Festival of Plays

The resilient Jenison High School thespians have pulled off a totally new experience this year! The “Festival of Plays” is a 26 year old Jenison theatre tradition that hasn’t missed a beat. From student directors choosing their scripts, organizing auditions and casting the parts with fellow students; it remains a largely student led experience, offering each participant unique points of learning about acting, and the direction/production of their own shows. Through ticket sales, it has also been considered a major annual fundraising event.

During early summer, the directors conducted auditions through video chats and prepared for the show to go on! Throughout the next few months, casts would meet virtually, outdoors and in-person while adhering to the appropriate safety recommendations. Now, they are ready to ‘hit the stage’ and tomorrow the public will have the opportunity to view the three shows that have been underway.

Check out the short promo video done by Senior, Brandon Sams.

The YouTube link below will take you to the recorded performances, Friday, September 11 at 7pm.

There will also be an online opportunity to donate to the Thespian program if you’d like as well.

FESTIVAL OF PLAYS 2020 – WILL BE “LIVE” Friday, Sept 11 at 7pm.

It is really exciting to see these passionate students work hard and be able to complete their goal in the midst of this difficult season. Please join me; mark your calendars and make a plan to watch the students perform three great shows this weekend!
1) 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview

Two college interviewers are tasked with finding another applicant by the end of the day, or else they’ll be fired. Their only option is to look at the waitlist, which has 13 unseen students. Directed by Alex Wood and Carmine Sabatini.


2) The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time

You think your breakup was bad? Eve Tonsil, an employee of the nonprofit company “Relationships for a Better Tomorrow” is here to take you on a tour of the nine worst breakups of all time, from the Cro-Magnon era to the Civil War, to a smattering of modern-day breakups. A comedy that proves that no matter how hard someone has stomped on your heart…it could always be worse. Directed by Liberty Kasper and Katelyn Warkentien.


3) 12 Angry Jurors

A drama in which a jury decides whether to put a 19 year old man on death row for the alleged murder of his father. Directed by Connor Vachon and Maddison Cheyne.

Can’t make it this weekend? The link will remain available online so you won’t miss your chance.


Meet Ashlee DeGraaf

Jenison Theatre Director & English Teacher

This is also a great opportunity to introduce the newest addition to the Jenison Theatre program. As Todd Avery prepared to retire at the end of last year, Ms. Ashlee DeGraaf was introduced at the annual (virtual) student Thespian award show last spring. We’re very excited to have Ashlee accept the position of Theatre Director and English teacher at Jenison High School.

Ashlee is a West Michigan native who made teaching stops in California and then Indianapolis before finding her way back home. She has really enjoyed the school year so far and has been connecting with theatre students while sponsoring the Festival of Plays show alongside Julie Oosterink (Jenison Junior High School Theatre Director).

She enjoys spending time with family and looks forward to more of that now that she’s back in the area. She has made the most of her Covid year while hiking, traveling and reading (with a count of 46 books already)!

Ashlee is grateful for the community support of the arts and is really looking forward to building on our distinguished theatre program.

“Well, this has been a wonderful and strange start to the year with distancing and masks, but all the students I have met have been so kind and welcoming.

I have some big shoes to fill but I also very much appreciate inheriting the gift of an amazing program like Jenison. I also look forward to adding some new elements, possibly some improv projects.

I have been super impressed with the students and their drive to overcome some some really frustrating circumstances. They have worked hard to produce the best shows that they can. We hope you enjoy the Festival of Plays!”

Ashlee DeGraff

WELCOME TO JENISON ASHLEE!

GO WILDCATS!

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!

Frontline Fuel Boost

Our local heroes are highly respected and always deserving of our gratitude. However, the recent days of the COVID-19 pandemic have required them to go even more above and beyond with their servant attitudes.

As we closed the year without the spring sports season, the Jenison Athletic Boosters found themselves with an inventory of concessions that would have expired. Wanting to say thank you, they made a sweet donation to the frontline workers at Metro Health and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thank you again, to all our local frontline workers, for the sacrifices you make, every day and especially during this pandemic. Your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration. Your service is saving lives and making differences daily. 

Cross Country Challenge

Most people don’t even run 4 miles a day much less 48 miles in a weekend – but the Jenison High School Boy’s Cross Country team isn’t “most people”. In preparation for the fall season, the team usually participates in spring and summer fundraisers which were canceled this year. This required Coach Jacci Storey and her Jenison running family to get creative, organizing a 4x4x48 challenge, where they would run 48 miles in 48 hours.

Throughout the canceled track season, the team of runners felt the pain of separation, yet remained connected by their commitment to the team and their love of the sport. Supporting each other while training individually.

Coach Storey, Connor Vachon, Jaden Henderson, Luca Pham, and Austin Winkle, along with other members of the cross country team participated in the 4x4x48 challenge. The feeling of family was evident as graduated Cross Country athletes from the past season also came out to run the last leg. It’s amazing to see this strong family culture thrive – even when they graduate, they are still part of our Jenison Cross Country family!

As a sophomore at Jenison High School, Hunter Bowen was a member of the Cross Country team this past fall when he passed away. It was a devastating loss for this close knit group. Three of Hunter’s siblings who also were part of Coach Storey’s running family at JHS joined the 4x4x48 challenge. It was a beautiful reunion of friends and family.

The challenge kicked off at 4am on a Saturday morning at Maplewood Park and they ran another 4 mile distance every four hours until they completed 48 miles. And it wouldn’t be our team if they weren’t pushing themselves within the challenge. They started the 10th leg of the race on Sunday at 4:00pm and met a record for the group with an impressive 37 minute time.

Legs were tired but hearts were full as they accomplished their goal (actually completed in less than 48 hours) and exceeded their fundraiser goal amount Sunday night around midnight! Well done, gentlemen! Way to seize this opportunity to challenge yourself and finish strong.

Coach Storey’s daughter made a special appearance for one 4 mile leg as well!

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!

Light up the Night 2020

No one can deny the loss all students are experiencing during this time. It is especially real for the Class of 2020 who expected their high school career to culminate with a variety of memory making events. There’s nothing we can do to change it all but I want each of them to know they are loved and supported.

Joining other OK Red Conference schools, Jenison High School Principal Dr. Brandon Graham and Athletic Director, Tim Ritsema participated in a local effort called ‘Light up the Night’. On the official final day of classes for the Class of 2020 – students embraced the simplicity of the event with a drive through visit of the campus and some families strolled the grounds of the stadium. A simple gesture to show support for our seniors and it was a beautiful sight to see.

2020 District Awards

In the midst of a challenging spring, it is refreshing and uplifting to receive word that Jenison Public Schools has received recognition for multiple awards. I’m so grateful for everyone in the JPS family who has employed a relentless attitude and taken ownership to push our district to be the best it can be. Way to go Wildcats!

  • Jenison Public High School has been named as one of the best high schools in the state of Michigan by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Bauerwood Elementary has earned the title of Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School.
  • The Jenison Music department has earned our district the NAMM 2020 Best Communities for Music Education.

Our Tradition of Excellence continues because of outstanding building leadership, exemplary teaching, a terrific student body, supportive parents, and a generous community! The outstanding work being done by our K-12 students, teachers, and support from our Jenison community truly make Jenison High School an exceptional place to learn – it also placed us in top 95% of the country.


Capturing Kids’ Hearts is the foundation on which Jenison Public Schools is built. It is about building relational capacity with our students and with each other. It is a terrific tribute to Bauerwood Elementary School to be recognized as a Capturing Kids’ Hearts Showcase School for the 3rd year in a row. Being a showcase school means every adult makes student relationships a priority not only in their words but through their actions. Bauerwood is in very select company across the nation. I am very proud of Principal Crystal Morse and her staff.


The NAMM Foundation Music award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education an important part of a well-rounded education. This definitely applies to high school directors Grant Carmichael, Dan Scott and Dave Zamborsky; they also represent a team of hardworking music educators we have at Jenison Public Schools. From parents to teachers, students to administration, all have worked together to make beautiful music and achieve this acknowledgment.  


*COMMUNITY FOOD DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION*

Hudsonville: Grace Community Church – 3500 New Holland Street
Tuesday & Thursday, 4 – 7 pm

Grandville: Fellowship CRC – 4375 Ivanrest Avenue SW
Monday & Thursday, 9 am – 12 pm
Tuesday, 6 – 7:30 pm

Jenison: Sunrise Ministries, 7754 28th Avenue
Monday & Wednesday, 4 – 7 pm

JENISON PUBLIC SCHOOLS LUNCH PROGRAM UPDATE:

Monday & Wednesday, 11:00am-12:30pm

As of Monday, May 4, all Jenison School lunch program distribution will be done at the Jenison High School – 2140 Bauer Road, Jenison. Stop by the West Parking Lot on Monday for Monday and Tuesday meals, or on Wednesday for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday meals.

