Monthly Archives: May 2012

Allendale High School Top Ten Students

This time of year has our hopes bursting at the seams: trees and flowers are blooming, the weather’s warming, and summer vacation is just around the corner. Our hopes run especially high when we turn our attention to the young people graduating from Allendale High School to begin a new chapter of life. 

It’s amazing to consider that the Class of 2012 has collectively earned $1.8 million dollars in scholarships!  This group of kids have plans that range from entering the work force to serving in foreign countries. Today we applaud them for their efforts both in the classroom and outside of it. We cheer them on as they begin a new kind of race: one of their own choosing and one that points to their own kind of finish line.

Though each of our students deserve a moment in the spotlight, we offer special congratulations to those students who landed on the esteemed “Top Ten” list. They have consistently gone above and beyond, have pursued excellence, and have demonstrated tenacity over their four-years at Allendale High.

Camryn DeLooff

Ms. Camryn DeLooff is our 2012 Valedictorian. Camryn was an all-conference varsity volleyball player, an all-conference honorable mention varsity bowler, a regional champion and state qualifier on the AHS track team, and a basketball player.

Camryn additionally served on Student Congress, was a member of National Honor Society, and worked as a volunteer at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids to name just a few. Aside from all of these things, Camryn found time to maintain a 4.184 GPA! We wish her the best as she pursues medicine at either U of M or Oakland University this fall!

Kali LaHaie

Kali LaHaie is this year’s Co-Salutatorian with a 4.148 GPA. Kali was involved in National Honor Society and Rotary Interact Club during her time at Allendale High School.  She also impacted AHS athletics by participating in 3 different sports: basketball and volleyball and running track.

Kali plans to pursue a future in graphic design at Grand Valley State University Honor’s College. Congratulations, Kali! You’re designed to shine!

Victoria Westrick

Victoria Westrick joins the Top Ten as Co-Salutatorian with a 4.143 GPA. She played JV soccer and was a member of the National Honor Society beginning her sophomore year.

Victoria dreams of working for an international company or Christian ministry in a third-world country. To prepare for those roles, she plans to study business anthropology and Spanish, with a minor in French at GVSU’s Honor’s College. Best of luck, Victoria, with these wonderful aspirations!

Emily Gottschalk

Emily Gottschalk has secured our #4 spot with an impressive 4.124 GPA. 

Emily played soccer for 3 years and was active on the ski and snowboard club as well. She additionally worked on the yearbook for 3 years, acting as Editor-In-Chief her senior year. She was a National Honor Society Member, was active with Student Congress, and runs her own  book blog!

Emily plans to attend the University of Michigan to study English and economics, and hopes to one day be involved in the publishing industry as a book editor. Best wishes, Emily!

Alexis Wiersma

Alexis Wiersma takes our #5 spot with her solid 4.020 GPA.  She was a 3-time All-State and 2010 D3 State Champion in Cross Country, and holds multiple records in Track and Indoor Track, as well.

Alexis also served on Student Congress as class representative her sophomore and junior years, and plans to attend MSU on a cross-country and track scholarship in the fall. Congratulations, Alexis!

Rebekah Newman

Rebekah Newman occupies the #6 ranking this year with a 4.004 GPA. Rebekah played in the marching band for 4 years, filling the role of color guard captain for 2. She additionally played flute in the concert band for 4 years. In her spare time, Rebekah enjoys horseback riding and volunteers to help kids learn to ride during the summer.

Rebekah plans to attend Grand Valley State University to study biology. Best wishes, Rebekah!

Brandon Oswald

Brandon Oswald is a three-sport varsity athlete who comes in at #7 with a 3.997 GPA. Brandon ran cross-country, participated in track, and played basketball during his time at Allendale, and was also active in his church youth group, “Life Stream.”

Brandon plans to go to Michigan State University next year as a pre-med/ROTC student. We applaud his decision to serve our country!

John Betts

John Betts grabbed our #8 position this year with a 3.987 GPA. John participated in cross country and track during his freshmen year before making the move to soccer for his final 3 years of high school.

John also found time to contribute to Student Congress, National Honor Society, and the Awareness Committee. He additionally competed with the AHS Science Olympiad team and even earned his Eagle Scout award!

John plans to serve a 2-year mission for his church before attending Brigham young University where he intends to major in biology and pre-med. All the best, John!

Dustan Luban

Dustan Luban comes in at #9 this year with an incredible 3.977 GPA. Dustin played both basketball and golf all 4 years at APS, and football for 2 years. He was involved in the Hope College P.A.T.H. program his freshmen year and continued to challenge himself with several AP classes and dual enrollment at GVSU.

Dustan also enjoyed serving on two mission trips sponsored by his church for hurricane relief, and did so while maintaining numerous jobs on top of his schooling! He plans to attend GVSU in the fall, but is open to transferring once he firms up his career plans. At the moment Dustan sees a future in investing. Good luck, Dustan!

