baton would need to be passed to this year’s 6th grade class to continue the project. Mrs Barr needed new testing kits and, again, with the help of Creek Connections, she wrote up a quote and posted their project on DonorsChoose.org in the hopes of raising the money for their continued research. Mrs Barr came to find out that Tom’s of Maine has an arrangement with Donors Choose to match the donations of any funded project that will go toward a green classroom project that qualifies, which ours did. Thankfully, the project was fully funded but the story wasn’t over yet…

This past June, Mrs Barr was notified that the project was also selected to be part of the Top Ten by judges [including Kevin Jonas for your Jonas Brothers Fans!] and be in the running for prizes ranging from $25,000 to $2,000. But they need your help!

If you’ve been inspired by the work our 6th graders [and we certainly hope you have been!] you can support them in the Tom’s of Maine Green Your School competition for a chance to win $25,000! All you have to do is click on the link below and vote every day until Oct 31. Just click:  Tom’s of Maine competition and scroll for “No Swimming Allowed…Whaaat?!” and click on VOTE. Please share with friends and family.

Thank you to Mrs Barr for being a passionate teacher who challenges her students to think beyond the textbook and classroom! Thank you to our partners who made this project possible! And of course, thank you to the 6th grade students past and present who will continue to work for the good of Jenison and Maplewood Lake! Don’t ever give up! We are Jenison!

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Teachers Begin Year by Celebrating Success!

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year at Jenison Public Schools!
We hope you enjoyed our summer series on student writing and if you’re new to the blog, we hope you’ll subscribe and check in with us every Thursday to celebrate the great things happening in our schools!

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To kick off the year, all JPS teachers participated in three days of professional development centered around the yearlong theme of “Celebrating our Successes”. As parents can appreciate, teachers are so busy during the school year that they often miss out on learning from and celebrating with each other.  According to Curriculum Director, Kristy Rogalla, “With the busy school schedule, meeting kids needs at every level, preparing lessons and meeting the many requirements from the State, we do not always take [or have] the time to slow down and celebrate the amazing happenings and successes at JPS!” Professional development throughout the year will provide opportunities for celebration in an effort to be “more mindful [and] purposeful about celebrating individual and team successes in our buildings”.

img_4255During the year, professional development will continue with Classroom Learning Labs which aim to provide a more consistent and collaborative curriculum. During this first training, elementary teachers attended literacy sessions led by our own experienced, talented and amazing staff!  “All elementary teachers were asked to select three of eighteen sessions to attend to learn or solidify what they know about reading, writing, math workshop, student assessment, literacy instruction, how students learn, and differentiation of instruction.”

Twenty eight JPS staff members across the district from Transitional Kindergarten through Junior High, led the sessions teachers attended.  “The sessions were powerful and dynamic with staff from different buildings and different grade levels sharing and learning from each other!  We ended our day with grade level team time to reflect on the learning and set instructional goals for the year to best impact our students.”

img_4249Additionally, teachers took time to create Literacy Belief Statements which were based on research about the best practices in literacy education and the statements will be posted in a visible location in each elementary building. “Each month we will focus on one of these belief statements and how it fits with literacy instruction.  Teachers are participating in a self-select book study centered around these statements where conversations and collaboration will take place every month.  Leading the discussion and learning is Janet Schultz, our new district Literacy Coach.  Janet has been teaching for fourteen years at Jenison Public Schools and will be supporting the instructional collaboration and literacy learning!”

Teachers are looking forward to seeing more of this type of professional development at Jenison and are excited to start the year: “It was noted by one staff member that “it was one of the most encouraging and motivating three days”!”

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [High School]

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This summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Guard Dog
By Skyler Maitner

I dialed the number for a third time hoping that he would answer. My nervous fingers scrambled on the old, peeling paint of the windowsill. The sun high in the sky shone in my eyes as I listened to the annoyingly loud phone dial.

“Hello, this is Rob, how can I help you?”

“Dad it’s me. I know I’m not supposed to call your work number but this is important,” I replied frantically.

“What’s wrong?”

“King got off of his leash and Kyle Isn’t home to put him back, will you please call him and tell him to come home?”

My fingers gripped the landline tightly as I watched my neighbors pitbull run circles in his yard, barking vigorously.

