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.

foodhandout-15

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.

foodhandout-14foodhandout-5foodhandout-12foodhandout-4

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.

 

athleticsjpslogo.png

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

IMG_3164

CAROLINE HUISTRA | Jackson College, Soccer

IMG_3151

ANNA BARTZ | Drury University, Bowling

IMG_3165

EMILY SILER | Saint Joseph University, Softball

IMG_3166

CHASE POST | Davenport University, Lacrosse

IMG_3167 2

LAUREN SLAGTER | Cornerstone, Bowling

IMG_3168

MALACHI SMITH | Grace Christian University, Soccer

IMG_3169

KRISTEN SZOST | Hope College, Lacrosse

IMG_3170

MYCAH KASPER | Davenport University, Swimming

IMG_3172

KAYLYNNE NICHOLSON | Albion College, Volleyball

IMG_3173

GABRIEL SMITH-VERWYS | Ferris State University, Football

IMG_3175

OLIVIA DAVIS | Davenport University, Track and Field

oliviasigningday

MORGAN LACOMBE | Lansing Community College, Softball

Morgansigningday copy

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

images@JenisonWildcats                  Unknown@Jenison_Wildcats

 

Jenison ‘In The News’

 

The Jenison community is full of many amazing people creating newsworthy moments year round! If you happen to have missed some of these incredible stories in the local news, I encourage you to check out the links and get inspired. These stories represent the #JPSBeRelentless attitude through commitment, ingenuity, compassion and perseverance. 


Sandy Tetro 

Sandy Tetro has been impacting friends, family members, students, co-workers and community members for as long as anyone can remember. Her enormous heart and boundless energy propelled a 20+ year career in special education at Jenison Public Schools and 15+ years coaching for Special Olympics. She is also currently recovering from a massive right ischemic stroke. She has been recognized as a top finalist for West Michigan’s Woman of the Year through local news WOTV4. While her recovery is amazing – it just makes her even more remarkable in our eyes!

Read the story and watch the video here

IMG_7304.jpg

Audrey (Tetro) Mitchell nominated her mother, Sandy Tetro as a ‘Remarkable Woman of West Michigan’, for the impact she has had on countless lives.


Andrew Medley, Senior Kidney Recipient

Andrew Medley is a Jenison High School football and basketball player who has lived with a kidney failure diagnosis for 8 years. He recently underwent surgery to receive a kidney from mother. Andrew’s energy may have waned over time but commitment to his teams never has; he has been a leader on and off the field. 

 We’re so happy to receive a great report on Andrew’s improving health since the surgery two weeks ago. Andrew is anxious to be back to school but will have to wait a few more weeks until the doctor gives the approval. His mother Susan is also healing well and has expressed amazement at the amount of support they have received from the community. 

R3AW36WGXNEAVAKJHCN52WU4UM.jpg

Susan Medley is so thankful that she was a match and was able to give her son Andrew a kidney.


2020 Senior Survivor

In ‘Season 2’ of the Jenison High School Senior Survivor game, the seniors exceeded last year’s amount by almost $3,000 – making their 2020 contribution to the Pink Out team over $8,000.

Read the story and watch the video here

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 12.11.29 PM

Tej Kothari, Congressional Bronze Medal recipient 

Jenison High School senior, Tej Kothari received the highest honor Congress can bestow on a young person. The Congressional Bronze Medal was presented to him by Congressman Bill Huizenga.

Read the story here

image002.jpg

Tej Kothari is the first Jenison High School Student to receive the Congressional Bronze Medal.


Jack Carrier, Student Law Changer 

Jenison High School senior, Jack Carrier was born with a vision impairment that would ultimately make getting his drivers’s license a little tricky. Jack knew he had run into some pretty restrictive obstacles. Jack and his father reached out to Senator Roger Victory for assistance. Sen. Victory helped Jack raise awareness for and get the law changed for others with similar visual challenges.

Read the story here

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 1.48.06 PM.png

Jack Carrier with State Senator Roger Victory (Photo source: Mlive)


Terry Dykstra, Jenison High School Counselor

As a Jenison High School counselor, Terry Dykstra has been cheering students on for 52 years!

