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It pays to get vaccinated, two local students learn

Forest Hills — Josiah DeBaets knows it pays to get vaccinated.

The Forest Hills Eastern High School sophomore and Hudson Chambers, a seventh-grader at City High Middle School, learned on Aug. 23 that they were two of nine scholarship winners in the statewide MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes. 

The lottery-style contest was created as an incentive to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Josiah got vaccinated “because I really want to be safe from COVID,” he said, adding that every vaccinated person increases the level of protection for everyone.

He got his first dose at a drive-through site before the 2020-21 school year ended, and his second over the summer at a local grocery store. Both doses happened before the contest was announced. 

Josiah said he likely will put his $55,000 scholarship toward pursuit of a career as a pharmacist. He told media covering the scholarship announcement that he hopes to attend Ferris State University. 

His advice to those who can get the vaccine but still have not: “You should get it. It will protect yourself and others, and help us all get back to some semblance of normal.”It is hoped that more Michiganders will become vaccinated now that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has earned full FDA approval. To find vaccine locations, visit Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

Soon after telling media he hoped to attend Ferris State University, Forest Hills Eastern High sophomore Josiah DeBaets received this letter and some FSU swag
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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Kent ISD, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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