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Building bonds, one game at a time

Godwin Heights Middle School students and staff participated in a day of activities designed to build bonds (courtesy)

Godwin Heights — You could tell that seventh-grader Alekzander Perez enjoyed the middle school’s Godwin Celebration Day by the detailed account of the day’s activities.

“My favorite part was the school-wide lunch,” said Alekzander. “We got to eat by the playground and I was able to hang with my friends. The assembly was also fun.”

Students and staff recently participated in the school-wide team-building day.

“The whole day just really filled your cup,” Principal Kim Urbanski said. “The goal was to intentionally build relationships … that were outside of the classroom and on a different level, so as to help build with them a place where students feel safe and supported.”

The school has hosted team building days in the past, said seventh-grade science teacher Mandy Goossen, a member of the school’s multi-tiered system of supports team that organized the Godwin Celebration Day. 

During the week of the event, the school held themed days to create excitement. On event day, teachers and staff hosted activities such as digital games, Mad Libs, Mexican loteria, spoon tournaments, Ozobots, screen printing, card games and races. 

At the after-lunch assembly, students and staff played games, and students cashed in earned PRIDE tickets to throw pies in a teacher’s or staff member’s face, with Urbanski noting she took two pies to the face.

“It was good for the students to see the competitive and jokey sides of staff,” Goossen said, “… but more importantly, it gave us the opportunity to make those personal connections with the students that will last throughout school and maybe beyond.”

Eighth-grader Yolanda Mencho said she liked meeting new peers and teachers. Sixth-grader Cornelius Weed, new to the middle school, said the day was an opportunity to try new things and get to know the staff.

Art teacher Jeff Saltzgaber is new this year too. He said he was grateful to meet students, since this is his first year at Godwin. Saltzgaber’s room hosted the screen printing.

“The nice part of the day was being able to see the students in a different light outside of the classroom,” he said. “You were able to be more personable with them.”

Read more from Godwin Heights: 
High school drumlines keep the beat for downtown event
Dot-o-mite: art project puts a fine point, well, on everything

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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


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