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Kent ISD REMC hosts holiday village contest

The event celebrated the many different departments at Kent ISD

Kent ISD — It takes a village of educators, support staff, IT staff and administrators to serve the students and families in Kent County. To celebrate the many departments of Kent ISD, the Regional Education Media Center (REMC), district 8, hosted the “It Takes a Village Contest” for the holidays this year.

Every year, the REMC 8 department makes a holiday-themed bulletin board that is entertaining or thought-provoking while also showcasing some of the specific supports and services the REMC team can offer. This year, the REMC staff created a winter village display and invited KISD departments to contribute a “house” representing the department or program it offers.

“We love the idea of each Kent ISD department/program creating a house for the village, illustrating that it takes every department/program working together to bring the Kent ISD’s mission to fruition,” said REMC Media Specialist Erin Hoekema. 

The templates provided to create the houses came from the REMC’s Ellison Room, a resource available to educators to make low-cost materials for their students and schools. REMC staff initially received about 40 requests for templates and ended up with 16 very creative entries in the contest. 

Kent ISD departments were encouraged to create houses representing their department/program

Getting Down with Their Creative Elves

Education Technology Consultant and REMC Director Ron Houtman, who hinted this could possibly become an annual event, said he was amazed by the thoughtfulness that people poured into their entries, making sure to include all of their departments and recognizing the gifts that each person brings to that department.

The Kent ISD Special Education Department received first place in the “It Takes a Village” contest (courtesy)

The creations include a Lincoln School that looked like it was made from logs to a gingerbread creation from Kent Career Tech Center’s Hospitality program.

Hoekema’s favorite house was created by Jessie Rodgers’ class at Lincoln Development Center. Rodgers decided she wanted her “village” of students to help staff decorate the house. When she discovered the house provided was too small, she built a huge cardboard box version that was more accessible and allowed her students to assist with decorating. She then took pictures of the large house, scaled down the images and put them on the smaller house, which was submitted for the contest.

“Not only was this creative, but we felt it really represents what we all strive to do here: go the extra mile to serve others,” Hoekema said.

REMC awarded three top prizes for creativity: first place to Kent ISD Special Education Department; second place to Rodgers’ class at Lincoln Development Center; and third place to the Community Transitions Center. Runner-up was the facilities department, which contributed a house featuring a sandpaper roof and duct-tape door. 

Houtman also gave a special award, “Best-Tasting House,” to the Career Tech Hospitality’s gingerbread house entry.

“I can’t believe I didn’t eat the roof off this thing,” he said.

The village display is located in the REMC hallway in the Kent ISD Education Center and will be up through January.

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma covers Kent ISD and Godwin Heights. She was born in the Detroit area but grew up in Brighton where she attended Hartland Public Schools. The salutatorian for the Class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism and minored in photography and German. She expanded her color palette to include orange and black as both her daughters graduated from Byron Center Public Schools; maroon and white for Aquinas College where her daughter studies nursing and also brought back blue and maize for Grand Rapids Community College where her youngest daughter currently is studying music. Read Joanne's full bio

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