- Sponsorship -

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Meet the Future: Evan Grahs

“In my 36 years as an educator – 29 as a computer teacher – no other student has impacted the culture, curriculum and the day-to-day experience of Sparta High School as much as Evan Grahs,” said teacher Paul Owens.

Owens credits Evan for leadership and initiative in classroom projects, creating programs, and utilizing technical references and resources, estimating that Evan has saved the school conservatively between $20,000 and $30,000 in technology needs.

“Evan has created multiple systems that are used by everyone in our building every day. And his influence has started classes, clubs and other programs,” said Owens

Evan works extensively with drone technology
Evan works extensively with drone technology.

How long have you had this interest and how has it made a difference in your life up until now? “I have taken a great interest in various forms of technology since before I can remember,” said Evan.

“I have had access to new technology since I was very young because my dad worked in IT and would show me some of the new stuff he was using. I had the chance to tinker with some of the devices he showed me, and eventually I got my own devices that I could develop my own programs for. I began to teach myself how to write code as I was entering middle school.”

Evan believes that his deep interest and passion for technology has shaped a great part of his life to date. He has held an IT job for the past four summers and has spent many hours over the years operating sound boards at church services, school plays and community events. While vice president of the National Honor Society, he used technology for record keeping and information distribution. 

Some Noted Accomplishments at Sparta High School:

  • Media Production class: The class was formed after Evan brainstormed with Owens and others to find a system to project live video to a stadium scoreboard. The project evolved into a multi-camera livestream production for athletic and arts events. His ability to harness technology “to create the best experience possible has been incredible,’” said Owens.
  • Building-wide announcement screens: For nine years the newly built high school had screens to provide information to students and visitors in the hallway and cafe, but with no operational delivery system. After the administration received a bid of $20,000, Evan – then a freshman – came up with a solution using a Raspberry Pi system, existing Wi-Fi networks and virtual network computing for less than $150. The school has been using the system for three years.
  • Drones: Evan has provided drone footage for construction projects throughout the district, which has been used for mapping out a new stadium and parking lot as well as for promotional material for bond proposal campaigns. School News Network made use of one of his photos in a piece about the middle school groundbreaking. He also worked on a grant to purchase a drone to start a drone club for the school.
  • Evan is credited with making the Spartan News Network viable and creating sophisticated data and tracing software options for National Honor Society.

Who were/are your mentors? Evan cites two people who have most influenced his “technological journey”: Owens and Evan’s father, John Grahs. 

“My father helped me pursue my interest from a young age by helping point me in the right direction, and finding software and hardware I could use to dive deeper into programming and robotics, including tools that allowed me to develop a few mobile apps.

Mr. Owens noticed my talents in an entry level required computer course my freshman year. After I got well ahead of the class work schedule, he asked if I could use a Raspberry Pi computer to play announcement videos on some TVs mounted in the hallways that had gone unused for years. After I completed this, he continued to find new and exciting opportunities for me to use my talents to improve the high school, eventually culminating in the formation and continuation of the Media Production class.”

What the future holds: Evan expects to attend Michigan Technological University in the fall to pursue a degree in computer engineering. He was awarded the university’s Presidential Leading Scholar Award. During his senior year at Sparta High School, he was listed as a pre-admissions student entering the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech..

“After I graduate, I plan to seek out a position where I can combine all the skills I have developed throughout high school and college in a fun and exciting way,” he said.

He likely will.

- Sponsorship -
Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

LATEST ARTICLES

Longtime volunteer does whatever’s needed for school: ‘I love being here’

A 24-year parent and grandparent volunteer tends to student and family needs at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy...

Lessons from a pandemic: ‘agile learners’ need ‘agile adults’

Reflecting on the end of fall semester and 2020, Superintendent Dedrick Martin sat down with School News Network to discuss how Caledonia adapted to school closures, virtual learning and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic...

It’s all about getting students back to classrooms, Supt. Shibler says of the vaccine

Superintendent Michael Shibler hopes the more people get vaccinated, the closer we are to the end of the pandemic...

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

Good behavior encouraged at home

For students learning from home, positive behavior rewards are still possible...

Discovery of 1959 time capsule makes local history tangible

Ever wonder what high school students were thinking about 60 years ago? Soon, today’s students and the rest of us will find some clues...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

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...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

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 -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS