‘Santa’ is Everywhere!

 

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

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

Thespian Santa Breakfast, November 24

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

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

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Santa’s Woodshop, December 18 

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

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Santa’s Secret Shoppers, December 20

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

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Shop with a Sheriff

IMG_0226There was quite a scene near the entrance of the Jenison Meijer one week ago. Shoppers encountered emergency vehicles lighting the night sky with their flashers. No doubt, it caused a little confusion but once inside they would be met with a pleasant surprise. Members of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department and Georgetown Fire Department had responded to the call for a helping hand in a unique way: offering shopping guidance to fulfill Christmas wish lists for some Jenison families. Probably not part of their academy education, but they were up to the task!

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Starting the planning process shortly after school was back in session this fall; “Shop with a Sheriff” was organized by Ottawa County Deputy, Eric Smith. Deputy Smith reached out to Jenison Public Schools Parent Liaison, Mary Veldink and they got to work on a plan to ensure an enjoyable Christmas season for some families in the district. The 40 chosen students would have the chance to shop for family members with a little personal help from a friend.

The time and attention Deputy Smith put into making this happen can not be overlooked. He went so far as to personally match each student with a civil servant he thought they would be able to connect with and enjoy their time together. Creating some very meaningful touch points for the students. Meijer was also a very eager partner as they financially supported the shoppers with gift cards, wrapping paper and fueled everyone with treats and snacks.

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Our local heroes weren’t the only ones playing Santa’s Helpers that night. Tucked away on the second story in Meijer, was a room filled with a small army of Pinewood Elementary volunteers. Whether they were teaching the kids how to wrap presents, sharing a treat or a joke; their hearts were filled by the genuine smiles on the students’ faces. Kids were beaming with pride and anxiously awaited bringing home the gifts they had chosen for their family. It is heartwarming to see our students focus on the joy of giving to those closest to them.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the ingenuity and heart of community friends like Deputy Smith. His vision for this night and Mary Veldink’s commitment to JPS Families is priceless. Thank you Ottawa County Sheriff and Georgetown Fire Departments, and Meijer for making this holiday season extra special! and Team Pinewood for making this a memorable Christmas for your students.

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The Holiday Season is Time for the Arts!

With Thanksgiving just a week away and Christmas less than a month after that, our world is knee-deep in holiday plans. We create lists for groceries we need to buy, meals and cookies to make, cards to send and gifts to wrap. But in the midst of the flying reindeer and “silver bells,” wonderful celebrations are happening at Jenison Public Schools, too.

This week we’d like to highlight some of the very special events coming up across the district before the New Year, with arguably the most anticipated being the grand opening of Jenison Public Schools Center for the Arts!

Jenison Public Schools, Fine Arts Center

When this blog began over 100 weeks ago, we were just beginning to talk about this building — this dream — that we had for our students and our community. But when the time came to break ground, we got right to work. Now, looking back at photos from the summer of 2012, it’s amazing to think of how far we’ve come.

On behalf of the district, we’d like to invite you to one, or all, of the events that we have planned for the week after Thanksgiving. Whether it means attending the sneak peek, the ribbon cutting ceremony or the open house, we’d love to have you join us for this special moment in our collective history. Please see the image above for times.

Finally, please mark your calendars for these other exciting arts events. Because this list is not intended to be comprehensive, we encourage you to contact your child’s building leadership for concert times not included below.

JENISON HIGH SCHOOL HOLIDAY EVENTS: All located at Jension Center for the Arts (JCA)

12/10, 8 pm  Bands Christmas Concert

12/13-14, 7 pm  Festival of Plays

12/18, 7:30 pm  Choir/Orchestra Concert (Concert Orch, Sinfonia, Concert Choir)

12/19, 7:30 pm  Choir/Orchestra Concert (Symphony & Chamber Orchestra, Chorale, Advanced Women’s Choir, Chamber Choir)

JENISON JUNIOR HIGH HOLIDAY EVENTS: AT JCA

12/4, 7:30 pm  Jr High Choir Christmas Concert and Male Chorus

12/9, 7 pm  Jr High Orchestras

12/10, 6:30 pm  Jr High Bands

ELEMENTARY EVENTS: ALL AT JCA

**Elementary Honors Choir with Jr. High Choirs 12/4, 6:15 pm**

Bauerwood | 12/12, 7:30 pm  3rd, 4th, 5th grade

Bursley | 12/13, 7 pm 3rd, 4th, 5th grade (with Bursley Choir)

Pinewood | 12/11, 7:30 pm 3rd, 4th, 5th grade

Rosewood | 12/17, 7:30 pm 3rd, 4th, 5th grade (and choir students)

Sandy Hill | 12/16, 7:30 pm 3rd, 4th, 5th grade (and Spotlight Choir)