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Video series aims to fill teachers’ cups with appreciation

Kenowa Hills Kenowa Hills schools are sharing video messages of gratitude for teachers, just in time for a hope-filled holiday season. 

An idea driven by the board of education and Superintendent Jerry Hopkins, the series of short videos featuring students, teachers and parents offering their thoughts about the district was produced and shared on social media. 

“Our board of education wanted to share positivity at a time when both educators and families are struggling to overcome constant changes and challenges,” Hopkins said. “There are real people behind all of the plans and protocols, all trying to do their very best to ensure students feel supported and loved.”

In one video, Kenowa Hills High School senior Charles O’Dell refers to teachers as the “backbone” of schools, especially during the pandemic. 

“The teachers have really gone above and beyond to adapt to the situation,” Charles said. “They are really the backbone right now, holding us together.”

Senior Ava Deschaine recognizes the “new level of humanity” brought to the student-teacher relationship over the last year, and a shifted focus on growing as a whole person. 

In the second video, named for the motto the district adopted at the start of the pandemic, UKnightedWeStand, parent Karen Hendricks praises the work of Kenowa Hills teachers.

“I’m really proud of our teachers; they have dealt with this pandemic with heart and compassion,” she said.

Alpine Elementary paraprofessional Brenda Boynton also explains in UKnightedWeStand how teachers strive to make their students feel loved and important. 

“Every day we try to fill their cups with love, because some kids come to school empty,” Boynton said. “We want to make sure when our kids leave school, they won’t leave empty.” 

Through the videos, the district as a whole thanks Kenowa Hills teachers for their passion and dedication through these hard times. 

“I am so proud of our district for the effort that has been given to students and families,” Hopkins said. “We continue to come together, push forward and give our very best.”

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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