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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs Middle School"

A Thousand Letters home

Author Teresa Irish with Cedar Springs resident Claudia Mabie.

Author Teresa Irish with Cedar Springs resident Claudia Mabie.

By Tom Noreen

Over 130 people enjoyed the presentation last Thursday evening, October 22, at Cedar Springs Middle School, of A Thousand Letters Home: Journey of the Letters, by author Teresa Irish.

Irish is a gifted storyteller with a mission to remind us of the war that changed the world and the over 16 million men and women who served in uniform during that time. Her father, Bud Irish, wrote 1,000 letters home to his fiancé and parents during World War II and sent 250 photographs. These letters were stored in a trunk until after his death in 2006. Reading these letters changed her life, her outlook and ultimately her calling. She gained a complete new understanding of her dad and how it transformed him and of the war itself, both on the battlefield and at home.

While reading a letter on an airplane, she saw the many soldiers in uniform that were on their way to or returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She wondered how many times she had seen these uniforms in the 45 weeks she traveled each year and not seen the people in them or realized what they were doing. She made a vow never to pass up someone in uniform or a vet and not thank them for their service. She struck up a conversation with the soldier across the aisle who was on his way to Afghanistan, and a few years later ended up marrying now Colonel Brad Foster (who is on another deployment). She spoke of the many vets she has talked with that no one has ever thanked for their service, especially those from Vietnam.

It is not just Vietnam. My dad, Roger, served in the Navy in WWII, landing soldiers in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and finally Normandy. While we were stationed in Belgium, we traveled to Normandy on 1999 with him to show him the beaches from the grassy side. As we walked the large cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, he and Virginia rested at the memorial. During that time, a group of Italian college students came up and asked if he had served in WWII. He said he did and they thanked him for his service. He later said that was the first time anyone ever thanked him.

Just as important as recognizing vets, is recognizing the needs of those around us. Seeing people as we would like to be seen and giving them a warm greeting may make the difference between life and death.

Teresa said of the pictures that were in the collection that she couldn’t understand why her dad had taken and saved some of the more graphic ones. In particular, ones of a group of concentration camp prisoners that had been burned alive in a barn until she looked at the back and saw where he had written, “Pictures don’t lie.”

It might not have been a bucket list item but getting author Teresa Irish as a speaker to present was high on librarian Donna Clark’s wish list. After learning about Irish’s program, Donna contacted her and found out that it would cost more than the library could afford at the time. In the summer, Teresa contacted Donna and said she was going to be in the area for another program and could do one in Cedar Springs for about half of the original quote. Donna said yes. She then asked the American Legion Auxiliary to sponsor part of the program and they agreed to do half. Later, she brought the lecture up at a City Council meeting and Dave Ringler of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company said he would do the other half.

The Brewing Company also hosted a private party for the Women’s Club before the presentation. A buffet of chicken, roasted potatoes and other root vegetables provided an opportunity for the kitchen and wait staff to practice before they open. They were treated to the brewery’s “Cedar Creek” soft drinks.

People stood in line for an hour to buy Irish’s book and have her autograph it. If you would like to read the book, A Thousand Letters Home, the Cedar Springs Public Library has them to sign out.

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A Thousand Letters Home, the journey of the letters


Tonight (Thursday) at Cedar Springs Middle School

Following the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. “Bud” Irish, of Saginaw, MI, Teresa Irish opened the Army trunk that had resided in the family home her entire life. There, nestled in row after row, were her dad’s nearly 1,000 letters from WWII. Visited only by him over the course of six decades, the letters were postmarked from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945.

The Cedar Springs Public Library, in partnership with the American Legion Auxiliary Glen Hill Post 287, invites residents to a special prograrm tonight, Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School, 4873 16 Mile Road. A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish, will take you on an engaging and inspirational journey based on her father’s 1,000 letters from WWII.

