Retiring Teachers – Class of 2020

Please join me as I express my deep gratitude to these 6 teachers who have given so much to a diverse group of Jenison students. They represent the culture of Jenison of going above and beyond. If your students have had the privilege to study under these teachers, I encourage you to reach out, wish them well and thank them for their dedicated careers.

  • Todd Avery
  • Brett Dyke
  • Jan Camilleri
  • Rachel Elenbaas
  • Stacey Harig
  • Mary Muller

Todd Avery – Jenison High School

I leave you with a quote that has always meant a lot to me and guided my life, “If you give a little of yourself, you will get twice as much back. Try to help someone.  Do your part. I promise it will come out twice as good.”
  – Mrs. Helen Lemke, my grandmother

Todd recently completed his 26th year as teacher and director of the Theatre Arts program for Jenison High School. He spent these years investing into students on and behind the stage. Under Mr. Avery’s direction, the JHS Thespians have performed murder mystery productions, outdoor children’s shows, 24 Hour Play Festivals, an annual fall play and spring musical, as well as participating in theatre festivals across Michigan. The Jenison community is grateful for the Thespian program he spent his career building. We have been blessed with over 60 wonderful productions from our high school players during his time. Another proud accomplishment is developing one of his favorite projects: the annual JHS Thespians’ Santa Breakfast. For over ten years, he built a Jenison tradition as he played the cherished role of the man in the red suit!

In addition to teaching and directing, Todd spent time acting and directing for local theatre companies. He was also honored at the Michigan Thespian Festival by being inducted into the Michigan Educational Theatre Association Hall of Fame in 2013. In his “free” time, Todd also enjoys taking in as much live theatre as he can.

Todd sees this step of retirement as a transition into something new. Perhaps teaching or directing at a collegiate level, playwrighting, coaching younger actors or going after a major motion picture role for himself! One of the things he is looking forward to most is time with his loved ones and that may include a trip to New Zealand with his wife Penny, or the bucket list road trip of driving Route 66 in a fancy convertible!


Brett Dyke – Jenison High School

Thank you Jenison for some amazing memories. Some of of the best came from classroom discussions and building relationships through athletics, leading some teams to conference, district and regional championships.

Brett spent about half of his 33 year teaching career at Jenison High School. He most recently taught in the Family and Consumer Science Department with Health and Physical education classes. He also coached the Varsity Boys basketball team for 16 years.


In his time away from the classroom, Brett enjoys golf, travel and spending time with his family. He and his wife Julie are looking forward to more time for all of those plus some DIY projects during retirement.


Jan Camilleri – Sandy Hill Elementary

“Thank you to the wonderful staff that I have had the privilege to work with, the great Jenison administrators and their leadership, and especially to the Jenison community for the opportunity to work for 30 years with children from the community.”

Jan spent the last 30 years teaching in 3 different JPS buildings, working for 5 different principals, and teaching in both special education and general education classrooms. If she wasn’t the amazing special education teacher that she was, she would have probably put her tender heart and listening ear to work for the senior citizen population. 

Jan’s passion for teaching doesn’t allow her to shy away from a challenge; she spent over a year teaching English as a second language to a group of Congolese adult refugees, without knowing any Swahili or French. No matter who her student is, she wanted them to go away feeling encouraged and believing in themselves.

Jan and her husband Joe, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this summer and they are looking forward to spending more time with their adult daughters, camping, hiking and exploring. They will also be re-planning her oldest daughter’s wedding


Rachel Elenbaas – Rosewood Elementary 

“Teaching in Jension has given me some of the best years of my life.  I will remember the great times teaching brilliant students alongside excellent teachers.”

Rachel Elenbaas has been pouring into little Wildcats at Jenison Public Schools since 1990.  She began her career teaching in a resource room at Bursley Elementary. The following school year brought her to Pinewood Elementary where she taught in the program for the Emotionally Impaired students for 9 years. From there she moved to Rosewood and taught 3rd grade for 12 years.  She has finished out her time with us in the resource room as an Interventions Specialist, and she will be very missed.

While she does enjoy gardening and sewing, she has additional exciting ideas for her upcoming retirement. Rachel and her husband (also a retired teacher) are planning some upcoming trips with their adult kids that include hiking, biking and skiing. 

