The most important thing I’ve learned in Allendale Public is schools is togetherness. I moved to this school when I was in fifth grade. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do in a new school, and I wasn’t the best at making friends. I was kind of shy, but if there’s one thing that Allendale has taught me since those days, it is how to support one another and experience togetherness. This school comes together for everything from football games, to plays, to fundraisers and everything else.
Allendale comes together at football games. Even if that isn’t our best friend out there on the football field playing or marching during the halftime show, the students and staff show our support and pride in the stands. I’ve never watched so many people stay in the stands for a half-time band performance and show as much respect as Allendale does. Staying in the stands and wearing our school colors shows our togetherness.
Allendale is also a school that supports the students in our plays. Again, even if it isn’t our best friend on stage, the student body, the teachers, and the community all come out to see and support the hard work that everyone has put into making a great show.
We support each other in the tough times, too. I’ve watched our school go through the experience of classmates dying twice now since I moved to Allendale in the fifth grade. The first happened when I was in eighth grade: we were shocked to learn that two APS students, brothers Daniel and David Aguilar, were killed in a car accident while visiting family members in Mexico during Christmas vacation. I was a student at Allendale Middle School that year, and we came together as a whole school to remember and honor this young student who had to leave us way too soon. Then, just this past year, an Allendale graduate in the Class of 2013 passed away at Western Michigan University. Alyssa Olafson made such a positive impact and difference in the lives of so many people who knew her at Allendale Public Schools, and because of her, we came together — students, teachers, administrators, and community members — to show support to each other and comfort one another as we mourned her passing.
My experiences at Allendale Public Schools have taught me a lot since I moved here in fifth grade. Each lesson I’ve learned has had a different impact, but the power of togetherness is something that always will stick with me. Whether it be through sports, music, drama, other school activities, or just through the power of friendship and mutual support, Allendale Public School students stick together. We are always there for each other, especially through the hard times. This is a lesson I’ll never forget.