“Sky,” countered my father, “Kyle is busy at work, just go over there, grab his leash, and put him in the garage.”

I glanced out the window and took in the size of the dog. King’s strong shoulders came up to my abdomen. His back legs were built with muscle, allowing to jump up and over me if he pleased. Although I had been around the dog numerous times before, the idea of getting pinned to the ground by an overly hyper, 90 pound dog was very unappealing, Especially when seven year old me was just about equal weight to the dog soaking wet. However, even that was the least of my problems.

“Dad you don’t understand. There’s this guy parked in Kyle’s driveway, and king doesn’t seem to like him.”

“What do you mean?”

The glossy back sedan was parked askew in the driveway. I watched as the man I never met before strode with purpose up to King. King was trained to protect his home and the people inside, therefore strangers in his yard didn’t suit him too well. The man’s shoulders were hunched forward as he stormed up to the dog. The stranger had a determined look in his eye, but hiding behind that were wisps of arrogance and fear. King continued to bark as the man got closer to him, rearing up. The man thrust his hand down towards Kingts head, most likely to grip his black fabric harness. King growled and froze, watching his movements. The man snapped his arm back up to his side, startled by the dog’s actions. He turned on his heel and started at a full sprint back to his vehicle. A mistake on his part. With a few long bounds, King lunged forward and caught the fabric of his blue jeans in his mouth, tearing a strip off. The man stumbled but continued to run before making it inside his closed vehicle.

“Nevermind I think he’s leaving now. Please still call Kyle though, King’s too big for me to grab.”

“Okay I will, just let me know what happens, alright?”

“Yes Dad.”

I hung up the phone and looked out of the window again. I was shocked to find that the man hadn’t driven away, he was just sitting in his car, almost like he was waiting for something.

King sat like a statue ten feet from the sedan, watching him. I began to get a sinking feeling in my stomach, but I wasn’t sure why.

King’s interest in the man lessened as the pitbull went to walk around the side of the house. However the car still stayed stagnant in the driveway.

I left my bedroom to return the landline to its charger in the kitchen. As I walked through the living room, I checked on my own two dogs, just to be sure that they weren’t freaking out after seeing King outside. When I returned to my bedroom window, my stomach dropped. In the short amount of time that I had left, two police cars now were parked in the street. I watched as two officers from each vehicle approached the house. My hands began to shake as they strategically walked up to King in a pattern that was meant to trap King against the side of the house. I frantically ran back to retrieve the phone and dial my dad’s number. My hands shook the the extent that even holding the phone was difficult for me.

“Hello, this is Rob-” He answered one more.

“Dad, Dad you’ve got to get Kyle to come home there’s police here and- ‘

‘Slow down! What are you even talking about?”

“There’s police here and Kings guarding the house and he’s scared and I don’t know what

“There are cops there? Okay I’m going to call Kyle again. Just stay where you’re at, all right? I’ll call you right back.”

The line went dead as I pulled the phone away from my ear. I continued to watch the scene across the street unfold in front of my eyes. King was backed up against the house, the hair of his back raised in a line, barking to the point where his voice was becoming hoarse. One of the officers took another step forward. I could see panic and fear mixing in the dog’s eyes. King lunged forward to find an escape from the trap the police officers before him had set.

The officer in front took the advance from the dog entirely differently, and he quickly drew the pistol from the holster at his hip. The officer held the gun just below his chest, aiming the barrel directly at King. His second hand was braced against the butt of the handle, his legs were separated and slightly bent to find firm grounding. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat helplessly, too shocked and scared to do anything other than watch.

King took another step.

I saw it before I heard it.

King’s face recoiled back first, then his body fell to the ground in a heap. Blood specks flew out from his mouth. Less than a second later, the loud crack of the gunshot reached my ears. Despite the distance, it felt like the gun had been fired off directly next to my ear. The world around me felt as though I was underwater, the noises around me were long and distorted. Slowly it came back to normal, like somebody was holding a fast forward button on a remote to my life. The ringing of my ears dominated all other sounds around me.

I screamed out, tears now a steady flow down my face, gasping for breath. My chest ached as I slowly fell on my knees, sobbing openly.

