Together, We Are Jenison.

When I first came to Jenison in 1987, I never dreamed that my work in the junior high would one day lead to overseeing a district of 400+ staff members, with 5,400+ students sprinkled across eight buildings plus a substantial online learning program. Now, having served and arrived at the conclusion of my career as superintendent, I can say that it’s been a phenomenally rewarding, yet challenging and humbling journey.

Jenison Public Schools is a family that is 100% committed to meeting the needs of our students, staff members, and community. No one person can do it alone. Together, we make a powerful difference and I am blessed to have lived in the midst of it every day for 34 years.

The years brought good times and challenging times, but nothing changed the game more than the worldwide health pandemic caused by Covid-19 starting in 2020. That was certainly a year to remember and a year to forget, and it definitely brought many unique challenges and obstacles for all of us. However, I was never more proud than I was this past year watching everybody come together to meet the needs of our families. 


It has been an incredible honor and privilege to serve the students, parents and staff of Jenison Public Schools for the last 34 years. I’m so grateful to those who helped build a strong culture by prioritizing family, relationships, and servant leadership! Retirement is truly a bittersweet moment for me but I know each and every person that is a part of this amazing culture will only continue their relentless pursuit towards excellence. Together, We Are Jenison.


This may have been my journey as superintendent but I was not walking this road alone. Just as this past year has demonstrated, I’ve been surrounded by many groups who have played an integral role in this journey. I am deeply indebted to our Jenison neighbors for the generous ongoing support of our school district; the voters, churches, private businesses and organizations, the most committed and caring teachers and community members who serve on the board of education.

Receiving approval on bond issues – even during difficult times was such a huge contribution that allowed us to maintain our facilities as well as add incredible environments for our students to learn and develop their talents. Teaming up with churches and organizations kept our kids clothed and fed during all seasons. And watching our students soar with success as a result of parent partnerships helps set them up for a solid future. The JPS team of administrators and Board of Education members are second to none, laser focused ensuring all district decisions are child centered. The JPS teachers and support staff continue to prove day in and day out (even during those uncertain pandemic months) that they are champions of children. Thank you all for your selfless acts that made our community a better place.

Last but not least, the students we exist to serve have routinely shown themselves as servant leaders eager to give back to their community and classmates. I have become more convinced than ever that the Jenison staff possesses the kind of integrity that influences young minds and fills fledgling hearts with compassion. In the past 22 years, they have raised over a quarter million dollars to help feed hungry children in our community. Each year they help to provide JPS families with Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas gifts. Whether it would be Pink Out, Make-A-Wish, blood drives or so many other fundraisers, our students continue to amaze me with their desire to serve others. Thank you for doing your best and being an inspiration for us all.

Sitting in a reminiscent posture, absorbed with memories these last six months I am more aware than ever that JPS is not only a special place—it’s world-class. I have been blessed to be supported and surrounded by so many of you during this journey and I am so proud of all we have achieved together. Together we are Jenison.

Thank you all, thank you for an amazing 34 years.

Tom Ten Brink


Welcome Dr. Brandon Graham, Superintendent, Jenison Public Schools

Today, with great enthusiasm, I officially welcome Dr. Brandon Graham to his first day in the role of the Superintendent of Jenison Public Schools. Selected from a pool of nationwide applicants, he is absolutely the right leader to continue building on the Jenison Tradition of Excellence!

As Dr. Graham is celebrating 21 years with JPS, he counts himself lucky to have worked with a highly dedicated and focused group of individuals throughout his years here. He recently completed his 16th year as principal of JHS. He really enjoyed having a front row seat watching the students grow into caring and compassionate young people who are dedicated to serving those around them. Dr. Graham is an appreciative leader who digs in, joins the team and is fiercely dedicated to meeting the needs of the entire student body. Congratulations Dr. Brandon Graham.

It’s a GREAT day to be a WILDCAT!

Pink Out 2021 – Our Brave Honorees

Wow! What an amazing week it has been for the Pink Out community! Seeing so many people show their support around town and in school has been very exciting. Each and every person who bought a shirt, made a donation, said a prayer – is demonstrating how much this community cares for our fighters and their family members. No effort is too small in achieving the mission that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!


The week is almost over, but for some, the fight is just beginning! You can support your neighbors through these donation methods.


Introducing the Honorees of Pink Out 2021

The Pink Out honoree video stories give you the opportunity to hear from them in their own words. Please watch and be encouraged! Also, you can check out the Jenison Pink Out Facebook Page to join the conversation and stay informed on Pink Out activities throughout the coming year.

Jamey Mc Leod

On February 20, 2019, Jamey was diagnosed with a high grade, stage 4 esophageal cancer that had metastasized to lymph notes in his chest. His caregivers would be his wife Beth, his 10-year-old daughter Vivian and his 8-year old daughter Francine, both of whom attend Pinewood Elementary. Jamey never thought about accepting his grim diagnosis as an option. He had a family that depended on him! No matter how bad the treatments or recovery would be, he stayed focused on the reason for his fight, telling himself that it will get better. Just don’t give up. Make future plans. Do crazy stuff. Have fun. Don’t be afraid to accept help (which was his biggest obstacle). Your friends, family, community, and Pink Out are there for you.


Jody Heyboer

Jody has a remarkable and brave journey and is a big part of our Pink Out family. She is joined in her cancer journey by her husband, Brandon, and her three children: Alexis who graduated from Jenison in 2019, Dylan who is a JHS senior, and Eliza who is in fifth grade at Pinewood. Jody was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2017 (stage III), which progressed to stage IV Dec. 2019, and then diagnosed with Stage II non-small cell lung cancer Jan 2020, and basal cell carcinoma each year, for the last four years.

Jody has a beautiful perspective that comes with staring death in the face, “I GET TO.” I GET TO be here and enjoy the everyday tasks as well as fall in love with living. I GET TO savor each day I am here and enjoy my life journey. For Jody, life is a rollercoaster with the ups and downs, but in the end she is always smiling, sharing that “one is given the choice to succumb to this horrific disease or rise up and live. I choose to live, I’m not dying today.”


Jill and Emily Barnes

Emily graduated with honors from Jenison in 2018. On her 21st birthday, November 11, 2020, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic kidney cancer. She is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatments and could use our prayers, especially this week as she once again has scans to determine the effectiveness of her treatment. Jill Barnes, Emily’s mom, knows all too well the effect of cancer on your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 6, 2016 and had surgery one month later. Both she and Emily felt honored to discuss their cancer journey and have a chance to share their appreciation for Pink Out’s support and generosity. Jill states that, “Pink Out helps anyone with cancer, no matter what kind or how old you are. As the recipients of Pink Out support at several different times over the past four years, we have truly felt that No One Fights Alone in Jenison.” They know that Pink Out is always there to lift fighters up, spiritually and emotionally.


Dave Huyser

Dave Huyser and Brenda Jo Wierenga-Huyser are both 1984 graduates of Jenison High School. Their son, Zach Huyser graduated from Jenison in 2011 and daughters Kendra Huyser graduated in 2009, Heather Wierenga in 2011, and Holly Wierenga in 2013.

Dave Huyser’s first wife, Brenda Sue, was the first cancer fighter to be honored and supported by Jenison Pink Out. Although, Brenda Sue lost her battle with breast cancer, her legacy lives on through Pink Out. Dave allowed his heart to beat again, and in June of 2017 married Brenda Jo.

Unfortunately, cancer reared its ugly head again. In 2017 Dave was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma of the scalp which was treated with radiation treatments, and then this past September he was diagnosed with recurrent Stage 4 large b-cell abdominal lymphoma. He has undergone six cycles of continuous chemo for a week, every three weeks, with spinal chemo prior to each cycle. Dave and Brenda are deeply appreciative of the support that the Huysers felt from this community and Pink Out during Brenda Sue’s breast cancer journey. They have felt that same support now. They want everyone to know that God is in control. Life is short, so enjoy every minute, because it’s in His hands.


Kevin Clark

Kevin and Jeanette Clark raised three children, Justin who graduated from Jenison in 2003, Nick in 2006 and Monica in 2007. Jeanette has been a full-time employee and coach at JPS for 24 years. Their daughter-in-law, Julie, also teaches for Jenison Public Schools. Their children have blessed them with six young grandchildren.

Kevin was first diagnosed in 2015 with progressive prostate cancer. Kevin’s journey has been a very long and difficult one, but he has become very knowledgeable and strong along the way. Kevin is an exceptional listener who has become very dedicated to helping and supporting other men who have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Kevin has shared time and again how deeply moved he and Jeanette have felt by the emotional support from our community through Pink Out. Kevin states that, “With calls, concerns, and gifts, it has helped people in our situation to feel like we’re not going through this alone. We are deeply grateful, and may God bless you.”


Jeanine Decker Jannereth

Jeanine began her battle with breast cancer about a year ago. Those by her side have been her husband, Chad, her daughter Cayleigh, who graduated from Jenison in 2017, and Stephen who is graduating this year. Her daughter Jaelynn is in eighth at JJHS and Kymber is in fifth grade at Vanguard Academy. Jeanine is passionate about bringing awareness to the growing prevalence of breast cancer, encouraging women to be proactive advocates for themselves. She has felt very blessed to be part of our community, which according to Jeanine has been there “every step of the way, motivating, uplifting, and inspiring (her) along the way!” She wishes to recognize Pink Out as a huge blessing not only for fighters, but for families and for the entire Jenison community.


THANK YOU Jenison Pink Out Representatives!!

These resident Angels work YEAR ROUND to be the hands and feet of our community. Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Katy Hevelhurst, Donna Bergeon, Cindi Covell, Jean Krzewski, and Moni Marlink . These caring, compassionate women lead the way to care for our neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU for everything you do!


JHS Virtual Assembly

The Jenison High School Student Council wanted to continue to raise awareness and donations for Pink Out. They worked hard to plan an alternative to the annual Pink Out Assembly… Introducing the premiere of the “Early Afternoon Show with StuCo”.

Student Council representatives hosted a news reporting style production to share socially distanced activities that were happening around the school. Students remained in their classrooms and watched via live feed. The Chamber Singers kicked off the event by performing the National Anthem in the choir room. The rest of the ‘virtual assembly’ allowed them to participate in the usual fun events including a pie-in-the-face trivia challenge, mock rock (a choreographed routine competition between the grades), the naming of ‘King and Queen’ for their first ever WildCat court, a “Miracle Minute” competition fundraiser between classrooms and a surprise visit from a special Wildcat guest! Way to go StuCo! They packed a lot of fun into that hour assembly and raised about $1,500 of student donations!

EVEN APART,

TOGETHER, WE ARE JENISON!

THANK YOU!

Jenison Pink Out 2021

On a snowy Friday evening in February 2009, our entire community came together to support one woman battling breast cancer. We linked arms with one family and never could have imagined where this journey would take us. None of us ever dreamed the spark that was lit that year would still be growing stronger 12 years later. It has since been an honor to broaden the support and walk alongside those in our community fighting any form of cancer.

Throughout the years, the people and businesses of Jenison have surrounded these families in a very special way and have made Pink Out an annual highlight since the beginning. The event coincided with Friday night Varsity basketball games and were often competing with a Michigan winter storm. But the snow never kept us away. We sold out of t-shirts, we ran out of parking spots and we all experienced just how hot a standing-room-only gymnasium could be. And it became the norm, year after year. It was the best, and the atmosphere was never anything short of wholehearted support for those we came to honor. Pink Out has a rich and historic tradition in the Jenison community and I swell with pride each time we gather together to celebrate life.