The fragile and yellowed pages were written to Bud’s parents back in Hemlock, MI, and to the sweetheart who would later become his wife. From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart, to correspondence with the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, this is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith, and true love. A Thousand Letters Home is comprised of 320 of these poignant letters and 104 corresponding photographs.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

A Thousand Letters Home author, Teresa Irish.

The firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. From training camps across the U.S.A., to Ports of Embarkation where they boarded ships and crossed the ocean to fight on foreign soil, millions of young Americans were abruptly pulled from civilian life and thrust into the unfamiliar world of a military at war. At every opportunity, Bud poured his thoughts and feelings into his letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away. Unable or perhaps reluctant to recount what they had experienced, many veterans chose to spare their loved ones the detailed atrocities of war – these would be their own personal burdens to bear for the remainder of their lives. Bud foreshadowed this in a letter to his parents written from Europe on February 4, 1945, “…Heaven knows they [soldiers] don’t want anything more on earth than to get it over and go back to their loved ones…We don’t want anything extra when we get home, but just want to find everything as we left it and forget everything that’s happened or we’ve seen over here…” 

Irish’s entertaining storytelling blends humor and history to leave audiences laughing, crying, and reminiscing. She reaches across generations with a little something for everyone. Lest we forget.  It’s a presentation you won’t want to miss!

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Traveling Zoo comes shows animal super powers


N-Zoo2Last week Wednesday, July 15, Rhiannon, an animal handler from the John Ball Zoo, put on a presentation for the library’s Summer Reading Program at Cedar Springs Middle School. She shared about some amazing animals and their super powers. And she brought along some live animals, including a screech owl, a tortoise, a king snake, and a chinchilla.

With the phrase, “Eyes on the side, born to hide. Eyes in the front, born to hunt,” she taught us an easy way to identify whether an animal is a hunter or a prey animal,” said Kelly Roach, of the Cedar Springs Public Library. “It was a really great opportunity for the community of

Cedar Springs to learn more about some of the animals that live in our backyard, as well as animals that come from different areas!”

For more info on summer reading programs, visit www.cedarspringslibrary.org or call 696-1910.

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Middle School wrestlers win Blue Division 

The Cedar Springs Middle School wrestling team with the Blue Division Plaque. Photo provided by Colleen White.

The Cedar Springs Middle School wrestling team with the Blue Division Plaque. Photo provided by Colleen White.

By Colleen White

After defeating Sparta on Thursday, the Cedar Springs Middle School grapplers focused on the challenge of the Sparta Invitational on Saturday. They arrived Saturday morning ready to defend their undefeated record.

They were paired against Caledonia, Sparta, Comstock Park and Greenville for their first four matches. Each presented their challenges that our Red Hawks faced and met, defeating all four teams. Their final pairing was against Lowell. It was the biggest battle of the day with Cedar Springs receiving their first loss of the season. Overall our young grapplers placed 1st, winning the Blue Division. Coach Wood summed it up stating “You all did what was asked of you today! Well done 7th and 8th graders!”

This week our Red Hawks faced Northview on Tuesday and will face Comstock Park on Thursday, with an individual tournament at Lowell on Saturday to complete the Middle School season. Thank you all for your support for our young Red Hawks this season.

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Middle School Grapplers 6-0 

Red Hawk Allexis Gonzales (8th grade) grapples with her opponent. Photo by Colleen White.

Red Hawk Allexis Gonzales (8th grade) grapples with her opponent. Photo by Colleen White.

Story provided by Colleen White

The weather last week proved too much of a challenge on Tuesday, February 24, requiring the meet against Greenville to be canceled. However, Thursday, February 26 arrived with perfect traveling weather for the trip to Wayland. Our young Red Hawks started with an early lead. Then Wayland stepped up their game, tying the meet at the halfway point. The excitement continued as each team vied for the lead. In the end, despite Wayland’s valiant effort, Cedar Springs prevailed 51-33.

