Stand By You: Pink Out 2017

miii3935The High School gym was, once again, a sea of pink on Friday night as the Jenison community showed their support for those fighting the battle of breast cancer.

This year, there were eight honorees: Jill Barnes, Jane Carlson, Carolyn DeJong, Dianne Duch, Michelle Gradisher, Shirley Kerkstra, Joni Otto, and Stephanie Tuttle [not necessarily pictured in this order].

miii3411For Michelle [3rd from right], she was overwhelmed by being an honoree but once she arrived to the “pinked out” gym that night and started getting to know some of the other honorees, those fears were gone. Michelle was diagnosed through a mammogram that she desperately wanted to avoid that particular day but chose to go through with it. The office was calling her to return to the hospital before she even got home that day. On March 31 of last year she underwent a double mastectomy which she describes as a “no brainer” based on the test results and family history of breast cancer. She is incredibly thankful for her amazing support team and encourages women not to avoid those important mammogram appointments!

miii3660Joni Otto [1st on the left] was a Jenison teacher for 22 years and is thankful for the science and availability of genetic testing, which she believes is a gift we all need to take advantage of. Joni discovered she had breast cancer and opted for the lumpectomy. Meanwhile, she had genetic testing done which revealed she was at a high risk for breast cancer, so she chose to go a step further and have a bilateral mastectomy to prevent any further occurrences which seemed likely in light of the test results. It wasn’t an easy decision for Joni but she felt that it was the right thing to do to protect herself and her family. She is hoping that her former students will dig deep into their pockets to donate to the Pink Out cause on her behalf!

miii3685Stephanie and Shirley [3rd and 4th from the left respectively] are daughter and mother honorees and Stephanie also says that genetic testing is an essential and lifesaving aspect to her story as well. Her mom Shirley is a breast cancer survivor [and three time honoree!] and Stephanie didn’t want her family to go through another season of cancer. She believes her mom feels guilty for passing on the gene but she also sees genetic testing as a gift, especially when it revealed the BRCA gene which can lead to breast and ovarian cancers. She also urges readers to consider genetic testing if you have a family history of breast cancer as the preventative measures “are much better than going through treatment.”

[If you’d like to explore genetic testing, you can do so locally at Spectrum Health. Please note – this is not an endorsement, merely a local resource.]

miii3680Three of our honorees discovered their cancer through self exams and took a moment in their introductions to make sure and encourage women in the audience to remember to do this. Everyone stressed the importance of regular mammograms and the Spectrum Health mobile mammography unit was in the parking lot, available for tours!

miii3770Finally, High School Principal, Dr. Brandon Graham, introduced Cindi Sigmon as a special honoree. Cindi has been battling Multiple Myleloma since January 2016. “She has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and received a stem cell transplant this summer” and “for the past 21 years, she has shown love to the students, staff, community members and parents that have traversed the halls of Jenison High School.” Cindi was escorted to the floor by her husband and received a standing ovation for her courage, service, and strength.

All of our Pink Out Honorees are extra-special reminders to our community of the value of perseverance and we thank them for being willing to come forward and share their stories. May you and your support teams know how important you are to all of us!

Thank you to all of the Pink Out volunteers, financial supporters, and participants who came out last Friday to make this another great year! It’s a powerful message we send each year to those who are struggling as well as those have suffered a loss. Together, we will Stand By You. We are Jenison!

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Homecoming 2016

miii7641The weather may have had us all bundled up in scarves and blankets this Homecoming weekend but it didn’t stop our Wildcat pride! We hope you enjoy this post – a journey through Homecoming through pictures and take a minute to congratulate our Jenison football team on a winning season and record so far of 5 – 2!

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Homecoming King Tom Docsa and Queen Brianne VanDyke

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Pink Out 2016: Count On Me

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Once again the Jenison community came out in droves to support those in our community surviving and thriving in the face of breast cancer. Eight Jenison women in different stages of their fight were honored in a gym that was filled to capacity with supporters and fellow fighters.

MIII6934The women’s basketball team kicked off the athletic festivities in what seemed like it would be a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Lowell. But, despite a win not being in the cards for the women, it was still a great day to be a Wildcat!

In between the basketball games the crowd was introduced to Sister Sue Tracy who is a five-time cancer survivor and she shared a special word of encouragement meant to remind each one of us to “Celebrate Life”! She had the entire gym cheering out the letters for her message including:

MIII6742Count your blessing, not your worries. Express your feelings honestly. Learn to laugh and laugh to learn. Endure what is necessary. Be open and flexible. Remain in charge, networking with family and doctors. Accept and face your own mortality. Treasure each day and each experience. Exercise your mind body and spirit as you are are able.

