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Something to celebrate

CTA students throw their hats in celebration after commencement last week. Courtesy photo.
CTA valedictorian Hannah Hofstra gives her commencement speech. Courtesy photo.

With school ending early this year, and students missing out on many of the end of the year activities due to COVID-19, the class of 2020 at Creative Technologies Academy finally had something to celebrate last week.

The CTA class of 2020 held their commencement ceremony on June 23 at Red Hawk Stadium at the Cedar Springs High School. Eighteen students graduated, with 15 of them participating in the ceremony.

The school adhered to state guidelines of outdoor gatherings of less than 100 people. Students were allotted to bring a certain number of guests. 

Students, staff and board members were all spaced the recommended 6-feet apart on the stage and track, while families in the stadium sat spaced with their immediate group. 

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, served as the guest speaker and shared words of wisdom with the students as he encouraged them in their future endeavors. Superintendent Dan George encouraged the students to “Change the World” as has been his mantra during his tenure at CTA and this was his last graduation before his retirement. Former elementary principal Autumn Mattson has now taken the reins as Superintendent/School leader.

CTA is proud of the Class of 2020 and thankful for their flexibility during these unprecedented times.

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Celebrating the Class of 2020

Graduation this year will likely look a little different than the above photo. Social distancing and masks may make an appearance. The above photo was taken in 2017 by Kelly and Rob LaLone.

By Judy Reed

The end of the 2019-20 school year has been anything but normal. In-class learning ended abruptly in March after the COVID-19 virus made its appearance here. In April, the rest of the school year was canceled, though students continued to learn online and from home. The school year is now over, and the senior class of 2020 missed out on many of the things that make a senior year special. So this week, we are celebrating our seniors, as we normally do this time of year. You can find photos of the Class of 2020 from various schools and their highest honors seniors by downloading the following link: 2020 Graduation.pdf

Some schools have given us tentative graduation dates: 

Creative Technologies Academy has a tentative date of June 23 at Red Hawk Stadium. “We are still working out the details, but we will follow the governor’s Phase 4 guidelines for crowd size and social distancing rules,” said retiring Superintendent Dan George. “The guest speaker is Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. As you know, this will be my last ceremony, so I’m thrilled that we get to do this for our seniors who have endured so much this year.”

Cedar Springs Public Schools has a tentative date of June 25 at 7 p.m., according to high school principal Ron Behrenwald.

Tri County Area Schools has two tentative dates with the first one being on Sunday, June 14.  “Not highly likely that one will happen but we also have Sunday, August 2 penciled in,” said Connie Butler, of Tri County.

Algoma Christian School had their graduation on Friday, May 29, with students and their families in the school parking lot, where they also practiced social distancing.

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Spring Senior Athletes



Julia Danielson

Parents: Elise Gates, DJ & Hollin Delacruz, Tony & Andrea Caruso

Future Plans: Attend Grand Rapids Community College to study Child Development, with future plans to work with kids

Career Highlight: Long Jumping 16 feet and 1.75 inches ,which was a new personal record at Greenville last year, in what was her last track meet

“I want to thank my whole family, and all my friends for being there and supporting me through all my years of playing track. Coming to every track meet, no matter what type of weather, they were always there for me and I love them so much. I also want to thank all the coaches that helped me get better everyday at practice, and pushed me to do my best at every track meet.”

To the Underclassmen: “Never give up, and always do your best at every track meet. Never take it for granted, because 4 years will go by fast, and they are gone just like that!”

Alyssa Washington

Parents: Steve and Jody Washington

Future Plans: Joining the Army National Guard while also majoring in chemistry and minoring in health and fitness at Muskingum University where she will be continuing to run track.

Highlight: Going to varsity conference meet at Housman Field every year and “hammocking” behind the bleachers for hours before the meet started.

“I want to thank not just my Mom and Dad, but any parent or teammate who has supported me as a runner, much love to you all. I would also love to thank each coach who I have had the honor to run under, thank you for not only believing in me, but pushing me further in my track career.”