Rachel plans to take on a unique position of private teaching for a family during the Covid pandemic. I’m also thankful that Rachel will be sharing her knowledge and passion for these special students as she plans to mentor 1st year Special Education teachers who are in Grand Valley’s intern program. 


Stacey Harig – Sandy Hill Elementary 

“I am so thankful for my grade level teams, students, families, and all district staff who I have worked with over the years! It has been a fulfilling experience with many wonderful memories with all of you! I was very fortunate to be a part of Jenison Public Schools!”

Stacey began in Jenison with a student teacher position at Sandy Hill. Following graduation and a year of teaching in Ohio, she came back to stay. She taught first grade for the majority of her career because she loved seeing this unique phase of exponential growth in learning which happens at this grade level. Stacey was a very important part of a huge year of progression for many students. She considers herself a cheerleader for her students long after they have left her first grade classroom.

Stacey and her husband Ron (also a retired Jenison teacher) enjoy family time with their college age children and like to enjoy Michigan outdoor activities as much as possible. They are looking forward to fully retire by moving up north and making new family memories in northern Michigan.


Mary Muller – Rosewood Elementary

“Do what you love. Love what you do. I’ve been lucky enough to say that I’ve been able to do that in my 39 year teaching career. I’m going to miss my many students, the staff, and lifelong friends I’ve made along the way. Hopefully, I’m gone, but not forgotten.”

Mary calls her 40 years of teaching special education students her dream job. She can’t even imagine what she would be if she wasn’t a teacher – it was always her childhood wish. Her favorite moments during the last 4 decades was watching the progress of her students, seeing them as the capable, achieving students they were – who exceeded expectations time and again. One of her hopes as an educator was to instill a love of learning in her students, as she shared her own passion for learning with them.

During retirement, Mary plans to play lots of tennis, pickle ball, golf, and anything else she can do to be active. She’d also like to travel to see the world, and see her grown children more, who currently live out of state. She may even slow down enough to read a book or two in her spare time.

JPS Board of Education Members (3)

The Jenison Board of Education is a group of elected members who work extremely hard to partner with me and the entire Jenison Public School Administration team, the teachers and the community.

I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table, and employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success.

Our board members are on the forefront of our pursuit of relentless commitment to the Jenison Public School district. I am excited to introduce each of our valuable board members to you.

You’ve already met Amanda Peterman, Bill Waalkes, Jennifer Postema and Eric Hartman and this week, we will finish with Craig Jenison, Craig Rockwell and Mark Richter. Thank you, Board of Education, for your passion and dedication to the families of our district.


Craig A. Jenison

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

As a fifth generation founding family member, Craig Jenison is firmly planted in our community. He married his high school sweetheart, Kelly, and they have proudly seen their two sons go through Jenison Public Schools.

Craig founded his own law firm in 1990, around the same time his oldest son started Kindergarten. Memories of his own experience going through JPS prompted the start of his position on the Board of Education that same year. His love for, and commitment to the families in our community has been nonstop for 30 years. He was also part of the Jenison Athletic Boosters while his boys played a variety of sports. Craig is convinced that there is a high quality life experience to be gained at JPS which needs to be preserved for the success of future generations. Our community has benefited from Craig’s commitment in countless ways over the years.

In his spare time, Craig uses the same level of passion to play golf, spend time with his family up north, and does his best to take advantage of the slower seasons in life.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“It’s been such an honor to be part of an organization that has enjoyed consistent and stable leadership. A district with a history as long as ours but has only had 3 superintendents, speaks volumes of the deep strength and commitment we have seen from these men, as well as the community who supports us.”

“When I first started my position with the Board of Education, I was advised to view every decision through the lens of ‘What is best for our students?’ that advice rings just as true today as it did then. And I believe this is the driving force for our entire board and staff. Over the years, it has also grown to intentionally consider how we can support our students as a whole-person.  Expanding beyond their education in the classroom while showing concern for social, emotional and mental health and wellness. 


Dr. Craig Rockwell

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

Craig has been part of the Jenison BOE for 14 years. He is every bit an important team player, ready and willing to help out and go the distance for our district.