The officer returned to firearm to his holster and stared down at the dog momentarily. The police turned around to go back to their vehicles to file a report. My eyes were locked on Kings bloodied body in the grass. Flecks of blood painted the previously perfect white picket fence behind him. The man that was earlier locked in his sedan, now stood calmly in front the the officers, flailing his arms about as he pointed to various places around him.

As I looked back at king once more, I noticed the tiny rise and fall of his chest cavity. He was still breathing, very much alive and very much in pain. King was later subject to intensive surgery. The bullet shot through his front teeth and down his throat, causing to lose his ability to bark. King pulled through just fine, however I do not believe that afternoon will ever be erased from my memory.

Skyler Maitner is a graduated member of the Class of 2016 and this short story was submitted by twelfth grade English teacher, Aaron Brossiet.

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [High School]

LogoThis summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teach-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Sown
By Elijah Drake

I grew out of a backyard
where broken bones were weeds and weeds
were really flowers
I was watered by picnics
and beach visits
Forests, God, Sharon Creech,
Coffee, Parents, Love
Eternal love
I was trimmed with insults screaming worthless
and an award proclaiming
Big Picture World-Thinker Man
I was fertilized by phone calls
home
Good night moon
A musical fountain, The musical fountain
Bike Rides that lengthened our leash
Sunlight that came through
Skylights over my Grandma’s table
a since moved kitchen
and a broken pray-house roof
Branches grew around iron fences
and do not enters
wood splinters
lost jobs, no money, hot dogs
The backyard slowly grew too- smaller
even now it fades
(as fall leaves often do)
from the animation it held
the power of experience a gardener

Elijah Drake is a graduated member of the Class of 2016. This poem was submitted by his twelfth grade English teacher, Mr Brossiet. 

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [High School]

LogoThis summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Note from the Author: This story is about a relationship struggle I went through that ended poorly, and the ways I was able to conquer/get over the tragic feeling of loss. Talking a little bit about myself, I have a very big passion for helping the poor and needy. I have been on a couple mission trips including to Florida, in our community, Grand Rapids, and Haiti. Those days have changed my life completely. I am also very athletic. I was in soccer for five years, plus volleyball, and am in marching band hopefully throughout my whole high school years. I love to play music. It gives me the chance to relax, letting stress leave the body. I’m in the top concert band currently, playing clarinet for my sixth year. On the side, I play an additional instrument, piano, which I enjoy practicing in my free time. Furthermore, I sing in my church band every Sunday.
— Rachel Warner

The Falling Grace
By Rachel Warner

            I can still remember when I was best friends with a girl who was passionate and full of life, loving and kind. That smile on her face and that laugh of hers brightened my day and that itself made everything worthwhile. We would hang out all the time,  telling each other our deepest of secrets and could fully trust one another. And then, as the days got longer, I started to realize that the connection we once had before was gone. She said nothing and headed for the door, leaving me dumbfounded; leaving me stranded. She left me with nothing but pictures, old memories to look at when I was feeling alone and empty. I can still recall that day when she began to be nothing more than another face it the crowd.

“What did I do?” I cried. “I don’t understand why this is happening.”

“Nothing. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Stop asking me about it,” she said as she turned on her heels and walked away.

It killed me inside to know that I wasn’t good enough. That she was entirely and utterly fine without me. Those days became months and I was still hiding myself in my room, crying. Not wanting to talk to anyone. I just lay there, listening to the sad music I had planned to listen to. That light started to fade and I couldn’t stay away from the monsters that were catching up.

Staring at the ceiling, I listened to the music ringing in my ears. “Save me I’m drowning alive / And keep me from dying inside / I only want to find my way back home / But I can’t make it alone.”

Goodbyes are always the hardest when they are left unexplained.  Experiencing such loss is double the tragedy and most people don’t know what to do with themselves. No one should have to go through that pain of being forgotten, but having those kinds of things happen is a part of life. It helps you to be where you are today. Without those adversities, we wouldn’t be as strong and mature as before.

