- Sponsorship -

Couple’s Generosity Honored in Renaming High School Auditorium

Foundation Uses Donation to Fund Sound System

Mike and Alice Holton gave much to Cedar Springs. From the renovation of Skinner Field at the middle school and the Main Street pedestrian bridge, to the high school auditorium band shell, they poured their hearts and resources into the community where Mike’s father once was a Free Methodist pastor.

“They were absolute Cedar Springs citizens,” Kathy Raudenbush said of her late parents, who long owned and operated Holton’s LP Gas. “They were completely committed to the betterment of the community in any way they could possibly help out.”

Mike and Alice Holton were longtime supporters of Cedar Springs schools and the community
Mike and Alice Holton were longtime supporters of Cedar Springs schools and the community

The Holtons’ giving spirit has been newly honored with a $25,000 gift, recently presented by the Cedar Springs Education Foundation, for a new sound system in the high school auditorium, which will be renamed Holton Auditorium. The gift was the first one made from more than $170,000 the foundation received from sale of the former Holton home, which was donated last year by the couple’s four children.

“We thought they would be very happy if we made a donation of the house to the Education Foundation,” said Raudenbush, a former Cedar Springs teacher who spent part of her upbringing in the home on Northland Drive. “We all felt they were up there smiling down at us going, ‘Good job, guys.’”

Vacant since Mike and Alice Holton died in 2011 and 2013, respectively, the house underwent some repair after the Education Foundation assumed ownership. It sold quickly, netting $171,554 after expenses. After reviewing possible projects with the schools, the foundation decided to make its initial $25,000 grant to replace the auditorium sound system.

“We felt like it would be the biggest community impact,” said foundation President Jeni McIntyre. “So many more than just high school students use the auditorium. It touches everybody in the community.”

‘Their Whole Life Was About Giving’

McIntyre said proceeds from the home’s sale will be invested wisely, and will “make sure we’re around for a while and still be able to give grants to the schools.” It continued the legacy of the Holtons’ generous gifts, many of them made anonymously, and which were recognized by the naming of Holton Drive on the school district campus.

“Their whole life was about giving to education and the schools,” McIntyre said. “That (the family) chose us to continue that legacy in the future is something the foundation doesn’t take lightly.”

Raudenbush said the Holton children are pleased the money will go to improve the auditorium.

“It’s something that can be used by all the students,” she said. “When I was teaching, even the elementary students would have concerts in the spring there.”

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


Fourth-grader’s pickle stand inspired by school marketplace

‘With my tiny fingers, I am good at stuffing them,’ said the young pickle peddler. ‘You can see how they are packed in, so you get more for the money’...

Looking for classroom lessons in the great outdoors

Sally Triant is exploring every GRPS campus in the city, looking for places to turn the outdoors into an educational opportunity...

Home schooling inquiries grow as parents ponder how to meet children’s needs

The pandemic has caused parents to seek options for schooling and socialization. For some, home schooling becomes an option, while others create new ways to help their children...

GRPS to continue virtual-only instruction for rest of semester

GRPS leaders decided to extend the district's 100 percent virtual learning model for the rest of the first semester after the Kent County Health Department announced rapidly rising COVID-19 positivity rates...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

CARES funding helps schools meet COVID-related costs

Across Kent County, schools are benefitting from an infusion of funds thanks to $2 million from the Kent County Board of Commissioners via the Kent County CARES Act School Grant Program...

Outdoor lover, zen seeker, middle-schooler hope-giver

Bill Cataldo is the new K-8 principal for Cedar Springs’ new Red Hawks Online virtual school this year. School News Network took some time to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

From cruise director to the classroom

Cortney O’Brien is the new interim dean of students for the 2020-2021 school year at Cedar Trails Elementary School. School News Network took some time to get to know her better in this edition of Meet Your Administrators...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU