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Student Leaders

A series dedicated to students that go above and beyond to serve their school, peers and community.

Student Rep Sees School Board Service As Preparation

Parker Fritz is one of those guys you just know is going places. That's why when the Kent City Community Schools Board of Education decided they wanted to mirror neighboring districts by having a student representative, they asked Parker. For the...

Sharing Her Music to Feed Body and Soul

Playing piano moves Becca Hanson's soul. That's why she makes it about something bigger than herself. She likes to share that feeling – indulgent, she calls it – with others. She's that kind of leader: a poised, soft-spoken doer who...

Student Leader Devotes Fridays to Friendship

It’s a little card with simple directions, but Byron Center High School students know what passing it out results in: smiles, a feeling of belonging, friendship and confidence. The business-style cards circulate the high school, West Middle School and Nickels...

Tireless Go-getter Makes Her Community a Better Place; Dreams of a Brighter Tomorrow

Maria Aguirre likes to help other people's dreams come true: making sure a child has presents wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning, doing her part to fund cancer research, helping distribute grants to organizations doing good in her...

Linh Le Works Hard, Shares Talents

A defining moment for Linh Le, who spoke no English when she started eighth grade at Kelloggsville Middle School, was her mastery of the math constant Pi. She rattled off about 150 of the digits following 3.1415-- stopping at times...

‘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...

Getting it All on Film and Dreaming Big

If you want to know a bit about David Tay and the pride he takes in his school, watch this video. It’s a lip-dub he filmed of the high school last spring, a catchy cavalcade of students dancing, running up...

Students Lead Drug, Alcohol Awareness Conference

Two hundred Kent area students, selected for their leadership potential, gathered for a day of lessons and activities as part of the Empowering Youth Leadership Conference at Calvin College. The conference was produced by eight volunteer students from area schools...

Senior’s International Efforts to Help Others Influence School Culture

Emily Macalka sees parallels between helping people in the Dominican Republic and her volunteer work in the Comstock Park High School special education classroom. Both experiences have helped the 2015 graduate appreciate what she has and brought happiness to those...

Practicing leadership on the playground

Sixth-through-eighth graders are using the skills they learn in the semester-long leadership class and paying them forward helping out at the elementary school to reinforce good behavior...

Student Council President Asks ‘Why Not Make a Difference?’

Hector Zoleta lives a line made famous by the late Sen. Edward (Teddy) Kennedy. "Some men see things as they are and say why?" Kennedy said at brother Robert's funeral. "I dream things that never were and say why not?" The...

Too Many Student Leaders? No Such Thing, Say GRPS Officials

When Grand Rapids Public Schools officials went looking this year for two student representatives to serve on its Board of Education, they found students like Javonte Jefferson, Henry Atkins and a whole bunch more. In the past, district leaders had...

Injury, illness can’t hold back this future teacher

Her junior year, another ACL suffered a tear, and that too meant a visit to a surgeon. It was while recovering from that injury that Emily was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma...

Student’s Video Work Helps Shape District Future

Helping pass bonds for a school district and a fire department by creating videos isn't expected from a high school senior, but Nathan Seeber has done it. Jerry Robinson, Nathan's digital video teacher, said he's not sure how the bond...
'I feel I wouldn’t be productive if I wasn’t involved,' says Sparta graduate Erica Humphreys

Erica Humphrey: Busy Senior with a Lot to Give

Erica Humphreys' grandparents died nearly a year ago, one month apart from each other. The tender care they received in their passing is a key reason the recent Sparta High School graduate says she is bound for Michigan State...

Giving back as others gave to them

Three sisters, refugees from Rwanda, devote their Monday evenings to volunteering at the Learning Café, an education center in Grand Rapids that serves refugee children...
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