Celebrating Seniors: Thornapple Kellogg High School

THORNAPPLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — News 8 Daybreak is celebrating seniors who were featured during the Frenzy Tailgate shows in the fall as they get ready to end their high school careers.

In Middleville, Thornapple Kellogg High School Principal Tony Peterson says teachers and staff have already honored seniors in many ways, including with yard signs out in front of the school, which the students saw as they picked up their caps and gowns during a drive through operation.

The staff has also highlighted graduates with a Senior Spotlight on the district social media pages, while residents in the community signed up to adopt a senior and send them anonymous care packages. 

A TKHS parent and student organized a senior parade for May 27, when seniors will decorate their cars and parade through Middleville.

Peterson said they hope to also hold a formal graduation event and other senior activities, like Honors Night and Night with the Stars, but have not set a date pending further guidance from the state.

They are still working out plans for alternatives in case they are unable to hold the traditional ceremony.

Clair Jansma was the Student of the Week during News 8’s Frenzy Tailgate shows in the fall. Like other seniors, she missed out on prom and other special events, like their day of service which she had looked forward to. She was more disappointed for her twin brother, Nathan, who missed his golf season. 

“I wish he could have done that. That’s probably the biggest disappointment to me, other than graduation, is that he wasn’t able to do that,” she said.

Jansma also explained she is trying to focus not on the negative, even though that’s difficult, but on what she and her peers will take away from this experience.

“I’m trying to tell people that we’re going to be a part of history. The class of 2020 is always going to be known because of this. And the way that we come out of this is going to help us be known for who we are and what our characters are.”

West Michigan students who have been officially named valedictorians of their high school senior classes can record their speech and submit it to woodtv.com. Students can submit their speeches until May 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Virtual Valedictorian speeches will then be featured on woodtv.com for students to share with their classmates, family and community.