Monthly Archives: August 2013

Back to School Fair Makes Waves as Summer Ends

With sunlight filtering through trees and the calendar signaling the end of another summer, hundreds of eager families filled Allendale Township Park last week Wednesday to take advantage of the community-wide Back to School Fair.

firetrucks, allendale back to school fair

Organized by Tammy Walker of the ABC Coalition, an Allendale non-profit, this year’s fair brought together local businesses, church and para-church organizations, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, and both Allendale Public and Allendale Christian Schools. Groups like New York Life offered free child ID’s and the Sheriff’s Department gave horseback rides; several other businesses followed suit with their own freebies and giveaways.

horse, signups, allendale back to school fair

“This event shows what our community is all about. Each year it’s such an amazing evening — we’re lucky to have this kind of event!” said Tammy Walker.

Dr. Daniel Jonker, Superintendent of Allendale Public Schools, agrees:

“An event like this demonstrates the strength of our community partnerships and reminds us all of the people who come around students and offer to help each year.”

Run entirely on donations (each business pays $25 to host a table), the Back to School Fair gave a free Scholastic book and ice cream treat to each student. Additionally, it gave teachers the opportunity to connect with kids and families before school began, while welcoming those new to the area.

signups, allendale back to school fair

Allendale Middle School PTO volunteers Carlene Coone, Melissa DeHoop, and Karin Morgan used the evening to introduce themselves to incoming 6th grade parents, asking them to sign up and get involved in the school. Melissa, for instance, had two children in the middle school last year and shared that families who met them first at the park were much more eager to follow-up at the school.

“Teachers are working so hard that serving in the PTO, helping with funding and helping to plan activities is one way for parents to support the teachers,” said Carlene.

books, signups, allendale back to school fair

Kids explored the fire trucks, police cars and ambulance on hand while the new police sergeant and his deputy used the interaction time to talk about safety and rip tides in Lake Michigan. The excitement of the kids was palpable and parents were thankful for the opportunity to get some questions answered at the transportation table.

“I’m excited to see my friends again! ” said Grace Hilton, a 3rd grader, who attended with her grandpa.

We send our thanks to everyone who made this year’s Back to School Fair a fun, successful event! Strong communities build strong schools, and we are blessed to have both.

icecream, signups, allendale back to school fair


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Thank you Allendale, From Quentin Rauch

Allendale Public SchoolsThroughout all the up and downs I can truly say, my experience at Allendale High School has been invaluable. This four year opportunity allows kids to slowly take those first few steps toward becoming an adult. Some kids are inspired and take the bull by the horns, but some kids refuse. They don’t think much of high school, and what little they do think is negative. One thing those kids have taught me is that it is essential to have a positive attitude if you wish to succeed in any aspect of life.

I am so thankful for all of the teachers who helped me stay motivated and not lose track of what was important. I can credit all of my accomplishments to those individuals who helped me along the way. These past few years have been filled with much expenditure from being a tri-sport athlete, to being in student council, the National Honor Society, spirit club and Rotary Interact; I am motivated to continue to strive for this positive attitude while encouraging my peers to do the same.

High school can sometimes be a scary place that attempts to steer you away from your own personal beliefs and values, but Allendale is different. Allendale is unique. Our school allows every student to thrive and succeed in their own way.

Throughout my four years I have been blessed with many opportunities and learned many new lessons. Being positive about life and the individuals in it is one lesson that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to all the administrators, staff, students and coaches who have helped me become the man I am today.

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Thank you Allendale, From the Riemersma Family

Allendale Public SchoolsIt is difficult to comment merely on a particular teacher or a specific event that has impacted our student at Allendale Public Schools. Instead we would like to celebrate the imagination and teamwork of the teachers, administrators and assistants who have implemented the creative projects and fieldtrips that have enlivened learning for our son, Dakota Riemersma and the other students here.

Though we are big advocates of reading, we realize that there are additional ways to learn. The numerous projects, fieldtrips, student-led groups and independent research that you provide are vital for showcasing students’ different didactic abilities and interests.

Riemersma, Allendale Public School, Summer SeriesDakota was absorbed in research when building his Newton Scooter balloon car or diagnosing his “patient” for the problem-based learning medical panel project. He became animated when discussing his book for book club or his class newspaper journalism stories. And, of course, he was ecstatic about all aspects of the Specials field trip and the recent Camp Pinewood trip.  This excitement and engagement opens the curious mind so the learning can sneak right in.

Thank you, Allendale Public Schools, for believing that education is more than memorizing and regurgitating strings of meaningless facts and formulas. Thank you for thinking outside the box!

Lena, Peter, Dakota Riemersma

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Thank you Allendale, From Dan Hoekstra

Allendale Public SchoolsDear Allendale Public Schools,

Thank you so much for everything you have done for me growing up. For as long as I can remember, Allendale has always treated every student equally, and everyone was given the best possible opportunity to achieve greatness and excel. I graduated in the top ten with a 4.05 GPA, and I give all the credit to my teachers and the staff in charge of running the school. I strongly believe that Allendale Public Schools is the greatest school in the area.

If I would have attended school in any other district, I would not have been treated as greatly as I have been treated at Allendale, nor would I be given the same opportunities that Allendale has to offer. Growing up in the Allendale Public School system has transformed me into the positive student, peer, and man that I have become.

Not only is Allendale a great school in terms of academics and opportunity, but the faculty and staff do an outstanding job of making everyone feel like one big family. I felt comfortable 100% of the time at Allendale, and I felt like I could talk to my teachers about anything. The staff will go out of their way to ensure a safe and family-like environment, and will come in at any time anyone needs some extra one-on-one help or study time.

At Allendale, the student comes first.

Thanks again, Allendale Public Schools, for everything you have done for me. Without Allendale, I don’t know where I’d be. Growing up in Allendale has taught me so much about myself and my character, and I cannot wait to take everything that I have learned to Hope College and into the real world.


Dan Hoekstra

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