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GH, SL schools honored in DC

Krystle Wagner • Nov 17, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The hard work of local schools was recognized in the nation’s capital last week.

Grand Haven’s Lake Hills and Rosy Mound elementary schools and Spring Lake’s Holmes and Jeffers elementary schools were recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“This award is further evidence that our staff, parents and community are working together to achieve great things,” Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said.

Having Spring Lake’s elementary schools recognized and two of Grand Haven’s schools also honored “serves to drive home how lucky we are to live and work in this community,” he added.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andy Ingall said he’s proud of the staff members “who make success for all their top priority,” and having the schools recognized at the national level is “incredible.”

“It affirms the success of our collective efforts to provide an exceptional education for our students,” he said.

Additionally, Lake Hills Principal Jason Lawson was one of 11 recipients of the 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership. When he went on stage to receive his award, Lawson said he thought about his staff, students and family.

“I am very blessed to work with amazing people that consistently do whatever it takes to support all children and families in our building,” he said.

The recognition results from staff, students and parents valuing education, said Rosy Mound Principal Kevin Blanding.

Blanding said it was humbling to receive the recognition at the nation’s capital.

“As we looked out upon the national monuments, we were reminded that, each day, as educators, we are a small part of history as we shape the future — not only of our community, but also our country — through the education of our future leaders,” he said.

While the handful of educators accepted the awards in person, the ceremony was streamed in Spring Lake. Jeffers Principal Shelley Peets said they received emails and texts from staff members cheering and students watching them accept the award.

“It was priceless,” she said.

Peets attributes Jeffers’ success to “having all the right pieces in play and working together in a coherent manner ... from having a solid curriculum in place; to having smart, talented and dedicated staff; to parents that support our mission and fulfill their role as our partner in educating their children,” she said. “It has been a team effort and we could not have done it without everyone working together.”

Holmes Principal Sandra Smits said it’s an honor to have the hard work, dedication and effort recognized. She said there are many people who make students’ achievements possible.

“We could not do it without a dedicated, knowledgeable staff, a district and board that focuses on students, parents that care deeply, and a community that wraps around us to support all we do,” Smits said. “We are so fortunate that all our stakeholders care about our schools and their success. It truly takes a village.”

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