“We had a tough match tonight. Coach Wood and I are very proud of the way our team stepped up to the challenge,” stated Coach Bill VanHam.

This week the Red Hawks faced Comstock Park on Tuesday, March 3, and will face Sparta on Thursday, March 5, at Sparta Middle School. They also have a team tournament at Sparta High School on Saturday, March 7.

Mark your calendars for the final home meet on March 10 at Cedar Springs Middle School. Start time is 4:15pm. Wear your red to show your Red Hawk Pride and come cheer our young grapplers as they face Northview.

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CSMS Competitive cheer still undefeated

Cedar Springs Red team

Cedar Springs Red team

The next conference meet of the season brought the two teams representing Cedar Springs Middle School Competitive Cheer to Allendale, with seven teams competing for that 1st place Championship. Once again, this week challenged the two coaches to be creative with their routines while dealing with illnesses.

After the completion of Round 2, Cedar Springs White was in sixth place with a score of 91.1. Cedar Springs Red earned a high score of 132.62 to take the lead.

During Round 3, Cedar Springs White scored 244.2, bringing their overall score to 335.3 and ending with a 4th Place overall. This is a 44.46 points increase from last weeks’ overall score.

“I enjoy working with my team, they continue to work hard and are improving each week,” said the White team’s Head Coach Cassandra Chartier. “I am excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us.”

Cedar Springs White team

Cedar Springs White team

Cedar Springs Red earned a score of 269.5 after Round 3, bringing their overall score to 402.12. This high score once again secured their undefeated season and placed them 62.04 points above Sparta’s 2nd place overall score of 340.08.

“I’m so proud of all the girls! They are a dedicated group of kids that work extremely hard every week to reach their potential,” said Head Coach Amy Arnold, of the CS Red Team. Congratulations to both teams and their coaches for a fantastic job!

Their next competition will be held at Coopersville Middle School on Tuesday, January 6, at 6 p.m. Come support a competitive group of girls doing what they love. These girls are doing a fantastic job representing their coaches, school and community.


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Middle School cheer brings home a victory

S-Cheer-MS1-webCompetitive Cheer season is here! The Cedar Springs Middle School program has two teams representing them for the 2014-2015 Season. Cassandra Chartier is coaching our White Team and is bringing with her 13 years of coaching experience. This is her third year with Cedar Springs and is an excellent addition to our coaching staff. Amy Arnold is coaching our Red Team and has been coaching at Cedar Springs for nine years, with the past four coaching a competitive team.

Our first competition of the season brought us to Kenowa Hills, where there were eight teams competing for first place. After the completion of Round 2, Cedar Springs White earned a score of 88.52, taking 5th Place and Cedar Springs Red earned a score of 118.24 taking 2nd Place. Round 3 is where the girls can show off not only their precision skills but their tumbling and stunting skills as well. The completion of Round 3 earned Cedar Springs White a score of 233.2, bringing their total score to 321.72 and ending with a 4th Place overall.  Cedar Springs Red earned a score of 269.7, bringing their total score to 387.94. This high score secured their first 1st place victory of the season and it certainly won’t be the last.  Congratulations to both teams and their coaches for a job well done! Fantastic way to represent our school and start out our season!

S-Cheer-MS2-webOur next competition will be held at Sparta Middle School next Thursday, December 11 at 6 p.m. Come support a great group of girls doing what they love.  These girls work extremely hard to represent their coaches, school and community.

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Candidate forum for City Council


Please note location change

Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 p.m. in the Cedar Springs Hilltop Boardroom, 204 E. Muskegon

The November election is right around the corner, and there are seven people vying for four positions on the Cedar Springs City Council. There will be a candidate forum open to the public on Tuesday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hilltop 3rd floor Boardroom, at Cedar Springs Public Schools. The forum will be hosted by the Community Action Network and the Cedar Springs Post.