I have been thinking a lot about those relationships with others and how all the relationships we have in our lives affect us every day. If you look for the bad, you will always find it. If you look for the good, you will find that too, but our experience of humanity and life itself is truly up to us. Saying that you’re okay is so much easier than explaining all the reasons why you’re not.  Ironic isn’t it? How we tell others to stay strong, yet we can’t do it ourselves? That you cared so much that it destroyed you inside?  How the anger or sadness bubbles up to a rate that’s so high and you have no idea how to comprehend your feelings? I found that you have to forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

I decided to give it one more attempt. Right when I got to school, I saw her and another friend making conversation. I made a brave move by walking up to them to say hello.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“I… well…. I just thought…”

“Okay,” she rudely interrupted.  Rolling her eyes, they walked away laughing. That was the day I finally gave up.

The purpose of life is to live in peace, to love all beings and to know who you are. Know yourself, and you know everything. Throughout my years in middle school and high school, are some of the few places where I’ve learned the most about myself. Like most people say, I don’t like school, but I don’t love it either. In my mind, high school is like the waiting room for real life. To get to the real world, you have to go through all the experiences of being a teenager.

The immaculate knowledge alone is: emptiness. How can you come out of this when there are no limits? The appearance of a manifestation is but the play of this emptiness. Know who you are here, and now, by simply being quiet. Taking some peace and quiet might be all that you need. It’s all I needed, it just took a lot longer to bandage my shattered heart. Think about where you are now and how you can get through the situation.

You deserve to live your life filled with joy and happiness. Do not let the actions of others push you away from your religion, your family, or your real friends that care and deserve to have someone like you.

You can’t force love, I realized. It’s either there or it isn’t. If it’s not there, you have to be able to admit it. If it is there, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love. There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make your life, forget the bad and focus on the good and not the kinds of people who leave a trail of memories and decide not to be there to make new ones. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life, but getting back up is living.

Rachel is a rising junior at Jenison High School. Her persuasive narrative was submitted by her sophomore year English teacher, Mr David Hast.

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [8th grade, JIA]

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This summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Egg Can’s and the candy within
By Annabel Owen

The project or well service that I did was help with sorting cans at my church. This service is at the church to help the poor still have a good holiday. I worked with other kids my age that came to help out. My mother and sisters also helped out while they were there. Serving for the greater good can make others happy and be mentally good for your heart.

In truth the service project helped the more poor side of the community that we live in. The service project I did was described as sorting cans, although it was really for making Easter baskets for the children whose parents couldn’t afford an Easter basket. Now the children who will get them will have a wonderful Easter with candy and smiles. It not only affects the children though, the parents of these children get the best gifts which are the smiles on their Childs face. Happiness can be brought to those with little with just one gift.

This has affected me a lot, doing things for others just makes your heart glow. I’ve started to notice the small actions that people do and how it goes around affecting everyone. Just like hiccups, smiles are contagious. I’ve found what I really love and what’s most important to me through this experience. It may seem that serving and helping is hard work and not worth the effort, but in some respects there is something to gain.

Every little action we do effects something which also affects something and this process continues on forever. Everything effects everything is how I put it. The book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens says that each person has a mental bank account and what you say either is deposit or a withdraw. In the end of it all if everyone helps here and there in this world, there would be a big difference. When people work together to change the world, they change the hearts of the people in the world.

When looking back I find it hard to believe that what I was doing was a service project. Sure at the end when we were putting socks in baggies was strange, but it was as though joyfulness had spread its wings. I wonder if the children who received the Easter baskets had as much fun as I imagined they did. Joy will known to the children and my heart is also filled with joy. It begs the question though; does everyone have such joy in helping others?

Annabel Owen is a rising 9th grader in the Jenison International Academy. Her piece was submitted by her 8th grade mentor teacher as part of an assignment studying “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and a corresponding service project. 

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [8th grade]

LogoThis summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Literary Essay on Ransom of Red Chief
By Jacob Frollo

In the short story “Ransom of Red Chief”, by O. Henry, Bill and Sam need money so they kidnap a kid. They took a little boy who calls himself Red Chief, but they got more than they bargained for. The boy beat up and harassed them. The boy was such a handful that they ended up paying his father to take him back. This story shows that before you act, you should think about the consequences.

