History with a Hero

Without America’s veterans, our beloved country would not exist as we know it today. I am grateful for their sacrifices to protect our freedoms. I believe that passing this gratitude and appreciation onto the next generation is invaluable.

Earlier this week, our elementary schools were preparing projects about respecting and honoring Veteran’s Day to share with their classmates, and learning about different components of military service. One Bauerwood 3rd grade classroom was creating lap quilts that will be taken down to the VA.

Right before the anniversary of D-Day this year (June 6), Sandy Hill 4th and 5th graders also had the distinct privilege of meeting a very decorated war veteran and local hero.

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Al Johnson

After his initial medical training, Al Johnson signed up for a very risky assignment. He worked during World War II as a spy for the secret division called Office of Strategic Services (OSS), aiding the French Resistance and cover operations in Germany and China. The OSS is the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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Al Johnson joined the military and was assigned medical training.

Christy Roloffs is a Sandy Hill teacher and through family connections was aware of his amazing story. Mrs. Roloffs invited Mr. Johnson as a guest speaker to make this history come alive. She knew that a living example is far superior to textbooks and films.  

The confidential nature of the work he did was made public in 1987 when the order of secrecy was lifted. At this time, the story of his work and the OSS is fairly new; sadly many who experienced it with Mr. Johnson are no longer alive.

Just last year, nearly 3/4 of a century after the war, the contributions of Al and his team were recognized with Congressional Gold Medals. This is the nation’s highest civilian honor. The members of the OSS were previously awarded the Legion of Honour, the highest civilian distinction in France. 

He brought photo albums, his medal cases, and even pulled out his OSS medal and let the kids touch it. The kids were enthralled, listened intently and asked great questions.

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What an amazing experience for our students to spend this time with Mr. Johnson and learn first hand what his military career was like.

Every day is a great day to tell all those who served our country in the military thank you for their service. We are thankful for all they have given to protect our freedoms and way of life in the United States of America. We are also so proud of all our Jenison Alumni and parents that served or are currently serving their country.

For the full story of Al Johnson’s service, check out the video below.

For more local news coverage on Mr. Johnson: WOOD TV and HOLLAND SENTINEL

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Make Your Mark!

“Make your mark and see where it takes you.” That’s the sentiment behind International Dot Day, a worldwide celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration. This holiday started just 10 years ago and has grown from a single classroom to thousands of schools across the globe. All because of a book with an inspiring message.

Dot Day is inspired by the Peter H. Reynolds book, “The Dot.” The book depicts the story of a little girl who is shy about expressing her artistic abilities. Following some encouragement from an art teacher, she begins with a tiny dot she put on a piece of paper and from that dot creates multiple works of art.

IMG_8926The concept of this book and the participation in International Dot Day both encourage a ‘growth mindset’ and helps students believe in themselves – something we feel strongly about at Jenison Public Schools. Throughout the day, the students created projects that emphasized the importance of embracing individuality. I love that the Pinewood students joined the celebration again this year and are reminded – that as unique individuals, they can grow and learn and be successful.

I’m grateful for teachers that believe in our students and want them to believe in themselves. These may seem like easy art lessons to some but if our students can learn like the character in the story, Vashti, to be brave and help others, they will eventually believe they can really “make a mark” on the world.

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The Pinewood students crafted unique dot-inspired drawings on a paper plate, cutting them in half and then combining them with a partner’s to form a whole circle.

“I think the message behind Dot Day is so important for students of all ages, it reminds them that they are unique and have something special to share with the world. Dot Day is a celebration of this but we try to help our students see this every day. We feel passionately about giving students opportunities for leadership, and to recognize their gifts and share them. At Pinewood Elementary, all of our staff believes that each child is special and unique and has something they can contribute to our community.”
Rachel Postle-Brown, principal of Pinewood Elementary School.

 

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Levi Beadenkopf

IMG_5896This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


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ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Levi Beadenkopf

  • Grade: just completed 1st grade
  • Favorite Color: Green
  • Favorite Food: Pizza
  • Favorite Book: Green Eggs and Ham
  • Favorite Movie: The Greatest Showman
  • Favorite class (besides art): Gym
  • A smell he really doesn’t like: Farts
  • Plans for the Summer: Camping, trip to the Poconos, swimming, playing with friends. 
  • Something he wants to get better at: Wrestling 
  • Something he is really good at: Baseball
  • Musical instrument? No
  • Pets? No
  • Age when he will feel grown up? 14
  • ‘Happy Place’? Family Chuck E. Cheese

“Sunset”

Artist Statement: Levi’s favorite part of this project was adding paint because it was “really fun and it turned out really nice”.  When Levi is not at school he makes stuff at home out of paper and paint, he does art every day! When Levi grows up he wants to be a wrestler, an artist, and basketball player.