To the Underclassmen: “I love you all and I’m going to miss you so much! I’m super bummed we didn’t get one last season together but don’t let that stop you from making your next seasons even better. Follow your heart and do what you love, but remember, no matter where you end up you all will always have a place on the track.” 

Tonya Tepin

Parents: Jim and Michele Tepin

Future Plans: Attending Olivet College to continue her Cross Country career and to major in Biology.

Track Career Highlight: Running on the 4x800relay team and making the podium at the Daily News Meet and running on the 4×400

“I would like to thank my Mom for pushing my siblings and I to run and my Dad for always supporting the work it takes. I would also like to thank all of my coaches, both old and new, for pushing me and always expecting more from me. It has helped me become more dedicated to the sport and find my love of running.”

To the Underclassmen: “Just try to be positive! With me not being around all the time, y’all are going to need to start believing in yourselves! As cliché as this sounds, you are all so talented and can do so much more, as I have seen most of your dedication and speed coming out in practice! Please, learn how to escape your own doubt, as it will help you in more places than on the course/track. Thank you so much for all the memories and not trying to kill me when my positivity is at an annoying peak.“

Avery Rugg

Parents: Todd and Becky Rugg

Future Plans: Attend Michigan State University and participate on the Rowing team at MSU

Career Highlight: 100 meter in 13.06 seconds; 200 meter in 29.05 seconds

“Thank you to Coach Neier for helping succeed in my High School track career.”

Avery has a 3.96 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society


Samantha Rusche

Parents: Matt Rusche and Jason and Beth Matthews

Future Plans: Attend Baker College to become an X-ray Technician

Career Highlight: Playing tournaments and placing first and second

Message to underclassmen: “They told me my senior year would go fast but I sure didn’t think it would be quite this short! Enjoy every minute in High School, it will be over before you know it . Congratulations Class of 2020!”

“Thank you to my wonderful parents, sisters; Payton and Kennedy, and friends who have helped to get me this far in life. I could not ask for more amazing people in my life!”

Desiree Wise

Parents: Melissa Stewart

Future Plans: Attending Central Michigan University to major in Secondary Education with a concentration in Mathematics and minoring in Child Development

Career Highlight: Coming in first place for my flight at the Sparta Invitational for 2 years in a row.

“I want to say thank you to my coached that I’ve been lucky to have throughout my high school career. I have grown so much because of their help and through all the hard work and the persistence they’ve helped me grow and I will never forget that. I also want to thank H (or Mr. Harden) because even though he was never my coach he helped me grow on and off the court from being a part of the Athletic Leadership Council. He taught me what it meant to be a true leader and I hope to continue growing my leadership skills. Last but not least, I want to thank my mom because I definitely wouldn’t be where I cam today without her.”

To the Underclassmen: “Don’t take this for granted and make sure you put in the work. You should always give your 110% no matter if you are at practice or at a game it doesn’t matter. Your never know when this is going to end so take it from a member of the Class of 2020 and make every moment count because it can be over before you know it.”

Rachael Ells

Parents: Jeff and Kelly Ells 

Future Plans: Attend Grand Valley State University and study Allied Health Sciences 

Career Highlight: 1st place at Sparta Invitational and 2nd place at Middleville Invitational

“I want to first off thank my parents and my brother Connor for supporting me no matter what. For coming to every single match, for sitting for hours in the hot sun at my tournaments every weekend. For always having to remind me to grab my water bottle and sunscreen. I love you guys so much! I’d also like to thank Coach Russel and Coach Johns. Thank you guys so much for always encouraging us to do our best, and for coaching us every step of the way! And lastly to my long time partner Sam Rusche, I have had so much fun being your partner for the last couple of seasons! You are an amazing player, and I’m so happy that we got to kick butt together!


