Skip to content

Category: No Home

2023 Academics Nominees

Frankie Kendziera
Artios Academies of West Michigan
  • 4.0 Unweighted GPA
  • Valedictorian
  • Duel enrolled with A average both junior and senior years at Calvin University
  • Plans to study Education or Pre-Law at Wheaton College

Annelise Derrick
Calvary Christian School
  • Straight A Honor Roll for 12 years
  • Calvary Christian National Honor Society Vice President
  • Women Engineers Certificate of Merit from Michigan Technological University
  • Plans to attend college to pursue a degree in the humanities

Ian Oatis
Grant High School
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • National Merit Commended Scholar
  • College Board National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program Award
  • Plans to attend Taylor University and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science

Gary Springstead
Fremont High School
  • College Board Rural Scholar
  • National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalist
  • Fremont High School Academic Achievement Award
  • Plans to study at a four-year university

Hannah Black
Grand Haven High School
  • 2x Science Olympiad National Medalist
  • 10x Science Olympiad State Medalist
  • MSBOA Orchestral Ensemble State Finalist
  • Plans to study Environmental Engineering, Classical Studies, and Law

Margot Frendt
Grand Haven High School
  • Captain of the Grand Haven Cross Country team Senior year
  • Captain of the Grand Haven Varsity Soccer team Junior and Senior years
  • Cross Country – Academic All-State and varsity runner all 4 years
  • Plans to attend college to study Environmental Science
Kyla Streng
Grand Haven High School
  • Grand Haven Science Olympiad National Competitor and Medalist
  • Member of the National Honor Society and Leadership Committee Member
  • Michigan Department of Education Student Advisory Council Lead Writer and Participant
  • Plans to major in the STEM field, potentially through a Pre-Med track, and minor in Spanish

Kelly Vander Kodde
Hart High School
  • Ranked first in graduating class
  • Honor Roll member all years of High School
  • Graduating with 27 college credits from dual enrollment (West Shore Community College)
  • Three AP classes of Chemistry, English, and Biology
  • Plans to attend a four-year university and major in Social Work

Lona Richards
Hesperia High School
  • Graduating a year early at 16
  • Ranked first in graduating class
  • Currently maintaining a 4.0 College GPA
  • Lone Pine Chapter of National Honor Society Secretary
  • Plans to pursue a Business Administration degree and hopes to work for a nonprofit after college

Kate Conzemius
Holton High School
  • Valedictorian
  • President of the Holton National Honor Society
  • Graduating High School with 37 college credits
  • Plans to study business with a focus of Human Resources at Michigan State University

Charlie Banks
Mason County Central High School
  • H.G Bacon Platinum Award
  • Overall Sophomore Award
  • DAR Good Citizenship Award
  • Plans to attend a four year university after high school and pursue business and accounting

Madison Kaiser
Mason County Central High School
  • 1290 SAT score
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • H.G. Bacon Bronze, Silver, Gold Awards
  • Plans to study Environmental Science at Grand Valley State University

Kaitlyn Mickevich
Mason County Eastern High School
  • Valedictorian
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Two years of dual enrollment
  • Plans to get a Masters Degree in Social Work

Gavyn Stout
Mona Shores High School
  • 4.500 GPA
  • Ranked first in graduating class of 293 students
  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Plans to study Pre-Med at Michigan State University

Silas Jancek
Montague High School
  • 4.434 GPA
  • 1290 SAT
  • Montague Student Senate Vice President 2023
  • Active in student leadership all four years at MHS
  • Plans to attend the University of Michigan

Hunter Schrink
Muskegon Catholic Central High School
  • Ranked in top 10 in class since 7th grade based on CAP scores
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • Academic All-State for Football and Soccer
  • Plans to attend Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the fall

Troy McManus
North Muskegon High School
  • 4.0 Unweighted GPA
  • Harvard Prize Book Recipient
  • Passed all AP exams with a 4 or 5
  • Plans to attend Rose Hulman Institute of Technology or the University of Michigan to study environmental engineering

Jacklyn Wei
Oakridge High School
  • 4.254 GPA
  • Valedictorian
  • National Honor Society President
  • President and Advisor to Oakridge Interact Club
  • Co-Captain of the Robotics team
  • Academic All-Conference Volleyball
  • Plans to attend the University of Michigan on the HAIL scholarship with a focus in Biology

Emma Hillard
Orchard View High School
  • 4.0 GPA throughout high school
  • Ranked first in graduating class
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • Participant in Early College program at MC
  • Plans to attend MCC for 2 years through the Muskegon Promise Program for an Associate’s Degree before transferring to a larger school to become a Biomedical Engineer

Grace Stoneman
Pentwater High School
  • Maintained a 4.0 throughout all of High School
  • National Honor Society Treasurer for two years
  • Pentwater Lake Association speech contest winner
  • Plans to attend the University of Michigan for a degree in one of the social sciences

Brynn Kantola
Ravenna High School
  • Top 5 in graduating class
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • Basketball Captain
  • Four-year All-State Academic Athlete
  • Plans to pursue a human biology degree at Michigan State University, followed by a doctorate in physical therapy to become a sports physical therapist

Lauren Nelson
Reeths-Puffer High School
  • Valedictorian
  • Volleyball – Academic All-State
  • Lacrosse – Academic All-State
  • Plans to attend a four-year university (Michigan) and pursue a degree in nursing

Alexander Calixto
Shelby High School
  • 3.99 GPA
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • 2x Student of the Month recipient
  • Plans to attend Northern Michigan University

Jacob Kotkowicz
Spring Lake High School
  • Valedictorian
  • National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist
  • Soccer – Academic All-State
  • Plans to attend Brown University with intended concentrations in Microbiology and Biological Anthropology, and later study medicine

Jonathan Clausing
Western MI Christian High School
  • Valedictorian
  • 4.272 GPA
  • Cross-Country – 2021 Academic All-State
  • Baseball -2022 Academic All-District 2
  • Plans to attend college for Pre-Medical Studies

Gabriela Reeve
White Cloud High School
  • High Honors and Valedictorian
  • 4-year All-A Honor Roll
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • 2x Academic All-State
  • Plans to continue her athletic career at the collegiate level while preparing for a career in either emergency or sports medicine

Allison Tate
Whitehall High School
  • NHD Senior Individual Exhibit National Runner-Up & National Top 30
  • NHD State Awards in Primary Resources, Oral History, Michigan Women’s History
  • Class President & Student Council President
  • AP Scholar with Honor & NEH Scholar
  • National Rural & Small Town Recognition Winner
  • Keynote speaker National Thalidomide Survivors Conference
  • Plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in International Relations/Studies, focusing on global environmental and public health.

2023 Visual Arts Nominees

“Over-achievement” (Oil on canvas)
Kaiya Flores, Fremont High School

 When creating any art piece I often lose track of time and sense of reality. I like to challenge myself in my art because I believe we grow in places outside of our comfort zone. My art consists of me constantly making mistakes, and fixing them or adapting to them, and I think that’s the beauty of art. No matter what mistakes I make I know I can still produce a beautiful piece that I can be proud of. 

“Fire Starter” (Ink and Gold Leaf)
Alexander LaLonde, Grand Haven High School

Binding the gap between comic relief and eldritch horror, I created Firestarter to link our world with the unknown. Derived from biblically refrenced depictions, the angel-like creature seen destroying a popular city on earth is entranced in a deadly pursuit with our hot-headed protagonist. Yet, in their time of utmost importance, our hero’s attention seems… elsewhere. 
“Young to be Queen” (Black and White Digital Photography)
Zoey Brown, Hart High School

What I wanted to achieve in this photo is to give the children of the future the representation that they deserve. Children have so much pressure to live up to society’s standards of what they should be. As much as a child wants to make their parents proud, nothing should stand in the way of being a kid. 

“Fall Leaf” (Chalk Pastel)
Brodrick Fialek, Holton High School

Many people think of chalk as a child’s toy, but I see it as a great medium to blend, layer, and just have fun with.  The photograph I referenced was one I took in photography class that I believed was great compositionally and full of value.  I hope every viewer of my art piece appreciates the techniques and attention to detail I used to complete it. 

“Swimming in Money” (mixed-media)
Elizabeth Britting, Mason County Central High School

I wanted to create a piece that was meaningful and purposeful. My piece “Swimming in Money” is meant to illustrate greed within day to day life and how it continues to grow until it is out of proportion. 

“Koselius Portrait” (Acrylic paint, canvas, mod podge, black primer)
Joel Klimek, Mona Shores High School

This is a dear painting I made for my friend’s birthday, it is of his incubus bard character, Koselius, who is in a game of D&D [Dungeons & Dragons] that our friends play. Koselius is a charming fellow who has a pet snake, he is a noble from part of the infernal plane or Hell. With this portrait, I went for a more abstract way of colouring, colours used in an expressive way over realism. 