He established his Jenison based chiropractic practice 38 years ago and has enjoyed being a licensed amateur radio operator for 42 years. Craig and his wife Marjorie have three children that attended Jenison Public Schools. 

He enjoys antique model trains and loves to share this with others. He was instrumental in installing (and now maintaining) the model train that runs at the Early Childhood Center.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“The administrative team at Jenison is fantastic, hardworking and committed to each student. Working with these wonderful people has been one of the highlights of my time on the board. Our district is marked by a very cooperative, team-focused atmosphere and this is a very talented and professional group of people – and the envy of many surrounding districts. I can truthfully tell you that there is none better than our Jenison Administrators.”

“I really love graduation and hearing about all the great accomplishments of the students. As I experience my final Jenison High School graduation ceremony soon and conclude my 14 years on the JPS Board of Education, I would like to thank all my fellow school board members through the years for the help and guidance they have offered. Our district has been blessed with a wonderful group of people and it was a gift for me to have met each one. I also want to thank the voters of Jenison for entrusting the responsibilities of BOE member to me. This has been a great experience, you are special to me and ‘Together, we are Jenison’.”


Mark Richter

Jenison Board of Education, Treasurer

The Richter family may not be Jenison born and raised but they’ve come to love our community and they wasted no time getting involved once their daughters were enrolled here. Mark and his wife Marnie served on the Bursley Parent Club board and also followed their girls into sports and orchestra volunteer opportunities.

Mark is currently President/CEO for a local credit union and in his first term as a member of the Jenison Board of Education. His drive to see our district grow and remain competitive has propelled him through projects of all sizes. While on the Bursley Parent Club board, the group worked together to reclaim an unusable area of the playground by raising funds and donating their Saturday to clean it up. Mark was also the co-chair for a recent ‘Vote Yes for JPS’ committee to pass the JPS bond proposal that helped build the Kids First building, among other items of need for the district.

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“Making sure that ALL students feel welcome at JPS is something we work really hard for. I’m glad that we have recently started an Equity Task Force to consider these things. It’s an honor to partner on this committee with other board members, parents, students and administrators.”

“I am excited to be in the BOE role at Jenison and I love that our district has so many programs for students to participate in. The community is truly a strong partner that has given us the resources to excel and put our district on the map. Our natatorium is one of the best on this side of the state and our recently new Jenison Center for the Arts offers a great showcase for our bands, orchestras and performing arts programs.”


Thank you for joining me as I express a well deserved, ‘thank you’ for all of the hard work and dedication from our Board of Education members. These volunteers give their time and energy selflessly as servant leaders, striving to help make Jenison an amazing place to learn and grow. 

I have been very blessed to have the opportunity to work with such gifted, dedicated, and compassionate men and women who serve on the Board of Jenison Public Schools. The strength of their leadership and determination that Jenison Public Schools excel in everything that we do continues to set the bar high for all of us who serve the children and parents of our school district. 

JPS Board of Education Members (2)

The Jenison Board of Education is a group of elected members who work extremely hard to partner with me and the entire Jenison Public School Administration team, the teachers and the community.

I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table, and employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success.

Our board members are on the forefront of our pursuit of relentless commitment to the Jenison Public School district. I am excited to introduce each of our valuable board members to you.

Last week, you met Amanda Peterman and this week you will meet Bill Waalkes, Jennifer Postema and Eric Hartman.


William T. Waalkes

Jenison Board of Education, Trustee

The longevity of Bill’s participation in the Jenison Public School district is remarkable and admirable. Wildcat class of 1971, Bill has been on a journey with JPS from the early days. 

When Bill becomes a part of something – it becomes a part of him. Our district has benefited from his steadfast commitment as he showed up in many ways while his own 3 children were students. This includes being a part of the school improvement team at Bauerwood and sitting on the board of the Jenison Public Education Foundation. Even though Bill is now a grandfather with grandchildren in the district, he hasn’t relinquished his ‘band dad’ title as he continues to own the role of equipment chair person with the Jenison marching band for 21 years.

Retired from Steelcase Payroll Department after 35 years, still logging time preparing tax returns after 40 years and serving JPS as a BOE member for the last 21 years. Bill is a man of numbers and his service is impressive. The numbers we can’t calculate are the countless hours he has spent pouring into our staff and students in small and big ways. 

