Posts Tagged With: New Options High School

New Options Elects New Student Council President

Shianne Frantz, Allendale New OptionsLife hasn’t always been easy for New Options High School’s new student council president. While it’s true that she makes leadership look easy and compassion appear second nature, those qualities have taken root after very real personal heartache and hardship. Still, Shianne Frantz is showing the world that each day holds new hope for those willing to risk.

After growing up and attending school in White Cloud, Michigan, Shianne was abandoned by her mother. With nowhere else to turn, she left to find a new home with her aunt in Allendale, who currently has power of attorney, but not legal custody, of Shianne. Caught in a messy legal web, Shianne — a young mother herself — is left to hope for speedy resolution and safekeeping for the longterm in our community.

“Going to school and being a mom isn’t easy,” she said. “But I think it’s easier going here than somewhere else. People here don’t judge you because they know that everyone has a different reason for coming here. It’s not just because they’re bad. We’re just a big family here and the teachers help a lot.”

Undeterred by personal issues, Shianne still hears the voice of those calling out for help. In fact, her desire to help led her to run for student council.

When Shianne saw that her friend was being bullied, she immediately wanted  to do something about it. Knowing that her friend was not interested in taking a leadership position within the school, Shianne acted on her behalf, running for and winning a position on student council.

Shianne has dreams for her school that demonstrate extending compassion and empathy to others.  For example, she would like to:

  • …create a Roar video to the new Katy Perry song, similar to the one that AHS did. She feels that New Options needs their own, with a unique slant on being courageous.
  • …make a presentation to her school emphasizing that bullying is “not okay”
  • …get New Options students involved in a community project to decorate the brown lunch bags in which kids living in homeless shelters receive their meals.

Student council advisor and science teacher Liz Lillibridge said, “I’m really excited for Shianne to be the president this year. She’s already come to me with quite a few ideas of things that we can do for the community. She’s also an excellent student. Her attendance is great, she’s always here, she’s always doing well. I don’t think she hardly ever has missing work or late assignments — she’s always on task.”

Ms. Lillibridge shared a list of ideas that student council is considering for fundraising, increasing school spirit and reaching out to others. She is excited for what this year may bring.

“I feel like sometimes people have a wrong perception of New Options kids, so we’re trying to get out into the community so they can fix that. I want others to see that our kids are good kids.”

Categories: Allendale New Options High School, Star Teachers, Students in the Spotlight! | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You Allendale, from Alexis Jimenez

Allendale Public Schools

What do you think of an alternative school? Well, don’t have the wrong impressions of them. All the people that go to them have different stories, so I, Alexis Jimenez, am going to tell you my story.

I’ve been that “new kid” quite a few times at schools since I’ve moved a few times, even out of the country. I’ve been to three different high schools since my freshman year. The previous schools I’ve been to are Kenowa Hills, which I attended from 5th – 9th grade. Then it was Jenison. I was there for all of 10th grade and only a few weeks when I was in 11th grade. That’s when I decided to make my choice to go to New Options.

It’s hard making new friends when you transfer schools, especially in high school where people in high school have friends since elementary school and know everybody. When I transferred to Jenison I didn’t fit in that well. I did try my best to make friends and even played sports to make friends. Day by day people would make fun of me or give me looks, so I changed myself. Who I was, my clothes, everything about me was different. It wasn’t who I was.

Alexis Jimenez, Allendale Public Schools, APS, New Options High SchoolAfter all that change it still didn’t cut it. I gave up and had enough of it by my junior year, and that’s when my brother had a talk with me and told me that I should go to New Options, so I took his advice. And honestly, going to New Options has been the best experience of my high school years.

Alternatives schools aren’t as bad as you think they are. Everybody has a story of why they go to them. My story was because of the lack of friends. I tried making them for so long I gave up, but at New Options, you make friends on the first day. The people are so nice and welcoming, here you can be considered family.

So don’t let a wrong impression of alternative schools fool you.

Categories: Allendale Public Schools, Summer Series | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You Allendale, from James Troost

Allendale Public SchoolsMy name is James Troost. I am a New Options student that came from a local high school. I came to New Options in early February of 2013. I have so far enjoyed my experience with New Options and I plan  on staying until I graduate.

