Monthly Archives: June 2012

Summer Essay Series: Savannah Bont, 8th Grade

As a little girl, I dreamed of having that best friend–the one who knows you so well she can tell how you are really feeling behind your smile. I never truly had that–that one person who understands you–that you call “friend.”

But coming into middle school there was one very inspiring woman I’ve gotten to know very well over these past three years. She’s that friend that everyone wishes they had, the kind you can share your secrets with, the one who listens to you talk and talk for hours and cares about what you’re saying.

Most people know her as the guidance counselor, but she’s more than that to me. She’s a friend. On the outside it may have looked like I had many friends, but on the inside it was a whole other story. My confidence was low, but Mrs. Wilson taught me self worth. She helped me realize that I shouldn’t change myself for anyone. If someone doesn’t like who I am, then at least I was myself, not someone I’m not.

Mrs. Wilson is also an inspiration because she is such an amazing listener. Even when I speak for hours, she listens and understands me. I can tell her secret after secret and know that they will be safe. Her helpful, strengthening words made me stronger. But most of all, Mrs. Wilson inspires me to be a friend to everyone and to share the kindness and compassion that was shared with me.

Categories: contests, Student Award Winners, Student Writers | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Summer Essay Series: Mitchell Visser, 2012 APS Graduate

photo provided by Mitchell Visser

The greatest thing that Allendale Public Schools has taught me is to just be myself. I have learned to accept who I am, to embrace my passions and interests, and to just go out there and pursue my dreams. Allendale has given me the work ethic and the drive I need to go far in life, and I feel that because of it, I am destined to do something big.

Over the years, I have learned to simply stop caring about what others think. If I’m interested in something that others aren’t, that is okay. If I want to do something, I am going to go and do it, and I am confident that I have the ability to do it successfully.

My ultimate goal is to go into Film and Video Production. My passion is for movies; editing, filming, directing, acting, screenwriting, any position I can get in the field will make me happy. Allendale Public Schools has actually helped me a lot in improving film-making skills. Our annual Allendale Regional Film Festival has allowed me to submit many short films over the years, and with each movie I make, I can tell that I am improving.

I have also had the privilege of completing many videography projects for our school concerts and other school events. Like any craft, practice makes perfect, and through my constant exposure to film, I believe that Allendale is helping me on my way to perfection.

Categories: Allendale Grads/Graduation, contests, Student Award Winners, Student Writers | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Allendale Teachers Are Lifelong Learners

Allendale High School Teachers Jenna Chisholm and Becky Karnes

While summer unfurls and kids everywhere climb into their swimsuits and knock off any suggestion of shoes, Allendale teachers are modeling the idea that June doesn’t signal an end to learning.

We are excited to share that Allendale English teachers Jenna Chisholm and Becky Karnes have been awarded Fellowships with the National Writing Project, a group committed to improving the level of writing in American classrooms by helping teachers become better writers themselves.

Our teachers are poised to give over 120 hours of their time–each–to sharpen their skills as writers and as writing teachers. Mrs. Karnes points out that she wants Allendale students to “look good on paper,” whether it’s in the form of a college entrance essay, on a job application, or in a letter of inquiry. “Looking good on paper” opens the door to the next steps, and she’s determined to see AHS kids stand out among their peers.

The National Writing Project runs for four weeks from late June through the better part of July. During this time Mrs. Karnes and Mrs. Chisholm will look at research surrounding the teaching of writing, will reflect on their current teaching practices with supportive colleagues, and will work to bolster their teaching skills while strengthening their own command of the writing craft.

In sharing why this experience means so much to her, Mrs. Chisholm said, “Every person who talks to me about their experience in NWP says it is life-changing. By the time the fourth or fifth person expressed the same sentiment, I started to take notice. I think the most enticing element of the project is that it opens space to do the real work of learning: reading, writing, researching, teaching (and learning from) one another.” 

Because educators spend a bulk of their time grading student work, teachers who participate in the National Writing Project look forward to having time built in to their days to engage the creative process for themselves; they look forward to writing for the sake of writing. The desire to allow the pen or keyboard to sift one’s thoughts was affirmed by Mrs. Karnes; she not only wants this kind of writing in her own life, she wants this kind of authentic writing to come from her students. She hopes that what she learns this summer will help support her efforts at Allendale High:

“Writing can help us work through vital issues in life. It can help us sort out and express our own feelings, help us communicate important thoughts to loved ones as well as strangers, and help us build bridges between friends and maybe even foes. Those are just a few of the reasons I want to be sure I’m doing all I can to help equip our students with the great gift of writing.” 

Congratulations to both Mrs. Karnes and Mrs. Chisholm on being awarded Fellowships to attend the National Writing Project! Thank you for modeling lifelong learning for our students and for embracing your craft!

Categories: Lifelong Learners, Star Teachers | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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