Yes, this year will look different, but I can emphatically say, even now during a pandemic, the spirit of Jenison Pink Out can not and will not be stopped. We are still going to encourage those fighting the battle right now, continue fighting for a cure and honor the taken!

The 2021 Pink Out flags are proudly flying courtesy of the Varsity Women’s Basketball Team. As you drive down Baldwin these wintry days, may they be a beacon of pride in our community. Please notice them in support for our fighters and survivors and in remembrance of the taken. The Pink Out team has recently been busy with tee shirt sales and distribution.

The Pink Out volunteers work tirelessly year round to coordinate support and be the hands and feet of the community for families in the fight. They host a public Facebook page with all the information you’ll want for this year’s virtual events. Seven honorees have been chosen for 2021 and their stories will be shared in the coming week via the Jenison Pink Out Facebook Page. You will get to hear their journey and witness their courage and bravery while in their fight against cancer. We can’t wait to celebrate them! The facebook page will also be sharing how students will be participating in different activities in their classrooms/buildings. Join and follow the page to be part of a very encouraging movement this coming week!

The team is also excited to announce that there is a new Pink Out website that now receives online donations: Check it out at www.jenisonpinkout.org

We may be socially distant, but we can stand together in support of our neighbors.


2021 Honorees

  • Emily Barnes
  • Jill Johnson Barnes
  • Kevin Clark
  • Jody Heyboer
  • Dave Huyser
  • Jeanine Decker Jannereth
  • Jamey McLeod
We are so thankful for the sponsors that have come alongside us this year. Pink Out could not exist without the support of the community business in this way. While you’re out and about, please take a moment to thank them for their support! Below, you’ll also see web links for each sponsor.

Sponsor links:

If you need some warm encouragement during a cold winter week, join me for a walk down memory lane with past Pink Out Celebrations!

#WeAreJenison

http://www.JenisonPinkOut.org

Congratulations Class of 2020

This week, we had a great first day to kick off our 2020 – 2021 school year. And just one week before, we were able to finally celebrate the accomplishments of our 2020 graduates!

As a sign of the times, Commencement 2020, of course, looked very different. I’m so grateful they were able to have this long-awaited opportunity to celebrate. Even though the execution of the event was unique, I love everything about the tradition of commencement and the time it gives me to reflect on the hearts of each of those students and the obstacles they have overcome during their school career. I wish them well and hope they experience much success as they enter the next phase of their lives.

As the class of 2020 gets to finally close the book on their high school career, the rest of us turn the page to a new chapter. One where flexibility is the name of the game! I’m so grateful for the relentless team of teachers, staff and administrators of Jenison Public Schools who have come back to school with a renewed focus on building positive and meaningful relationships with our students; no matter what – because each one of them matter to us!

The energy the students bring to our school buildings is powerful and we met them with such celebration and great excitement on that first day. Here’s to a great year for all of us! Go Wildcats!

Class of 2020 Celebration

On the original date scheduled for commencement this year, the Class of 2020 took their turn in the spotlight and was able to close the chapter on their high school career. However, it looked very different than any of us had imagined and they weren’t walking across a stage that night. As the closures of COVID-19 threatened to cancel every event, the Class of 2020 Senior Planning Committee sprang into action. Typically this parent-led volunteer committee spends about a year working on plans to celebrate the accomplishment of their students with a safe night of fun following graduation. With a true resilient spirit, they quickly shifted gears and pulled off an amazing community celebration in the form of a ‘Senior Parade’.

Seniors were driven through a parade route that was like taking them down memory lane. They first encountered the jubilant cheers from their elementary teachers, then the junior high and high school teachers and staff.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to Mike Schwartz and his son, Matthew (8th grader at JJHS) for putting together this awesome drone video! There was such a great turnout of seniors and supporters!

I had the best seat in the house as I waved each of them my best and sent them off to the last leg of the journey where their community and family members waited to celebrate their accomplishments. I’m beyond proud of the way this class of students finished strong during this recent interruption in their lives. I am so grateful our amazing seniors had the opportunity for this experience and for them to know that they have an entire community standing behind them during this time. Many more smiles in the full photo gallery.