Everyone comes to New Options for a reason. It is not just a school that a parent would enroll their kid into to get a regular high school experience. That being said, I am going to share the reason I have ended up at New Options. At my old school I was very stressed out. I have been going through a lot of personal life problems that caused me to go off the deep end. School became so stressful for me to the point where I could not concentrate in any class. At one point, I am not entirely sure when, I just gave up on myself and started to ruin my own potential.

Now with me not caring about myself as far as school goes, my quality of life drastically went downhill. My parents really had no way of motivating me because if I don’t care about myself no one is going to be able to get me to care about school. Not caring was what I saw as the only way to relieve the stress that was brought onto me.

After my parents ran out of ideas to try to help me, they suggested that I just drop out. If I wasn’t going to do anything in school, there really is no point in going. I really could not do that to myself. Just taking all of my potential and throwing it into the garbage. I was not going tolet that happen. So then my parents suggested the idea of enrolling me into New Options. This just seemed like the best of both worlds. I am going to be able to graduate from high school but on top of that I am not going to stress myself out to the point where I can’t function. This is what I saw to be the best solution to my problem.

James Troost, Allendale Public Schools, APS, New Options High School

New Options, I feel, was created to help those in difficult times to get as close as possible to reaching their full potential. I find that it is doing that for me. The reasons I enjoy this school are simple. New Options helps me complete all of my assignments within the school hours, that way I do not have the stress of bringing loads of work home with me. That was a huge problem at my old school.

Another reason I really enjoy this school is because everyone here has their own story, their own reason for being here. That helps me stay motivated because now I know I am not the only one dealing with these problems. All of the teachers here truly want to see you pass with flying colors, and they are willing to do anything they can do to help you achieve that. And nothing is more important in school than teachers that care.

New Options is a place that I am happy going to. I personally feel that it is the reason I started to care about my life again. If anyone ever goes through what I went through, I would strongly recommend that you enroll as soon as possible. When you feel there are no options left, there is always New Options.

Categories: Allendale Public Schools, Summer Series | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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

New Options Star Student: Katy Key

Star Student Katy Key, senior at New Options High School

When I asked New Options Assistant Principal Tamika Henry the first word that came to mind when thinking of senior Katy Key, she didn’t hesitate in answering.

Perseverance,” she said. “Katy has overcome a lot of difficulties to be able to graduate, but she has absolutely persevered.”

The joy was evident in Katy while we sat talking; her eyes positively sparkled. It’s obvious that she has worked hard and has made the choice to lean into a bright future that she can be proud of — a bright future that she’s built with the help of New Options.

Tamika continued, “Katy has a lot of character — a lot of integrity. She’s very honest and forthright. If she sees something that’s “not right,” she comes and talks to me. She still has fun…she’s still a teenager, but she makes the right choices. Katy really is a model student.”

For students like Katy, New Options is not their first high school home, but for many of them it becomes the one for which they’ve longed. It’s a place of smaller class-sizes, flexible learning atmospheres, and best of all, second chances.

New Options: A place for new stories to begin.

“My favorite thing about being a student at New Options,” Katy explained, “Is that it’s more laid back. There are smaller classes which makes it easier to speak to teachers. I needed that when I came here. This is a great fit for me.”

But of all the staff members who have reached out to Katy, it’s Tamika whose love has left the ripple effects of a changed life.  Katy looked over to Tamika, whose eyes blurred with emotion. Breathing deeply, Tamika shared how so many students over the years have returned to New Options, have sought her out, and have said, “Tamika, if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Katy Key dreams of studying social work at Baker College next year.

Katy nodded in agreement. With just ninety kids enrolled, teachers are able to give the special attention that New Options students desperately need, whether that be in the form of new learning strategies or extra emotional support to those struggling through very difficult circumstances.

I asked Katy what she’s learned about herself while at New Options. She gave it some thought and then looked at me with hope glowing.

“I’ve learned that I’m able to achieve any goal as long as I put my mind to it.”

We believe she will!

We applaud Katy Key and wish her success as she presses on toward graduation and life beyond New Options.

Categories: Students in the Spotlight! | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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