“teenage nightmare ” (wire, paper mache, and clay)
Daeja Hill, Muskegon Catholic Central High School

Being a teenager is hard, especially in a time where social media controls our free time and leaves impressionable young kids unrealistic expectations of what they ‘should’ be. I believe that many struggle with this issue, and feel alone. I created my scuplture to reach out to those who are struggling with their physical state and essentially remind them that;
 YOU are perfect the way you are and another woman’s beauty is not the absence of your own. 

“Let There Be Light.” (Mixed Media: acrylic paint, collage, watercolor)
Grace Painter, Newaygo High School

As I have developed as an artist through the years, I have pulled inspiration from a multitude of artists. However, the works of Vincent Van Gogh have always caught my eye and pulled at my heart. I recently was gifted the opportunity of a lifetime to go view the Van Gogh Exhibit in America. Using this experience and my faith, I created this rendition of a couple of Van Gogh’s famous paintings: “The Starry Night” and “The Olive Trees.” It hopes to capture my wonder and fascination with the beauty of God’s creation and art.

“Flower field” (Graphite)
Ellie Dewitte, Oakridge High School

The theme of my portfolio is flowers. Some flowers might not be as popular or well-known, but they still are breathtaking.  That’s what I wanted my portraits to represent; the flowers that aren’t mentioned or as well-known.

“Culture in Distress” (Oil paint )
Kennedy Hynde, Reeths-Puffer High School

In current times, diversity is commonly considered as something that is desired and accepted. However, my hope is to portray the focal point of my piece, a cultural woman who appears to be losing color, as a visual representation of how an obstinate society and diversity appear to interact. The message that I want to get across to my audience is one that addresses an injustice that is consistently prominent in today’s society. While individuals will frequently say that culture is welcomed with open arms, the reality is that cultures around the world are falling to extinction as a result of the individuals who refuse to accept them. 

“Flightless” (Charcoal, Graphite, Ethically Sourced Pidgeon and Chicken Feathers)
Anna Hultman, Spring Lake High School

Flightless explores how abusive relationships can make people feel exposed, powerless, and trapped. The angel’s cut wings represent how domestic abuse reinforced by a patriarchal society can subjugate and suppress women. The wing clippings she kneels on allude to the many before her who were cruelly torn down by centuries of abuse, but still, she remains strong. The strength and bravery women continue to show in times of hardship inspired me to create this piece. 

“Morty ” (Charcoal and graphite )
Bryce  Haltom, White Cloud High School

I find inspiration in the ordinary moments of life. This drawing of my dog captures a simple yet special moment between us. Through my drawing, I aim to convey the joy and companionship that my furry friend brings into my life. I hope this artwork reminds viewers of the beauty in every day and the love that our animal companions provide. 

“Mystic Blues ” (Acrylic paint, spray paint)
Samantha Navitskas, Fruitport High School

The purpose of my art is to express my inner vision. To show the unthinkable, the beauty and the mystery of non objective art. To make something that is considered “nothing” into a visual poem. Painting is the poetry of sight. Some may not understand it and others may create a wild meaning. It’s up to the viewer to create their own meaning, that’s if there even is a meaning. It may just be a beautiful visual piece or it may have the meaning to life. You decide. 

“Hidden in the Moss” (Ceramics)
Hope Olson, Grant High School

Being the child of an art teacher, I’ve been exposed to art for as long as I can remember; from the stick figures and lopsided pinch-pots I used to make as a kid, I’ve grown a lot over the years to get to where I’m at today. I’ve dipped my toes into just about every media I can get my hands on— you name it and I’ve probably done it at least once! But sculpture, especially ceramics, holds a certain place in my heart for its sheer versatility. Someone can just look at a hunk of clay, say ‘I’m gonna make you into a two-tiered dragon-shaped teapot’, and then just… do it! 

“The Feeling to be Captured ” (Acrylic and gauche paints )
Ellie Lotz, Hesperia High School

The creation of my painting “A Feeling to be Captured” was inspired by the look of pure focus and enjoyment while the musician in the painting would create something he is so passionate about, music. When I watched him create his music for the very first time I was mesmerized by the way he would freely and effortlessly pluck his guitar strings and imagine the sounds in his head before even playing them. I knew from that very moment that this was an emotion that needed to be captured visually instead of verbally. 

“Curious” (Colored pencil and watercolor)
Kadence Keegstra, Ludington High School

When making this, I wanted to go for something that was odd and intriguing. I really like bears and thought it would fit with my idea to draw a group of them walking through a forest of giant flowers and frogs. I did a wash of watercolor and added in my details with colored pencil. 