Family support at its finest! Go Wildcats!

– JENISON HIGH SCHOOL – CLASS OF 2020 TOP TEN

Another date that has come and gone is the evening of our annual High School Honors ceremony. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the seniors who comprise the Jenison High School Class of 2020 Top Ten. These young people are outstanding students that have excelled in and outside of the classroom. They are great scholars, but even better people. Well done!

  • Drew Bobeldyk, Valedictorian
  • Ashley Winger, Salutatorian
  • Stuart Tolsma
  • Rebeca Zeitman
  • Tristen Kloppe
  • Leah DeRitter
  • Andrew Ferguson
  • Jacob Frollo
  • Anna Bartz
  • Quinn Snyder

Congratulations to this incredible group of young men and women! You are examples of what hard work can achieve and we are so proud of you. The future is yours for the taking!

2019 Senior Honors

Although the tassels have been turned from right to left, I wanted to highlight a special day of recognition for our seniors. One of our mottos at Jenison Public Schools is that we strive to finish strong in whatever we do. And every year, I’m so proud to see our seniors do just that.

On May 28, ten hardworking students were part of a luncheon celebration and officially named the Top Ten for 2019. These students have been diligent with the marathon that is high school, achieving nearly all A’s in each course of their high school career.

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Half of this year’s Top Ten were Bauerwood Elementary Students. (Photo by Jim English)

What makes this group so inspiring again this year is not only their commitment to their studies, but their involvement in other extra curriculars like Music, Student Government, Athletics, Theatre, and numerous volunteer opportunities in and outside of school. The experience they are gaining in the classroom combined with real life lessons of these additional activities is a testament to the JPS commitment to provide a comprehensive education.

While there are obviously only ten spots in the Top Ten, the class of 2019 as a whole was a talented, dedicated, and scholarly class. May 28 was also Senior Honors Night; a wonderful celebration of all of their hard work, and to recognize the 5 million dollars that was awarded to this senior class for their future plans.

The class of 2019 is a group of incredible individuals who have demonstrated servant leadership during their 4 years at JHS! They are definitely going to be missed but I’m excited to see them make their mark in this world!

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Megan TerHaar, Valedictorian and Danika Austin, Salutatorian

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Emma Byerwalter with Bill Waalkes, JPS School Board President

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Jenison Class of 2019 – Top Ten 

The Class of 2019 Top 10 are:
Megan TerHaar, Valedictorian
Danika Austin, Salutatorian
Erika Buhk
Emma Byerwalter
Andrew English
Hannah Lok
Samantha Miller
Emily Rose
Elizabeth Tower
Brandon Zink

 

Senior Honors Night

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It is a huge honor to recognize the students who are set to serve our county through the military.

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Photos by Damion Van Slyke Photography

Graduation 2019

The Class of 2019 overcame some crazy weather this year and graduation day was no exception. While dodging the downpours that morning, our seniors returned to their elementary halls one last time for a final send off by the younger wildcats. It’s a tradition meant to inspire the younger students but also, a chance for graduates to acknowledge how far they’ve come and what they have accomplished during their student career. Seniors always look forward to this and many have a great time seeing some of their favorite former teachers. Thunderstorms continued to threaten the outdoor ceremony tradition until just a few hours before the processional began. In the end, thankfully, our seniors and their loved ones were able to enjoy a beautiful evening.

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After four hardworking years of academics as well as life lessons, the class of 2019 confidently entered the stadium to recognize all they have achieved at Jenison Public Schools. This is a group of remarkable, talented, caring young men and women of great character who have already made an impact on their world! I am so proud of them and I am sure that we will be hearing great things about this class in the years ahead! GO WILDCATS!

Keep scrolling to enjoy some beautiful photos that were captured that night, along with a few amazing and inspiring student speech videos. 

