Schoolcraft Alumni Association Banquet cancelled

The 2022 Schoolcraft Schools Alumni Association Banquet has been cancelled. The group has not held the annual banquet since 2019 due to COVID.

Current members of the Alumni Association Executive Committee include Scott Paquin, president; Aaron Beery, past president; Dale Martinson, treasurer; Sue Bates Hendriksma, acting secretary; and Judy Shelley Oliphant and Betsy Rice, members at large.

New officers are needed for some positions if the Association is to return to normal activities after this year. Those with questions or interested in helping the Alumni Association in the future should email alumni@schoolcraftcs.org.

Vicksburg High School to offer forensic science

The graduating class at Vicksburg High School named its top twelve students. Back row, left to right: Gage Stenger, Logan Jones, Owen Bishop, Kenny Dark, Grace Johnson, Lauren Lahrke, Maya Peters, and Max Dinzik. Front row, left to right: Andrew Painter, Kayla Miller, Grace Romig, and Clare Wilson.

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg High School upperclassmen will have a chance to be a part of a new forensic science class making its debut in the fall.

A proposal to add the subject to the high school’s science program was pitched by biology and astronomy teacher Rejean Kangas and touted by Principal Adam Brush.

The two discussed the merits behind the class when they addressed board of education members April 11.

Brush said the district is always looking for electives that engage students, so his interest was piqued when Kangas approached him about considering the addition. Kangas had taught the course at Hackett High School during his tenure there.

“It seemed awesome … I talked with a couple other high school principals in the area and they said it is a great third science course, it is a great elective, it is very hands-on,” Brush said.

Kangas, who currently teaches biology and astronomy at VHS, said some of the different units covered include entomology by studying maggots from pig carcasses and the process of maggots turning into flies. Kangas said there is a crime-solving component that focuses on hair analysis, and studying foot impressions and tire treads at accident scenes, for example.

“There’s over 18 units and there’s four to five activities for each one, at least,” he said. “I talked to Les Latham, our physics teacher, and his brother works for the crime scene lab in Kalamazoo, so I’m really looking forward to working with the local crime scene unit.”

The course will require a prerequisite of biology, chemistry or physics. The district has opened three sections based on student interest, Brush said, noting the subject has the potential to be a two-year course.

Due to that addition, the district plans to drop astronomy, Brush added. He said the cost to offer forensic science in place of astronomy is pretty much even.

Schoolcraft receives approval on ESSER III grants

The top ten students from Schoolcraft High School’s 2022 graduating class.

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft School District anticipates a $447,000 grant in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding for summer learning and maintenance of ventilation systems at the high school.

The pandemic-relief funding is being distributed through three formulas. The district has received ESSER-1 and ESSER-2 grants for hiring a guidance counselor.

Kendra Drewyor, the district’s finance director, told school board members about approval of the ESSER-3 grant at its April meeting.

Another grant through the program is awaiting approval, Drewyor said. It may be used for a category of students including those in low-income families, racial minorities or learning English. Drewyor noted the funds must be fully expended by July of 2024.

In other news, board President Jennifer Gottschalk was finally able to confirm to the village’s 4th of July committee that it may use a portion of school grounds for the fireworks show this year. The board and the committee had been going back and forth for a few months to find a solution. Until this month it wasn’t clear if construction would interfere with the proposed launch site or not.

Gottschalk also briefly discussed upcoming open positions on the board. Gottschalk, and Trustees Jill Hunt, and Randy Blankenship’s terms are expiring in December. Gottschalk and Hill’s seats are six-year terms. Blankenship’s is a two-year term. Hill cleared up some confusion by noting Blankenship’s term is incorrectly showing as ending December 2024 on the district’s website. Gottschalk and Blankenship both plan to run again. Hunt has decided she will not seek re-election to focus more on her career outside the board of education’s duties.

“We’re seeking more candidates,” Gottschalk said. “Rick (Frens) and I are going to discuss how we can get this out to folks in the area. I’ve talked to a few people who might be interested.”

Athletic Director Jeff Clark also briefly highlighted the extremely successful winter sports season that culminated with the boys’ varsity basketball team winning a state title. Clark noted the boys’ basketball team shot 75 percent from the field in the title game for both two and three-pointers.

“You don’t see that with any team, whether it’s pro, college; that was really good,” Clark said. “And the defense was just stifling.”

Clark didn’t have all the individual accolades from the season at the time of the meeting. However, he noted across all sports, the district had seven athletes earn honorable mention all-conference, eight first team all-conference athletes, and won two conference championships, three district championships, and two regional championships.

“All around, a really good effort by all our sports teams this past winter,” Clark said.