Monthly Archives: March 2013

Senior Kali Smolen Defies the Odds and Soars to Success

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale High School, Kali Smolen, Valedictorian

2013 Valedictorian Kali Smolen

When senior Kali Smolen first reported to her elementary kindergarten class, she never imagined that she would never miss even a single day of school in her entire educational career.

Ever.

And she certainly could not have dreamed that her pursuit of excellence would eventually pave the way for a perfect GPA and the title “Valedictorian.”  

But in fact, that is precisely what happened.

Kali is currently taking all three advance-placement (AP) courses offered at Allendale High School: AP Calculus, AP English, and AP Biology. In addition, she is enrolled in Spanish V, Wind Ensemble, and is taking Spanish 202 at Grand Valley State University. She is additionally involved in Science Olympiad and the Equestrian Team.

 “I have been involved with equestrian and MIHA throughout high school.  At the state competition of my senior year, I was the only member on the team.  The team was one horse, one rider.  I rode in all but two events.  I rode in 15 events and placed in the top five overall in division D at state.  The sheer fact that I made it to state was amazing.” 

Kali explained that her work ethic, intrinsic motivation, and the encouragement she’s received from staff members have propelled her through her difficult class load.

“I’ve truly adored all of my teachers — they’ve been willing to help and nice to talk to. Allendale teachers really support their students,” said Kali.

Though her senior year has been the most challenging by far, Kali has no regrets, even stating that she wishes she “…would’ve taken a harder curriculum from the get-go. I’m a pretty good time manager and I think I would’ve loved the challenge!”

Ms. Smolen has plans to attend Grand Valley’s Frederik Meijer Honors College next year to study Bio-Medical Sciences and Spanish. She dreams of interning at the Van Andel Institute and diving into the world of stem cell research to get to the heart of the issues.

“I attended the Sam Rhines genetic conference with my anatomy class during my junior and senior years.  Each time, I became intrigued with genetic sciences.  These conferences interested me in stem cell research.  I proceeded to do my capstone research paper on stem cell research.  I now want to go into medicine, with research as a high possibility. Instead of just treating the disease, I’d like to find the mechanism behind it.”

Kali’s mother, Colleen, points out that while there exists a scholarship for couples going to prom in a clothes made of duct tape, there is not a scholarship for perfect attendance. Still, her pride is obvious and we join her in congratulating Kali for her amazing accomplishments!

“I am proud of Kali’s academic success, but I’m even more proud of her good personal character.” she said.

Congratulations to Kali Smolen for an unbelievable school career!! You make us “Falcon Proud”!

Categories: Allendale High School, Student Award Winners, Students in the Spotlight! | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

“Bye Bye Birdie” Opens Thursday Night at the Ceglarek Fine Arts Center

Allendale High School, Bye Bye Birdie, Spring MusicalWhat happens when Conrad Birdie, America’s biggest pop star, is drafted into the army, leaving thousands of fans swooning over his departure? Publicity stunts ensue, romance blossoms, and throngs of adoring groupies are sent into a tailspin while the world waves “Bye Bye Birdie!”

Set in 1957, this Tony Award winning musical includes songs like A Healthy, Normal, American Boy and A Lot of Livin’ to Do, and possesses all the excitement of Broadway.

This year’s cast and crew have been working diligently to overcome days lost to inclement weather that threatened to delay production. Director Cherry Peterson noted that seven rehearsals were lost to snow days and cancellations, so this team of young actors has had to focus with added diligence to master roles and prepare to sing.

“I’m still working to learn all my lines and know when I come in,” says Brock Farber, a senior.  “It’s stressful! In soccer you work hard physically, but this is all mental. I’m having a great time though–I love acting.”

Lead roles this year are filled with students ranging from 10th to 12th grade, and include: Andrea Beitel, Brock Farber, Mackenzie Emmert, Alexander Herringa, Riley Todd, Jacob Van Neuren, and Megan Stevens (pictured below, names descending the stairs and to the left)

APS, Allendale High School, Bye Bye Birdie, Spring Musical 2013

Each of these students was quick to praise the individuals involved with Bye Bye Birdie, but said that it’s the overall theater department that feels like family.

“Theater has been one of my favorite parts of high school. Other students in drama are so accepting — nobody’s weird here. After all, just because this is a drama club doesn’t mean there has to be drama! said Andrea.

Senior Megan Stevens agreed:

“It seems like drama might be one of the only places where all kinds of different people come together. We have athletes, singers, math lovers, and those who have been in drama for years. You become friends with people that you wouldn’t normally meet.”

Riley Todd, a junior, echoed these sentiments, adding:

“Drama is a family. If you ever need someone to talk to, there’s always someone there. People really care; I’ve made so many friends.”

Mackenzie, Jacob, and Alexander all agreed that there are times when the stage feels more like home than anywhere else. They’ve been involved in various productions for years, and are thrilled to have the privilege to perform again this week.

Allendale High School, Spring Musical, Bye Bye Birdie

Cast and crew warming up during practice.

Bye Bye Birdie is a theater classic that will take you back through time to leather jackets, white t-shirts, and great music. On behalf of the the Allendale High School Drama Club, we invite you to join us  this week  for Bye Bye Birdie.

