First day of school: Seniors set the tone

Students spanned the spectrum of emotions this morning at Spring Lake High School. On a crisp, cool and sunny start to the school year, seniors mingled over breakfast in the parking lot, while freshmen scurried about the hallways in search of their lockers. Madeline Dekker was one of those freshmen. The 15-year-old transferred to Lakerland from Grand Haven this school year. "It's really scary because I don't know where my locker is,' said Dekker, who approached technology teacher Aaron Andres in the hallway to ask for directions.
Marie Havenga
Sep 6, 2011


Andres led the new student to her assigned locker space.

“It’s controlled chaos, as they say,” Andres said. “It’s always fun to see the kids come back — and especially the freshmen, who have a whole new experience in front of them.”

After locating her locker, Dekker checked her schedule for her first-hour class: choir. While she looked for the choir room, she looked for familiar faces. There were none.

“It’s kind of hard not knowing anyone,” Dekker said, before the bell rang and her life as a Laker officially launched. “Everyone seems older to me.”

At 17, Michael Zietlow is one of the older statesmen at Spring Lake High School. He spooned up cereal in the parking lot with his fellow seniors this morning.

“We planned this last night,” Zietlow said of the senior cereal social. “It’s a lot of fun starting school this year because we’re at the top of the chain.”

Senior Amanda Reid, 17, said the seniors likely will make the morning cereal gathering a weekly event.

Joey Rohloff, 17, also a senior, said he had a difficult time sleeping Monday night.

“I was too stoked,” said Rohloff, surrounded by seniors at the cereal social. “It will be fun being top dog.”

SLHS Principal Mike Gilchrist, while standing at a hall intersection this morning, said this year’s senior class is a well-respected and close-knit group.

“The senior class always sets the tone for the year,” he said. “They like each other very much and they’re well-liked by the teachers. They’re a fun group. We’re only as good as our senior class.”

Enrollment at SLHS this year is 805, including a record 10 foreign exchange students that represent every continent.

Gilchrist said the summer months, which he is working mostly solo, are downright lonely at the school.

“It gets so quiet around here,” the principal said, after the clamor of students rushing to class. “It’s so nice to have the kids and staff back. Three months is forever in my world.”



"Enrollment at SLHS this year is 805, including a record 10 foreign exchange students that represent every continent." ..................I'm assuming every continent except for Antarctica. Correct?




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