Monthly Archives: February 2013

Allendale Fifth Graders Enjoy “Fine Arts Day” in Grand Rapids

Fine Arts Day, Allendale Public Schools

Fifth graders Rory MacGeorge, Dakota Riemersma, and Kaylyn Whitten share their experience on Fine Arts Day.

With fresh snow as a backdrop to their adventures, Allendale fifth graders struck out to explore Grand Rapids on their February Fine Arts Day.  Elementary art, music, Spanish, and physical education teachers partnered with classroom educators to create a well-rounded field trip that tied multiple curriculum strands together into a cohesive experience. Departing first thing in the morning, the day was packed with learning opportunities ranging from music to Mexican food!

The group made stops at:

  • The Grand Rapids Symphony
  • The Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Restaurant)
  • Rosa Parks Circle for ice skating

Students were visibly happy upon returning, chattering eagerly about their trip with the wheels still spinning wildly under mops of hair and swinging pony tails.

Allendale Public Schools, Fine Arts Day

Kaylyn shared her favorite memories of Fine Arts Day

Kaylyn Whitten beamed when she described the symphony concert, “The musicians were playing Harry Potter music! I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I couldn’t believe they were playing it the day we were there. We had learned about a lot of composers at school, but I hadn’t learned about that one!”

Dakota Riemersma agreed, “I was surprised by the enthusiasm of the people playing the music. They even stopped for a slideshow discussion and read poetry to us!”

“We had just studied Beethoven in school and it was cool to hear that music being played,” commented Rory MacGeorge.

The kids bubbled over with excitement, sharing highlights from the art museum, connecting existing projects to ones debuted at ArtPrize, and discussing new exhibits. They also shared how they were instructed to order their lunch in Spanish to native speakers!

Ice skating at Rosa Parks provided a unique opportunity for the fifth graders to accomplish something difficult. Some students, like Dakota, have been skating for years, while others had never been in ice skates at all. Regardless of skill level, spinning and circling the rink incorporated physical education, strength building, and fresh air into the day.

Teacher Gwen Luban shared her own highlight, “At our last stop for the day, one of my students said, “I am so tired.” I asked him why he was so tired. He said, “I’m just trying to take it all in.” What a great experience for many of our students. Families are busy and sometimes we forget about the arts and the impact they have in our lives.”

She went on to sum up the day perfectly:

“There is no substitution for hands-on learning such as this. Students get to touch, see, hear, smell, and feel the experience. It is unlike any understanding that might happen if they were to watch a video or listen to someone retell an experience. Many of our students have never ice skated or seen a live symphony. Some have never eaten in an authentic Mexican restaurant or ever been to an art museum. The West Michigan area has so much to offer. We are blessed to have our students be able to experience such a great trip.”

Categories: Allendale Elementary Schools, Fine Arts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark Your Calendars: Feb. 26 is Family Literacy Night!

We’re approaching the end of February: a month of roller coaster weather marked by cloudy days and dark nights. Are you tired of dreary evenings and the monotony of winter?

Are you ready for a break in your routine?

Ready to inspire your kids and model literacy in your home?

Then join us for Family Literacy Night!

Allendale Public Schools, Family Literacy Night

Next Tuesday, February 26, Allendale Public Schools will be hosting a Family Literacy Night in partnership with the Allendale Rotary Club’s Annual “Amazing Reading Bus” Spaghetti Dinner. The Rotary Club will be dishing out Italian goodness from 5 – 7 pm in the high school cafeteria, with all proceeds going to the Allendale Township’s summer literacy program. Tickets for dinner are as follows:

Adults $7

Children (age 6-12) $4

Kids 5 & under eat FREE!

Allendale Public Schools, Family Literacy Night

After dinner you’re invited to make your way to the Ceglarek Fine Art Center where we’re pleased to welcome a very special guest: local author Mark Newman!

Mr. Newman, who refers to himself as an “environmental superhero”, writes about issues close to the hearts of those of us living in the Great Lakes Basin. With vivid illustrations brilliantly finished at the hands of Newman’s dear friend Mark Heckman, his Sooper Yooper books about invasive species incorporate biology and environmental awareness in exciting, kid-friendly language.

Sooper Yooper, Mark Newman, Allendale Public Schools, Family Literacy Night

Mark will present his interactive talk from 7 – 8 pm and will also sign copies of his books which are currently available at a discounted price. For ordering details, contact your child’s teacher before Wednesday, February 20.

If you have questions about our Family Literacy Night, click HERE for more details, or contact Mrs. Buck at 616-892-3475 (x 5149).

Categories: Community News, News You Can Use, Reading Initiatives | Leave a comment

Allendale Elementary Students Rewarded for Great Citizenship

Allendale Public Schools, The NED Show, Falcon Tickets

All photos this week provided by Principal Ryan Coghill.

Have you ever been “caught” doing something good? Something that came so naturally to you that you didn’t even think twice about it?

Now imagine this: the students at Springview and Evergreen Elementary Schools have been caught being exemplary citizens 4,000 times in the month of January alone!

Our elementary schools operate around the “3R’s: Responsibility, Respect, and Ready to Learn.”  As students model these three traits, staff members from bus drivers to recess supervisors have the privilege of “catching” them and rewarding them with a “Falcon Ticket.”

To motivate the kids and provide some sunshine during these snowy winter months, the elementary principals put forth a goal to “Fly to 4,000.”  If the student body (K-3) could collectively accumulate 4,000  Falcon Tickets during the month of January, the school would be awarded an assembly by The NED Show!

Students easily achieved this goal and enjoyed an action-packed afternoon full of comedy and magic that encouraged students to Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best! Students were challenged to ponder a few questions as they dream of the future:

  • “What’s something you’d like to be a champion at?”
  • “What are your goals?”
  • “How will you reach your goals?”

Below is a video of some of the show’s highlights from over the years:

“The NED Show’s positive message fits in well with our 3 R’s message — they really compliment each other perfectly, so that while the kids are learning what NED stands for, they can tie it back to the expectations we already have of them at Allendale,” said Assistant Principal Ryan Coghill.

Amazingly, the NED Show is a “Pay It Forward” assembly that came free of charge to our school because of the efforts of a previous host school. To participate in NED’s free assembly program, each school is asked to commit to a 5 day sale of their famous yo-yos. All sales “pay” for the next school to enjoy a free “Pay It Forward” assembly!

This week we’ll be joining the long line of schools doing just this. Yo-yo’s are for sale for $7, $10, and $15. If you’re interested in helping Allendale Pay it Forward, contact either elementary office to place your order.

Allendale Public Schools, The NED Show

Thank you to Mr. Coghill for our assembly photos!

Categories: Allendale Elementary Schools | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Allendale Seniors Take Scholastic Art Awards By Storm

APS, Allendale High School, Scholastic Art & Writing Award

(L to R) Kendra DeVrou, Rachel LaBrecque, Lauren Niergarth, Rebekah Van Slooten

For ninety years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have been recognizing and rewarding creativity in students across the United States. With Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andy Warhol among a litany of Scholastic “alumni”, these young women are in good company!

“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards continues to be the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers.” (see link for quote credit)

Despite the clear display of talent from all four artists, each of them opened up to the fact that they didn’t expect to win! Even after submitting amazing works of art (as displayed in January’s Falcon Flier), these seniors exhibited humility and surprise. Their teacher, Erin Overmeyer, explained her difficult role in selecting pieces for consideration:

“I choose the work that I think is the strongest work thus far. I have to pay $5 per entry, so I have to act as juror here and only enter the work that I think is the strongest.”  

Besides her Silver Key and Honorable Mention, Rebekah Van Slooten was awarded two Gold Keys, which means her work will travel on to be judged nationally! For the time being, however, you can view her work and that of our other Silver Key winner Rachel LaBrecque at Kendall College of Art and Design.

In pondering the significance of this recognition, Rachel, who plans to study graphic design at Ferris State University, shared that “[It] means a lot… School and family will be proud no matter what, but it’s really nice to hear that you do good work from people outside that close group.”

Both Lauren and Kendra experimented with mediums unlike those used by their classmates: Lauren with photography and Kendra with typography. Lauren remarked that although it came as a surprise, it was the first competition she’d ever won, and that gave her great satisfaction.

Each of the artists praised the personal attention they receive in Allendale and the freedom they enjoy to create. The joy they experience while holding a paintbrush, charcoal pencil, or camera is a reminder that, while not quantifiable on a multiple choice test, these talents do have the power to change lives.

“The APS art program has been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. To me, art classes are fun, refreshing, and a great place to challenge myself and learn new skills. This love of art made me want to dual-enroll at Kendall. In those classes,  Ms. O helped me learn the techniques I used in my winning artwork,” Rachel said.

For her part, Ms. Overmeyer is proud of the success of her students and noted that these young women are attentive to more than just the canvas in front of them. They are leaders in every sense of the word.

“What really stands out with this year’s group of award winners is their dedication to their school and community.  All four of these young women are talented artists, athletes, accomplished students, class leaders, and active volunteers in their community,” said Ms. Overmeyer.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Categories: Allendale High School, Fine Arts, Student Award Winners | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: