- Sponsorship -

Fishing trip nets strong bonds, lures new enthusiasts

‘I knew when I got selected I had done something good’

Godwin — “I caught five fish,” said fifth-grader Micahel Landon, and before he could describe them, third-grader Bobby Rogers jumped in.

“I caught two sunfish and they were beautiful,” he said.

Michael and Bobby were among the lucky North Godwin students who had the opportunity in May to attend the annual fishing trip led by third-grade teacher Matt Jen.

“It all started out as a behavioral plan for a couple of students,” said Jen, who admitted he has been fishing since about the age of 10. From there, the program grew. Now each teacher selects a student from class to attend.

“We currently only have 23 students because I only have 12 boats to take the students,” Jen said.

Going on an Adventure

Students meet up with staff on a Saturday and head to Green Lake in Caledonia, where several people who fish are there to take the students and staff out on boats. The students are out for about three hours, and get lunch after.

“I knew when I got selected I had done something good,” said third-grader Adaline Whittington. “I got a high score on my (M-)STEP test.” 

Jen said teachers have their own selection process to determine which student in their class gets to attend.

“There is no bigger smile than a kid catching a fish.”

– third-grade teacher Matt Jen

Adaline said she caught three fish – a rock bass, a bass and a bluegill – but her favorite part was spending time with her teacher, Jen, who said the event has turned into a wonderful bonding experience for staff and students.

“Many of the students have never fished before, much less been on a boat,” he said. “It was just an awesome day in that every student was able to catch a fish. There is no bigger smile than a kid catching a fish.”

North Godwin Principal Steve Minard, right, with third-grader Jaylen Jones and fifth-grader Christian Mollitor (courtesy)

Blue Fish, Bass Fish

Fourth-grader Jayden Spann stopped by Jen’s room to tell his tale of catching 16 fish.

“It was good, but I was scared I would fall off the boat,” said the first-time fisherman.

Bobby, who fishes with his dad, said being on the boat was his favorite part, along with the goodies he received. Through the help of the Outdoorsmen Pro Shop, each student got a fishing pole, tackle box and T-shirt.

“I am going to take the new fishing pole this summer to the campground that we always go fishing at,” said Bobby, who added that he had shown his dad some new tricks he learned from the North Godwin outing. “He was impressed.”

Michael, who had never fished before, said he hopes to go again this summer as well.

“I loved it,” said Michael, who caught two bluegill and three bass. “It taught me how to cast, how to catch fish, what to do with a hook and how to get it off a fish. I got to learn how to do it so that if I wanted to, I could do it again.”

- Sponsorship -
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools 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. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Making Headlines

- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You Live WGVU