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


“Stay Classy, Jenison!”

This summer a handful of students and teachers came up with an idea they believed had the power to revolutionize Jenison High School. It wasn’t complicated, it didn’t cost anything, and it didn’t come from a motivational speaker. Instead, it challenged students to be respectful of the school, of one’s self, and to always put their best foot forward.

The challenge was to “Stay Classy, Jenison!” Who knew two words would become the language of a high school? The “brand” of its students?

Jenison High School student congress members with 2012 staff advisors.

This year’s student congress, comprised of 47 students representing all four grades, have spearheaded several school-wide events such as Homecoming, Powder Puff, Monster Mash Dance, Your Change Can Change Hunger, and NHS Christmas Giving to name a few. Spring will bring Earth Day Activities and Graduation, and student congress will be there from start to finish.

The common thread through it all? Elevating the ordinary so that it is extraordinarily classy. It’s the new norm; the new expectation.

Connecting students around this “brand” has been made easy with the school’s “Stay Classy” bulletin board. It received a fresh coat of paint this summer and is now the hub for all school student council-led activities. Need a sign-up sheet? Check the Stay Classy Board. Want to see the new T-shirts? Check the board!

Advisor Tracy Mossburger recently shared that several students have approached her, thanking her for this central meeting point. What’s more, the work that Mrs. Mossburger and fellow advisors Mrs. Roby and Mr. Russell do to recognize students makes them the heart of the movement.

Mr. Russell, Mrs. Roby, Mrs. Mossburger

For example, did you know that at each dance all three advisors spend the evening canvassing the dance floor snapping pictures of as many kids as possible?  The goal: make each kid famous by catching them having fun and then posting their photo on the Stay Classy board. After a week or so, students are invited to grab their photos for a fun souvenir.

Kids aren’t the only ones talking about this new kind of school pride—parents and community members are noticing, too.  Parents are seeing that small steps toward excellence yield considerable gain. They’re seeing that reshaping attitudes at school, from hallways to homework, means greater care and affection is shown everywhere.

We’re so fortunate to not only have a group of students committed to excellence, but a trio of advisors who inspire and motivate kids to strive for their best each day.

Thank you, student congress, for keeping us classy!