David Mitchell

Parents: Ricky Mitchell & Kristy Mitchell

“Dave was one of our top golfers, and he has opportunities to continue his golf career at the next level.” – Coach Schlump

Trey Lewis 

Parents: Amy Lewis & Jason Lewis

“Trey has been committed to our golf program and has shown consistent growth and has improved each sea-son” – Coach Schlump

Lucas Secor 

Parents: Robin Secord & Wayne Secord

“Lucas is a second year golfer who plays like he is much more experienced than that! Lucas is fun to be around and works very hard to improve his game.” – Coach London


Connor Ellison

Parents: Megan and Pat Ellison

Future Plans: Michigan State University for Hospitality Business and Accounting

Career Highlight: Winning the Minors All-Star Tournament

“Thank you to my parents and coaches throughout the years. 

To the underclassmen: Enjoy every moment

 Colton Moore

Parents: Mike and Teresa Moore

Future Plans: Ferris State University for Plastics and Rubber Engineering

Favorite Memory: Breaking my nose on a grounder from Coach Bob in the first practice of all-stars for CSJBL.

“I just want to say thank you to my parents and coaches for helping me through all my years of playing .”

Nathan Male

Parents: Dan and Heather Male

Future Plans: Attend trade school to become a heavy equipment operator.

Career Highlight: Last year in the Allendale Tournament he threw three guys out on 1st base, from right field, in one game!!

To the underclassmen:“Every time you walk out on that diamond appreciate it because it will be over before you know it. Be confident and not cocky, remember why you started playing in the first place. Love the game! “

“I want to thank my Mom and Dad for always supporting me athletically, emotionally and financially. I love you guys. I also would like to thank all the coaches I have had over the years, and Mr. Norton for his support.”

Kyle Wise

Parents: Kit and Hollie Wise

Future Plans: Attend trade school for HVAC or become an electrician

Career Highlight: Pitching a perfect game for his Algoma team

“I thank my Mom and Dad for always playing catch with me as a kid, and for coming to every game. I also thank my grandparents who got to see me pitch a few times. I also want to thank every coach I’ve had, especially Coach Glyshaw, he has been my favorite coach, and he was the most competitive!”

To the underclassmen: “Keep practicing everyday, and never stop playing baseball.”

Caden Markey-VandenBerg

Parents: Angela and Gregory VandenBerg

Future Plans: Try to play baseball at MCC or GRCC, and pursue a degree as a sports analysis.

Baseball Highlight: One of my best memories come from when I was in the 5th grade and the Coach at the time, Steve Saboo, let me practice with the varsity team in open gyms

“Thank you to the Zain family playing a big role in my baseball life. Also thank you to everyone who has supported me.”

To the Underclassmen: “You guys are only losing 5 seniors. stay together and keep working. Next year is coming fast and you never know when it will be gone.”

“Forever, Cedar Spring’s Red Hawks!”

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School honors spring sports seniors

Cedar Springs Public Schools is honoring their Spring Sports Seniors virtually, with a new athlete each day the rest of the year. They will be listed on the www.csredhawks.org webpage, under the athletics link highschool.csredhawks.org/Athletics/ (or the direct link highschool.csredhawks.org/Athletics/SENIORS-2020/index.html). You can also follow the daily Senior recognition on Facebook by following Cedar Springs Athletic Boosters on Facebook or @cedar_athletics on Twitter.

They will also be recognized in the fall during the Oct. 9 homecoming football game.

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CSPS school news

Letter from the Superintendent         

Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools

On April 2, Governor Whitmer ordered schools in Michigan to close for the remainder of the school year. While our buildings are closed, the school year is not over.  Cedar Springs Public Schools remains committed to our primary focus.  Our mission is to foster our dynamic community of learners, who inspire and support one another, to exceed their potential. Our task is to create remote learning plans to engage our students in all grades for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year.  

As you can imagine, this is complex work.  It will take time.  An opportunity of this magnitude has never been faced before in the history of our great country.  Students, parents, and CSPS staff are all going to need to be “learners” to accomplish our mission. Specific details around these plans will be shared as soon as possible. 