“Simplicity” (Acrylic on canvas)
Samantha Bateson, Mason County Eastern High School

I like to make art as a way to decompress and relax. Painting things in a sort of repetitive and slow manner helps with that. As of right now, I enjoy painting in classic and simple styles. My favorite things to paint typically require a lot of patience with blending, such as still lifes.

“All of the Time” (Watercolor mixed media)
Mars Stout, Montague High School

This piece is dedicated to my lovely partner, Morgan Ray. Morgan is one of a kind and has always supported me throughout our relationship. I love spending my days with them and bonding over our shared interests in fashion, music, and movies. The title of this piece is inspired by a song called “Love You All The Time” by Fur, a band we really like and relate to. though the majority of the song is irrelevant, I will constantly have the ending of it stuck in my head. The quote “I love you all of the time” will forever be applicable to our relationship.

“Swaying In The Moonlight” (Gouache and Acrylic)
KaNiyah Martin, Muskegon High School

This piece was inspired by my step sister who takes interest in ballet. The painting takes place in Italy at midnight during the renaissance age. It depicts an African American woman dancing on a balcony as the moonlight beams on her. 

“Connections” (Mixed Media: charcoal pencil, embrodery, and sewing.)
Lillian  Atkinson-Miller, North Muskegon High School

This work invites you to look at how you represent yourself and question if that is who you are. What are your connections to yourself? How does this affect your connections to others? Questions I want the audience to ask themselves when examining this piece. 

“Amor Eterno” (Full Value Pencils )
Abdy Santoyo, Ravenna High School

In this piece, I wanted to focus on a full value illustration. Amor Eterno is Spanish for “Eternal Love.” I wanted to showcase that love lasts far beyond the customary vows: “till death do us part.” When you truly love someone you’d move Heaven and Earth to be with them. Even in death, I’d like to believe that our soul ties remain tethered and our love endless.

“Escape” (Colored pencils and acrylic paint.)
Emma Soelberg, Shelby High School

Only in darkness can our passions be set free. It took experiencing the ups and downs of life for me to find my passion for art and who I am as an individual. I specifically chose to make my self-portrait black and white to demonstrate the doubt and blindness we so often feel. I’m gazing up at the colorful butterflies to represent how finding ourselves can draw us out of the darkness and unlock our unlimited potential. Look up and escape. 

“Black Diamond Mine” (Black and white charcoal on drawing paper)
Gerrod McDaniel, Western MI Christian High School

I wanted to challenge myself by trying to make a reverse charcoal piece and I thought an old mine would be the perfect subject to capture the emotion and time period of early mining companies. I mainly was just looking for a challenge on a subject I found interesting in which history is one of them.

“Duck Lake Sunsets ” (Watercolor )
Madison Borgman, Whitehall High School

I love mixing my love of photography with my love for Art. My art looks best when I paint pictures Ive taken myself, painting them allows me to make a photo bright with colors and bring out the true beauty in the world I live in. 

2023 Athletics Nominees

Levi Assaad
Calvary Christian School
  • Varsity soccer player for 3 years, Captain for 2 years
  • Soccer – Honorable Mention All-Conference
  • Defensive and Offensive MVP recognition
  • Plans to attend college to study engineering

McKena Wilson
Calvary Christian School
  • Basketball – All-State Honorable Mention
  • Basketball – BCAM All-State
  • Track – State Qualifier in 4×200 and 4×400 Relay
  • Plans to pursue a degree in Elementary Education and play college basketball

Chase Geers
Grant High School
  • All-Conference for Football and Baseball
  • Achieved over 200 yards in a football game in the 2022 season
  • Achieved 13 strikeouts in 2022 baseball season
  • Plans to become a licensed electrician within in the next five years

Julianne Hernandez-Veras
Fremont High School
  • 2022 TEAM FIRST Award – Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan
  • Soccer – MHSSCA Team All-Academic Award
  • Three-Year Varsity Soccer Player
  • Plans to attend a four-year college to study Secondary Spanish Education

Michael Romero
Fremont High School
  • Wrestling – 3x All-Conference, All-State, 2x Captains Award
  • Football – 3x All-Conference, 2x All-Region, Glenn Clemens Award
  • Track – All-conference
  • Plans to attend Ferris State University to study Construction Management

Paschal Jolman
Fruitport High School
  • Football – All-Media Conference Player of the Year
  • All-Conference Running Back
  • All-State Running Back
  • Plans to attend Grand Valley State University and continue playing football

