Junior High Career Showcase Impacts Young Minds and Hungry Bellies

At Jenison Junior High’s Annual Soup Supper and Career Showcase, there was much more than soup being poured out: there was love, too.

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career Showcase

Each year, the junior high hosts a soup supper in conjunction with its Career Showcase, with all proceeds going to support God’s Kitchen. Over the past ten years, the generous support of our community has raised well over $10,000 for the Grand Rapids’ charity, where a hot noontime meal is served each day, no questions asked.

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career Showcase

Eighth grader Veronica Howe manned the payment table in the cafeteria last Thursday night, crediting Teen Leadership teacher Judy Williams for getting the soup together and planning an incredible night for the community:

“We’re all assigned jobs and in about 45 minutes we had everything ready — tables covered and bowls and silverware set. This year we also used a GVSU broadcast to share the details of the night, so we have people coming in from all over, not just Jenison.”

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career Showcase

Art teacher Nate Greenwood stacked bowls from a year’s worth of ceramics classes made especially for this one event, counting the few left for purchase by the time soup service drew to a close:

“In every ceramics class, students know they’ll be making a bowl for the Soup Supper. So even classes that start this spring will create a piece that will be carefully stored away for next March’s event. Even with this planning, we’ve run out of bowls nine of the ten years we’ve done it! And the other year we probably only had three bowls left. It’s a good problem to have.”

Faith Stanton, Macey Faber, and special guest Olivia Cataldo were spotted hard at work in the kitchen. They all agreed that doing something simple, like creating salads, added their own special touch to the night and reminded them that they could help people in the community.

To accompany the meal, guests enjoyed performances by our outstanding junior high band, orchestra, and choir as well.

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career Showcase

Outside of the cafeteria were several displays and presentations including Science Olympiad, Theatre Club, Roman Sculptures, Tessellations, Photography, Art, and Scrapbook Clubs, Atomic Models, and more.

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career Showcase

Jenison Public Schools, Jenison Junior High, Career ShowcaseFinally, in different rooms and hallways throughout the building, character education was on display. Students from various 4th hour classes kept a post near each display to collect money that guests used as their “vote” for the best one. 8th grader Cole Bull is seen here (at right) representing the “Integrity” display.

We are so proud of the hard work and time spent planning this wonderful community night! Thank you to all the teachers, staff, and students who went the extra mile to impact young minds and feed hungry bellies at God’s Kitchen this year!

Soup’s On!

Last week Thursday evening Jenison Junior High did more than serve soup to hungry parents and students; they took a few small steps to help change lives for the folks at God’s Kitchen.

Since 2004 the Junior High has used the Student Showcase & Soup Supper to raise over $7,500 to benefit the Grand Rapids’-based charity that provides hot meals to the Heartside District every day. In addition to the financial support, a can drive offered extra blessings to those relying on help to “fill their soup bowl.”

Mr. Greenwood, art and ceramics teacher, uses his ceramics class to sculpt bowls during each of his 9-weeks classes. This year he was able to collect 220 bowls that were purchased by JJHS diners, but with the great turnout, the handmade bowls sold out half-way through the event!

Gabbi Vachon, Mr. Cataldo, and Ally Douglass (L to R) serve soup together.

Students in Mrs. Williams Teen Leadership class graciously acted as “cooks in the kitchen” by serving the food.  The Teen Leadership class promotes servant leadership both in and out of class, teaching kids what it means to lead, how to do so, and how servant leadership can help society. This class is also responsible for the annual “Legacy Project” which aims to leave a mark on the junior high by doing something that will make school easier for the next incoming class.

Ally Douglass

I spent some time speaking with Ally Douglass, one of the members of the Teen Leadership class who was all smiles. She noted that, “Putting others before yourself for the good of others is what we spend a lot of time learning about. It’s a lot easier to understand others once you understand servant leadership because you consider the problem on its own before getting yourself involved.”

In addition to the supper, students had the opportunity to showcase their best work in every subject area throughout the building. Science Olympiad, the Photography Club, history classes, and several others had displays out for visiting parents and community members to see.

Mrs. Mervenne’s Cooking 101 class was eager to show off their culinary creations and share their delicious cookies and cakes.

The students in Cooking 101 not only learn how to make spaghetti, all varieties of eggs, breakfast foods, and fajitas, they also spend time discussing the proper way to set a table, take inventory of the kitchen, and properly clean up and sanitize a cooking space.

Students Shelby Nyboer, Camryn Bowman, and Allie Stob (pictured above L to R) are on a cooking team together and have loved the experience of working as a group and learning how to make good food together. Their work reminds us all that with a little teamwork and the willingness to create something sweet, great things can emerge!

Kudos to the junior high for their efforts to relieve local hunger and make a difference in the world outside their door. We are proud of you!