Sr. Sue has been fighting three different types of cancer over the last 30 years. She says that cancer has made her glad to be alive and sensitive to others. “We all belong to this club that no one would ever want to be part of but here we are. I have found cancer to be much more life-giving even in the midst of being life-threatening. There have been opportunities to deepen in wisdom and it helps us to focus our priorities, to be empathetic to others, a compassion that comes because we don’t have any certainty about a long, long life. I only have today and what can I be and do in that. An event like this calls us all together in support and the Jenison support of each other is remarkable and very special.”

MIII6510The honorees of this year’s Pink Out are: Sharon Aalderink, Karen Meyers, Paula Bowen, Kristin Millard, Shirley Kerkstra, April Spohn, Jill LaMaire and Brandi Tyler [not pictured in this order]

They were all introduced to the crowd and walked across the bridge with family members by their side. Some of them were very recently diagnosed and facing the journey ahead while other honorees are survivors with cancer in their rear view mirrors and words of encouragement for those around them. Their introductions also gave them the chance to say “thank you” to friends, coworkers and family members for their love, meals, fundraisers and prayers.

MIII7034Other highlights from the entire Pink Out event included: the Jenison JV and Varsity Dance Team performing to “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, pink ice at the varsity hockey game, a raucous high school assembly at the end of the school day and, of course, a sea of pink everywhere you looked throughout the district. A special “thank you” to the Lowell community as well for sharing in our special day and we tip our hats to your Pink Arrow event during football season!

Eleven year survivor, Shirley Kerkstra, says that if she could tell those with a new diagnosis anything it is, “You make it. It’s an emotional roller coaster but you make it.”

Thank you to all of our volunteers, sponsors, supporters and of course, our honorees, for making this event such a special day for the district. And remember, no matter where you are on the journey you can Count On Me. We Are Jenison!

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Junior High Football Player Breaks Through Glass Ceiling

158WVHL112Eighth grader, Megan Strick, doesn’t really know what the big deal is.

She started playing football with her older brother and his friends when she was very little and fell in love with it. This passion led her to join the flag football team in first grade where she was dedicated for the next two years.

She loved it so much that she and her best friend, Macy, joined the third grade tackle football team through Cub Football and continued with that team through sixth grade.  Megan says her parents are “very supportive and they just love the sport and watching me.”

158WVHL099With the 2015 season wrapped up, Megan capped off her second year on the Jenison Junior High Football team as the first and only girl to play on the team but she’s humble about her place in Jenison football history: “It’s really fun and it’s nice to get to know all the guys.”

When Megan joined the Junior High team it was no surprise to the coaches. “They knew about me because I’ve been playing for so long and they were really happy and excited.”

MIII2007Megan plays Middle Linebacker, which, for those non-football fans, the goal of the linebacker is to provide either extra run protection or extra pass protection based on the particular defensive play being executed. It’s not an easy position and she is in every defensive play.  When the team is winning she gets to step in as Running Back and “score some touchdowns.”  If you think her teammates treat her any differently because of her gender, think again. “The guys treat me just like any other teammate, they treat me like a sister and I don’t have any hard times with them.”

When matched with other teams Megan doesn’t worry. “Some of the kids on the other teams want to hit me really hard but when they go through the game they know that I’m there to play and win.”

Megan does her best to be a well-rounded, star student. “I think that school is really important and I’m motivated by my coaches and teammates.  I like to play because I like to hit hard.”  Megan loves to play other sports as well including softball, basketball and volleyball.

According to one of Megan’s coaches, Karl Redmer, Megan’s role on the team has been integral.  “Megan has been an asset to our team and program. She models hard work for others, has a great attitude, is a team player, and executes every component of the game exactly how she is coached to do so….her contributions and commitment can not be measured.”

MIII2040In case there are other young women at Jenison considering their own career in traditionally male dominated sports, Coach Redmer says, “Any female that is thinking about joining a male dominated sport will have great success like Megan if they are willing to model the same characteristics that she has for the last few years.”

“I think most girls should join — girls can do anything they want to, boys aren’t bigger and better than girls, girls can do anything if they put their heart into it.”

Thanks to Megan, the phrase, “you play like a girl” has taken on a whole new meaning.

Way to go Megan!  We’re proud to call you a Wildcat!

