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The art of using talent to do good

Jen Rykse’s second-grade art class created boldly colored pictures of women carrying water baskets on their heads, which they will sell to family and friends to help African families have access to clean wells...

Students Create Stuff, Match Wits in After-School Clubs

With great care, sixth-grader Jon Lesky is constructing a Lego robot he calls “Peace Man.” “He builds stuff out of his imagination that will help take down this guy,” Jon says, motioning toward another Lego man he calls “a super...

Grateful Grads Get Jump on College, Cut Costs

On their way to earning tuition-free associate degrees at Davenport University, 14 Kenowa Hills High School students found an unexpected source of support: each other. The first class to graduate from the Kenowa/Davenport Middle College program – and the first...

New Machines Aim to Reduce Injuries, Respond to Growing Concerns about Concussion

Kenowa Hills sophomore Faith Swieringa carries a fingernail-size scar above her right eye. Lacrosse? Nope, cheerleading. She got it from being accidentally whacked during Homecoming week, requiring eight stitches. She's sustained two concussions in competitive cheer, where blows from...

Ukuleles: Officially a Thing

Music teacher Susan Berce sang and strummed her ukulele as students walked into class. "There she was just a walkin' down the street, singin' do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do." Berce interrupted herself to give directions. "Join me whenever...

Students Sideline Differences with Basketball

When Kenowa Hills HighSchool basketball players took to the court with some special-needs students, they encountered a challenge: One young man in a wheelchair couldn’t reach the hoop with the ball. So they set up a trash can at...

Rocking out with the cops, ’70s style

Kenowa Hills orchestra students team up with the Grand Rapids Police Department band to rock out at Rosa Parks Circle...

How learning works here: teachers do less, students more

It’s all part of Gradual Release of Responsibility, an instruction method designed to gradually turn over more work on learning from the teacher to the student...

Learning ABCs, Confidence and Dinosaurs

With care and concentration, 4-year-old Lucas Wierzbicki threaded a string through the holes bordering a pink paper heart. “I’m doing real good,” Lucas boasted quietly. “You’re going to town, buddy!” teacher’s aide Becky Dye encouraged him. Lucas and his preschool classmates were...

Students Win Silver in Statewide Essay Contest

Susan Lamb, a junior and Cole Visser a senior, placed second in a medical essay contest they entered as part of their Anatomy and Physiology class at Kenowa Hills High School.  Each received a $50 cash prize, a merit...

Student Baristas Add Math, Social Skills to their School Menu

It's not even yet 8 a.m., and already, it's a honeycomb of activity inside Mandy Acker's second-floor classroom. But the dozen or so students buzzing about aren't studying just one subject. Instead, they're engaged in a hybrid class that simultaneously teaches...

Student Teachers Become Co-teachers in the Classroom

In one corner of the classroom, second-grade teacher Dee Eidson discussed a book about snakes with five students, teaching them how to support facts with evidence. “Why don’t snakes smell with their noses?” she asked. Opposite her, student teacher Kevin...

‘Leader of Leaders’ is All About Creating Change

During her shifts as a dietary aide at St. Ann’s Home, 18-year-old Naomi Cuenca likes to chat with 97-year-old Isabel Butkiewicz. “How are you?” Naomi asked her one recent afternoon. “I’m alive,” Isabel cheerfully replied, as she always does. Then she...

Students Explore Job Possibilities with Area Companies

When Kenowa Hills High School teacher Mike Johnson set up a career night for his students, he expected about 15 businesses at most would participate. Instead, 27 signed up. That gave Johnson’s Applied Technology & Design students plenty of...

Students Honor Vet with Patriotic Quilt

Three boys stood with an Army veteran pledging allegiance to a faded flag, the gulf of years between them vanishing into their solemn words: "one nation, under God, indivisible ..." The fourth-graders from Kenowa Hills' Alpine Elementary School looked proud...

Family ties help students bring historical Americans to life

Central Elementary fifth-graders took on the roles of famous Americans for one night, and raised over $1,000 for charitable causes in the process. Students researched notable historical people, then donned period garb and emulated wax museum figures. Visitors brought them...
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‘Be The Change’

Kenowa Hills High School senior Carlos Velazquez created a compelling and inspirational anti-bullying video titled "Be the Change." It was inspired by Carlos' belief that bullying victims often turn into perpetrators themselves, and this cycle continues until someone reaches...

Shades of Life

Editor's note: Students in Grace Bollman's English class at Kenowa Hills High School were assigned to write a poem reflecting on the book "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom. This one was written by 10th-grader Haily Raupp. A morning following...
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