From social work to interior design

by Maddie Osterink


Grandville High School senior Ariel Merrill plans on attending GRCC for 2 years after high school for interior design. Her track to that decision was not what you might think. 

“I wanted to be a social worker but decided on switching. I realized that you had to be strong and not break down easily, and I couldn’t deal with all the emotions because I’m such a loving person,” Merrill said. “A social worker is a really hard field to go into because you’re dealing with children and others who have super hard lives. Some of them may or are being abused and abandoned and that’s something you have to be strong through and support them.”

Ariel, knowing these challenges, switched to be an interior designer because it would be fun and would make a decent amount of money.

Many seniors and juniors have been stressing about what they want to go to college for and where they want to go. Many other seniors already plan on going to GRCC for two years to get their basic credits and then go to the college that they really want to.

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.”

Black Friday Soon to be Forgotten?

by Lizzy Pena

Black Friday. Otherwise known as the craziest shopping day of the entire year. It’s the day right after Thanksgiving that everyone wakes up at the crack of dawn for. What makes waking up an hour after you go to bed so worth it? The deals.

Stores all around the U.S give out insane deals to try to get people to come into their stores.

“I’ve gone in the past because I wanted to experience the craziness,” freshman Jane Durham said. “Everyone always made it seem like the lines would be out the building and the people would be unusually insane. Yeah they were right.”  

Recently there has been news of Black Friday slowing down and eventually dying out.

When asked how she felt about this, freshman Chloe Beatty said it wouldn’t affect her much.IMG_1943

“I do most of my shopping online anyways, and so do my parents,” Beatty said. “But a lot of other people will probably miss it.”

Senior Taelor Peaks works at the Kohls in the Rivertown mall and said “I couldn’t imagine not having a mile long line out the door on Black Friday.”

Most stores would probably notice the difference, too. Black Friday is the kick off of the holiday season, so the loss of the holiday shopping would be very noticeable. 30% of annual earnings are made between Black Friday and Christmas.

Store employees can tell you crazy stories about Black Friday shoppers.

Jaela Divers, a junior at GHS and an employee at Justice, recalled a time she was working Black Friday, and two teenage girls ripped a shirt in half trying to grab it from one another.

“They looked like nice girls,” Divers said. “I never would have expected they could tear a pretty thick sweater right down the middle.”

There are numerous stories of how crazy people get on :lack Friday.

Junior Becca Larson explained a time when her grandma “Had to literally use me as a human shield since I was only twelve, she thought people would be a little less violent towards me!”

Black Friday will always be remembered whether it stays or goes. It’s kind of an unspoken holiday, but will it be replaced by Cyber Monday? This year’s lines will give us a look into the future.  

Hockey Season 42 Begins

by Patrick Underwood

On October 30th, the Grandville varsity hockey team held their 42nd annual tryouts.

Head coach Joel Breazeale is happy that “all the returners and prospects have put the time in the offseason.”

The Grandville varsity hockey team has been in the weight room 5 days a week during the summer and fall.

Senior Chris Northouse states “the boys have been grinding every week and are very dedicated to the team.”

Senior Hunter Cunningham says “the team has been putting in a lot of work in the offseason and I think it will be a good year for them.”

Coach Breazeale described the character of the team.

“When teams play us, they know what to expect,” Breazeale said. “Highly energetic, respectful, and plays to win every period.”

The team’s first game is on Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 vs team rival GRCC at Southside ice arena. The team’s hardest regular season is coming up and it would be great to see some support for the boy’s hard work and dedication to the sport.

How much do you know about our only GHS twirler?

by Mary DeLuca


If you’ve been to a home football game you’ve probably seen that one girl around half time that twirls the batons. Have you ever stopped to think who even is that? Her name is Celina Wheeler better known as “Paris.” She got that nickname from a friend who was writing a story and happened to want to use Celina as a character, but just called her “Paris.” Celina wants to visit Paris when she is older.

Paris got a flyer from her former school about twirling lessons around where she lived. She was sceptical about actually trying it, but her mother pushed her and told her “if you don’t like it, you can just finish the season and leave.”

Paris ended up loving it, but Grandville does not have a twirler team. The closest thing to it would be color guard or someone within the band. When Paris first started out, she talked to them both and they turned her down, but that didn’t stop her. She went to the athletic director, Mr.Parsons, expecting him to say no too, but he didn’t. He told her she could twirl at home football games, and her first time performing was at a homecoming game at halftime.

Mr. Parsons told her to get a routine down and make it good, and that’s what she did.

“I remember being unbelievably nervous I waited out on the field for them to call my name so I could start. “Besides lowkey freaking out, I was shaking with excitement. It was so overwhelming. The huge crowd– every seat was filled on the bleachers. It was way too late to back out, so I took a deep breath and got into my starting position waiting for the song, “Wings” by Little Mix, to start. And during the whole routine moving around, getting lost in the music… you just get out of your head. I don’t even know my thought process during it. I just focus on if I’m catching my tricks or not. It might have not been my best show, that game, but it was an amazing experience for my first time and I was more than happy to do it.”

