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Student Leaders

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

A ‘drive to do good in the world’

Born in Paris, Léa Schmitt and her family moved to Grand Rapids from France in time for the last few weeks of her sixth-grade year at Breton Downs. She barely spoke English...

Learning Leadership through Volunteering, Competing

For East Kentwood High School seniors, serving residents cake and ice cream for Christmas at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans was much more meaningful than just completing an assignment for class. "They were really happy because they don't get...

This Eagle Scout and 3-point Shooter Gives His All

Kyle Bueche has done exceptional things. As an eighth-grader he was recognized by peers for his fabulous three-point shot in basketball. Now, as a junior, he has earned the top rank in Boy Scouting. Kyle, who has Down syndrome, works...

School events ‘go live’ thanks to pair of juniors

Thanks to the innovation and initiative of two high school computer students, others can now take a class in producing live-feed video...

Advocating for The Voices of Youth

Behind her beaming smile, Lee High School junior Jisel Ochoa often is considering center-stage topics in national politics: immigration policy, women's rights, gay marriage. Though she's a talented student and runner, Jisel's interests surpass sports and academics. She wants the...

High School Sideline: Organic Milk

It looks like big things are on the horizon for sophomore and Future Farmers of America member Shannon Good. Shannon is really no "future" farmer; she's already milking cows, driving tractors and cleaning stalls at her family's small dairy and...

Getting along, helping out are keys for this born leader

This high school junior takes pride in keeping up her grades, but isn’t limited to classroom excellence...

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...

She’s a mentor, performer, editor with ‘a servant’s heart’

Mary Holohan is a natural leader, whether performing skits for elementary school kids or editing stories at the student newspaper...

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...

She starts small but thinks big: ‘I want girls to change the world’

Rockford senior Jillian Snyman is passionate about her commitment to women’s rights, combating sexual abuse and violence, and electing strong Democratic leaders...

‘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...
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