For instance, Bill and Sam Were so desperate to get some money that they acted and didn’t think about the consequences. “ The kid was in the street, throwing rocks at a kitten on the opposite fence”(pg. 274). They took the boy because they thought he was the banker’s son but didn’t stop and wonder if it would be a bad idea to take him because he was throwing rocks at a kitten on the fence. Bill and Sam didn’t think of the consequences before they acted and took the boy. Also, the boy acted without thinking of the consequences. Red Chief was sitting on Bills chest with one hand grabing his hair and in the other hand he had a sharp knife which he was trying to cut Bill with(pg. 277). The boy was just pretending to be an Indian and was trying to have a good time, but he didn’t think about the consequences he would have for harassing Bill. For example, Bill and Sam could send him home and he didn’t want to go home because he was having fun. Later in the story they did threaten take him home. He beat up Bill without thinking of the consequences that he almost got sent home. In addition, the boy’s father acted, but he was aware of the consequences. “You bring Johnny home and pay me two hundred and fifty dollars in cash, and I agree to take him off your hands”(pg. 281). In this sentence from the text the boy’s father offers the kidnappers a deal so he could get his son back without paying the ransom. This shows that the boy’s father thought about the consequences and decided to write the letter like that anyway. He was almost positive the kidnappers would take the offer because his son was such a handful and they were getting sick of him. The boy’s father thought about the consequences and acted based on what he thought was the best choice. Another situation where someone acted was when Bill and Sam decided to give the kid back without getting the ransom. “We’ll take him home, pay the ransom and make our getaway”(pg. 282). Bill and Sam decided to pay the 250 dollars to get rid of the kid because he was getting on their nerves and they didn’t want to deal with him any more. Bill and Sam knew the consequences, but the decided to act and pay the ransom so they could get rid of him.

Furthermore, there were also many consequences for the characters actions. For example, Bill and Sam had consequences for kidnapping the boy. Red chief had put a red hot potato down Bill’s back and smashed with his foot. Then Bill hit him and he threatend to bash his head in with a rock(pg. 277). When they took the boy they didn’t think of the consequences, but there were many consequences including this one where the boy threatened to hit Bill with a rock. That was one of many consequences they had for taking the boy. Additionally, the boy had a consequence for being such a handful. “When the kid found out we were going to leave him at home he started up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a leech to Bill’s leg”(pg. 282). The boy got angry because he was having fun and didn’t want to go home, but he had to because he was being such a handful for Bill and Sam and the wanted him gone. If he wouldn’t have been such a handful Bill and Sam might not have taken the deal that was offered to them and the boy would have got to stay longer if his father didn’t pay the ransom. Going home was the boy’s consequence for being a handful. Bill and Sam also had consequences for taking the offer that the boy’s father gave them. “We took him home that night”(pg. 282). Bill and Sam brought the boy back to his father and by doing so there were many consequences. One is that they wouldn’t get the ransom money that they needed. Another is that they had to pay the man to get rid of the boy. Bill and Sam gave the boy back and they knew the consequences, but they did it anyway because they were so sick of the boy.

In conclusion, some people acted without thinking and had consequences for their actions, while others thought of the consequences and then acted on what they thought they should do. You should just think about the consequences before you act.

Our 8th writer, Jake Frollo, has attended Jenison Public Schools since kindergarten. He is a percussionist in marching band and enjoys snow skiing in winter. His favorite book is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jacob is a rising freshman at Jenison High School and his writing was selected by his 8th grade writing teacher, Ms Deb VanDuinen.

Summer Series: Student Writing Sample [7th grade]

LogoThis summer we will feature a writing sample from a student in each grade as we all enjoy a beautiful summer in West Michigan! Please join us each week to read these fantastic teacher-submitted examples of excellent writing!

Flint: Soon to Lose all Citizens
By: Melia Brewer

The city of Flint is a beautiful place that will start to lose all of the people there because of the water. In another word, Flint will be filled with lead all in their water, soon to kill many of the people if still drinkin. For a while, the water in Flint has been caught with a lot of lead in the pipes but, now it is more of a problem than ever. Altogether, the Flint river, not using corrosion and switching water systems have started a high level of lead in Flint’s water. Lead is definitely a dangerous thing in water for humans in Flint. It will carry death or seriously bad problems for Flint. Some professionals have found that the lead can cause many problems like learning disability, speech and behavioral problems. If not taken care of every citizen in Flint will be affected. With the increasing amount of people in Flint the more people’s lives will be taken by the lead. With a growing population the more water that will need to be used and more of the pipes will have to be taken care of. Unfortunately, plastic water bottles would be at the bottom because of how cheap and simple it is. Water bottles would be the more economic way to go, but it is the worst because of how fast they would go out. Lead in Flint’s water is a major problem that must be taken care of soon.