Read the story and watch the video here

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 12.16.25 PM.png

1st Grade American Citizens

January party decorations aren’t typically red, white and blue but this was no regular class party. Selene and Elisea Vella, born in Sicily, Italy had become American citizens and first grade Bursley Elementary teacher, Amy Hage didn’t let the opportunity pass for this unique celebration.

The girls moved to the United States as infants with their parents. They joined other family in the midwest, have settled here nicely and since, become big sisters as well. 

IMG_5323
IMG_5315

As the girls are underage, they had already assumed American citizenship. However, after 6 long years of waiting, the girls were very excited and a little nervous to travel to their appointment in Detroit to receive their card of proof. The day after their appointment, Selene and Elisea celebrated with their classmates with plenty of red, white and blue goodies. Students had fun learning a little about their country and acknowledging this exciting milestone. 

Selene and Elisea’s parents feel they have found a gem of a community in the Grandville/Jenison area to raise their family and they love Bursley Elementary School. I am thankful that Amy Hage and the Bursley team has been a shining example of the helpful, kind and committed professionals we have at Jenison Public Schools. 

Although Selene and Elisea do not remember their home country, they are very excited to go visit family members and explore their city this coming summer. I’m sure they will have amazing stories to report when they get back to school in the fall. I look forward to having them be a part of our community for the coming years!

 Congratulations Vella Family!

IMG_5314IMG_5313IMG_5324

IMG_5317IMG_5316

Imagine. Explore. Create. Repeat.

No matter the age, students have a courageous and contagious level of creativity and they love to put that passion into practice with hands-on experimentation. While this is encouraged in the traditional classroom where possible, specialized environments give them a chance to take it to the next level.

These environments are called Makerspace. These spaces allow students to take what they have learned in the classroom and extend their learning in a very unique, explorative way. The Makerspace environment is tapping into their imagination in a different way, according to their own interests and creativity.

Makers-3

Upon attending a conference in Grand Rapids in 2018, inspiration sparked a team of Pinewood Elementary School teachers. The Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning conference (MACUL) exposed them to other districts who had these types of spaces. They too wanted to encourage this type of learning and make it available to their students so they decided to write a grant that was offered through MACUL.

The grant from MACUL allowed Pinewood Elementary School to implement a Makerspace as part of their extended library time for all grades. It is housed in the library which makes perfect sense as this sort of learning is a natural extension of books! Since the beginning of time, we’ve experienced librarians creating interactive content to engage children and augment their learning.

Makers-10

While in the Makerspace, students are able to explore various learning tools and resources structured to inspire creativity and hands-on learning. The ultimate goal is to have a variety of consumable items that students can use to tinker and create their own masterpieces. Different activities can be added to the rotation to spur fresh exploration. Some incorporate technology while others are purely ‘old-fashioned’ analog exercises.

Pinewood teacher Andrea Pattison oversees the Makerspace and loves watching the students be creative, build, and collaborate with classmates with the age appropriate activities and tools that are in the space. The students’ only negative review is that they never have enough time! The kids do a fabulous job respecting the space and the special tools. She also has a team of Makerspace Champions comprised of 5th and 6th grade students who help organize and run the space.

Makers-8

Pinewood Makerspace: (foreground) 3-D Printer and student using the Osmo tool with an iPad while classmates build and create in the background.

Makers-2

Students are able to learn how to maximize the Makerspace through the Pinewood Makerspace Website, created by district ACT teacher, Julie Clark. How-to videos and website resources help them make the most of their time in the space and give them options to use outside of school as well. Julie has also gone on to complete an additional grant request for new tools for the Makerspace through the Jenison Public Education Fund.

JPEF has been funding best teaching methods and innovative ideas from JPS educators for over 20 years. Since 1995, JPEF has funded more than 162 programs valued at over $200,000, for the students of Jenison. It is so great to have them partnering with our RELENTLESS, world-class educators to bring these ideas to life.

It is exciting to see the students engage their thoughts and ideas with courage, while facing risk of a mistake. I see huge benefits as these experiences are preparing their brains to see opportunity in a challenge, and is giving the world builders and tinkerers who are not afraid to try and ask, what if?

Makers-22

Zome Tool was added to the Makerpace through a generous grant from the Jenison Public Education Foundation. Zome Tool is a building set with connectors and straight struts. This allows the students to create a multitude of shapes.

Makers-16Makers-14

Makers-19

Osmo is a tool that uses augmented reality in conjunction with an iPad. Students can explore with tangrams, numbers, words or interactive drawings. 