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“As a board of education, we enjoy great cooperation between the schools and parents. Our board members vary in age, work backgrounds, experience and come from different districts, but we all strive to work together to make sure that the Jenison is doing what is best for our students.” 

“Considering we are a relatively new district and are pretty small compared to our neighbors (in land area); we have a very large number of school of choice students. I love being a part of the Jenison family and I’m so proud of the quality of the education that JPS provides – it speaks for itself and makes a mark in our region.”


Jennifer Postema

Jenison Board of Education, Secretary

During the early years of her marriage, Jen and her husband, Adam chose to move to Jenison because of the small, family-friendly community and school district with strong academic and fine arts programs. Today, she works tirelessly to uphold those values and keep our strong reputation intact.

Early on in the education journey of their four children, Jen caught the bug for involvement at Jenison Public Schools. Volunteering in many different classroom and extra curricular capacities, as well as holding formal member positions on boards and advisory committees. 

Jen is authentic in every action and interaction, she is involved and relevant. She engages staff and students of all ages with an open heart and unconditional acceptance. Over the years, she has fallen in love with the family that is Jenison Public Schools and has met every opportunity with more than 100% commitment. Her experiences have allowed her to have a finger on the pulse of families throughout the district and she is a proud advocate for them as a much appreciated board member.

IN HER OWN WORDS:

“I consider it an honor and privilege to be serving the Jenison community. I truly care about the students, staff, and families. Investing in the schools not only supports and impacts the success of our students but is a critical investment in our community. I have learned a great deal over the years, and I’m looking forward to more of all of it! Serving the community in love with hard conversations and decisions that protect the integrity of the Jenison tradition of excellence, excites me day after day.”

“My time within this community and district has given me MANY great memories. Above that, are the numerous relationships that I have been blessed with. Long lasting friendships that have made me into a better person. I’m also completely humbled when students tell me that I have made a difference in their lives. Words cannot express how that feels, but little do they know that those students have touched me so much more. I love the experience I have with the students helping backstage in a theater production, and how the students impact me to be a better leader and friend. It’s so much fun to hear the kids’ experience and how something like theater makes a real impact on their lives.” 


Dr. Eric Hartman

Jenison Board of Education, Vice President

Eric is a west Michigan native and he and his wife Kimberly chose Jenison as their home 12 years ago. They enjoy a very full life with their 3 boys. Ryan is going into 3rd grade at El Puente. JJ and Timothy, who recently joined their family through adoption after a 3 year fostering journey, are at Rosewood in 2nd and 1st grade. 

Eric is a well established local business owner with his Chiropractic practice. As a proponent of overall health and wellness, Eric enjoys staying active and grilling up good, healthy food. His lifestyle and core beliefs are appreciated and revealed through his heartfelt and engaged attitude during the decision making process as a board. 

IN HIS OWN WORDS:

“I have been on the board for 11 years and I get to relive my greatest memory and highlight each year with graduation. We have watched so many of these kids, now young adults, grow up, work so hard, and graduate. Seeing the joy on their faces and the pride exuding from their parents is my highlight. We rotate passing out diplomas and even get the opportunity to request a few students that we are connected with. That extra chance to share in their special day is priceless and the best honor of being on the board of education.”

“Over the years, we have had a number of board members come and go but each has put in their time with a servant heart.  Each member comes in without any significant personal agenda, learns, often from a fire hose at first, all the intricate details of what it takes to run a large school district, then turns around and uses their gifts, education, and life experiences to help advise our administration and district to keep it safe, healthy, and reflect the values that our community have. We remain very unified throughout all our decisions. It’s been an incredible experience to be a part of!”

JPS Board of Education Members

The Jenison Board of Education is a group of elected members who work extremely hard to partner with me and the entire Jenison Public School Administration team, the teachers and the community.

I am proud to collaborate with each one of them as they bring their diverse thoughts and experiences to the table, and employ their skills with vigor as we continue to launch our district towards success.

Our board members are on the forefront of our pursuit of relentless commitment to the Jenison Public School district. I am excited to introduce each of our valuable board members to you over the next few weeks.