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Jenison Homecoming 2015

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The chilly wind didn’t stop Jenison fans from coming out in droves to celebrate Homecoming this year! With the theme of Board Games as their guide, each class created a special float and waved to the adoring crowd on the parade route.  Many High School clubs, teams and organizations were represented including the soccer team, cheerleaders, dance team, swim and water polo teams, volleyball team and even the equestrian team! Junior High Vice Principal and Float Judge, Heather Breen says “The kids did a great job [on the floats].  They demonstrate outstanding school spirit and creativity.”  Fellow judge and Junior High teacher, Kevin Fales agrees, adding that the students should be proud of their hard work.

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Although the football team was coming off a stellar victory against the previously undefeated East Kentwood, they weren’t able to pull of a win on Homecoming against Forest Hills Central, falling 22 – 14. However, it was hard to be discouraged when Kate Veldink and Jacob Helm were announced as Homecoming King and Queen.  Fellow senior MIII5610 copy[and close friend of the Queen] says that her senior Homecoming is “really special” and she wants to be sure to cherish every moment.

Kalyn Brockman, a Jenison freshman is taking in Homecoming for the first time not being on the sidelines. She says she loves seeing the whole community come together and it’s a great chance to show our Jenison pride!

Thank you to all students and staff for your hard work leading up to Homecoming and throughout the weekend.  Your passion and commitment make the entire event memorable and special for our school! Thank you to the community members who come out to the parade and football game to support our students and families; we couldn’t do it without you!

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Jacob Helm + Kate Veldink receive their royal regalia!

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The seniors show off their float, “Operation”.

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The Junior Class float, “Candy Land”.

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Sophomore float, “Battleship”

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The freshman class float, “Monopoly”

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Jenison Officer, Matt Chatfield, takes the field!

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Congratulations on another amazing Homecoming celebration! Go Wildcats!

Jenison Athletic Hall of Fame Inducts First Class!

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Last Saturday evening almost 200 people filled the Grandville Banquet Center to celebrate and honor the inaugural class of the Jenison Athletic Hall of Fame!  According to Booster President, Dave Krombeen, they have been talking about the Hall of Fame for fifteen years and two years ago the volunteer committees finally started coming together to make a memorable evening for all involved. “[The inductees] are all keystones to the success of Jenison athletics.  Everybody was part of building that sport for us and I can’t wait to hear them speak and share their thoughts on what Jenison meant to them.”

The event had a two-fold purpose:  recognize outstanding athletes but also to raise funds on behalf of the Boosters.  Guests were treated to a large silent auction during cocktail hour that included a variety of locally donated items and gift baskets.  The auction included an autographed Red Wings jersey, Tigers tickets and much more! By the end of the evening the auction alone had raised $8000!

Six former Jenison athletes and two former members of the Jenison coaching and administration staff were inducted as the first class and nearly all of them were present and humbled by the honor.

Jennifer Crisman-Coffey [center] with friends

Jennifer Crisman-Coffey [center] with friends

Jennifer Crisman-Coffey (1997)
Swimming/Water Polo
“It’s a really great honor to be recognized with some of the greatest athletes at Jenison; it’s exciting!”  Jenny starred at Jenison in swimming and water polo before continuing her career in both sports at the University of Michigan. She later competed in two United States Swim Trials and was a member of the USA National Swim and Water Polo teams.  As the current Jenison Aquatics Director, swimming and water polo coach, “I really try to instill a love of the sport and it’s really fun to give back to a sport and the community that I love so much.”

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Curt Pals and Sara Dyksterhouse-VanZyll

Sara Dyksterhouse-VanZyll (1986)
Softball
“Athletics make you who you are.” Sara was Jenison’s first All-State and Division I softball player for the Wildcats. She starred at the University of Michigan for four years and was a member of the 1992 USA national softball team before returning to assist her high school coach, Jerry Hoag, and help guide the Wildcats to three state titles.  Sara is especially passionate about opportunities and encouragement for female athletes.

Curt Pals
Athletic Director
Curt served as Jenison’s athletic director from 1976-1999, and during those years, the school added volleyball, softball, girls cross country, boys and girls soccer, water polo and hockey. Those teams have combined to win nine state titles.  When Curt was serving as Athletic Director he thought about starting a Hall of Fame so he is especially thankful for all the hard work that went into launching it this year.  He enjoys hearing the sportsmanship announcement at the beginning of games noting that he wrote it during his tenure.  He was proud to be recognized and added, “It’s a nice honor and I hope we set a good example” for current students.

Dave VanSurksum & his wife Jennifer [& a grandchild!]