Our remote learning plans will support our students emotionally and academically.  How our students are feeling during these challenging times is as important, if not more important than what they are learning.  Cedar Springs Public Schools is working with the other 19 districts within Kent ISD to provide engaging materials to support academic growth and the social/emotional welfare for each of our students.

Here is a list of responses to common questions that have been raised by parents so far:

Retrieving Personal Items/Medication from desks/lockers: If there are essential medications that must be recovered immediately, please send an email to cspstogether@csredhawks.org or call 616-696-0464.  We will be sharing our plan for students to collect other personal items in the near future.

Food Distribution:  Cedar Springs Public Schools, Creative Technologies Academy, KISD Regional Program locations, and several local agencies will continue to partner to support our students by providing them with breakfast and lunch while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The only requirement to receive a free breakfast and lunch is that students must be age 18 or younger (26 or younger with an active IEP). Please visit our website csredhawks.org to sign up for meals.

Holly Haywood helping to provide food for students in need.

Graduation:  We expect all students who were on track to meet all state and district requirements to graduate successfully. We are going to do everything possible to ensure that our seniors experience graduation. For those who are not on track to graduate, we will provide further information when it becomes available.

Standardized Assessments:  MSTEP, PSAT, and SAT tests were waived as a result of the crisis and school closings across our state and the nation.  College Board will provide guidance for AP students regarding test-at-home options.  

Athletics/Extracurricular Activities:  All of these activities will be suspended for the remainder of the school year as requested by the Governor in her executive order. We would encourage you to support your student to maintain their interest and preparedness for these activities when they resume.  


If you have further questions regarding school-related issues, please visit our website at csredhawks.org, send an email to cspstogether@csredhawks.org or call 616-696-0464. If you have further questions regarding COVID-19, please visit our web page for links to local, state and national guidance.

Please know our staff is literally working around the clock to develop remote learning plans designed to engage students and our families in learning activities. Working together, teachers, support staff and parents will do everything we can to support our students with engaging learning experiences during these unprecedented times.  

We can. We will. 

We are. Together.

With respect and appreciation,

Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education Meeting

A Regular Meeting of the Board of Education will take place on April 13, 2020 will start at 6:45 p.m. Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all public gatherings of any number of people until after April 13, 2020. This requires the Cedar Springs Public School Board to meet electronically.  Check out www.csredhawks.org for details.

Election Update

The Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution during a special meeting on Friday, March 20 to postpone the school bond election scheduled for May 5, 2020.  In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community, the Board determined that it was not the right time to ask our community to vote on such a significant issue. Their decision to postpone the election was out of respect to the current degree of health and financial uncertainty in our community. The District is taking steps to get the bond question added to the ballot for the primary election on August 4, 2020.

Internet Resources

Internet at Home:
Comcast – visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376
At&T – visit www.att.com
Spectrum Internet Assist – www.spectrum.com

Public Libraries: Cedar Springs Public Library and various KDL Libraries parking lots.  Be sure to stay in your vehicle.

School building parking lots:  Cedar Springs Public Schools – See www.csredhawks.org for details.

CSPS Mental Health Team

The Cedar Springs Mental Health Team has newsletters and information on Mental Health and Coping during the Coronavirus.  Visit www.csredhawks.org for the latest issue.

Cedar Springs Public Schools District Office

The Cedar Springs District Offices will be closed for walk-in services.  Staff will be available by phone, email and by appointment as needed.   All enrollment appointments, including for 2020-21 kindergarten are postponed.  If you have any questions, please contact 616-696-1204.

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CTA response to governor suspending face to face learning for the rest of the year

From Dan George, Superintendent, Creative Technologies Academy

With the governor’s formal announcement this morning of the closing of school for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, I understand we are moving into unexplored territory. The decision to close our buildings is highly disappointing, but understandable and necessary.  The governor had no choice. If this decision saves only one life, it is worth it.