Amanda Peterman

Jenison Board of Education, President

A 17 year Jenison resident who deeply loves the close knit feel of our community, Amanda and her husband, Daniel have three children. Between the activities of her children, she has enjoyed being a part of many of the different programs offered by Jenison Public Schools; Parent Club, Marching band, Performing Arts, Athletics, Special Education LINKS program and other clubs.

As a family, they love spending time together outdoors camping, going to the beach, visiting their family cabin up north, summer weeks in South Haven, and trying new restaurants.

Amanda exudes a contagious passion for children and families in her many roles as a volunteer in her church and at school, as well as her full time position with Bethany Christian Services. Her leadership role on our Board of Education is much appreciated as she continues her second 6 year term.

IN HER OWN WORDS:

“What I love best about our time together as a board is our monthly meetings. We are given great opportunities to meet and honor various volunteers, teachers and students from all over the district. This time is set aside to learn about and affirm unique contributions to the district that might otherwise go unnoticed! I have met so many amazing parents, students, volunteers, teachers and administrators along the way. From parents building playground equipment, serving as crossing guards to families taking on fundraising for building improvements, to our amazing district Parent Advocate team and all the families they’ve helped along the way, to literacy coaches to media specialists, etc. And the kids!!! That is, of course, the most rewarding aspect of serving on the board – seeing kids blossom and  grow to their potential from grade school up through HS.  We have some amazing leaders in these kids! They are kind, thoughtful and generous.”

“I really do believe our district and our board is unique in that we have safety and space for honest dialogue, but have a deep sense of unity and love for the kids in our district. We also have a strong, healthy relationship with administration as well as with the teachers and the Michigan Education Association. There is strong mutual respect among our groups.”

Books on a Bike

This week, Jenison Pinewood elementary families experienced a fun delivery right in their own neighborhood. Something even more sweet than the summer ice cream trucks! Pinewood Principal, Dr. Rachael Postle-Brown and others from her staff hopped on the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Book Bike. They took turns pedaling around the Pinewood neighborhood, having a great time passing out free books and smiles!

Keeping our students engaged and learning year round is so important and having access to high quality books is crucial for kids to continue reading, especially when they have been out of school for so long. 

Pinewood Elementary already has a free mini library in front of the building that is stocked for families to visit, but the Book Bike was sure to add even more excitement. Bringing the books to students in this unique way also gave the opportunity for staff to see many students, share a book and a friendly hello in a safe and socially distanced way.

Between yesterday evening and this morning, they spent about 4 hours riding through the neighborhood visiting families and students, passing out books and smiles!

The Pinewood Student Council works to raise money to provide school wide book shopping days for all students a few times a year. With the shorter in-person school year, they had plenty of great books ready to be loaded into the Book Bike. The Pinewood student council teachers, Mrs. U’Ren and Mrs. Carpenter pick out and order the books ensuring they have popular titles for all ages.

Dr. Brown (right) was really excited to try this experience when one of her teachers suggested it, “It’s been very difficult to not see our students for this extended break, this was a really great way to be able to bring our community together in a way that was safe for everyone. We distributed just under 100 books!  Which was great for our first ride with the Book Bike. “

I’m so grateful for all our Jenison Staff as they have been relentlessly encouraging their students to stay sharp over the summer. And parents, thank you for partnering with us to encourage your child to read daily. As little as 15 minutes a day will help them maintain academic skills and develop habits that will benefit them now and in the future.

Please Vote on Tuesday, August 4

From humble beginnings, Jenison Public Schools has risen to be a dynamic and nationally recognized school district. These recognitions and achievements have been made possible by the strong relationships we have with the families we serve and community we represent.

We are proud of our longstanding tradition of excellence and continued success. We attribute both to the hundreds of educators and community members working together to provide our students with a world-class educational experience. The opportunities our students have been given to develop their talents in terrific facilities is a tribute to our entire Jenison community.

On August 4, our taxpayers are being asked to consider a no tax increase bond proposal that is focused on protecting the investments our community has made in our district facilities.

Continue to learn more about the exciting plans for facility improvements. You are also invited to join me, virtually, for a Facebook live event in two weeks to discuss the importance of this bond issue to the future of Jenison Public Schools.

