JHS Recognized with Michigan Exemplary Athletic Program award

The honor and privilege of serving as the Superintendent of Jenison Public Schools is a humbling, yet greatly rewarding experience. As a destination school for many families, it’s no secret just how amazing this place is.

It is well deserved when our staff and programs are recognized for their excellence. JHS has been honored by Newsweek Magazine multiple times as the Best High Schools in America, the Washington Post’s most challenging high school as well as a GRAMMY Foundation Signature School. Also, receiving recognition as one of the best 100 communities in the nation for music education nine times.


Cody Inglis – MHSAA Director, Tim Ritsema – JHS Athletic Director, Brandon Graham – JHS Principal, Emily Siler – Student Athlete and Tom TenBrink – JPS Superintendent. Banner held by Athletic Booster representatives, Erich Stoezner and Jason Kyle.

Not only do we have an outstanding music and fine arts program, but a successful athletic program as well. Established in 1971, Jenison has a short but rich history of athletics and hard working supporters. At Jenison, we believe in the value and benefits of dedication, motivation, and perseverance. We see our athletic program as a vital part of our total educational program and take pride in its achievements. 

At our Homecoming football game on September 20, Jenison was officially recognized as an Exemplary Athletic Program by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s (MIAAA). We are one of 25 schools that have received this award – and only a handful of them are in the West Michigan area. This is the result of many years of hard work to create a quality infrastructure and a reputable athletic experience; one that functions as an extension to our fantastic educational and fine arts programs.

Former Athletic Director, Kevin Van Duyn (also 1983 Jenison student athlete/graduate and coach), was instrumental in laying the groundwork to bring our program to this point. After his nearly 20 year career at JPS concluded, it was an honor to see him inducted into the Jenison Athletic Hall of Fame in March of 2019. He embodies a core belief that good sportsmanship and personal integrity are the foundation of what defines success in both winning and losing situations.


Tim Ritsema, Jenison High School Athletic director is happy to carry the torch and keep our athletic program operating at Exemplary status:

“We’re not perfect but it’s exciting to receive recognition for the hard work that’s taken place. We have some state of the art facilities and the Jenison athletic department strives to share the District’s vision, mission, and core values by stressing Community, Achievement, Tradition, and Service – CATS. When everybody rows together in this endeavor, everyone wins – regardless of the trophies and banners that are on display.” 

Recipient schools experience rigorous screening including an application process, written documentation of the program’s strengths and a two-day visit by an MIAAA evaluation team. Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) states that this award honors programs that model excellence and equity. Schools that are providing for what is best in educationally sound high school athletics.  

Our teachers are relentless in the classroom and many of them continue that effort on the fields after school – 56 of our staff are in assistant or head coach positions at JHS. Our district-wide commitment to the advancement of the emotional, social, moral and physical growth of all of our participants remains strong and is a key component to this recognition. 

I’m beyond grateful for the work of all members of our athletic department to support our “blue ribbon” level program. Our students benefit immensely from relationships built with coaches, the challenge of competition and lessons of teamwork. Go Wildcats!


Cody Inglis – MHSAA Director presenting the award to Tim Ritsema – JHS Athletic Director

Check out this video footage of the beautiful outdoor Jenison Athletic Campus:


Celebrating MHSAA and NHS Students at Jenison

JHS National Honor Society Students (not all present)

This week I’m excited to highlight some of the phenomenal young people we’re privileged to have walking the halls of Jenison High School: members of our National Honor Society and two MHSAA Scholar Athlete Award winners!

I’ll turn my attention first to our NHS students. I sometimes forget the rigorous requirements in place for students wishing to becoming a member of the National Honor Society. First, only students earning a 3.65 GPA or better are invited to apply for membership. Then, NHS advisors consider each application (hundreds, actually) blindly, narrowing down the field to an elite group possessing outstanding qualifications in the areas of academics, character, service, and leadership.

With annual projects ranging from Thanksgiving baskets to Toys for Tots to a winter blood drive, principal Brandon Graham couldn’t be more proud of this special group of kids.

“They’re characters who have character,” he joked in his office. “Honestly, these students are some of Jenison’s finest.”

We join him in saluting NHS!

We also want to salute the winners of Michigan’s highly coveted MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award. In our entire state, just 32 of these awards are handed out and Jenison is lucky enough to have two recipients!

Mr. Josh Hoogendoorn

Miss Alexis Stanton

Josh Hoogendoorn is a senior at JHS with aspirations to go on to MSU for accounting.

In the meantime, however, Josh is an All-State powerlifter who dead lifted 385 pounds as a JV lifter.

Did I mention that he only weighed 132 pounds when he accomplished that?

Powerlifting competitions are made up of three lifts: the bench press, the squat, and the dead lift. Josh’s specialty is the latter.

And while he’s not ready to publicly share his goals for his next meet, he quietly shared that he was able to deadlift 460 pounds in the gym during practice.

When he’s not practicing in the weight room, you can find Josh leading the Wildcats as captain of the football team, playing varsity baseball, and working year-round to maintain the high academic standards that got him this recognition.

Congratulations, Josh!

Alexis Stanton is also a senior athlete who divides her time between basketball, cross country, and track.

With dreams of becoming a pediatrician, she is currently weighing her college options between UCLA, Columbia, UNC, and U of M.

She notes, humbly, that she is in a bit of disbelief over her latest accolades. “I’m not the best player on the team,” she says. “I’m a good team player—I’m balanced. I think they like to choose students who are involved both in and out of school.”

Alexis is a member of the National Honor Society and, like Josh, consistently strives for excellence in the classroom.

Congrats, Alexis!

All of these students demonstrate leadership, integrity, and the pursuit of their personal best in all scholastic and extra-curricular arenas.

We are so proud of their effort and the way they represent Jenison Public Schools! Bravo!