Our entire nation is facing a challenge perhaps unlike anything since World War II, certainly unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. But hope springs eternal for Americans and our community. We know how to pull together. And we will! And we are! Even though our campus is closed, teaching and learning will continue through the end of May. I have been so encouraged by the spirit of the educators in this community, those on my own staff and those at CSPS. I am blessed by the partnership of CSPS Superintendent Scott Smith to feed the children of CSPS and CTA. My administrators and teachers have been collaborating with educators from other districts, sharing ideas for distance learning. My staff has been sharing resources with parents and students for three weeks, having Zoom meetings, and preparing for this announcement. 

We continue the development of our plan for continuity of learning to meet the emotional and academic needs of all our students, and we will implement it as soon as possible. We will especially reach out to our seniors and collaborate on some innovative ways to celebrate their achievements. 

We also want you to know this:

  • Our staff is not surprised by this and we have been preparing for this event. We believe we are ahead of the curve in our preparation. We are experienced in innovation and personal instruction.
  • Our target date for implementing our plan is April 20. This date could change depending on factors for approval. We will keep you posted.
  • Spring Break (April 6-10) will be honored for our students.

We are extremely proud of our families and staff for their flexibility, patience, and understanding during this crisis. We also know this situation presents unique challenges to each family. We want our CTA families and the Cedar Springs community to know you are our family. We are in this together. Please reach out if you are in need of help.

Lastly, please take the appropriate measures to keep your family healthy.


Dan George
Creative Technologies Academy
350 Pine Street
Cedar Springs, MI 49319
Office: (616) 696-4905
Mobile: (616) 893-1507

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Update on hours due to corona virus

We have a temporary change in our office routine to announce in regard to circumstances regarding the COVID-19 virus. Due to the fact that we have employees with auto-immune disorders and employees caring for vulnerable family members with breathing problems, our office will be closed to the general public until further notice. Please consider emailing us or calling us (696-3655) if you need to submit something, discuss something, or need to make a payment. We can take your payment over the phone with a credit/debit card. If you need to drop something off, we will have a mailbox outside our door that we will check often. Please do not put checks or valuables in the box. If you need to give us a check, please send through regular mail. At least one person will be in the office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday to take calls, and we will be closed on Friday. This is only temporary and we apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for understanding!

For more contact information visit our About page http://cedarspringspost.com/about/

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Boys Varsity Basketball Finishes on Top

The varsity boys take a minute to pose with their victory net after the district championship game.
Front Row (L tor R): John Wortz, Luke Hubbard, Ivan Winters. Back Row (L to R): Coach Eric Besmer, Evan Besmer, Ethan Watson, Landon Winters, Avery Bishop, Kaden Winters, Jake Perry, Parker Tompkins, Assistant Coach Mark Winters

Boys Varsity won the Great Lakes 6 district championship. The boys had a great season and Coach Eric Besmer is proud of the boys as they came together to finish the season strong.

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Sweetheart Sock Hop

CTA students had an opportunity to take a step back in time at the Sweetheart Sock Hop on Saturday, February 15. Festivities included retro decor, throwback music, and fun photo opportunities!

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March is A Reading Adventure

Elementary and middle school students partner to read ​Wish​.

CTA is celebrating March is Reading Month school-wide!

In the elementary, Ms. Lane created a bulletin board filled with staff and student book recommendations. There have been a slew of parents and community members in the building as mystery readers, and 4th & 5th graders are building a Yellow Brick Road to Oz as they log their reading!

The freshmen created a world map for students in grades 6-12 to promote reading books from around the world, and secondary students are accumulating as many reads as they can throughout the month. Students are competing to see which class can read the most!

The map created by freshmen to denote reading around the world and exposing students to different genres and cultures.

ALL students are having a shared reading experience through ​One School – One Book​, partnering the elementary and secondary together! Every Monday morning in March, K-5 students read Barbara O’Conner’s ​Wish​ with their secondary partners, and preschool students and their partners will read a variety of picture books. You can find students throughout the campus reading and discussing together. ​Every student will be able to keep his or her copy!

Happy reading, everyone! 

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