Makers-24

Pink Out 2020

Last Friday was our 12th Annual Pink Out event. This is the one day of the year that our amazing community comes together to support and make the renewed commitment that we will do everything in our power to fight against the ugly disease we call cancer. We cherish the gift of life and we will continue to support our families. I am so thankful that our gym is packed to standing room only on a yearly basis on this special night!

While this is no doubt a community wide effort, I also wanted to recognize the momentum our Jenison High School student body creates each and every year. In addition to t-shirt sales and donations, these students have creatively invented opportunities for fundraising and donated nearly $15,000 through the ‘Senior Survivor’ as well as the Men’s Varsity Basketball free throw contest.

Pink Out 2020-10-2

We were also honored to share this evening with our neighbors, the Reeths Puffer community, who recently stood in battle with one of their middle school teachers. We empathize with their loss and are glad that they were able to experience being a part of something we know is near and dear to their hearts as well.

Pink Out 2020-1-2

2020

Jenison Pink Out Honorees

Melanie Davis, Kimberly Duch, Ofelia Munez, Jody Heyboer, and Zach Schab. Continued support to you, from our entire community!

84488089_10159306397207067_3074329052081815552_o

Melanie Davis

Melanie’s whirlwind cancer journey began during the pregnancy of her 3rd child. A headache revealed a tumor which was successfully removed during the pregnancy. Not long after that, additional tumors were discovered throughout her body and diagnosed.

She was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement that initially came from her son’s school – people who were perfect strangers. Melanie didn’t want to ask for help and wasn’t really sure what to expect through treatments or even what sort of support she would need. That expanded into an introduction to the Pink Out team. The leaders of Pink Out were the face to all the names that were already praying for and offering Melanie’s family support. They provided additional emotional support and a listening ear. Pink Out was there with gas and meal cards, flowers, cookies, encouragement cards and more! And in true Jenison fashion, the Pink Out team went above and beyond in support for the family when their infant daughter passed away after fighting a medical condition. Melanie, you are not in this fight alone!

Kimberly Duch

Cancer is relentless and knows no boundaries. Just a few years ago, the Duch family came to Pink Out to honor Kim’s Mother-in-law Dianne Duch. Dianne was a courageous fighter and a friend to so many in the community. She passed away about a month before Kim’s diagnosis. Today, Kim takes a spot on the Pink Out floor to share about her journey with breast cancer. After finally facing her overdue mammogram, she found herself building her life around consults, appointments and many other facets of this journey they were all too familiar with. Early detection was on her side and with an aggressive plan of action, she had a very good prognosis and now recovery. Kim is exceptionally grateful for the friendship and continued support from Pink Out throughout her battle. Kim, we’re so happy you and your family came to share your story.

Ofelia Munez

Ofelia, with her family by her side, has been fighting Lung cancer since last spring. Surgery, recovery and chemo left her very tired with much pain and sadness. A knock on her door from the Pink Out team ushered in a new season of joy and hope. She not only received financial assistance to ease some burdens of bills and Christmas shopping, but immense encouragement and a real sense of community as well.

It was a treat to hear Ofelia deliver her story in Spanish, then her daughter Kristen Vega, translated in English adding her own perspective. She was a 2017 graduate of Jenison High School who sat in these bleachers just a few years ago – never imagining she would be standing on this gym floor with her own family some day. She is so thankful to Pink Out for all the support her mom and family has received. Ofelia and Kristen, we are thankful for the opportunity to be of assistance during this time. May you keep the joy and hope you have found!

Jody Heyboer

Pink Out has been with Jody since the beginning of her cancer journey in 2017. She was an honoree of Jenison Pink Out in 2018 and she enjoyed participating in the event from the stands in 2019. This year, she’s back to share her ongoing story. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries describes the last two years for her and her family. And the journey is far from over. A new diagnosis has her starting chemotherapy again this week. The ongoing commitment from the Jenison Pink Out team helps her know that she’s not alone and definitely not forgotten. The theme for the Pink Out teeshirts this year includes an umbrella and she has definitely felt protection from the storm. Jody – we’re holding on tight with you during this rollercoaster ride! Keep choosing joy!

Zach Schab

Upon diagnosis of a brain cancer, Zach was no doubt aware that he would go through some major physical changes and challenges but he was shocked to feel the toll he would take emotionally and psychologically. Experiencing trauma creates a weight that is not easily carried alone. He makes a passionate case for helping your neighbor whether they are dealing with cancer or not. Thank you Zach for such a reminder that we all can give just a little bit of effort to offer a great amount of help.

“Thankfully as humans we are not a solitary species, we have the ability to lighten the load of everybody around us. As a community, we have the power to change lives and embolden others. And not just those who have struggled with cancer – everybody can use a little extra help.” Zach Schab, Brain cancer survivor

This evening is always so inspiring and I am proud to be a part of this community. Each year, this event serves as a celebration of those who fight tenaciously and takes time to pause for those that we remember.

Thank you so much to the community, students, businesses – everyone who has put forth a small effort to make a big change for those in our community who are suiting up for the fight of their lives. Hope is brought to these fighters by the community and we are going to walk every step alongside them until their storm runs out of rain!

Please visit the Jenison Pink Out Facebook page to watch the Live recording of the ceremony. The Pink Out game is jam packed with action – from games and ceremony to special performances. The full photo gallery can be found here.

Pink Out 2020-1-3

In its second year, “Senior Survivor” was able to bring in $8,600 to benefit Jenison Pink Out. Based on the television show, 9 senior students attempt to raise money and compete in challenges to remain in the game. 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!

84920351_10215490569929606_7452923828100923392_o

The YEAR ROUND dream team behind Jenison Pink Out! Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have for the leadership of our Pink Out committee: Moni Marlink, Cindi Covell, Katy Hevelhurst, Jean Krzewski, and Donna Bergeon. 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!!

Pink Out 2020-27Pink Out 2020-26Pink Out 2020-25

Pink Out 2020-5

Principal, Jon Mroz accepts the Pink basketball in recognition of best Pink Out Spirit Day at Sandy Hill Elementary. Way to go kids little Wildcats!

Pink Out 2020-1-4Pink Out 2020-2-3Pink Out 2020-3-3Pink Out 2020-4-3Pink Out 2020-11-2Pink Out 2020-9-3Pink Out 2020-10-3Pink Out 2020-14-2Pink Out 2020-13-2Pink Out 2020-15-2Pink Out 2020-8-3Pink Out 2020-7-3Pink Out 2020-6-3Pink Out 2020-5-3Pink Out 2020-17-2Pink Out 2020-19-2Pink Out 2020-20-2Pink Out 2020-28-2Pink Out 2020-22-2Pink Out 2020-23-2Pink Out 2020-26-2Pink Out 2020-25-2Pink Out 2020-24-2Pink Out 2020-6-2

Global School Play Day

Five years ago, the first annual Global School Play Day was celebrated as the kick off of a grassroots initiative to raise awareness about the necessity of unstructured play. This week, Pinewood students were counted in the 563,283 students from 75 nations who participated in a Play Day at school.

4486d8_3e2294f6fb754a5b8c894c0ac0aef6d2~mv2_d_2441_1959_s_2If you walked into some of these classrooms yesterday, you might have thought “all play and no work” was happening. However, this unstructured, self guided play is allowing our children to develop socially, emotionally and hone problem solving skills. Play is an important part of learning and these are necessary skills that will be used for the rest of their lives.

Global School Play Day gives the students an exciting opportunity to let play take over the classroom for a day. Teachers encourage students to bring toys from home to share with their friends in class. They leave the devices and battery operated fun at home (which is easier for some). It also encourages some of the older kids to reacquaint themselves with toys and hobbies they haven’t enjoyed in a while.

Makers-28

Teachers and staff arrange the day and invite the toys, but nothing is organized beyond that. Children receive no adult instruction on how to play the games or who to play with.

Shanna Richey, Pinewood Kindergarten teacher enjoyed supervising her students and observing a special kind of leadership emerge from some of them. “Their faces just lit up as they were able to lead in sharing their toy. Some students had to explain how to play a game from home. It was so much fun watching each child find ways to share and play with others. I have had some very shy kids blossom on this day because they are able to lead in a new way of sharing their toy.” 

While some students found a new game or toy they really enjoyed, and some even found a new depth of friendship through this experience – everyone agrees, they can’t wait for next year’s play day! Play is a way of communicating and connecting so let me encourage our students and families to keep this sort of play alive!!

