National Philanthropy Day Recognition

 The Jenison High School student body has been generously giving back and raising awareness for the Make-a-Wish Michigan mission for the past 20 years. I join Tracy Mossburger and Kelly Cole, JHS Student Council Teacher Advisors, in expressing an immense amount of pride in the integrity and efforts of our students! The Make-a-Wish organization itself nominated our students for “Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy” and said they “exemplify the spirit of the Kids for Wish Kids program“. Our student council representatives found out about the nomination and award during the homecoming pep assembly earlier this year along with the whole student body.

This program is a platform for youth to create fundraisers to help support the mission and grant wishes of children battling critical illnesses. In 2014 and 2018, our students raised a total of almost $30,000 during homecoming events. Students fundraised through many creative ways; selling bracelets, stars, pizza slices and they even hosted a community carnival and tailgate party prior to the 2018 Homecoming football game. The students led the way to make this a successful community effort. 


Earlier this year at the homecoming pep assembly, the student body was surprised with the news that they had been nominated for and awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award.

In addition, each class adopted a child who had experienced a wish granted by Make-a-Wish Michigan, and created a themed float for the homecoming parade based on that wish. Our students were so inspired, and felt empowered to make a difference, through the chance to meet the local wish kids and partner with them on the creation of the float. 

“I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work with such amazing kids, they give so much of themselves each day to better our community. Please don’t ever think that high school kids can’t do something… give them some guidance, direction, and freedom to develop and they will do more than you can think possible! I am also lucky that I have gotten to connect with some pretty amazing people at, and through, Make-A-Wish.”

Tracy Mossburger,

Jenison High School Teacher and Student Council

Make-a-Wish Michigan has shown immense gratitude for the way our student body has displayed selfless acts of kindness for many deserving children in West Michigan. The creativity and perseverance of our students through these efforts shows them leading by example. The character of our students to work so hard, focusing on others is such an inspiring thing to witness. Go Wildcats!


Tracy Mossburger and Kelly Cole, JHS Teacher Advisors attended the award ceremony with the Student Council representatives . 


On November 12, the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan (AFPWM) honored Jenison High School with ‘Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award 2019’.

IMG_0297Make-a-Wish kid ambassadors in the 2018 Homecoming parade.

Homecoming Blog posts:

Homecoming Dreams Big 2018

Make a Wish for Homecoming 2018

Homecoming 2014


BEE the Change!

One could say a seed was planted when Vanessa Tran chose a random topic for an 8th grade essay assignment a few years ago. She got to work researching the dwindling population of bees and how important they are to the ecosystem. The statistics astounded her as she learned about their contribution and common misconceptions. Thus the ‘pollination’ of a new passion.

Now a sophomore and member of Jenison High School’s student council, Vanessa decided to speak up and take the opportunity to lead a social awareness campaign. The student council committee has embraced her vision, spent months preparing their messages and tactics; and have recently launched their multiple platforms for spreading the word.


Enjoy a great family night of fun and information to learn how you can BEE THE CHANGE!

Family movie night with concession sales (Showing Bee Movie and Spider Man Homecoming)

Local beekeeper Q&A conversations during the evening

Donation opportunities to help JHS build two hives to support a healthy, local bee population in partnership with Post Family Farm.


Their primary goal is based on the fact that knowledge is power. Education and awareness is necessary for making change happen. The students have engaged social media tools to spread their message as far and wide, and as quickly as they can. With community involvement, they hope to spread awareness to over 10,000 students, parents, and leaders across West Michigan. Their message is simple: Bee a good neighbor and help save our pollinator friends! Check out their newsfeeds and join the conversation!


The media community has taken notice as well. Check out local news coverage of the campaign: WWMT

This week, the students have also shared a goal of fundraising. The money raised will give them the opportunity to build two new bee hives to support a healthy, local bee population. These hives will be located at and maintained by the Post Family Farm.

Projects like these are so exciting as student council initiatives are almost completely student run, outside of school hours. I’m continuously impressed by our student body and their willingness to support other people’s passions. I hope you will support them in learning more and get involved in making our world a sweeter place!

It’s not surprising that they are well on their way to meeting their goal! They have been selling Post Family Farm donuts, tee shirts and buttons.

Students are using memes to spread quick bites of education.

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Sandy Hill Students Give Back During the Holidays!


This week the Student Council at Sandy Hill Elementary, aided by their fellow students, brightened the holiday season and break for many Jenison families!  For the past few weeks students have been bringing in donations that were packed up this week and will be distributed by student council representatives throughout the community.

MIII0550Student Council leader, Deb Streelman- Dismukes, explains, “This is a project that is promoted by our Student Council. Members are the represented voice for each class [2 student per classroom]. They take a leadership position in this project and their job is to encourage classmates to donate certain food and household cleaning items toward the baskets. They make announcements in front of the class after Student Council meetings in order to encourage their own class. The week before we deliver the baskets, students sort donations into groups.”

The contents of the baskets vary but usually include items such as canned vegetables, potatoes, butter or margarine, a fresh ham, milk, boxed desert, and other assorted boxed or canned foods. In the past they have also included cleaning supplies.
Sandy Hill has been playing this important role in the community for the past fifteen years when the number of local families receiving Title One benefits and free and reduced lunches increased. “Our students are proud to be helping. They do a great job sharing the information with their classes and they learn a valuable lesson in giving that will be with and influence them as they grow older.”
To protect recipients confidentiality student council reps are the only people in contact. “We drop them off to houses. Families are always thankful and excited to get a meal for the holidays, plus goodies for over the break!”

Principal Jonathan Mroz is proud of the work that Sandy Hill students do to benefit their community and agrees that the project is about more than the immedate act of giving. “Our Holiday Baskets have been a great way for our Sandy Hill community to support one another.  This is the season of giving, and this project has provided us the opportunity to give back directly to our students and families in a way for them to not worry about something that many of us take for granted.  This project allows us to meet the needs others, but also have our students see that importance of helping others.”

“We think it important to contribute to our immediate community & have changed both this project and hat/mitten/sock tree to help our school. It is great to see the impact our help has on the kids and their families!” – Deb Streelman – Dismukes