Show times are:

March 21, 22, 23

7 pm

Ceglarek Fine Arts Center

All tickets are general admission

Adults $7

Students $6

5 yrs. and younger $3

Categories: Allendale High School, High School Musicals/Plays | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

It’s Time for Family Fitness Frenzy!

APS, Family Fitness Frenzy, Allendale Public Schools, Allendale Elementary PTO

Photo taken at FFF 2012.

Allendale’s 5th Annual Family Fitness Frenzy is revving up to once again promote health, an active lifestyle, and general wellness in the community. With activities planned from 9 am – noon this Saturday, March 16, families will enjoy the freedom to come and go at a pace that best fits their schedules.

Parent Volunteer Coordinators Wendy Williams and Melissa Fennell have worked tirelessly for months, along with with a team of parent volunteers, to put together a memorable — and meaningful — event for all who attend. While executing a successful fundraiser for the Allendale Elementary PTO is at the top of their list, they say that offering a day filled with fun and games is a close second.

“We hope the students, families, teachers, and community enjoy the updates our planning team made this year. We have put in a lot of thought and time, and considered lessons learned from past events. … Our hope is to create an atmosphere that brings everyone together.”

APS, Family Fitness Frenzy, Allendale Elementary PTO

GVSU Lakers Football interacting with kids at the 2012 Family Fitness Frenzy. We’re thrilled to welcome them back!

Events planned for this Saturday are FREE, but you are asked to register upon arrival. Games and activities will include:

  • Laker Football
  • Go Lakers Cheerleading
  • “You Think You Can Dance?”
  • Eye Olympics
  • Simon Says & Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Kick it! Kickboxing
  • “Get Your Move on!”
  • La Pita Fresh
  • Energy Explosion!
  • 2 Intense Gymnastics
  • Cup Stacking

Each of these activities was made possible by the generosity of our community sponsors, without whose help the event could not take place!  A complete list of our sponsors can be found by clicking HERE. Please remember to thank them!

As in the past, T-shirts were allocated based on students raising at least $30 toward the event and will not be available for purchase at the Family Fitness Frenzy. If your child has brought a T-shirt (or two) home already, please make sure to wear them to the event!

Saturday’s entertainment will also include drawings for many prizes. A pledge of $30 will get your student’s name entered into the raffle for one of these great prizes! (flyer courtesy of the FFF planning team). Pledge money supports all of Allendale’s K-5 classrooms and prevents our students from having to sell candy, wrapping paper, or cookie dough to raise money.

Melissa and Wendy look forward to another terrific event and wish to thank everyone who played a part in this yearly community event.

“We could not have done this without our amazing planning team! I believe we had the best team ever — everyone clicked and rocked their roles by going above and beyond!”

We hope you’ll be able to join us for another exciting Family Fitness Frenzy!

Details again are:

Saturday, March 16

9 am – noon

Allendale High School Gymnasium

FREE!

Categories: Athletics/Fitness, Community News | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

New Options Student Council Excited to Bring Prom Back to Their High School

Allendale Public Schools, New Options High School, Alternative EducationIf ever there was a group of kids determined to make a difference, this is it.

In their first year with a student council, New Options High School has elected members that shine with optimism, that display fierce loyalty to the “underdog”, and a resolve to create a brighter future for themselves and their classmates.

Alaina Reed, Mariah (last name withheld), Kelsey Turner, Jesse Gayle, Alexis Jimenez, Brittany Bos, Trey Tetro, Abigale Hunter, Robb Martin were elected to student council earlier this year. Those running for offices like president and vice president were asked to create a platform and deliver a speech before the entire student body, while the representatives were chosen by their teachers.

Alaina Reed decided to risk an election defeat for the chance to serve her classmates. Why? Because the idea of having a prom was worth it to her and so many others.

“I wanted to make the school more fun and more lively. Everyone deserves a prom. Just because we’re an alternative high school doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the same experiences that other kids our age get to have.”

Jesse agreed:

“We’re known as the “outcast” school, but we still want to have a great high school career and enjoy the things that traditional high schoolers enjoy.”

Prom is a big deal for this group who has yet to experience the milestone event. They have reserved Lifestream Church on Lake Michigan Drive for the location of their big night and are relying on help from their classmates to select a theme for the dance.

Using new voting technology on Moodle, the representatives will ask their classmates to cast a ballot in favor of one of the following prom themes: Halloween, Old Hollywood, Night in the City, and the Beach. Unlike many high schools, this prom will be open to students of all grades.

Aside from planning prom, student council is making waves and creating smiles by running a school store that sells popular snacks at reasonable prices. The group is also looking forward to finding community service projects that allow them to connect to others and improve their surroundings. New Options has selected “pride” — as in “pride of lions” — as their mascot to show the world that there is strength in a tightly knit “family” of determined students.

Mariah, who is serving as student council vice president, was passionate that one message came through loud and clear:

“I failed one class and I’m here to make my credits up. I chose to be here and it’s been a great choice for me. I want to prove to the community that we can take responsibility and impact the community in a positive way.” 

Congratulations to this group of leaders and brave citizens who live each day intent on making it better than the one before. We applaud you!

Categories: Allendale New Options High School | Tags: , , , , | 45 Comments

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