The Meaning Behind the VanderSlice Gymnasium

By: Claire Gregwer

Though it may not seem like it, the name of the Grandville High School gymnasium holds a more special meaning than what it may seem. The “East” Gym was renamed the VanderSlice Gymnasium on January 18, 2018 after Chris Vanderslices death in 2017. He held a strong role within the Grandville area and wanted to leave a legacy within the school. He is remembered by his loyalty to the community and pride for his school.

Chris VanderSlice was a former principal at Grandville High School who passed away from leukemia on October 17, 2017. The gym wasn’t just a random place to re-name in his honor, it held a special place throughout his life. Chris VanderSlice was an athlete. The dedication to the gym sprang from Mr. Vanderslice’s passion towards basketball, having played at Hope College.

During Chris VanderSlice’s time as the principal at Grandville High School, he made it his goal to make the gym as well designed as he could. Current principal Mr. Lancto states, “He was very adamant that we changed how the gym floor looked.” Mr. Lancto played a huge role in the naming of the gymnasium as well as Mr, VanderWall and Mr. Tower, both teachers at Grandville High School, along with the principal at the time, Mr. Philo. Lancto  says, “He took a lot of pride in the way the gym looked and was extremely proud of the way it turned out.” Chris VanderSlice’s funeral was also placed within the “VanderSlice Gymnasium” making it even more meaningful. 

This event made an immense impact within the community. Mr. Vanderslice’s wife, Tonya VanderSlice explains, “I hope that the community held a sense of honor as much as it was an honor to my family and I to name the gym after him. I hope it was inspiring to the community.” It is obvious that Mr. Vanderslice had an enormous impact on Grandville High School and his legacy had lived on. Mrs. VanderSlice states, “Lives out the legacy of the amount of pride and love he had for this school.”

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