Paris went on to explain she’s the only one that’s been a twirler at Grandville and she’d love to take someone under her wing and teach her everything she knows so that when she graduates next year, someone can take her place. But no one has really showed much interest in it. But her younger sister, Sophia Wheeler, might do it in a couple years when she in high school.

But until then, it is just Paris as the Grandville twirler, and she is more than proud to do it.

“It takes guts to go up by yourself in front of a huge crowd and give them all you got I have mad respect for her” an anonymous student said.

Meet Emeli Collet!

by Maddie Osterink

The foreign exchange program has brought many new faces to Grandville High School this year. One of those new faces is Emeli Collet. He is 16 and technically a junior but is in a range of freshmen to senior classes. He will graduate with the 2018 seniors this year.

Emeli’s journey to the United States for this school year was definitely a long one. He boarded a plane in Bremen, Germany, his hometown, then flew to Frankfurt, Germany. He then boarded another plane and flew to New York City and then finally made his way to Grandville.

It was a big adjustment the first few days for him because it’s a 6 hour time change.

“I got to New York around 6 p.m. and just fell right asleep,” he said. “I wasn’t use to it at all.”

There are many differences here from Germany. For example the legal drinking age in Germany is 16, but the legal driving age is 18, where as in the U.S you’re legally allowed to drive at 16 and legally allowed to drink at age 21.

Football is another example of difference.

“Many people here get excited in about football games where as in Germany students get more excited for soccer games,” Emeli explained.

Emeli is currently on the boys cross country team and enjoys rock climbing and hanging out with friends. Emeli can speak German, French and English and is learning Spanish and enjoys knowing how to speak many different languages. 

High Hopes and School, Community Drive

by Jess Wolfe

Every purchase fights poverty. For every hammock sold, High Hopes Hammock Company donates another hammock or survival kit to a homeless person in need.

“I was inspired to start High Hopes when I was hiking on the Appalachian trail in 2015. I slept in a hammock every night for nine days and it made me realize that a hammock could be used as an emergency shelter and place to sleep for someone in a homeless situation.”  

Founder, Connor Moynihan, took this inspiration and turned it into a motivation for helping homeless individuals sustain a better quality of life.


“One place I have donated that was very eye-opening, was to the homeless on streets of San Deigo, this trip taught me a lot about the homeless and how to approach them and the best ways to help them.”


High Hopes Hammock company partners with churches who travel on international donation trips, donating hammocks all over the world, places like Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala, India, and the Dominican. High Hopes offers the only hammock on the market with an all in one innovative velcro cocoon design. The hammocks are equipped with velcro sides allowing users to wrap themselves up like a cocoon. This unique feature provides wind and bug protection, along with warmth and privacy. These qualities are especially important for homeless individuals living in areas with deadly viruses spread thru bugs as well as homeless people living in cold climates.

“My favorite part about this company is seeing the ways it has helped people.”

Handing out survival kits is another generous effort the High Hopes family is committed to. Connor has witnessed first hand, the happiness, survival kits bring to people.

“In one situation right here in GR there was a mom and her four children sitting at a picnic table in Heartside Park. The mother was splitting one single bag of Cheetos on to four plates for her children. It was so sad to see, but the children and their mom were so happy when we were able to give each of them a sandwich, protein bar, peanut butter crackers, and water.”

High Hopes has many outstanding plans to grow their generosity to an even broader spectrum. As far as third world countries, High Hopes will continue to hang hammocks in the homes of people in need of safe and sanitary places to sleep. Connor plans to do more than that like handout meals, clothing and do clean water projects. He also hopes to make a lasting impact on the refugees of the refugee crisis.

“Further into the future, it has always been my plan to create jobs and a better life for people living in poverty.” 

High Hopes Hammock Company is also working on their clothing line and would like to create their own manufacturing here in Michigan where hammocks, clothing, and other camping products will be made.

“With this manufacturing, we will hire the homeless to create and package our products. I would like to team up with substance abuse programs, therapists, and affordable housing programs so we can give our employees everything they need to have a better life.”

Throughout the month of December, High Hopes will be doing a hat, glove, blanket and meal donation to homeless individuals across Detroit and Grand Rapids.

“We are hoping to hand out blankets to 150-200 homeless individuals.”

Please consider helping Connor and the rest of High Hopes Hammock Company meet or even, succeed their goal by donating, gently used or new hats, gloves, and blankets at Grandville High School on Monday, November 13th through Tuesday, November 21st.

IMG_6397Interested in purchasing a hammock or some High Hopes apparel? Get 20% off when you use coupon code: JESS20  at checkout on our website: