From social work to interior design

by Maddie Osterink

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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.

What motivates you to lift?

by Pat Clark

Motivation is needed for many aspects of life, whether it be school, working a job or in this case weightlifting.

Thanks to Coach Tully, who is changing the culture around weightlifting, lifting has become a big part of athletics here at Grandville High School here at Grandville.

But, there needs to be something that drives an athlete to get in the weight room and grind multiple times a week. The idea of motivation had never occurred to many students until they were asked the question, “What motivates you to lift?” and they were forced to reflect.

Senior Matthew Clark said, “whenever I’m in the weight room my motivation comes from me wanting to be the best athlete I can be for me and my teammates.”

Senior Bret Chesla said his motivation came in his sophomore year, to be exact. He said “freshman year I came in not knowing my place in the weight room. I wasn’t that motivated. But what motivated me was to become the best baseball player I could.”  

Now it was time to ask the man who runs all the weightlifting sessions for the school, Tully Chapman or as most people call him “Coach Tully.”

Tully said his motivation came from a middle school coach.

“I started in middle school with a guy named Jim Fast who taught me how to lift weights,” Tully said. “I learned how to lift weights, and all of my friends did that, so I started doing it and really loved it.”

He also credited his high school football coach

“[He was] a good strength coach, I wouldn’t say everything we did was right, but we didn’t have the research we have now.”

Tully said his main motivation came from following his l football coach’s path.

“He played division 1 football at Michigan State and I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Tully said.

As you can see, people have different reasons as to why they lift weights.  Find yours and the drive to become a better athlete, person, or classmate becomes easier. 

Marcus Igo: Student-Athlete Struggles

by Levi Houtman

Being a student-athlete is one of the most stressful yet rewarding things ever. The number of difficulties you face while attempting to maintain several different activities at once is overwhelming. Being apart of any sports team requires practice every school day of the week, additional training, game days, meeting with coaches and more.

Student-athletes have much more to prioritize than the average student. Not only do athletes have to attend their classes as well as practice, but they also have to try and maintain a social life, and sometimes even a job. I was able to sit down with Marcus Igo, a senior at Hudsonville high school, on how he manages his time wisely. He participates in cross country, the dive team, school plays, is active at his church and even manages to work roughly 20 hours every week while maintaining a 4.16 GPA. unnamed-2

A lot of students usually don’t work a job while participating in sports, due to not having the time to work or their schedule just doesn’t allow them to.

“I’ve learned to utilize time,” Igo said. “Most of the time at lunch or in between classes I do my homework.” By completing his homework at school he’s able to not be interrupted during sports or to worry about it after getting out of work.

“Managers and coaches are a really big factor when it comes to allowing me to have a flexible schedule to work around,”Igo said.

“That man is insane, his work effort and dedication to sports, work, and everything else he does is something I’ve never seen before,” Igo’s coworker and friend Matt Pietrzak said. “I can see why people would envy him.”

Igo’s grind doesn’t stop in the classroom, and even outside of it he is always putting in 100% effort and dedication to whatever task is at hand.

One of his managers Emilie Kurnat stated, “It’s really insane and it’s cool that he does that, because most people can’t. It’s something to be proud of.”

Igo shows others that if you are in a sport during high school, you don’t have to designate all of your time towards it. You are still able to maintain an insane GPA, work during school, and also be involved in your community.

Mr. Blevins: More than the AV teacher

by Taylor Cowdin

The Audio-Visual program started 20 years ago. From that day on, many students from many different “cliques” have been affected by the class in a positive way. These impacts include being able to step outside your comfort zone, make new friends, and discover yourself through the art of filmmaking and editing.

In an interview with the man himself, Mr. Blevins, he discussed how this class has changed him as a person and teacher.

Because so much of the class requires one-on-one help with projects, I think AV has taught me that the relationships with students and others is the most important part of high school learning,” Mr. Blevins said. IMG_8902.jpg

Also agreeing with that statement is student Tori Francis.

“Being in the class has taught me to never be afraid to step out of my comfort zone and ask for help,” Francis said. “It really is so convenient being able to have such an open-minded teacher.”

Taking this class also means having to be able to handle all of the joking and laughs shared with everyone. Blevins has a goal each day to have at least one funny moment, or more, in each class.

“I try to make sure there is at least one funny moment every day,” Mr. Blevins said. “So I can’t pull one out from my memory as the funniest.”

Junior Jimmy Anglim recalled a moment when they all pulled a prank on a teacher observer.

“Mr. Lancto came in to observe Mr. B and so all of us students were told to slightly sneeze anytime we heard the word “fill.” It was funny because that day in class we watched a Youtube video about how to fill the spacing of a green screen with lights. It was the funniest day ever.”

Mr. Blevins has changed education and Grandville High School for the better. And that’s something students, staff, teachers, and administration agrees with.

Is Fantasy Football a problem?

by Mitchell Karcher

Every Sunday, around 33 million are frantically looking at their fantasy lineup in hopes that their fantasy team will produce a win for them. Whether they are involved in a league concerning money, or just simply love the competition, it is fair to assume that fantasy football is one of the most addicting games out there.

For those who don’t know what fantasy football is, essentially around ten people in a league draft players from the NFL to play for their fantasy team. In turn, every yard, completion, and a touchdown that player gains, gives their team a certain amount of points, which adds together with the rest of the players on the team.

Though many criticize the game for taking the team aspect and interest out of the game, the $70 billion dollars made yearly off fantasy leagues would argue otherwise. Obviously, a lot of people are playing this game, which generates $11 billion towards the NFL. It’s a great business, however, the real question is whether or not this game is good for NFL players?

GHS Miles Balley, JV football player, had an interesting take on if the game is actually good for the player.

“This year I had the first round pick in my fantasy football league. Having knowledge of the players, I went after and got David Johnson. Unfortunately, the first game of the season he broke his wrist, ending his season along with my hopes of winning my fantasy football league,” Balley said. “My immediate reaction was anger towards him until I came to my senses and realized he’s just a normal guy who got hurt in a football game. So in relation to is it good for players, I would have to say it can’t be great if people are getting mad at NFL players for losing their fantasy season for them. It just doesn’t seem like a healthy fan relationship.”

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Interesting enough it seems as though many NFL players have this same opinion. Being the ones that are risking their physical health, many of the players feel that it is unfair to judge a player based on what he can do for their fantasy team. In response to being asked what he thinks about fantasy football, Richard Sherman, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks gave his honest opinion.

According to The Seattle Times, he said, “You are thinking oh man, he’s messing up my fantasy team, but they don’t care how it affects your fantasy team, because they are real players, and this is real life.”

However, not everyone had the same opinion that Miles and Richard had on the subject.  Aiden Herrema, JV cornerback, made a counter to the previous comments.

“When I used to watch football when I didn’t play fantasy, I knew pretty much the players on the Lions and the superstars of the league, but after I started playing I would honestly say I more than doubled my knowledge of players playing in the league, people I never knew existed all of a sudden popped up on my roster, and I started to acknowledge more players.”

There really seems to be two trains of thought on this matter as other students  essentially said the same exact thing. People have very little knowledge of the players before they start playing fantasy.

In a fast-paced constantly changing world, people feel the need to be in control. Fantasy football allows average people to feel that they have some sort of control in the football world, but whether this helps the NFL player’s reputation or damages it is still up for consideration.

 

 

“Sowing Seeds Daily”

by Jess Wolfe

“The idea of bringing the production of fresh wholesome food hyperlocal to communities is really the mission,” Brian Harris said. 

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Esmee Arugula – Brian’s favorite leafy green

 

Retiree Brian Harris has been growing two acres worth of crops inside a shipping container in downtown Grand Rapids ever since June of 2017. His aspiration to grow using hydroponics stemmed from a curiosity about indoor urban agriculture.

“I had to self-educate myself . I’m not a farmer, I come from the steel industry and furniture industry.”

Brian started experimenting in his basement, learning different ways to grow hydroponically, and aeroponically.

“I got hooked because there are so many interesting aspects of both biology, and science, and technology associated with it.”

Brian came across a producer of a container farm out of Boston, Massachusetts called Freight Farms. This company produces customized container farms suitable for all climates, even extreme environments, such as Alaska and Saudi Arabia where fresh, nutritious vegetables never used to be accessible.

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“I thought it would be a good way to introduce Grand Rapids to what the idea of indoor urban agriculture is all about.” 

Soil-free, pesticide-free, low waste, low cost, and using only 5% of the water that traditional soil farming uses.

There is no need to use herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides because of the controlled environment with no pests or weeds. The solution given to the plants includes the basic minerals that plants normally find in soil. These nutrient elements are water soluble with zero chemicals or synthetics.

“I think it’s important to grow food that is organic. Everything stems from what you eat. When you eat healthy, everything is generally better,” Grandville High School Environmental Science student Madison Humphry said. 

 

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Plant nutrient system

 

Plants don’t see light the same way humans see light. They only see the blue and red end of the spectrum.

 

“We don’t waste any energy producing light for them that is not useful.”

LED technology has changed the industry dramatically because they are cool to the touch and don’t generate a lot of heat, meaning they can hang close to the plants without putting heat stress on them. It is also 65% more efficient than typical lighting. Brian runs the LED lighting throughout the night. Electricity is cheaper at night, thus saving money.

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Everything is controlled through Brian’s phone. The LED lights and cooling system can be turned on and off. The nutrient levels can be adjusted. The only thing Brian cannot do from his phone is transplant seedlings and harvest.

“I think that what Brian is doing is pretty cutting edge and really new. I think in general there’s an understanding that urban agriculture is beneficial for our community. We want easily accessible, local food options that are healthy for us and create job opportunities and all the sorts of things Brian is looking to develop through his project,” Leison of the Urban Agriculture Committee Catherine Zietse said.

Food waste is an emerging problem in society right now. Traditionally in a field harvest, plants are cut at the stem.

“And at that instant they are on the dying end of life as opposed to the thriving end of life.”