Dave VanSurksum & his wife Jennifer [& a grandchild!]

Dave VanSurksum (1976)
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Dave, who is still Jenison’s all-time scoring leader, led the Wildcats to their first district championships in 1974 and 1976. He later played for Grand Rapids Community College and Ferris State University.  “This is the culmination of something that is close and dear to me.”  His wife, Jennifer, adds that being inducted means “everything” to Dave.  He believes that Jenison prepared him for his success by giving him a “ton of confidence, direction in terms of knowing that athletics will always be part of my life; I’m competitive because of it and I try to use that in my every day tasks.”

Jerry Hoag, busy with his fans

Jerry Hoag
Coach
Jerry coached Jenison’s softball team for 19 years, guiding the Wildcats to six state championships and 14 OK Red Conference titles. He completed his career with an overall record of 529-95.  “You can’t put this kind of thing into words.”  “I hope [current students] can take a look at the history of athletics at Jenison High School and say, “I want to be part of that” and then they’ll start working for it.  It doesn’t come easy.”

 

Jennifer Whitehead-Robinson with friends

Jennifer Whitehead-Robinson [far right] with friends

Jennifer Whitehead-Robinson (1995)
Volleyball/Basketball/Track
Jenny is Jenison’s only athlete to earn all-state honors in three different sports. She went on to play volleyball at Michigan State University and later competed for the USA National Volleyball Team and professionally in the United States and Greece.  Jenny says that her preparation at Jenison is “beyond words” and her coaches [especially basketball and volleyball] were mentors to her. She adds that her volleyball coach really prepared her “to be a great Division I volleyball player” and now that has Jenny has become a coach, she continues to be mentored in that role as well.

Mark Dewey

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Mark Dewey (1982)
Baseball
“As far as accolades and honors, I’ve received as an athlete, this is the most special.”  Mark played a key role on Jenison’s first OK Red championship team in 1982 before going on to pitch at Grand Valley State University and in the Majors. He played 12 years professionally, including seven with the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates.  Mark knows that his preparation for becoming a successful athlete rests, first and foremost with his coaches and then with this teammates and opponents.  “They were good coaches and that was a tremendous benefit…and they were good athletes, good baseball players, in particular, and when you have good coaches and good competition that makes for becoming a good athlete.”

Paul Grasmanis (1992)
Football
Mr. Grasmanis, an All-State and All-American lineman his senior year at Jenison, played four years at Notre Dame and 10 seasons in the NFL after being selected in the fourth round of the 1996 draft. He played defensive end for the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.  Paul was, unfortunately, unable to attend the event.

“This event is a way for us to celebrate the student athletes that have come through Jenison and the great contributions that they’ve made to our athletic program and our school.  I’m proud that our Athletic Boosters put this together and it’s a great way to honor the people that have built up our athletic program and competed at the highest levels.”  — High School Principal, Brandon Graham

Dave Krombeen welcomes guests

Dave Krombeen welcomes guests

Silent auction items were entirely donated by local businesses and community members!

Silent auction items were entirely donated by local businesses and community members!

A sampling of the commemorative plaques honoring the inductees

A sampling of the commemorative plaques honoring the inductees

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A great time was had by all!

Congratulations to all of the inductees and we can’t wait to see who, among our current students, will join your ranks in the future!

Jenison Girls Are on the Run!

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For the past ten years Girls on the Run has been part of Jenison elementary schools, inspiring and encouraging young girls to challenge themselves and realize their potential.  According to Nettie Kikkert, GotR Coach and Liason for Rosewood Elementary as well as the Sandy Hill Clerical Assistant, “Girls on the Run is a lot more than a running program! It is our goal to help all girls grow into physically, emotionally, mentally and socially healthy women, to dream and achieve goals, and to become contributing members of the community.  ​It is our hope that it plays out in the community in a strong and positive way.”

MIII7489 copyEvery Jenison elementary school invites all girls from 3rd — 5th grades to participate in the twelve week program that meets twice each week to prepare for a celebratory and non-competitive 5K in the spring that is designed to “give the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.  Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.”*

Because Girls on the Run is more than a running program, there is a curriculum that spans the 24 team meetings which are focused on a theme for that day’s lesson and keeps to the same five step pattern of Introduction, Warm Up, Processing, Workout and Wrap-Up.

