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Students express daily thank-yous to their teachers

Kentwood — When students returned to East Kentwood High School this fall, they saw teachers juggling in person and virtual instruction, and being as creative as possible in doing both.

“I think they are working double hard,” said Jeramonte Wilson, a sophomore.

He and his peers in student council, a yearlong-class, decided to show their gratitude by brightening their day in small ways. Every week is Teacher Appreciation Week as they honor 15 at the high school and freshman campus, chosen at random. 

“We all felt like it was needed. Teachers don’t feel as appreciated as they are. We really do appreciate them, even if they don’t feel like it,” said junior Audrey Host. “Especially during these times when everything is so blah, they need a pick-me-up.”

Audrey is head of the council’s Teacher Appreciation Week Committee, which also includes Jeramonte, Andrea Muratbegovic and Maria Bland. 

Students hold an activity every day of the week: They hang posters with thank-you messages on teachers’ doors, give shoutouts on social media and leave jokes on teachers’ desks. On Fridays, they recruit a student volunteer to dress up as the school mascot, Freddie the Falcon, and deliver goodie bags filled with pencils, notepads, candy and $10 gift cards to a local restaurant.

“It feels really good to see how excited the teachers get and understand how good they feel,” Andrea said.

Student Council teacher Sheri Hoving said the class is limited on projects this year due to the pandemic. They usually put a lot of effort into Homecoming and other events, but said it’s inspiring to see how students choose to appreciate teachers as one thing they can do. It was totally their idea, she added.

“I know how hard my colleagues work,” Hoving said, noting that her students wanted to show they do too. “This is what you want to see out of the leadership class.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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