Please continue to watch your email and the Jenison Public Schools facebook page for any updates regarding the school location distribution program.

Onward Wildcats

After the first week of COVID-19 school closures, minds everywhere quickly began seeking creativity and stimulation. Our rock-star Jenison High School music directors even went to work on a fun, challenging project to engage their student musicians from afar. Dave Zamborsky, JHS Band Director and Dan Scott, JHS Orchestra director decided now was the time to perform the Jenison High School fight song – virtual edition. 

The first challenge of this project was that the music had never been created with vocal parts – or violin, viola and cello parts for that matter. Mr. Zamborsky wasted no time in creating the parts needed and had them ready for the kids within 24 hours. 

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The next challenge would be to create virtual ensembles; getting the band, choir or string musicians to perform music “together” when they are indeed not together. With no director standing in front of them to provide instructional cues, a tool called a ‘click track’ was needed. A click track is a series of digital audio cues used to synchronize sound recordings. Senior percussionist, Jarod VanderVeen agreed to record the track for the fight song to accompany the students’ digital performance. He recorded his part while listening to a metronome to stay perfectly in tempo. If you have a metronome in your house you can set it to 150 beats per minute and you’ll notice that Jarod is right on. 

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The instrumentalists were now set, but the vocalists needed a harmonic reference for their performance. Mr. Scott tapped into the talents of his wife, Diane for the recorded piano part. The students now had what they needed to perfect their individual parts. You’ll notice in the video that they all have some sort of headphone in their ear. This is the click track of either the drummer or the piano player.  Each student recorded their performance as they listened to the track. This gave them a rhythmic or harmonic reference for their performance.  

The performance itself came as another challenge. None of the orchestra and choir students had even performed the fight song before and some band students were performing on instruments that they don’t use during marching season. After practicing their part, each student recorded their portion and emailed the file to Mr. Scott. There were about 75 video submissions and all of them are included in the video. 

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Mr. Scott expanded his resume to include “video editor” as he used GarageBand and Final Cut Pro X software programs to compile each performance submission to give us this amazing final product. 

Life has been dealing us all a rhythm of unpredictable change these last three weeks. But I want to remind you that TOGETHER – WE ARE JENISON! And together, we march to the beat of a strong community that prides itself in supporting one another.

Click on the video below to check it out…May the performance of these fine musicians brighten your day as we move onward and upward!

 

“ONWARD WILDCATS”

(To the tune of “On Wisconsin”)

Onward Wildcats, ever onward, fight to victory!

Green & White, forever fighting, here’s our cheer for thee! Rah! Rah! Rah!

Fighting Wildcats, loyal boosters, here’s to do or die.

All for the fame of our school, Jenison High.

 

Food distribution is available at the following locations and times:

*COMMUNITY FOOD DISTRIBUTION INFORMATION*

Hudsonville: 

Grace Community Church – 3500 New Holland Street
Tuesday & Thursday, 4 – 7 pm

Fair Haven Church – 2900 Baldwin Street, DOOR E

Friday, 10am – 12pm and 6 – 8pm

Grandville: Fellowship CRC – 4375 Ivanrest Avenue SW
Monday & Thursday, 9 am – 12 pm
Tuesday, 6 – 7:30 pm

Jenison: Sunrise Ministries, 7754 28th Avenue
Monday & Wednesday, 4 – 7 pm

JPS School Locations: Monday & Wednesday, 11:00am-12:30pm:

  • Bursley Elementary – 1195 Port Sheldon Street, Jenison
  • Sandy Hill Elementary – 1990 Baldwin Street, Jenison
  • Bauerwood Elementary – 1443 Bauer Road, Jenison
  • Jenison High School – 2140 Bauer Road, Jenison

Please continue to watch your email and the Jenison Public Schools facebook page for any updates regarding the school location distribution program.

Jenison Food Service Continues to Serve

As the mandated school closure was announced one week ago, we were all thrust into unprecedented times. Immediately, the Jenison Public Schools administration team, teachers and staff brainstormed plans to make sure our local families would be cared for during this time. A major concern was making sure that daily meals would not become an obstacle.

On a typical school day, Mary Darnton, Director of Food Service and her team in the Jenison Food Service department will serve around 130 breakfasts and nearly 2,000 lunches. At the onset of the schools being closed in response to COVID-19, Mary and the team were faced with a few challenges that needed to be solved quickly.