Levi Beadenkopf


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Levi’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Remax of Grand Rapids. Thank you Wyoming Remax team for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!


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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Julia Carney

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This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Julia Carney

  • Grade: just completed 4th grade
  • Favorite Color: Teal
  • Favorite Food: Pizza
  • Favorite Book: The One and Only Ivan
  • Favorite Movie: End Game
  • Favorite class (besides art): Writing
  • A smell she really doesn’t like: Her Brother
  • Plans for the Summer: Camping
  • Something she wants to get better at: Gymnastics
  • Something she is really good at: Gymnastics
  • Musical instrument? Not yet
  • Pets? Dog named Zella
  • Age when she will feel grown up? She’s not planning to grow up!
  • ‘Happy Place’? Family Campground14114742bd9c26c7aa162cb80d8724a868eeba22

“Zella”

Artist Statement: I like this artwork because it has a lot of patterns. I do a lot of patterns when I create my art. My Dad does a lot of art.  I think that is why I make art at home. I do it a lot when I am bored.

Julia Carney

 


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Julia’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at First United Credit Union in Grandville. Thank you Mark Richter and team for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!


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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Kamy Sytsma

20190110_175919This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 

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ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Kamy Sytsma

  • Grade: Just completed 3rd grade at Pinewood Elementary
  • Favorite Color: Gold
  • Favorite Food: Watermelon
  • Favorite Book: The Stolen Girl
  • Favorite Movie: The Parent Trap
  • Favorite class – besides art: Gym
  • A smell she really doesn’t like: Rotten Milk
  • Plans for the Summer: Boating
  • Something she wants to get better at: Math
  • Something she is really good at: Gymnastics
  • Musical instrument? Recorder
  • Pets? Diesel – 5 yo German Shorthaired Pointer and Delta – 4 month old German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Age when she will feel grown up? 16
  • ‘Happy Place’?  Boating near River Ridge (On the Muskegon River)

“Abstract Chalk Portrait”

Artist Statement: I enjoyed blending the chalk pastels for my portrait. I also enjoyed tracing the pencil lines with black glue. At the end we had to spray hairspray on are artwork to keep the chalk pastels from rubbing off.

Kamy Sytsma


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Kamy’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Chemical Bank on Baldwin in Jenison. Thank you Chemical Bank for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!

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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Allison Kachel

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This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Allison Kachel

  • Grade: just completed 11th grade
  • Favorite Color: Forest Green
  • Favorite Food: Pad Thai
  • Favorite Book: Banana Fish (manga)
  • Favorite Movie: Kill Bill
  • Favorite class (besides art): World Religions or Sociology
  • A smell she really doesn’t like: Gasoline
  • Plans for the Summer: I am attending an Interfaith camp over the summer.
  • Something she wants to get better at: Drawing…
  • Something she is really good at: Procrastinating 
  • Musical instrument? – No
  • Pets? If so, what are they and the pet’s name – I have a cat named Whiskers
  • Age when she will feel grown up? – 27
  • ‘Happy Place’? – In my dreams
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JHS Art Teacher Sara Buzzitta and Allison

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“Double Gourds”

Artist Statement: What I learned while making this project is that you shouldn’t blend oil pastels with a blending stump! I also learned that I need to use oil pastels lightly and gently. Another thing I learned is how fun drawing gourds is! I also think I could have contrasted the gourds a bit more with different colors. I think it would be fun to come back to this piece some time in the future and redraw it.

Allison Kachel


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Alison’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Hughes Management. Thank you Hughes Management for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!


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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Trisha Shuck

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Trisha and her parents, Lindsey and Jeff Shuck at the ArtMoves Gala

This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Trisha Shuck

  • Grade: just completed the 6th grade at Bauerwood Elementary
  • Favorite Color: Magenta 
  • Favorite Food: Dessert 
  • Favorite Book: Land of Stories 
  • Favorite Movie: The Goofy Movie 
  • Favorite class – besides art: Gym
  • A smell she really doesn’t like: Onions 
  • Plans for the Summer: Hang with friends 
  • Something she wants to get better at: Painting 
  • Something she is really good at: Singing
  • Musical instrument: No
  • Pets: 2 cats, Jack and Ollie and a dog named Nala 
  • Age when she will feel grown up? 18
  • ‘Happy Place’? With my friends 
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Trisha and her art teacher, Ashley Hankamp


“Mixed Media Landscape”

Artist Statement: I like how I can express myself in art and how it takes me away from everything else and I can put my thoughts on paper!  My favorite part of this project was my crazy creative dots because they represent me!

Trisha Shuck


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Trisha’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Remax of Grand Rapids. Thank you Wyoming Remax team for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!


