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Lakeshore Middle School students learn about their hometown

Matt DeYoung • Jun 19, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Teachers realize that you can only teach so much in a classroom setting. That’s why the seventh-graders at Grand Haven’s Lakeshore Middle School left their classrooms behind last week for the school’s annual Walkabout Grand Haven.

The field trip – organized more than a decade ago by Skip Ackerson – offers the young students a firsthand look at many aspects of their hometown.

“A lot of these kids, even though they’ve been around Grand Haven, and they’ve been downtown, haven’t seen a lot of the things Grand Haven has to offer,” said teacher Kevin Wiersma. “Today, they went into City Hall and they got to do a mock City Council. One person was the mayor, and they talked about different issues.

“Other kids went to the courthouse to see how a proceeding goes,” he continued. “Others went to WGHN and were interviewed live on the air. They go all over Grand Haven and see all the different services that are offered.”

Students were divided into groups and spent their morning visiting the American Legion, YMCA, water filtration plant, Train Depot Museum, Pere Marquette train, City Hall, County Courthouse, Kilwins’ and Desserts by Design.

After lunch at the Eagles club, students moved on to Central Park, where they learned about the Fallen Hero Monument. They also visited Loutit District Library, public safety, the Loutit House and several other historic spots in the vicinity.

They wrapped up their day on the waterfront, learning about bike safety from Rock’n’Road, sailboarding from teacher Mark Boersma, pier safety and water safety from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, and visited the Coast Guard station.

“Usually, at first, the kids say they want to go shopping,” Wiersma laughed. “But then afterward they realize that this was cool. They really like it, and the parents really appreciate it, too.”

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