MIII7434 copyDuring the Introduction the coach checks in with girl to see how they are feeling and she introduces the topic of the lesson.  The Warm Up is meant to energize the girls and, of course, warm up their muscles.  The activity incorporates the lesson topic for that day.  For instance, the coach marks off a short running course. The girls stand at one spot and the coach calls out a “like statement” – “I like chocolate chip cookies,” or “I like to be a Girl on the Run.” All those girls who agree with the statement run the course marked out by the coach. These statements continue, with contributions by the girls, until everyone has run a few times.*  With the girls’ energy flowing the coach leads the girls in a brief stretching lesson during which they process the topic at hand.  With the above example, they may discuss different likes and dislikes and still find ways to be friends.  The Workout entails more running but is based on each girl’s ability and pace which is increased gently to give the girls confidence in their ability to complete the 5K event.  During the Workout the coach continues to integrate the lesson by engaging the girls as they run.  For example, in the session on positive attitude, each girl may be asked to make a positive statement about herself to the coach each time she completes a lap.* Finally, in the Wrap-Up, the girls enjoy a time of cool-down and stretching mixed with processing and discussion which culminates in positive encouragement from their coach and a group cheer.

As a coach, Nettie has the benefit of seeing this curriculum play out first hand: “the atmosphere is full of excitement, chatter and fun craziness. Some nervousness about running [but] as times goes on, you can see the girls confidence building as she starts to work towards her goals and seeing/feeling that she can RUN…she can do it!”

Because coaches have the opportunity to get to know the girls on their teams they are able to set personal goals for each girl to help battle fatigue or a defeated spirit.  “Some girls are in band, orchestra, soccer, or many other after school activities and this is the point where you can see the girls are just tired and want to “skip” Girls on the Run.  As coaches we learn to read those signs and help her set realistic goals for herself during our running time verses giving up and sitting out.”

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“Over the years of coaching I have witnessed some amazing transformations in girls self esteem. Those who thought they couldn’t run the 5k and did!  The tears streaming down their faces, the parents faces. The obstacles [physical or mental] they have overcome, it is humbling and inspiring.”
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 You can cheer on Jenison’s Girls on the Run at their 5K event on Friday, May 29 at
Grand Valley State University.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the hard work of our students and volunteers come to fruition!
Congratulations to all of our Girls!  Your willingness to try something new and be challenged is an inspiration to all of us!

 

*From Girls on the Run website.

Homecoming 2013 in Review

Last week Friday brought out plenty of sunshine and smiles as Wildcats roamed the streets for another community celebration.

Jenison High School Homecoming, parade

Little Wildcats fill the streets!

The 2013 Homecoming parade lined up at 4 pm at Bethel United Reformed Church to ready themselves for a 4:30 start time. Homecoming floats were judged by various members of the Junior High and High School faculties and were created around the theme of Superheros:

  • The Freshman brought Batman & the Joker to life
  • Sophomores channeled their inner Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • The Junior class created the Justin League on their float
  • …and Seniors brought The Avengers to life

It is worth noting that the 2016 float, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not only featured the turtled heroes, but incorporated dry ice and a fog machine to simulate their sewer home. Such creativity helped them grab a first place nod from the judges as best 2013 JHS float!

Class representatives said that they chose the turtles as their superheroes because “…They are four turtles who work together to overcome their mutant-ness to be human…and they eat pizza!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Float builders enjoy their victory.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Float builders enjoy their victory.

Aside from float building and caped crusaders, Jenison High School enjoyed tremendous participation on behalf of the student body. The following groups were present for the parade: Homecoming Court, JV football team, cheerleaders, dance team, volleyball team, women’s swimming & diving team, men’s water polo team, thespian troupe, Sandy Hill Elementary families, JPS staff and their families, Jenison International Academy and “Power of Pink” (pictured below).

The evening football game put the Wildcat toughness on display, with green and white blazing on our new turf. Despite losing to East Grand Rapids 28-14, the ‘Cats showed tremendous determination and fight — something that always deserves applause!

Jenison High School Principal, Dr. Brandon Graham, had this to say about the festivities:

“Homecoming is a special time in Jenison and this year was no different. We had great participation from students of all ages who came out for the parade and the game– it was awesome to see their school spirit on display! I’m especially proud of our high schoolers for demonstrating creativity, for getting involved, and for supporting their team on the field!”

Until next year, here are some highlights and great memories from a fun night with the entire community:

Jenison High School Homecoming, parade

Perfect weather for a parade!

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Members of the Homecoming Court

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Best Friends: Abby, Molly and Maddie celebrate together.

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JHS football looks tough but comes up short on Friday night.

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It’s a night to remember!