Before we can take any actions, we must find out how the lead was even in the water of Flint. The main cause of the problem is that the Flint river brought the lead into the water. “Flint had switched water systems to the Flint river to save money, but found out that there was eight times more chloride than Detroit’s water” (Sanburn). This problem has spread all throughout Flint and might get worse later on. Many of the water in the Flint river had been affected by lead so many of the people had to drink that water. Also, this means people in this situation need the fresh water to drink because they had been used to that and now the water has been affected by lead. The city did not try to do this, but the water became to have lead in it when it reached people’s houses. This is important because it could end up hurting other people if they drink it because there is nothing else for them to drink. We must get rid of the lead in Flint’s water. Another cause that brought lead into Flint’s water is “ The city did not use corrosion to control to prevent the lead from entering the water” (Sanburn). This quote means that when Flint switched their water system the lead was still in there from the Flint river and, the state did not fix the water pipes for clean water after they knew that there was lead in the water. Also, this means that the lead could stay in Flint’s water for a long time because it could start to get worse after awhile if not taken care of soon enough and the proper way. The quote also states, that even if you don’t do one thing to anything something really bad could end up happening.

Certainly, there are many consequences of lead in water, as well as the horrible effects. Lead is basically a chemical element in the carbon group. “ Lead can cause learning disability, speech and language problems and behavioral problems (Detroit Free Press). This states that if someone drinks the lead they could be different in the way they talk, behave and learn all because of drinking that lead water. Also, studies have shown that the lead can cause a different blood level usually a lower blood level. This lead in the water can lead to killing every organ in someone’s body killing them. Lead is obviously very bad for your body and is very likely to give you disability at the least, if not it will cause many unwanted things.

Flint’s citizen’s need the help for a better solution to help them drink healthy water. Other people in Michigan could just send plastic water bottles, but a better long term solution is the people could keep sending money to Flint to pay for more filters according to Bryan McGrath. This means that everyday more and more people could send money to Flint for the water pipes could be fixed. Also, this means that the more money people send the people in Flint the quicker the water can be fixed. Finally this means that the water would stay healthy like it always was and will not get affected again unless they switch water systems again. Another, solution is that the state can start to send filter supplies and water testing kits to Flint according to the Detroit Free Press. This states that the state of Michigan should start to help Flint by sending them their needs because right now they have to handle this all on their own. Also, that means that the state needs to fix this problem or else people from other states will not want to come here because of the bad water, and might think that we are a poor state because the state is not giving up the money to fix the pipes. Finally, that means that Michigan’s population will start to die down because Flint’s water can end up killing a majority of the people that live there, and as of 2013 there was 99,763 people that lived in Flint that could soon all die because of water. A final, solution is to just start to send money for the families to pay for their own pipes to be fixed for good water. This means that other people in michigan could start to help with a shorter term solution with just giving the families that have been affected with the lead money to start to pay for them to have brand new water. Also, this means that if people of Michigan start to send money the families might end up saving the money so that they can end up without having to to buy any plastic bottles. Unless we act now to help others in need all of the people in Flint could be changed in their lives with the lead in the water. And beautiful Flint, will soon lose all of the people if not taken care of now.

Melia Brewer, is a rising 8th grader at Jenison Junior High and is in her second year at Jenison, transferring from Hudsonville in sixth grade. She is involved in many activities at the Junior High, such as volleyball and softball, and plays viola in the orchestra. A favorite read for her is the Hunger Games series. This essay was selected by her 7th grade writing teacher, Ms Deb VanDuinen.

Works cited

“Flint’s Water Crisis Explained in 3 GIFs.” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“Health Problems That Followed Switch in Water Supply Anger Flint Residents.” Newsela. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016. Kristof, Nicholas.
“America Is Flint.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“Lead Poisoning­Topic Overview.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“News.” A Water Crisis Deepens. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.