Researching landmarks

History came to life at St. John’s Lutheran School on Wednesday.
Krystle Wagner
Jan 30, 2014

Throughout the morning, parts of Grand Haven and the country’s history filled classrooms as students explained their research projects during the school’s Social Studies Fair.

The fair is also part of the school’s celebration of the national Lutheran Schools Week, and students invited special guests to the event.

For the past three weeks, kindergartners studied “community helpers,” first- and second-graders learned about Grand Haven, third- and fourth-graders studied states, fifth- and sixth-graders studied the Western Hemisphere, and seventh- and eighth-grade students researched key people in history. Eighth-graders transformed into their historical figures, as younger students showcased their research with poster boards and props.

A large 3-D model of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety station stood on a desk in Patti Kooi’s classroom. Noah Kelly stood beside his project as he discussed what the department does for the community.

Kelly also pointed to different parts of his construction paper-and-cardboard station and pictures from his tour of the station as he explained about the public safety department's equipment. He said he enjoyed the experience of touring the station.

“It was really, really fun,” the boy said.

Second-grader Keira Staley proudly stood next to her 3-D model of Grand Haven City Hall, which included pictures of City Council members in the windows. The 7-year-old said her tour of City Hall with City Manager Pat McGinnis made her feel “cool and special because not many people get to do it.”

Staley said one thing she learned from her tour experience stands out.

“The mayor works with the city manager and City Council to make our city a better place,” she said.


Former Grandhavenite

I thought it was cool when my teacher in 4th grade or so arranged a phone call with the mayor of Grand Haven, who I believe was Howard Meyer at the time. The whole class just chatted with him via speaker phone for a bit and asked a few questions. We also walked downtown from Mary White elementary and toured the courthouse, jail, and city hall. I remember thinking the jail food looked pretty good!

A lady was being arraigned for having a small amount of weed in her car if I recall, and being DARE program graduates we thought that was essentially the same as if the lady had been a major heroin kingpin, so it was exciting. I imagine it would be embarrassing as a defendant to have a bunch of 9-year-olds watching your arraignment and probably thinking that you were a bad person. Anyway, it's cool that the city and county make things as accessible as they do for school groups. If there's any transparency and accessibility left in government to the average citizen, it's at the local level.

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