JHS Water Polo Team Celebrates Appearance at State Meet

Jenison High School, Jenison Public School, Jenison Water Polo, Coach Pete Hewitt

(left to right) Weston White, 12th; Jason Wesseling, 11th; Travis Bordewyk, 12th; Josh Bouma, 11th.

Four young men.

Four extraordinary water polo players.

The 2012 season has been a memorable one for Weston, Jason, Travis, Josh, and the rest of the Jenison Water Polo team. Their strong regular season standing of 26-5 sent them into Regionals with confidence and poise. Further success followed at at the Regional meet, earning them the opportunity to go on to compete at the State level last weekend where they took 4th place.

While all everyone agrees that teamwork matters more then individual awards, these four men also got their own nod of recognition for hard work in the water. Please join me in applauding:

  • West Region 1st Team & MVP: Travis Bordewyk
  • West Region 1st Team: Jason Wesseling
  • West Region 2nd Team: Weston White
  • West Region Honorable Mention: Josh Bouma

Travis Bordewyk, team MVP and goalie, was shy about dwelling on his own accomplishments, but did admit that something like this did feel pretty special. “Hearing that I was MVP was a really big honor. I’ve been working so hard all through high school and it’s nice to have that work recognized.”

Josh Bouma, whose pool duties range from driver to wing, agreed. “This was my first time actually winning an award — any award! So it’s a big deal for me. I am pleased.”

Weston concurred that the awards are “…pretty cool” but emphasized that for everybody on the team, state recognition is always the goal.

These young men graciously credit much of their success to Coach Pete Hewett, an icon in the sport who was once again named West Region Coach of the Year.

“Coach knows what we’re capable of. Sometimes if we have a really hard practice I’ll think the next day will be a little easier, but it never is. He knows what we can do and he works to help us see that we can achieve it, ” Jason added.

The student-athletes who know him best share that he is affectionately referred to as the “godfather of water polo,” and that his 25+ years of coaching have produced several JHS-grads who have gone on to coach themselves. The team is convinced that this new generation of coaches have learned from the best and now want to pass along what they’ve been taught.

“Pete is more of a friend than a coach,” said Weston. “You can go to him for anything — even school stuff.” Travis was eager to jump in. “No matter what you’re talking about, he can make you laugh. It’s impossible to be unhappy around Pete.”

We congratulate Coach Hewett and the entire Jenison Water Polo team on their outstanding performance this fall!  Bravo!

If you are a water polo parent, please leave a comment below to share a season-highlight moment with our community. What will you remember from 2012?

“Meet the Teams Night” a Great Introduction to our Student Athletes

With temperatures comfortably hinting at fall, Dr. Brandon Graham and JPS Athletic Director Todd Kolster opened Jenison Stadium last week to introduce the student athletes that make up the fall sports teams. In their second annual “Meet the Teams Night,” the community filled the bleachers to hear Mr. Kolster describe his vision for a new era of athletics in Jenison.

“I’m excited to be here. I’m honored to be here. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but we’re going to get it done. We have what it takes to be successful.”

He continued by outlining the importance of expectations when it comes to achieving great things.

“Expectations are critical. Without expectations there are a lot of people wondering, what are we doing?…where are we going? We’re going to work hard for you to understand where we’re going from a communication perspective.”

“The kids I got to work with this summer are gifted. Competition is so critical in today’s world. For example, when you’re job searching, it’s generally you and one other person lined up for a job, a military position, entrance into a trade school. In those positions you can draw from your years of competition in athletics. What we want to convey to these kids is that there are no short cuts when it comes to working hard!”

Coach Schalk & 2012 Girls Cross Country Team

The night continued with comments from JPS Athletics Boosters’ President Matt McKinnon, who extended an invitation for any interested parents to join the boosters for their monthly meetings:

Every 2nd Monday Evening;

7 pm in the High School’s Triple Conference Room 

The work of the boosters is critical when you consider that 90% of the general athletic budget goes to pay coaches’ salaries. That means there is very little budget money left for uniforms and equipment. Any money generated by the boosters enables teams to purchase and pay for the necessary “extras” throughout the season.

Coach Scripsema & 2012 Girls Swimming + Diving

Mr. Kolster reminded parents that an accurate schedule for all athletics can be found at schedulestar.com. His last words for the stadium redefine success for JPS teams:

“I want to be clear: our work is not just about state titles, conference titles, or winning championships. It’s about being the best that we can possibly be — it’s using the outstanding facilities we’ve built and tapping into the talent we already have. We have a tremendous school district that’s only getting better and better.”

2012 Jenison Football Team