Unknown-2

 

Makers-37

Cards were fun for the older kids, they had fun teaching each other different games.

IMG_2039

Cross age learning buddies! Pinewood 4th grader (Brower) and Kindergardeners (Machiela) took this opportunity to play with and learn from each other!

Makers-32Makers-40

Makers-39Makers-27

Makers-35

Classic games are always a hit!

 

Dr. Peter Gray, Ph.D. is a research professor at Boston College. His current work focuses primarily on children’s natural ways of learning and the life-long value of play. In his TEDx lecture, Peter Gray clearly argues the case that today’s kids do not play enough and this has impacted them negatively. In the past 60 years, quality unstructured play has declined, while society sees a gradual increase in anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.

Kindergarten Screening Information

Now is the time to get your young student started on the path to success in our highly esteemed school district! Jenison Public Schools Kindergarten screening will take place next week, February 3-7, 2020. This year, the process is kicking off a little earlier than in the past, in order to help families make plans and have the peace of mind they desire.

If your child will be 5 years old by December 1, 2020 and you are considering Jenison Public Schools, please complete the online pre-registration form and schedule a screening appointment as soon as possible. All children entering Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten must complete this process.

83556526_2672391366149350_3848681397506015232_n 

Jenison Public Schools offers full day Transitional Kindergarten and full day Kindergarten, as well as Spanish Immersion Kindergarten programs for children who will be five years old on or before December 1, 2020. 

We believe that all students can learn, through a variety of instructional strategies and supports that meet the needs of each and every student. A creative, nurturing staff delivers a developmentally appropriate, yet challenging, curriculum that makes the Kindergarten experience a powerful foundation for your child’s education.

IMG_8926image1-3

Each child is unique and their date of birth doesn’t tell the whole story. The purpose of a kindergarten screening is to ensure a child is developmentally ready to start kindergarten and to determine whether any additional classroom supports may be needed. In general, each potential student will be evaluated on a range of tasks including self-care skills, language development, cognitive skills, gross motor skills, and fine motor skills.

13630022ae05a862066d0a0dcc0a976636abbaca125437516b06f435516c3884cd88670adde252ef 

The ability to personalize curriculum to be able to meet the needs of students, while addressing the required state standards is a guiding principle for all our staff. 

All Kindergarten programs are available to children who reside in Jenison as well as the surrounding area. Through the Schools of Choice program, Jenison Public Schools accepts students residing in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, and Muskegon counties without the necessity of a release from the district of residence.

We’re looking forward to meeting the next generation of Wildcats!

 

If your child will be 5 years old by December 1, 2020 and you are considering Jenison Public Schools, please complete the online pre-registration form and schedule a screening appointment as soon as possible. All children entering Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten must complete this process.

For further questions, please contact Lorri Gierman.

MIII9469

Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 10.26.28 AM

Jenison Public Schools is an award winning district!

 

 

JJHS Thespians Celebrate Diversity with Honk Jr. Musical

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 9.49.24 PM

The highly esteemed Jenison Public Schools Theatre program is back again with a story that will warm your heart on the coldest of winter days!

Honk! JR. is a celebration of being different that is sure to delight audiences of all ages with its wit, charm and deeply moving message. The Jenison Junior High School cast, crew, and production team have worked extensively creating an amazing production and are thrilled to share this timeless story with you.

Honk_JJHS_2020-3

The story you will see presented on stage has endured and evolved since the original published in the 19th century, but has remained as endearing as when it was first read and enjoyed in Denmark.  It continues to be relevant, as its themes are those of growth, understanding, and acceptance.  

Most of us can relate and have probably felt like the Ugly duckling at one point or another. Comparing ourselves to those around us, wondering why we couldn’t be more talented or more admired. Perhaps, wishing we could change something about our unique selves in order to better “fit in” with the world around us. Some may even have experienced very ugly circumstances because of our differences. 

Performances will take place at the Jenison Center for the Arts

Evening | January 23 and 24 | 7:00pm

Matinees | January 25 and 26 | 3:00pm

Tickets | $12 adults | $8 Senior Citizens | $6 Students under age 18 

Honk_JJHS_2020-6

I promise, you and your family will be filled with joy and pride as the main character finds the strength to hold his “head up high” and be himself. He reminds us that each and every individual has something very special to offer the world.

In the end, it is not Ugly’s surprise transformation that is the most remarkable. The more significant shift occurs within his community. When Ugly makes the decision to return to his family who rejected him and the poultry who picked on him, he opens the door for reconciliation and forgiveness. By enthusiastically accepting him in the end, they dedicate themselves to celebrating differences. With Ugly’s return, they find strength through individuality rather than division.

I’m always impressed with the teamwork and community mentality from the directors, students and thespian parents. Many junior high students are new to the stage but we see each and every single member of the cast and crew embrace their unique role – playing their part to the best of their ability. You will feel uplifted and inspired by their performance, and I hope you will celebrate and encourage the ways in which each of us is “different” and unique. (Click here for the full photo gallery.)

Honk_JJHS_2020-17

Break a leg, cast + crew! Once again, we are amazed by the hard work and dedication of the Jenison Thespians and can’t wait to see your latest production! You can get your tickets for this weekend here!

81168557_10157574212312110_4534617090908225536_n

Introducing the Jenison Junior High Theatre Directors

Honk_JJHS_2020

Carol Johnson (Choreographer), Julie Oosterink (Director) and Sarah Hazel (Music Director)

Carol Johnson is Director of Orchestras at Jenison Junior High, and loves being a part of the Jenison theatre program. Over the past seventeen years, she has served on the director team for over a dozen of Junior High and High School musicals as choreographer, vocal director, pit orchestra director, elementary director, pianist, and violinist. She also helps direct a youth musical each summer at her church. Starting in early childhood, she loved spending countless hours on stage as a dancer, instrumentalist, vocalist, and performer in many musical theater productions in her hometown.

Although, this is Julie Oosterink’s first year directing the JJHS Musical, she is no stranger to the stage or the Jenison Theatre program. As a Jenison student she studied theatre through electives, participated in the props crew and also sang and dance in the high school musicals. She found a love for directing during Festival of Plays. In 2018, she joined the JHS staff as an English Language Arts team member. She is thrilled to join the JJHS theatrical team this year and looks forward to celebrating the magic of theatre with Jenison students as they share their talents with our community.

Sarah Hazel is also a proud Jenison alumni, who graduated from JPS in 2011. Her love of theater began at a young age performing in musical productions at church. In high school, Sarah found her niche in the theater program both on and off stage. Sarah earned her Music Education degree at Western Michigan University and is now a full-time private voice instructor at JPS. She has been working with the Jenison Theatre program since 2016. To be a part of Jenison productions once again, this time as a music director, has been so enjoyable and very nostalgic. She feels very blessed to work with a team of teachers, students, parents, and volunteers that is so passionate about the arts.

Honk, Jr. Performance Photos

Check out the photos to get a peek at a show you don’t want to miss! Click here for the full photo gallery.

Honk_JJHS_2020-2Honk_JJHS_2020-4Honk_JJHS_2020-5Honk_JJHS_2020-7Honk_JJHS_2020-8Honk_JJHS_2020-9Honk_JJHS_2020-10Honk_JJHS_2020-11Honk_JJHS_2020-12Honk_JJHS_2020-13Honk_JJHS_2020-14Honk_JJHS_2020-15Honk_JJHS_2020-16Honk_JJHS_2020-17Honk_JJHS_2020-18Honk_JJHS_2020-19Honk_JJHS_2020-20Honk_JJHS_2020-21

Click here for the full photo gallery.

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 11.17.55 PM

 

 

Let’s Talk Vaping

There is no sugar coating the truth: real danger is lurking behind the sleek design and sweet flavors of e-cigarettes. The use of these devices and the vaping trend has been named the most serious adolescent public-health crisis our country has faced in decades.

Vaping and the use of e-cigarettes is the fastest growing trend among teens. According to the 2017 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey, 1 out of every 4 teens has used a “vape” in the past month. While updated study results will be forthcoming, the rapid growth of this trend suggests that the new numbers will paint an even more harrowing picture for the families in our community.

e-cigarettes-middle-and-high-school-use-medium

Nationwide data and graphic source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019

 

At Jenison Public Schools, we are proud to offer a world-class education that prepares students to achieve their goals and chase their dreams. This means that we are focusing on developing the whole child – intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. Which is precisely why I feel this topic is well worth the attention. Providing information for our students to make the best choices for today and their future is the right thing to do.

Vaping-9

David Stults developed popcorn lung after exposure to dangerous food chemicals. He is now informing students about the dangers of similar vaping substances.

Partnering with the Jenison Parent Resource Center to inform and educate, Dr. Brandon Graham welcomed speaker and vaping awareness advocate, David Stults. Dave spent the bulk of his day with us for student assemblies that occurred earlier today. There is also a free townhall event for parents this evening who are interested in more information. If you are unable to attend tonight’s event, please reach out to Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition for possible upcoming dates.

This is where we need to start – knowledge is power. When you know better, you can do better! This information will be vital in revealing the truth about the results of our students’ choices – and help parents know how to join the conversation.

Student Assembly Today:

Nearly 1,600 students (grades 7, 8, 9 and 10) went to the Jenison Center for the Arts today to participate in a presentation about the unknown truth and major health risks of vaping. Every moment of interruption to their traditional school day is worth the information gained.

David Stults, who is retired from GE became passionate about warning people of vaping dangers after being diagnosed in 2009 with bronchiolitis obliterans, more commonly known as “popcorn lung.’’ This is an incurable and possibly life threatening disease. Dave had been exposed to a chemical that was activated into a vapor during the microwave heating process. This same chemical is now commonly used in vaping products today. Life for Dave might be different today had someone warned against inhaling – or warned that the popcorn contained any hazardous chemicals. He has since become recognized as an expert in the field of vaping and has spoken at dozens of schools and to more than 25,000 students in 2019. His goal is to fight back while informing this generation of students and their parents.

Vaping-27

Stults aims to portray the real-life picture of what the chemicals do. He may look like a healthy person standing before them but he lets students know that their choices could be setting themselves up for an incurable disease with 40% lung capacity sooner than they might think. 

During the presentation, Dave asked 1/3 of the students present to stand. This represents a nationwide average of the students who have vaped. He acknowledges that the students may think this is a fun and social thing to do, but quickly educates that they are voluntarily inhaling and possibly becoming addicted to a deadly cocktail. The chemicals in e-cigarettes plus the nicotine present makes addiction and lifelong bodily harm a very real possibility; and it can happen quicker than you think.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 1.10.26 PM

2017 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey. We must change this perception! 

This 1/3 of students standing also contains the students who may be vaping on a regular basis and could already be addicted. Vaping pods have as much nicotine in one pod as 200 regular cigarettes. Which is a staggering number and almost impossible to keep track of. With a regular cigarette, it is lit, smoked and discarded. With the vaping pod, there is no way to know how much is actually being ingested. Every push of the button brings another hit, and when it can be done with minimal disguising effort such as inside the school bathroom or even the classroom – the frequency is likely to be much higher. 

Vaping-20

The numbers of students vaping looks different among the age groups in the assemblies today. The influence of this information among the younger kids will hopefully be strong enough to encourage them to never even try it. The older students may be faced with a different take away – now that you know better, what will you do? If you have students or grandchildren in 7-10th grade, I urge you to ask them what they learned today and open the dialog.

Free Town Hall Tonight:

Tonight, there is a free local town hall that is meant for parents, educators, youth pastors, community members – anyone who works with our youth. A one time presentation from experts like Dave Stults may make an impact on our students, but lasting change comes from continuing the conversation through support and reinforcement at home. As adults, we cannot afford to lack understanding regarding this trend or be flippant about these dangerous choices.

While Dave addressed our students today, he had this to share with parents: if you discover your child is vaping or addicted to vaping, it’s not time for discipline and disappointment, it’s time for connection and support. Help them navigate a life change within a positive environment. While these devices are fairly new, their reach is far and wide and hitting our young people harder than the temptation of the traditional cigarette. Also, far less research has been done on the full affects on the body and the challenge of quitting may be greater. More advice on quitting can be found here.

It really is scary to think of the health issues our students might have to deal with and the path this sort of possible addiction could lead them. I sincerely hope the result of these sessions is less use and a more informed community. Young adults who are able to make healthier choices while encouraging friends with positive influence. As well as a more aware and better informed parent community about the unintended health and addiction consequences that can result from vaping.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 1.20.00 PM

HELPFUL INFORMATION ABOUT VAPING:

IMG_1618

Graphic Source: The Real Cost, US Department of Health and Human Services