Mitchell Visser

Mitchell Visser rounds out our top ten with a fantastic 3.96 GPA. Mitchell was involved in numerous clubs and activities: soccer, drama club, Film Festival Coordinator, National Honor Society, school plays, and jazz band, to name just a few.

Additionally, Mitchell is nearing the end of his pursuit of an Eagle Scout Award and is also active in his church youth group. He would like to go into the film business and learn how to make movies; to that end, Mitchell plans to attend GVSU’s film program this fall. Break a leg, Mitchell!

Please join me in applauding the extraordinary efforts of these seniors!

Categories: Allendale Grads/Graduation, APS Celebrations, Student Award Winners | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Allendale Middle & High School Science Olympiad Teams Go To State

The students and coaches involved in Science Olympiad are still reveling in the success they found at this year’s Regional and State Science Olympiad Competitions, and for good reason!

With the high school grabbing 21st in the state and the middle school placing 22nd in the state (up from 42nd last year!), Allendale continues to climb into the spotlight by exhibiting excellence in science application, creativity, and quick thinking.

Allendale High School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Brethauer

At the regionals meet in early spring, students went head-to-head against participating teams from both Kent and Ottawa counties. With hard-hitting competition from schools like Grand Haven and Grand Rapids Christian High School, Allendale High School pushed through a tough field to finish 6th out of 24 teams!

Once Regionals wrapped up, the high school team progressed to the State Science Olympiad Competition where the forestry and optics groups medaled. We are so proud that our high school team battled with 48 of the best schools in the state and left with a 21st-place overall finish!

Seniors Cody Bekkering & Michael Albachten are neighbors, classmates, and teammates.

Cody Bekkering had only positives to share from his time on the high school team. “I find that Science Olympiad is a nice extension of what I do in my normal everyday life. I appreciate being able to apply what I’ve learned in biology, physics, and chemistry to the projects and events we work on here.” Cody plans to attend MSU in the fall to study math and chemistry; he dreams of pursuing a research position after attaining his degree.

Similarly, Michael Albachten has enjoyed the challenge of Science Olympiad and looks forward to studying both geology and biology at Grand Valley State University next year. His diligence in the classroom has spurred him to pursue several AP classes, so he’ll be leaving APS with 18 college credits to his name! Having won 1st place at Regionals with his protein model, Michael desires to return to the high school as a team mentor even after graduation.

Michael Albachten explains his protein model.

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad students have much to celebrate, as well! Their 8th place finish in the region is notable especially when considering that over 50 area middle schools competed at the regional level! This score secured a spot at the state competition where they went on to place 22nd out of 48 teams!

Allendale Middle School Science Olympiad Team Members with Coach Erdmans

Erin Sickrey’s “Write It, Do It” placed 5th at the State Competition and was the only event to medal. Her description of the challenge is reminiscent of the now-famous Apollo 13 movie scene where astronauts in space had to build a life-saving device by following the hurried directions of NASA officials on the ground.

In the “Write It, Do It” challenge, Erin had roughly 25 minutes to look at an object and describe in words only (no drawings!) how it looked and how it was constructed. At the buzzer, another team member had to take a bucket of supplies and re-create the item exactly.

That’s right: build the same item simply by reading the instructions written down! Very difficult!

Erin Sickrey earned 5th place at the State Competition for the “Write it, Do it” event.

For diligence, effort, sportsmanship, and for attaining personal and team bests, we applaud the students who so wonderfully represented Allendale this spring! Congratulations!

Categories: Students in the Spotlight!, The Sciences at APS | Tags: | 2 Comments

Middle School Bands Grab Perfect Scores at Festival

For the past four years, Mr. Kevin Langejans has taken his middle school bands to the MSBOA State Concert Band Festival with one goal: to be the best they could be. This year, hours of class work and dedicated preparation paid off in spades when they were delivered with news of both 7th and 8th grades bands receiving perfect scores!

Mr. Kevin Langejans

Held this year at Otsego High School, the Festival consists of a panel of four adjudicators that judge bands on the musical concepts of  tone, intonation, rhythm, technique and interpretation. Mr. Langejans compares Festival to the “MEAP” of the band world, where a score of “one” (out of four) in each category represents the highest possible grade. With 230 ensembles participating across the state, the likelihood of receiving all ones is very slim, making the achievements of our students all the more noteworthy!

To underscore this feat, it is incredible to consider that these bands often practice in segments that are separated throughout the day. Perhaps one section of musicians learns and practices during first hour, while the rest of the group is taught in second hour. Mr. Langejans has to find a way to weave the class together seamlessly, getting everyone on track and ready to perform for judges with just a handful of whole group practices.

With each key being examined and every pitch scrutinized, leading a group of young musicians has proven to be a challenge that comes with great rewards.

7th Grader Kalyn is still smiling at the band’s success!

Kalyn Lemke is one of the seventh graders who is still reveling in this achievement. A flute player, Kalyn recalled the excitement she felt when she returned to the bus and heard her teacher make the announcement.

“It was such a good experience to get on the bus and hear that we got all “ones”— I was shocked!

Still, Mr. Langejans is quick to point out that despite the high praise his students deserve for their efforts, what matters most to him is not the performance delivered on a single day, but rather the effort given each day in class.

“I was very pleased to have scored perfectly, of course,…but without a doubt the work they do in the classroom is more important than just one day in front of judges.”

We join the community in congratulating Mr. Langejans and the middle school bands for their outstanding dedication to excellence and phenomenal work at Festival!

Categories: Fine Arts | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Allendale Community Field Day This Saturday

This Saturday the grounds of Allendale Middle School will come alive with students, parents, and community members joining our efforts to launch the nationally run “Project Budburst” on our very own campus.

Shovels will be slicing the earth and carving out new places for native plants, trees, and flowers that will help our students learn about the different stages of plant “phenology” (studying the natural cycles of plant life as they relate to climate). After students make observations together, their findings will be entered into a database for scientific study across the country!

If this sounds exciting, YOU CAN HELP!

This Saturday from 10 am – noon you are invited to join in our First Community Field Day as we begin a “garden” space that will be used for years to come!

  • NO SHOVELS NEEDED! We will provide all the tools you’ll need!
  • PLANTS WILL BE WAITING AT SCHOOL! In an effort to plant only native species, we will provide all the foliage to plant.
  • MEET IN THE EAST PARKING LOT AT AMS: Look for the crowd!
  • NOT A GREENTHUMB? NO PROBLEM! We’ll be here to help!
  • WEAR DIRT-FRIENDLY CLOTHES!  Leave your new stilettos at home!

In exchange for your efforts, Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard will be providing a FREE LUNCH to all who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help!

Saturday will be a day of planting more than trees: we’ll be planting the future…together. Join us!

~ ~ ~

If you have questions or would like to help by sponsoring some of the activities of Saturday’s Community Field Day,

please contact Dr. Riemersma or Mr. Piccard for details.

[Dr. Peter Reimersma]: riemersp@gvsu.edu   |   [Mr. Piccard]: piccarke@gvsu.edu


If you missed last week’s feature article on Project Budburst, you can read more about the program HERE.

Categories: Community News, News You Can Use, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Middle School Collaborates with GVSU on Project Budburst

Dr. Peter Riemersma & Mr. Keith Piccard

When Dr. Peter Riemersma, Geology professor at Grand Valley State University, first approached a group of Allendale teachers last summer about the idea of creating specialized gardens for student use on the APS campus, they were all ears.

The idea? Why not plant Michigan-specific species on the Allendale K-8 campus so that teachers have a nearby location to do research and take science “field trips”?

The teachers embraced the possibility of being able to study plants, trees, and shrubs up close and help to record data about plant phenology into the Project BudBurst National database. Project BudBurst relies on the observations of thousands of school groups, hikers, gardeners, senior citizens and others who wish to contribute to the climate change conversation and its effect on plants. We are pleased to join the ranks!

It also operates on the premise that regular observations recorded in field journals will be added to the database and analyzed by scientists looking for trends. Dr. Riemersma and Mr. Piccard believe that Project BudBurst would provide the perfect opportunity to get kids outside and enable them to enjoy nature while engaging in meaningful learning experiences. 

Students working with this national initiative will consider difficult questions about our changing climate and will work alongside interested community members to find answers.

Allendale sixth grade Science teacher Keith Piccard

Keith Piccard, who spends time doing field work in the state of Wyoming during his summers, is especially excited to contribute to field work right here in West Michigan. “I want as many kids possible to be outside. By connecting with Project BudBurst we’ll have 5-10 minute activities built-in so that kids can interact with science. Longterm, I’d love to collaborate with others to write a new outdoor curriculum that would also incorporate geology and aquatic invertebrates.” 

Dr. Peter Riemersma

For his part, Professor Riemersma is taking a sabbatical next year and will spend his time writing grants with the hopes of funding additional trees and plants to add to the Allendale BudBurst garden, as well as expanding the curricular focus to include more areas of study. 

Dr. Riemersma contacted Project BudBurst to obtain a list of recommended plants for Michigan participants; using these plants ensures that species specific to our region will be represented in the garden.

Both he and Mr. Piccard are looking forward to initiating Allendale’s participation in this project by launching a Community Field Day on May 12. This day will give community members, parents, students, and teachers the opportunity to plant new flowers, trees, and shrubs that will then be observed for years to come.

We are so grateful to both of these men–and the many others working behind the scenes–for their vision, their dedication to excellent authentic learning experiences, and for their generous gift of time to make it all happen!

Mark your calendars now for May 12 and come back next week for more information.

Lastly, If you would like to help with this project by acting as a sponsor, please contact Mr. Piccard or Dr. Riemersma.

Categories: Community News, Special Projects at APS | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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