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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

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ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

ArtMoves Summer Series: Seth TerHaar

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This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Seth TerHaar

  • Favorite Color: Dark green 
  • Favorite Food: Tacos 
  • Favorite Book: Of Mice and Men 
  • Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music
  • Favorite class – besides art: English Literature 
  • A smell he really doesn’t like: The Sweet Pea Bath and Body Works scent!
  • Plans for the Summer: Curating for an art gallery and hopefully road tripping with friends! 
  • Something he wants to get better at: Oil painting and cooking 
  • Something he is really good at: Posting my artwork on social media FB:@sethhaarter, IG:@sethhaarter or Twitter: @sethhaarter
  • Musical instrument? I’ve been playing the cello for eight years 
  • Pets? A black cat named Pirate
  • How old will you be when you think you will feel grown up? I feel like a grown up in my artistic/business life but when it comes to doing things like getting ready to go to college I feel like a small child.
  • Where is your ‘happy place’? Anytime I am driving in my car for a longer period of time where I can roll down the windows and blast music through the speakers!

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    Seth with JHS Art Teachers Sara Buzzitta (L) and Melissa Griffore (R)


“Big Red”

Artist Statement: This piece was created for my AP Art portfolio. The goal of this piece was to really just experiment and practice using watercolors. I chose this landscape because I really wanted to use something that was easily recognizable like the Holland lighthouse.

Seth TerHaar

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Seth’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at the world headquarters of City2Shore. Thank you Steve and Shelley Frody for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!


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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves Summer Series: Shelby Orlik

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This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Shelby Orlik

  • Grade: just completed the 3rd grade at Rosewood Elementary
  • Favorite Color: Teal
  • Favorite Food: Chicken Stir Fry
  • Favorite Book: The Cupcake Club Series
  • Favorite Movie: Parent Trap & Freaky Friday
  • Favorite class – besides art: Math or Gym
  • A smell she really doesn’t like: puke and stinky feet.
  • Plans for the Summer: To have Fun!!
  • Something she wants to get better at: Rip Sticking
  • Something she is really good at: Gymnastics
  • Musical instrument: Ukulele
  • Pets: My dog, Mia
  • Age when she will feel grown up? Somewhere between 9 and 20
  • ‘Happy Place’? Sitting in my Big Joe

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“Sun/Moon Painting”

Artist Statement: Shelby’s favorite part of this project was painting with the bright neon colors. When Shelby isn’t at school she enjoys playing with her friends and reading. She would like to be a teacher when she grows up.

Shelby Orlik


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Shelby’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Tarry Hall Roller Rink. Thank you Tarry Hall for investing in our students and blessing your clients with this fun piece of art!

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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home.

Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

ArtMoves Summer Series: Quinn Terpstra

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This summer, we will highlight the Jenison ArtMoves program. Each week, we will feature one of the talented student artists and local businesses that have supported the Jenison Visual Arts Department.

Please join us in celebrating our students and thanking these local partners by visiting their businesses. ArtMoves Gala photography by Damion Van Slyke Photography.

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ArtMoves is an annual art leasing program created by the Jenison Visual Arts Department. The goal is to connect our talented students with local businesses, and to promote the outstanding work of our student artists.

Business owners in and around the community attend the annual gala and have the opportunity to lease their favorite artwork for a year. The artwork remains on display and at the end of the lease, the student receives their artwork back to proudly display at home. 

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Many hands go into making this program a reality! A heartfelt thank you goes out to…

  • Our amazing staff of Jenison art teachers fostering creativity in all students
  • Our high school art teachers and students who help mat the artwork
  • Mr. Albert’s high school wood shop class for making the custom frames
  • Norbert’s Glass for the donation of the glass for the frames
  • The many business partners who invest in our students and value the community we live in!

 


ArtMoves Featured Artist:

Quinn Terpstra

  • Grade: just completed the 3rd grade at El Puente
  • Favorite Color: Green
  • Favorite Food: Hamburgers
  • Favorite Book: Dog Man
  • Favorite Movie: Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
  • Favorite class – besides art: Gym
  • A smell he really doesn’t like: Farts
  • Plans for the Summer: Summer camp
  • Something he wants to get better at: Math
  • Something he is really good at: Soccer
  • Musical instrument: No
  • Pets: 2 Fish (Stripe and Gill), and a hermit crab (Pinchy)
  • Age when he will feel grown up: 18
  • ‘Happy place’: Home
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Quinn with his art teacher Mrs. Rachel Kunnen

“Vase of Flowers”

Artist Statement: Quinn’s favorite part of this project was drawing the flowers and adding color using paint and oil pastel. When Quinn isn’t at school he enjoys watching tv and playing the Wii. He also likes to play on the swingset. Quinn is a fantastic artist and works hard at each and every project!

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Quinn’s artwork has been leased for 1 year and is on display at Hawthorne Collection in their Hudsonville location. Thank you Hawthorne Collection for investing in our students  and blessing your shoppers with this beautiful piece of art!