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Anna Norton Senior Address – video courtesy of Rich Conflitti

JonJon Conflitti Student Address – video courtesy of Rich Conflitti

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Elementary School Visits

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Bursley Elementary – Class of 2019 (Photo by Rich Conflitti)

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Pinewood Elementary – Class of 2019 (Photo by Rachael Postel-Brown)

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Bauerwood Elementary – Class of 2019 (Photo by Crystal Morse)

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Rosewood Elementary – Class of 2019 (Photo by Amanda Moerdyke)

SH Senior Walk Through

Sandy Hill – Class of 2019 (Photo by Sara Melton)

100 Days Smarter

It all started back in August, when the elementary classes began tallying each new day they were in school. Counting in singles, then bundling into 10’s and 20’s – a real life math lesson in progress.

The 100th day marks a special opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate major milestones in our students’ academic achievement. There is so much hard work and learning that happens in the first 100 days of school! We’re thankful that Michigan seems to be feeling back to normal, otherwise I think many were concerned we would never be able to celebrate this year!

Check out Pinewood, Sandy Hill and El Puente as each child was crowned “100 days smarter” and enjoyed a day of celebration!

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9780545776073_mresCreative student contributions of 100 items brought unique collections to the ‘100 Day Museum’.

Some students read a book called Hooray for the 100th Day, about a student who was trying to accomplish 100 good deeds before his 100th day of school was over. He finally reached his goal, but not before several messes were made!

Another activity was writing about how to spend $100! Students shared many fun ideas how to spend the money on themselves and others!

“Dress like a 100 year old” is a favorite, the kids always have so much fun seeing each other and imagining who they will be when they are 100 years old!

Thank you to our amazing teachers who go above and beyond to engage our students in fun, meaningful ways!

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Lean on Me: Pink Out 2019

Last week, we were faced with yet another winter storm threatening to interrupt our annual Jenison Pink Out celebration. Regardless of what Michigan tried to throw at us, it gave me chills to see the the walls of our gymnasium stretched with a standing room only audience – just as it has been for eleven straight years.

Since the beginning, I have had the honor of being the emcee of Pink Out. I’ve heard the stories, witnessed firsthand the fight and seen the way families and friends in our community are moved to act. Just four months ago, that experience became very personal to me when my brother called to share that my sister-in-law had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Each year, we recognize community members who are courageous fighters, representing many others battling the war on cancer. All of them are extra-special reminders to our community of the value of bravery and perseverance. We are thankful for their willingness to share their stories and are blessed to walk this journey with them.

2019

Jenison Pink Out Honorees

Nicole Edward – Linda Ten Brink – Deb Leaf

Karine Rodriguez – Earl Hall – Josh Van Putten

2019 Pink Out Honorees

Linda Ten Brink

I asked my brother Mike and his wife, Linda TenBrink, to join the Jenison community for our Pink Out celebration because every warrior deserves to experience this amazing level of encouragement and support during their journey. And because Linda has embodied a fighter’s personality and a fierce courageousness from her initial diagnosis. She has looked cancer in the eye, called it out for what it is, and is determined to do whatever it takes to rid her body of “Chester” (the name that she has given to her cancerous tumor). Linda has used a tremendous sense of humor,  a “can do” attitude, and her competitive spirit to defeat this cancer that in her words, “invaded her body without her permission.” We are so proud of her warrior spirit!

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Karine Rodriguez and Earl Hall

Karine Rodriguez and Earl Hall are both cancer victims, living in the same home. Karine was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017, she went into remission the following year for 4 months. Sadly, the cancer returned this past summer. The after effects of chemo often leave her exhausted with scarce energy for work or social outings, so much that she was contemplating forgoing the treatment. However, since Pink Out came into her life – she has a renewed vigor to push through the treatments and is feeling supported (emotionally as well as financially) like never before. Keep on fighting, Karine! We’re with you every step of the way!

Karine was joined by her mom, Terri, who also attended Jenison, and Terri’s boyfriend Earl Hall. Earl had bladder cancer and is looking forward to a check up soon to confirm that the recent removal surgery was successful. Karine’s diagnosis flipped their world upside down. He expressed immense gratitude for the ongoing support from Pink Out and the manner of genuine care and kindness they felt. Earl has taken this kindness to heart and wishes to remind everyone that you never know what your neighbor might be experiencing. Kindness and respect go a long way. Thank you Karine and Earl for your positive spirit. It’s an honor to walk beside you.

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Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards is a survivor! Her husband, Brad and son, Brody (Jenison, class of 2017), some friends and family members stood by her side as she shared her story. With no family history, Nicole wasn’t too concerned about missing a few routine mammograms, however at the suggestion of her doctor, she finally decided to go in. Just over a year ago, she was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma, stage 0, but aggressive grade three). She described feeling alone and isolated in those first few months but came to quickly realize that the Jenison community was on her side. The Pink Out team and relationships her family had built with other Jenison families through her son’s sports teams really carried them through the physically and emotionally tough times. Nicole feels very fortunate to be so close to one of the best health care systems in the United States! And she wishes to acknowledge and thank Lemmen Holton Cancer Center with their amazing doctors and support staff. We couldn’t agree more! She also wants to use her journey to remind women to make time for routine checks and conversations with physicians!!

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Deb Leaf

Deb is a 1985 Jenison graduate and has been on a long, courageous cancer journey including multiple diagnoses and surgeries. She is the guardian of her grandchildren, Stevie and LJ Leaf, who both attend Bauerwood Elementary. Deb was unaware of what Pink Out was and now considers them to be an amazing asset within our community, for which she is very grateful. Among other things, support from the organization and Jenison Schools helped provide tires for her vehicle and create some delightful memories this past Christmas. Deb was escorted by her grandchildren, her parents, her sister & her husband and her sister-in-law. Thank you Deb, for your fearless and brave demeanor as you continue your journey.

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Josh VanPutten

“Van Putten Strong” is embroidered on the back of Kim Van Putten’s denim shirt. She wore it one year ago when the family gathered on the Jenison gym floor for their son, Shawn. Shawn was a 2014 graduate of Jenison, and last year he shared about his cancer journey. Harnessing that strength more than ever, they tackled the last year and she wore the shirt this past Friday night as the family stands on the Pink Out floor AGAIN this year. This time, celebrating the remission of son, Josh, Jenison class of 2010.

While the family was participating in the 2018 Pink Out ceremony, 11 months after Shawn’s diagnosis, older brother Josh had spent the day in the hospital about to receive his own life changing diagnosis.

Josh opened his remarks with the phrase, “An individual does not get cancer, a family does.” In the first moments of the diagnosis, his thoughts went to his infant daughter and his family – would they be ok? would they be strong enough to go through this all again? And here they stand in 2019, celebrating 4 months of remission for Josh, wanting to share the news that cancer did not win this battle, THEY did.

Their spirits were constantly lifted by the presence of the Pink Out team. The motto “No One Fights Alone” is a perfect description of their experience with Pink Out. Josh appreciates the assistance he received to keep his daughter and newly purchased home taken care of – and cherishes the support his extended family received as they cared for him.

“Pink is not a color I normally wear but I wear it tonight with pride and gratitude. Thank you for supporting Pink Out so they are able to support the Warriors.”

137500997d1b3a07dbb560673023caa4562c90131375010333b7e7bea1bb04a709824f6835b37009Without the community members, business partners and students of our community being deeply involved, we couldn’t do what we do for those who need help in their fight against cancer. Jenison has shown up for eleven straight years and given tremendous support. From the depths of my heart, I say, Thank you! Your presence, your generosity, and your willingness to walk alongside the courageous fighters in our community is a wonderful gift! There is no gesture too small – purchasing a shirt, donating funds, volunteering, and just showing up at Pink Out says we care and we have your back!  That is their gift; this is our legacy. In our community, nobody fights alone!

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The Jenison Men’s Basketball teams have been very busy this month as well. Varsity Coach, Dominic Allen detailed a new free throw shooting competition they hosted as a fundraiser opportunity. The players secured pledges and proudly presented $6,300 to Pink Out, over double their original goal! The players also braved the beginning of the polar vortex at the end of January to get the Pink Out flags up along Baldwin Street.13749889a4c39321ee7e5510451b129d1ee6e294

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This year, 3 sophomore girls launched a new Jenison tradition called “Senior Survivor”. Based on the television show, senior students attempt to raise money and compete in challenges to remain in the game. They had an amazing amount of fun and were proud to present a check for $5,419.14 to Jenison Pink Out. Thank you to the school chaperones who spent the night at school with them, the local business who kept them fed and most of all their friends and family who cheered them on and supported their efforts!137501524b250aec81c40c785df4903db57f30d2

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Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our YEAR ROUND Pink Out committee: Moni Marlink, Katy Hevelhurst, Jean Krzewski, Donna Bergeon and Cindi Covell. These are some caring, compassionate women on a mission to care for their neighbors whenever it is needed; they are making a huge impact! THANK YOU!!137501152a8fc80a74ad4e09f24177e98b6dcf24

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Pink may be the color of the night, but we’re proud to support courageous fighters of all kinds of cancer! The Jenison Pink Out organization makes sure that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE!!

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Seniors, Zac Avery and Conner Wood, close the ceremony by performing this year’s Pink Out theme song “Lean on Me”.

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Principal, Luke VerBeek accepts the Pink basketball in recognition of best Pink Out Spirit Day at Rosewood Elementary. Way to go kids – Rosewood Rocks!

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Read about past Pink Out Honorees on previous PINK OUT blogs:

2018 |2017 | 2016 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

‘Santa’ is Everywhere!

 

While the ‘man in the red suit’ certainly adds to the excitement of the Christmas season, our community knows that bringing joy and being Santa to others can’t be left to him at this, or any time of the year. The reason for this season gives me hope, direction and purpose! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas with loved ones this week.

Jenison High School students participated in some pretty outstanding events this month.  Keep reading to learn more about how the students have been busy spreading good cheer!

Thespian Santa Breakfast, November 24

What began 8 years ago as a way to offer a more intimate and affordable Santa experience, has turned into tradition for many local families. For about the price of a mall photo (without the fun of the usual long, boring line); a whole family is able to enjoy being served a pancake breakfast and a variety of other fun activities sponsored by Mr. Todd Avery and the Jenison High School Thespian Troupe.

The Thespian students do a great job taking their roles very seriously and maximizing the authenticity of the experience for their guests. They don their North Pole best, help serve breakfast and do face painting and crafts with the kids. This year, they added a fun story time; and last but not least, kids got a magical experience as they lingered during a relaxing visit with Santa (where he knew their names before they even approached him!) Photos courtesy of Larry Treece Photography.

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Santa’s Woodshop, December 18 

When teacher, Dave Albert joined the Jenison Industrial Arts program this year, he brought with him a wonderful holiday tradition. As a class project, his woodshop students built wood rocking chair airplanes for selected families. It was a lovely evening with the talent of the Jenison National Art Honor Society students on display as well. They teamed up to with the woodshop students to paint details on the airplanes and helped transform Mr. Albert’s workshop into a winter wonderland! 

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Santa’s Secret Shoppers, December 20

Long before the snow begins to fly, the elves known as the Jenison National Honors Society, get to work organizing a toy drive and arranging sponsors for families in the community. Often, teachers involve their students to become sponsors to adopt-a-family and complete gift wishlists. The high school students do the bulk of organizing for the event which includes facilitating the collection, organizing toys and shopping should there be cash donations. They arrange a pick up night for the families which also includes gift wrapping materials so they can proudly wrap the gifts! No matter the task, these students are committed to making sure these families have a very merry Christmas! This is the 15th year for this event and we’re so proud that over 90 kids were served by the generosity of our JPS community this year.

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