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Jenison Public Schools food service meals are proudly prepared on site in each school building with about 90% of the meal items served hot and fresh. As they planned to host socially-distanced distribution sites; it was imperative that the meals served during the closure were 100% cold items.

The meals served still adhere to the USDA outlined meal pattern that includes a prescribed combination of whole grains, proteins (for lunches), fruit or vegetable (both for lunches) and milk. The month’s scheduled menu changed overnight and creative problem solving kicked in. The food safety and sanitation approved staff is now lovingly preparing the meals ahead of time at the Central Kitchen and using perishable items as soon as possible. They are working with other partners in the community to donate what might not be able to be used in time, and food orders continue to trickle in from approved commercial suppliers.

foodhandout-1foodhandout-9As the distributions began this week, the sites have remained calm with much appreciation expressed from the families. We’re off to a great start and anticipate the demand to increase in the coming days. I’m so grateful for Mary and the entire Jenison Food Service Department for their quick thinking and eager attitudes as they put this program into place so quickly . 


Jenison Public Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch for children in need during the statewide school closure. Packaged breakfast and lunch is being made available through our food service program to any child ages 0-18 (or up to age 26 with special needs). The details are as follows:

FREE BREAKFAST & LUNCH

Friday, March 20 and Beginning Monday, March 23, families may pick up on Mondays and Wednesdays. This encourages less travel, minimizes social contact and allows a pick up of free meals to cover multiple days.

Time:  11:00am-12:30pm

Locations:

  • Bursley Elementary – 1195 Port Sheldon St, Jenison

  • Sandy Hill Elementary – 1990 Baldwin, Jenison

  • Bauerwood Elementary – 1443 Bauer Rd, Jenison

  • Jenison High School – 2140 Bauer Rd, Jenison

As many JPS students employ school of choice; the Jenison buildings may not be the closest to their home location. This is a statewide program, with no proof of enrollment required. Families may visit any distribution site in any school district. Anyone is welcome to drive up or walk to any site and may pick up meals for the number of children who are at home.


For families who are in need of food and can’t get to any of these four locations, please email me at ttenbrin@jpsonline.org and we will get food delivered directly to your homes. Please continue to watch your email and the Jenison Public Schools facebook page for any updates regarding this distribution program.

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Senior Athletes Sign

We are excited to be able to offer a world-class education that prepares students to achieve their goals and chase their dreams. And now, is the time of year when many seniors are plotting their course. For these Jenison High School seniors, that includes being able to continue their studies while playing the sport they love.

 

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The great thing about many of our student athletes is their tenacious work ethic and commitment to multiple interests including music, arts or other clubs. We are honored to be able to offer many quality experiences that function as an extension of our fantastic educational programs.

It’s thrilling to see a number of students signing national letters of intent for their colleges in the fall. Some of them have signed on even before their senior season has officially begun.

Our students receive outstanding support from the exceptional staff which helps them take advantage of opportunities and perform their best in all areas. Many staff continue building relationships after the bell has rung through coaching positions. A team mindset between athletic staff and teachers is genuine and provides a well rounded experience for our students.

I am proud to say that these Jenison High School students have been well prepared for this exciting next step – in the classroom and through their team experiences. No matter which mascot they adopt next year, I’m confident their Wildcat spirit will remain and propel them to achieve great things!

As the spring season draws to a close, more students will most likely be added to this list. 

Please join me in congratulating these hardworking seniors and their families! G O   W I L D C A T S!

STARTER FINAL FORM_ CXXXX_X

TORI VANDERVEEN | Cornerstone University, Track and Field

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CAROLINE HUISTRA | Jackson College, Soccer

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ANNA BARTZ | Drury University, Bowling

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EMILY SILER | Saint Joseph University, Softball

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CHASE POST | Davenport University, Lacrosse

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LAUREN SLAGTER | Cornerstone, Bowling

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MALACHI SMITH | Grace Christian University, Soccer

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KRISTEN SZOST | Hope College, Lacrosse

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MYCAH KASPER | Davenport University, Swimming

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KAYLYNNE NICHOLSON | Albion College, Volleyball

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GABRIEL SMITH-VERWYS | Ferris State University, Football

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OLIVIA DAVIS | Davenport University, Track and Field

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MORGAN LACOMBE | Lansing Community College, Softball

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For frequent updates on all the athletic action, follow the Wildcats on social media.

images@JenisonWildcats                  Unknown@Jenison_Wildcats