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Varied interests, goals, all nurtured at school

Your Dream is Our Dream: Amy Sytsma


Kent City — Junior Amy Sytsma is a talented mathematician and budding engineer who is also heavily involved in the creative arts.

She’s currently in band, drama and a member of the writing team at Kent City High School; during the winter months she’s involved in Winter Winds — an indoor form of marching band — and competes as a member of the forensics team. She plays the tenor saxophone for Winter Winds, percussion for marching band season and the flute for concert season.

School News Network spoke with Amy about her dreams for the future, and the fun of getting to use both her analytical side and her creative side every day at school.

What is your dream for the future? “I’d like to go to a four-year university for some sort of engineering degree. I’m currently interested in welding or mechanical engineering, and what I’m planning on doing is going to university part-time and then working part-time at a shop so that I can get some experience, or a feel for how a shop floor runs, and then move my way up into engineering.

“I’d like to work at some sort of manufacturing business and maybe work my way up there, get a couple promotions. … I think tool and die, like the aluminum parts of the outsides of cars, is pretty interesting, or something like shelving units, like steel aluminum parts.”

Why is this your dream? “I’ve taken multiple career tests, and they’ve all kind of (recommended) some sort of engineering or math-related degree. I’m pretty interested in math and it’s something I enjoy doing, which I know is not very popular, but I enjoy it and it’s something that I can see myself (working with) in the future.

“Just this year I joined an engineering course at (Kent Career Tech Center) and we went on a couple field trips to some manufacturing companies, and I also went on a job shadow. It seems like something that aligns with all of my plans and is work that I could see myself enjoying.”

How do you think your education in Kent City is helping you achieve this dream? “I really like the job shadows that they offer — you get to go somewhere pretty local and you get a full tour, which is really nice.

“In math class, we’re learning about different logarithms and other things that I can use in engineering software, and there’s also different technological skills that we get in a lot of classes. I like that there’s parts of many different classes that can all combine to be useful for what I want to do.

“Our school counselor, Mr. (Jeff) Wilson, recommended (the Tech Center) very heavily to me, so he definitely helped me out in getting there. And my math and science teachers have all encouraged me to pursue something like this throughout the years.”

What do you enjoy most about school? “I enjoy seeing my friends, and I really enjoy band class. Mr. (Jonathan) Schnicke, our band director, also does drama and forensics and Winter Winds, so I see him a lot and I’m glad that he’s a cool guy. With all of those activities, it is very much like a family bond, because of how many (students) are in all of the groups and you see them all the time. It’s very easy to get along with everyone.

“I think going to (the Tech Center) for two hours in the morning, and then coming back to more of the traditional school setting after that, is really nice.” The Tech Center “is like, pretty heavily focused on math and engineering and those types of things, and then I go straight to band class afterward. Then, after school, I usually have drama or another extracurricular. I get to go back and forth every day, and I really just like getting to use all of those different skill sets.”

Read more from Kent City: 
Want student behavior to change? Make them teach it
Filling students’ buckets with praise

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is associate editor, reporter and copy editor. She is an award-winning journalist who got her professional start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate and proud former Chimes editor, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio

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