The candidates will be asked several questions, and the public will also have a chance to ask some questions through the moderator. There will also be time to talk one on one with the candidates at the end.

Ken Benham, who served for 8 years, is not running again, so his position his open, along with incumbent Mark Fankhauser’s, who is running again. Fankhauser, former council member Pamela Conley, and DDA Chair Perry Hopkins, are all competing for those two seats. As part of the recall side of the election, incumbent Ashley Bremmer is running against Molly Nixon, and incumbent Patricia Troost is running against Rose Powell.

Check out next week’s paper for more election info.

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Daddy-daughter dance February 1

Buy tickets now—none available at the door


On Saturday, February 1, there will be a night to remember for 200 families. The 10th Annual Daddy Daughter Dance will be put on by the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Department at Cedar Springs Middle School. This event has grown every year and is one of the most special moments of the year for many young girls in the Cedar Springs area. The dance is for girls of age 3 through the early teen years and the male role model in their lives. We understand that not every young lady has a father in their life, but they have a male that they look up to and that is special to them. That person may be an uncle, grandfather, older brother, or somone else. They can be the one that attends and helps create memories. The dance can be attended by anyone, not just residents of Cedar Springs. It is important that young ladies can have a night of fun and a chance to make memories that will last them a lifetime.

The dance is hosted by a father and daughter DJ service, Diverse Sounds, and has punch and snacks for the attendees as well. The doors will open for the event at 6:30 p.m. at the Cedar Springs Middle School and the dance will kick off at 7 p.m. Included in the ticket price is a craft project for each girl to work on with their date while at the dance, and 5×7 photos that will be taken of each couple and provided after February 14. Noah’s Animal Workshop will be at the dance offering special stuffed animals to commemorate the night for an additional fee.

Tickets are on sale now during daytime office hours at Hilltop (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)  and at the Middle School on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m.  There is only room for 200 families and half of those are already reserved, so do not wait until the last minute. Tickets in advance are $15 for two people, or $20 for three, or $25 for a group of four or more.  There will not be any tickets available at the door.

For more information call 696-7320 or email director@csaparksandrec.com. We are also on Facebook and have a new website www.csaparksandrec.com, with mobile application and text alert options.


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Rachel’s Challenge coming to Cedar Springs Middle School

Rachels-ChallengeOctober 29 at 7:00pm

Each day 160,000 students do not go to school because they are bullied, teased and harassed. By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel’s Challenge is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide impact.

And it’s coming to Cedar Springs Middle School on October 29, at 7 p.m. The Cedar Springs community is invited and encouraged to come to this free presentation.

More than 19 million people have been touched by Rachel’s message, and they continue the legacy of making a difference in their communities. Each year at least 2 million more people are added to that number. These are just a couple of the results of Rachel’s Challenge. In one survey, 78% of students indicated they would definitely intervene in a bullying incident in their school after seeing Rachel’s Challenge. In the last 3 years, Rachel’s Challenge has received nearly 500 unsolicited emails from students stating that after hearing Rachel’s story they reached out for help as they were contemplating suicide. Some even state that “Rachel saved their life.”

rachels handRachel’s Challenge is a series of student empowering programs and strategies that equip students and adults to combat bullying and allay feelings of isolation and despair by creating a culture of kindness and compassion. The programs are based on the writings and life of 17 year-old Rachel Scott who was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school. Shortly before her death she wrote,

Rachel’s Challenge is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious organization based in Littleton, Colorado.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” 

Rachel’s Challenge was started by Rachel’s dad and stepmom, Darrell and Sandy Scott when they realized that the writings and drawings Rachel left not only had an impact on her friends and classmates, but also resonated with students around the world. Although Rachel was a typical teenager who even wrote about her “ups and downs,” she had a passion and conviction that she would someday change the world. The Scott family knew her story and passion had to be told to inspire others to make their world a better place.

Please attend this free presentation with your family on October 29 at 7:00 p.m. You won’t want to miss it!

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