The date of the live Facebook discussion is Thursday, July 23 at 11:00am. You can join the conversation by visiting the Facebook page.
You are also invited to email any questions you have over the next couple of weeks to jpsbondquestions@gmail.com.

Click here to visit the JENISON BOND PROPOSAL WEBSITE






Our district is service oriented, and we are committed to be champions for the children we are privileged to educate. When our students and staff are not preoccupied with the temperature and ventilation in the room, whether there’s a space to teach and learn, and there’s a belief that the environment is safe and secure; we can focus on what matters the most; pouring ourselves into the moldable lives that we are blessed to work with every single day. 

With our community’s investment in our facilities and educational programming, we will continue to provide a program of excellence for all students. Parents and community members partnering with Jenison Public Schools to impact our children has been a winning formula for the success of our schools. This is the essence of the saying, ” Together we are Jenison”.

Please vote on August 4.

TOGETHER, WE ARE JENISON!


FULL LIST OF PROJECTS TO BE COMPLETED:

  • REPLACEMENT OF FAILING HEATING & VENTILATION SYSTEMS
  • ADDITION OF AIR CONDITIONING TO OUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS
  • UPGRADING SECURITY AND VIDEO MONITORING SYSTEMS
  • NEW MAIN OFFICE AND SECURITY ENTRANCE AT SANDY HILL ELEMENTARY
  • PROTECTIVE FILM ON GLASS PARTITIONS AND DOORS IN SECURITY VESTIBULES
  • UPDATED FIRE ALARMS, CLOCKS, AND INTERCOM SYSTEMS
  • ADDITION OF CLASSROOMS AT BURSLEY ELEMENTARY & THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
  • BUILDING MULTIPURPOSE SPACE FOR BAND & ATHLETICS AT THE HIGH SCHOOL
  • DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENT & ENHANCEMENTS
  • REPLACEMENT OF UNSAFE AND OUTDATED PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT
  • DISTRICT BATHROOM RENOVATIONS (NEW STALLS, CEILING PANELS, FLOORING, FIXTURES, & MIRRORS)
  • ADDED PARKING LOT ON 20TH AVENUE TO ADDRESS UNSAFE PARKING ISSUES
  • BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS (PAINT, CLASSROOM BOOKSHELVES, CEILING TILES, ETC.)
  • PURCHASE OF BUSES

Community Food Update

Since March 13, Jenison Public Schools has had a small army of food service staff and volunteers working super hard to keep our local families fed! In the early days of the COVID-19 closure, they used our food inventory efficiently and solved problems quickly.

Now 16 weeks later, they are a well oiled machine with this new distribution method and I am so proud to share that we have served nearly 260,000 meals to students in our community.

Although the end of school year dates have officially come and gone, we’re not done yet! Jenison High School and Hudsonville High School will continue serving through the summer with distribution dates of July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3 at 11:30am-12:30pm.

Again, I’m so grateful for Mary Darnton, Director of Food Service and her team in the Jenison Food Service department for their steadfast commitment and caring hearts as they support our community in this impactful way.

LINK TO PREVIOUS STORY: Jenison Food Service Continues to Serve During COVID-19 School Closure

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!

Recognition for our Athletic Leaders

Jenison Varsity Football Coach, Rob Zeitman and Jenison Athletic Director, Tim Ritsema have received some exciting recognitions. Both men are well respected in their fields and committed to the families they serve in the Jenison community. The dedicated efforts from both of these leaders make our Wildcats Roar!

Rob Zeitman is nearing 20 years in Secondary Education. He loves focusing on all of his students – in the Economics and World History classrooms as well as on the football field. He led his staff as they spent many hours during the COVID-19 closure lending their time and muscles to help the Jenison Food Service Department continue to feed the community.

A member of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, Coach Zeitman is a leader among his peers and has been elected Regional Director. Having him as a part of the Jenison family, teaching our students, and coaching our athletes is of great value to the Jenison community!

We’re blessed to have Tim Ritsema leading our 7-12 athletic program. His passion and commitment to our student athletes is exceptional. He was recently recognized with the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association “Award of Merit”. Elected by peers, this award is given annually for the demonstrated long-term contributions, leadership and meritorious service to their profession. Jenison has definitely benefited from his experience and the expertise he has shown. Full MIAAA news story here.