Wrestling back for another strong season

by Kenny Champion

Every year the Grandville wrestling team roster always seems to have a few wrestlers that are ranked, no matter how many seniors they lose. They still continue to produce great wrestlers who have the ability to compete at a higher level than most. We’ve interviewed Coach Bubba Gritter, Coach Aaron Grifhorst, and Jake Paganelli (varsity ranked wrestler). 

How long have you been coaching?

Coach Gritter, the varsity head coach, has been a wrestling coach for 10 years two of those years were at the college level. Coach Grifhorst, the middle school head coach, has been coaching for 16 years. He has been at Grandville for 15 years, and 14 of those years were at the middle school level. He also coached at Lakeshore Middle School in Grand Haven where they had their first undefeated season in the history of their program.

What do you teach at a young level to get successful wrestlers in the long run?

Coach Grifhorst views middle school wrestling only as a stepping stone to get young wrestlers prepared for high school.

“I really don’t care about wins or losses or if we have undefeated seasons. My goal is to make sure each wrestler has the right building blocks to help them be successful in high school wrestling.”

In 16 years of coaching, Coach Grifhorst hasn’t had a losing season or really even close to having a losing record. Coach Gritter believes that if he can instill a good work ethic into his wrestlers and continuously test their ability to compete, then they’ll be successful wrestlers. Both coaches agree heavily that wrestlers need to perfect the basic positioning, moves, and wrestling knowledge before learning more advanced moves.

Do you practice the same series of techniques all the way up to the varsity level?

Usually, each coach typically has his own specialties and methods for teaching technique. However, they do try to align with one another. Coach Grifhorst tries his best to ensure the moves and even the names of moves to match up with the High School as much as possible to have a seamless transition into the High School program.

Why is the experience so important in wrestling? Coach Gritter says that in order to be successful, wrestlers have to be able to feel when moves are available in live matches, and trying things is the only way to really know whats right and wrong.  Jake Paganelli is currently ranked 8th in the state at 171 pounds he has been wrestling for 10 years and started when he was 7 years old.  Even though his wrestling career isn’t over yet, even he knows that without experience it is hard to get success. Without experience and knowing how to work your way through positions and take given opportunities during a match, a wrestlers success is limited.


Mrs. Pepper spreads positivity

by Kenny Champion

Mrs. Pepper is a special education teacher who is currently co-teaching biology, and world History courses. She received her bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College in Education. She also graduated with honors with her master’s degree in the Arts of Teaching and Special Education at Aquinas College. We’ve decided to interview her and a few students Mrs. pepper has had a positive impact on.

How did you lose your hearing?

“I believe that I lost my hearing at birth from having jaundice as a baby. I was 18 months old when my family discovered that I could not hear. I was fortunate to having hearing aids to work for me and learned how to communicate with speech therapy as a child. Throughout my school career, I had to work harder to reach my goals but it has been truly rewarding. The power of positivity will get you far in life!”

What were some things you had to overcome when you started teaching?

“I had to learn how to use my resources and develop a network of support with students, colleagues, administrators, and parents. The communication barriers is always a challenge for me and it will never change. I learned the importance of being patient with others, being more confident, and using self-advocacy skills on a daily basis in order to be successful! I am truly blessed and fortunate to be a part of Grandville High School because people are protective and supportive of me. It’s like my extended family!”

How do you manage to teach classes with up to thirty students with your loss of hearing?

“I believe it’s a team effort with my students every year! I do my best to teach students that we are all here to help each other in this world, starting in our classroom. It is important for my students to be aware of my needs as a hearing impaired teacher and specific classroom expectations to run smoothly. Occasionally, some students will take advantage of my hearing impairment and try to get away with it. Most of my students are wonderful and always willing to be helpful! I also have incredible co-teachers in co-taught classes who also help manage the classes with me, I am very grateful for them!”

Did losing your hearing inspire you to get involved with Be nice club?

“Yes, a few years ago, I was asked to become an advisor and I was very honored to do it. Having a hearing impairment helps me use grit to overcome challenges so I try to share my experiences to reach out to everyone. Students who struggle with mental health are often silent so I hope to create more awareness to reach out to students who are struggling everyday.”

Does Be nice club allow you to help students who struggle with similar things ?

“Absolutely! It is all about empathy and spreading kindness to our community. Many people suffer with mental health issues that we don’t even know about and there are too many victims of bullying happening around us. It’s important to be aware to notice, invite, challenge, and empower. It’s incredible how powerful it is by simply “being nice” can impact everyone around you and can actually save lives!”

What’s your favorite memory with Mrs.Pepper?

Makayla Basman- “My favorite thing about Mrs.Pepper is that everyday, no matter what, she’s smiling and has a positive attitude.”

Jimmy Anglim- “I was standing next to the track uniform boxes, and as she was walking by me, I reached my hand out and scared her. We laughed so hard. I love Mrs.Pepper.”

JV Football Team Success Story

by Kenny Champion

JV football took a surprising and close win over Warren De La Salle August 30.

De La Salle is a private school with kids from all over the state, unlike Grandville were more than 75% of students went to middle school in Grandville.

Players share their insight on the win.

What were some things you guys did to create success up front?

“We made sure we were tight on the mid-line. We made sure that we were butt to butt on double teams.”

Sophomore Jordan Johnson

“Honestly we just just played physical. We made sure we got to every tackle through the whistle.”

Sophomore Mike Shalhoup 

“We needed to be fast because the more guys that get to a tackle, the better.”

Sophomore Marquice Fields 


What did you guys have to prepare for specifically in practice?

“Our running backs had to really focus on carrying out our fakes and keeping the ball layered to prevent being stripped.”

Sophomore Jordan Johnson

“Their quarterback. We knew he had an arm but he also could make a cut up field in a split second.”

Sophomore Mike Shalhoup

“Us D linemen had to practice getting hand on and getting off blocks.”

Sophomore Marquice Fields


What were your thoughts going into the game?

“We knew they were gonna be big and physical which they were, but we just had to stay focused on reading our keys and play hard, play fast, play physical.”

Sophomore Jordan Johnson

“Winning. I just wanted to win no matter what.”

Sophomore Mike Shalhoup