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Sliding into home: elementary field trips 

Godwin Heights — Local singer Jesse Cahue admitted it wasn’t his usual gig, but said performing for kindergartners at West Godwin was probably one of his best crowds.

“It was an honor to be there, entertaining kids and sharing a little bit about myself, and just seeing everybody having such a great time really did my heart good,” he said.

Cahue was part of a new endeavor of the West Godwin kindergarten team that brought the field trips to the students. Teacher Susie Rohen said  having in-house field trips helped with logistics and provided opportunities to help connect students to what is being taught in class.

“It gives the students exposure to other people’s careers and what they do,” Rohen said, and also allows students to see how the skills they are learning connect to potential careers.

Rohen said the team had previous success with guests, such as a local dentist who presents every year on oral hygiene. The kindergarten team decided to expand on those visits by using their own community connections, which resulted in a visit from Cahue and the Davenport University baseball team.

Performer Jesse Cahue, left, with his former kindergarten teacher, Susie Rohen (courtesy)

Being a Role Model, Following Your Dreams

Rohen was Cahue’s kindergarten teacher when she worked in Cedar Springs, and had stayed in touch with him. 

“I used to play Greg & Steve’s ‘Good Morning’ song when the students came into class,” Rohen said. “I remember, when it came to the instrumental portion, Jesse would string along on an air guitar.”

Cahue grew up to be the founder of the blues and rock ’n’ roll band Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish. Performing for children is not his usual routine, but he said he wanted to do it for his former teacher.

“Seeing all these smiling faces, clapping their hands (and) enjoying themselves, it made me feel good that I could do something for my community that way,” Cahue said. “I can’t tell if it was more inspiring for them or more inspiring for me, to be honest.”

Cahue performed nursery rhymes, “The ABC Song” and “Old MacDonald,” which Rohen said helps students with phonics. He also talked about how reading and writing played a role in his career as a performer.

“This was something he enjoyed doing way back in kindergarten,” Rohen said. “It gives the students a chance to see that he is now 31 years old and making a career out of what he enjoyed. It filled my basket.”

Cahue said he thought it was neat that he could be an example of not only the importance of reading and writing, but following dreams through hard work and dedication. 

Batting up for Reading 

Kara Tidey’s brother, Kevin, reached out to her looking for community opportunities for his baseball players at Davenport University, she said. Kevin Tidey is Davenport’s head baseball coach. 

Team members visited the school’s kindergarten and second-graders earlier this school year, she said. 

“The (Davenport) students enjoyed being here so much that they asked to come back,” Tidey said. She noted that after the visit, she helped one of her kindergartners send a message to a player, and that her student was delighted when the player responded.

Team members visited again in April, spending time in the classrooms helping students with assignments. In Tidey’s class, they worked together to draw a baseball player, while players in Rohen’s class helped her students with a phonics exercise.

“It has been a blast to be in the room, hanging with the students,” said Davenport junior Coltrane Rubner.

Rohen said the success of the in-house field trips has encouraged the team to look at expanding them again next year.

Read more from Godwin Heights: 
Teacher, with community support, fills a family’s need
Dot-o-mite: art project puts a fine point on, well, 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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