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My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool

My Town: Kent County campaign spreads the word about free preschool
------------------------NEWS RELEASE---------------GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (First Steps Kent) – A collaborative team of parents, educators and advocates in Kent County launches a coordinated spring-summer marketing campaign for state-funded free preschool this week. Designed with bright colors, bold graphics, and adorable children, the materials focus on the benefit of preschool for little ones throughout the county. Campaign posters, flyers and yard signs will be shared by schools, preschools, doctors’ offices, salons, grocery stores and more—essentially, any organization serving parents of preschoolers. “We don’t have buckets of money for a big advertising push, so we are taking it to the streets with our amazing network of parent volunteers, community advocates, and grassroots activists,” said Judy Freeman, director of Great Start Collaborative for Kent County.

My Town: Kenowa Hills graduate delivers farewell rap

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  Kenowa Hills High School’s newest graduates will likely never forget the first speech delivered during their graduation.

On Wednesday, May 28, Sean Beachnau stepped up to the podium and with one deep breath, launched into a four minute rap.  Beachnau posted the entire address on YouTube with the message, “a great way to end my years at Kenowa Hills.”

Beachnau, who served as the senior class vice president, will attend Grand Valley State University in the fall.  He plans to major in international business.  Wheaton College, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are also among the schools this year's graduates plan to attend next.

Pennington says 212 seniors participated in the graduation ceremony, which lasted about 90 minutes.  More than 1,000 people attended the event, filling Kenowa Hills Fieldhouse to capacity.  Additional guests watched the ceremony from the performing arts center.

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

My Town: West Catholic greenhouse takes shape

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Construction is underway on a greenhouse designed by pre-engineering students at West Catholic High School.

The students raised more than $8,000 for the greenhouse, which they will design and build right outside the school.  In a photo posted on West Catholic High School’s Facebook page on May 6, you can see the students putting up the walls.

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

My Town: National Heritage Academies celebrates record enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—  It’s National Charter Schools Week and National Heritage Academies is celebrating a record number of applicants.

The charter school system says this year, so many children applied to NHA that 20,952 students were put on the wait list.  When it has more applicants than open seats, NHA uses a random lottery to determine who gets into its schools.

“We have experienced record numbers of applications and demand for our schools with wait lists of more than 2,000 students at some schools,” said National Heritage Academies President and CEO Chip Hurlburt. “We appreciate the support we receive from parents who feel so strongly about the quality school choice NHA provides.”

My Town: Online app boosts community involvement in Rapid route project

My Town: Online app boosts community involvement in Rapid route project

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Researchers behind the Laker Line Study are crediting an online app for more than doubling public engagement.

The study team is using MindMixer, a customizable online survey system, to gather feedback from the community as they try to determine the future of the RAPID line connecting downtown Grand Rapids to Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus.  The route upgrade will include stops on the city’s west side and Standale.  RAPID officials say the current 50 Campus Connector route has experienced the sharpest ridership increase of any route, carrying more than 12,000 riders each weekday during the school year. 

My Town: Kenowa Hills hosts Homes For A Hero benefit May 2

My Town: Kenowa Hills hosts Homes For A Hero benefit May 2

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—Community members are invited to show their support for veterans by taking part in Kenowa Hills High School’s Homes For A Hero event thgis Friday, May 2.

Students have spent weeks preparing for the benefit, which will take place at Kenowa Hills High School, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  The celebration will include a silent auction, cook-out and live entertainment as well as a ceremony recognizing veterans and active military members.

Homes For A Hero will also include a varsity rugby game between Kenowa Hills and Grand Haven, starting at 6 p.m.  Kenowa Hills’ team will be sporting camouflage jerseys  for the game. After the match-up, the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society will hold swing dancing under the stadium lights, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Proceeds from Homes For A Hero will go toward building a home for a veteran.  Students are teaming up with Homes of Hope, a Grand Rapids organization, for the six-day build.

My Town Rockford: State lawmakers welcome Rockford water polo team to Capitol

My Town Rockford: State lawmakers welcome Rockford water polo team to Capitol

ROCKFORD, Mich.—The Rockford boys’ water polo team got a warm welcome while visiting the Capitol recently.

State Reps. Peter MacGregor and Rob VerHeulen honored the team for back-to-back state championship victories.

“Few high school teams come together with as much success as the Rockford Rams have experienced over the past two years, and I am excited to celebrate this second state championship with them,” said MacGregor, R-Cannon Township. “I wish them even more success in the future, both in the pool and in the classroom.”

The Rams had a perfect 100-0 over the past two seasons, defeating Ann Arbor Pioneer 6-4 in November to earn their 10th title in school history.

“I am glad we could meet with Coach Dave McWatters and these exceptional young men today and congratulate them on their accomplishments,” said VerHeulen, R-Walker. “They are all fine representatives of the entire Rockford community.”