This means shelf life for a field grown crop is very short and much of it ends up getting thrown out because it is not consumed quick enough. To reduce or potentially eliminate the issue of food waste, Brian is able to harvest his plants with the roots still attached, meaning it is still alive. The shelf life of hydroponically grown plants is much longer than field grown crops. Another aspect of reducing food waste, comes from the controlled environment, allowing all crops to ‘look good’ and appear consistently uniform. This means the consumer is less likely to throw out oddly shaped produce.

“An ugly carrot is an ugly carrot, but it still tastes the same.”

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“Our motto here is ‘sowing seeds daily,’ and so it’s not literally just sowing seeds, it’s sowing seeds of knowledge, education, and health. Our mission is not just to run this as a business but to actually impact the community and create jobs.”

365 days a year, every seven weeks marks a new harvest. 

“We can grow specialty crops that most farmers don’t want to get involved with because they’re trying to grow large volumes of highly consumed product, like romaine, iceberg, and those common things. The idea here is that the world is full of great tasting lettuce and greens that we just don’t get the chance to get because no one is growing them.”

 

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Exotic Rosie Pac Choi

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Current zoning ordinances prevent putting a farm next to a school, grocery store, or in a vacant neighborhood lot. With a struggle to get a permit for the shipping container in downtown Grand Rapids and battle to convince the city of what he is doing, Brian recently testified at city hall, before the Urban Agriculture Committee. Many people are unsure about what hydroponics really is.

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Brian explains the exceptional flavor of his Butterhead Lettuce

“Grand Rapids will be in a learning curve and I’m hoping to help them learn.”

Brian explained we’re going to have to work with Grand Rapids on bridging the understanding that as a footprint this is not incompatible with neighborhoods. There’s not a lot of light, noise, or biomass pollution.

“On behalf of the Urban Agriculture Committee, we are completely for what Brian is doing in terms of bringing agriculture to the hyperlocal area,” Catherine Zietse said.

As of right now, no one else is growing hydroponic food in Grand Rapids. This is a big reason why the city is hesitant to adopt this new way of growing.

 

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Restaurants and chefs have come to the farm and have tasted the products and seen the process. They are all interested in having the produce in their restaurants and grocery stores. His first delivery to restaurants around Grand Rapids will occur at the end of November.

 

Looking further into the future, 

Brian will only be operating out of his current shipping container for about two years because the ultimate goal is not to run this as a business out of a container but to actually scale up to a larger ten thousand square foot facility. The ten thousand square foot facility will yield the equivalent of about 60-65 acres of crop.

“At that scale, we’re talking real jobs and intentionally hyperlocal jobs in the inner-city and the intent is that it has an impact on the economics and the opportunities in that neighborhood from an employment standpoint.”

Hydroponic farming not only has the potential to scale up but also to scale down, where it can be put into a biology lab or into a classroom, creating a curriculum around the biology of plants, the science of chemistry, or even engineering and innovation. The opportunities for new learning are endless.

Senior Madison Humphrey from Grandville High School’s Environmental Science class is working on a scaled-down hydroponic farming project. Her goal is to provide 5 families with low-cost organic food. If the trend of student-led hydroponic farming continues, it has the power to transform many communities for the better.

 

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Kale

 

 

Hydroponic indoor farming is emerging all over the world, with the controlled environment solving many environmental, health, and inner-city problems.

“There’s a value on local, there’s a value on fresh, there’s a value on organics.”

Brian Harris is starting an innovative, eye-opening movement in Grand Rapids with a lot of potential to grow and transform our city to an even more sustainable place.

“The main thing it’s really doing is bringing consumable leafy greens and vegetables hyperlocal for the benefit of health, wellness, and general happiness. “

 

Advice From Seniors

by Megan Harrington

High school is time that you will remember forever, you can never get this time back so make the most of it while it’s still here. Three seniors shared what high school was like for them and gave their best advice to underclassmen.

Senior Brad Sanders has been a part of the boys basketball teams throughout his entire high school career. He shares a vivid memory.

“Last year when we played Hudsonville at home in front of a packed crowd, I hit the 2 game clinching free throws and the crowd went crazy.”

Although sport has been a huge part of his life, Brad said, “I wish I would have taken my classes more seriously as an underclassmen because in the long run they mean a lot.”

One thing that he thinks all underclassmen should know is,“to not be afraid to just be yourself, to not care about what others think about you and just be you…”

One thing to not miss out on are the dances that the school puts on, Emily Anglim said.

“Senior homecoming was the best yet. I thought the music was the best and it’s the dance I’ve had the most fun at!”

One thing that Emily wished she would have done differently was, “I wish I would’ve been more involved in school clubs or exec board and student council. I was too scared to join and I feel like it would’ve added to the ‘high school experience’ if I was involved on one of those boards.”

Emily’s best advice to underclassmen is, “Appreciate your parents because after high school you most likely won’t be seeing them everyday and you never know when they’ll be gone, so appreciate them while you can.”

Kaitlyn Orme has been involved in softball her whole life, one of her favorite high school memories was, “going to states last year for softball and being runner up.”

One thing she wish she would have done while in high school was, “to join more clubs.” Her best advice to underclassmen is, “Don’t stress so much about school and don’t wish high school away.”