Kayla Kolberg
Fruitport High School
  • Second Team Dream Team
  • Volleyball – Team Regional Finalists
  • Soccer – TRUE GRIT Award (Junior Year)
  • Plans to study Sports Management or Interior Design at Western Michigan University

Margot Frendt
Grand Haven High School
  • Captain of Grand Haven Varsity Soccer Team (2 years)
  • Captain of Grand Haven Cross-Country Team and four-year Varsity runner
  • Cross-Country – Academic All-State Honoree Junior year
  • Plans to attend college to study Environmental Science

Josh McManus
Grand Haven High School
  • Captain of the Football team
  • Three-year Dual Sport Varsity Athlete
  • Football Belief Award
  • Plans to attend college for a degree in Mechanical Engineering

Wyatt Dean
Hart High School
  • Cross-Country – 2x All State
  • Track – All-State 800 Meter Run and 4×800 Meter Relay, All-Conference Honorable Mention
  • Cross-Country team won the Division 3 State Championship (2022), Runner Up (2020, 2021)
  • Plans to attend Saginaw Valley State University to study Exercise Science while continuing running career

Mariana VanAgtmael
Hart High School
  • Basketball – First Team All-Conference West Michigan
  • Volleyball – First Team All-Conference West Michigan
  • Four District Titles won throughout high school
  • Plans to attend Hope College and major in Communications

Marcus Hoaglin
Hesperia High School
  • 4 year varsity wrestler
  • 3 year varsity football
  • Two time all conference for football & wrestling
  • United States Marine Corps Engineer

Ali Townsend
Hesperia High School
  • Softball – First Team All-District/Regional
  • Softball – First Team All-Conference
  • Volleyball – Academic All-State
  • Plans to attend Ferris State University for their Construction Management program, then become a supervisor

Chase Albright
Holton High School
  • Bowling – First Team All-State (2021-22)
  • Bowling – First Team All-Conference (2021-22, 2022-23 seasons)
  • Football – First Team All-Conference (2022-23 season)
  • Plans to attend Muskegon Community College and be on the bowling team

Vanessa Peltoniemi
Holton High School
  • First Team All-Conference
  • 2x Second Team All-Conference
  • 3x State Individual Qualifier
  • Plans to attend University of Michigan to study Medicine

William Chye
Mason County Central High School
  • Baseball – All-State Baseball (2022)
  • Basketball – Honorable Mention All-State (2022)
  • Academic All-Conference for Football, Basketball, and Baseball
  • Plans to attend college to pursue a degree in welding while continuing to participate in athletics at the collegiate level

Janessa Alvesteffer
Mason County Eastern High School
  • Four-sport athlete while maintaining all As in High School
  • Duel enrollment athlete scholar
  • Plans to continue attending West Shore Community College to get a nursing degree and then transfer elsewhere to become a Nurse Practitioner

Nathan Wing
Mason County Eastern High School
  • Cross-Country – 2x All-State
  • Track – 2x All-State
  • All-Conference Track and Cross-Country
  • Plans to attend college to major in Agriculture and continue running Track and Cross-Country

Delaney Buckner
Mona Shores High School
  • Swimming – All-State (2022)
  • Swimming – All-Conference (2022)
  • Swimming – Academic All-State (2022)
  • Plans to attend Oakland University’s Honors College to study Biomedical Science while continuing swimming career

Jaxon Huffman
Mona Shores High School
  • Baseball – Second Team All-State (2022)
  • #10 Ranked Baseball player in Michigan
  • 2022 Muskegon Dream Team
  • Plans to continue playing baseball at Michigan State University while getting a bachelors degree in Kinesiology

Rodney Brassfield
Montague High School
  • Football – First Team All-State
  • All-Conference in Football, Basketball, and Track
  • Three-year starter on football team
  • Plans to attend a trade school

Lauren Smith
Montague High School
  • Track – 3x State Champion
  • Track – 1x State Runner-Up
  • Three Sport Athlete all four years of high school
  • Plans to attend college

Sam Kartes
Muskegon Catholic Central High School
  • Football Team Captain (Senior Year)
  • 2022 All-State Linebacker in Detroit Free Press
  • 2023 All State Linebacker Detroit Free Press
  • Plans to attend Kalamazoo College

Claire LaVigne
Muskegon Catholic Central High School
  • Tennis – Lakes 8 Conference Champion (2022)
  • Volleyball – Third Team All-State (2022)
  • Volleyball – All-Region (2022)
  • Plans to attend the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2023

Samuel Gallo
North Muskegon High School
  • Football – All-State for Offensive & Defensive line (2022)
  • Baseball – All-District (2022)
  • MLive’s Muskegon Area Dream Team Defense
  • Plans to attend Concordia University in Ann Arbor to study nursing and continue playing football

Natalie Pannucci
North Muskegon High School
  • Soccer – First Team All-State for Girls Varsity
  • Volleyball – Two-year Third Team All-State for Girls Varsity
  • Individual Academic All-State
  • Plans to attend Hope College to continue volleyball career and education

Matthew Danicek
Oakridge High School
  • Football – All-Conference, All-Region, All-State Defensive Back
  • Team won four District Titles and one Regional Title
  • Member of National Honor Society
  • Plans to attend Muskegon Community College in the fall to study business

andrea romero
Oakridge High School
  • Softball – Four-year Varsity Starter softball
  • First Team All-Conference Catcher
  • Scholar Athlete
  • Plans to attend Muskegon Community College then transfer to Ferris State University to study Pediatric Nursing while continuing her softball career

Korbin TenBrink
Orchard View High School
  • Ranked 8th graduating class
  • Bowling – Ranked 3rd in Conference & First Team All-Conference
  • Unweighted 3.8 GPA, honor student for entire high school career
  • Plans to attend Grand Valley State University to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering and continue bowling career

Abe VanDuinen
Pentwater High School
  • Led the Pentwater Cross-Country team to State for the first time in 23 years
  • Various 1st and 2nd All-Conference honors in Cross-County and Track
  • Received Academic All-State in Sophomore and Junior in Cross-Country and Track
  • Plans to continue running in college and is considering studying in the field of music or history

Anna VanDuinen
Pentwater High School
  • 2x MVP for Cross-Country
  • Cross-Country – First and Second Team All-Conference
  • Track – Second Team All-Conference
  • Five-year Varsity Cross-Country and Track runner
  • Plans to attend Kalamazoo College to study Criminology and continue running

Emma Gillard
Ravenna High School
  • West Michigan All-Conference in Basketball and Softball
  • Softball – All District and All Region, Tier 1 Softball Champion (2022)
  • District Champion Softball Team in 2022 season
  • Plans to continue softball career at Ferris State University while studying Nursing

Hunter Hogan
Ravenna High School
  • Football – Defensive Player of the Year (Muskegon area)
  • West Michigan Player of the Year
  • All-State Defensive Back and Specialist
  • Plans to play college football but is currently uncommitted

Claire Gowell
Shelby High School
  • Volleyball – All-Conference Honorable Mention
  • Two-year Captain in Basketball and Volleyball
  • Softball Varsity letter and three-year pin achievement
  • Plans to enroll in the Michigan State University IAT program at Muskegon Community College

Bishop Lee
Shelby High School
  • Football – All-Conference
  • Soccer – 2x All-District
  • Basketball – All-Conference Honorable Mention
  • Plans to attend Michigan State University to get a degree in Education

Lily Parker
Spring Lake High School
  • Cross-Country – Three-year Academic All-State
  • Three-year Individual All Conference Champion
  • 3x All-State
  • Plans to continue competing in Cross-Country and Track at Xavier University in Ohio

Jaxson Tober
Spring Lake High School
  • Track – 2x Nike Outdoor Nationals All-American, State Champion, 2x All-State, All-Conference
  • Soccer – 4x Academic All-State, All-Conference, 2x All-District, Captain (Senior Year)
  • Member of Spring Lake High School’s Student Athlete Leadership Team
  • Plans to continue to run track in college and study Engineering

Jared Olsen
Western MI Christian High School
  • Division 4 Soccer State Champion
  • First Team All-State Soccer Team
  • All-Area Basketball Team
  • Plans to study Exercise Science at Indiana Wesleyan University

Kendal Young
Western MI Christian High School
  • First team in WMC school history to make it to States Final Four
  • Broke 3 school records
  • All-State Team, Individual Academic All-State
  • Plans to attend University of Michigan and major in Nursing

Alex Cruzan
White Cloud High School
  • Baseball – MHSBCA First Team All-State Outfielder (2022)
  • Baseball – First Team All-Region Outfielder (2022)
  • Baseball – CSAA Silver All-Conference (2022)
  • Plans to continue baseball career at Cornerstone University while studying Pre-Pharmacy

Jackson Houtteman
Whitehall High School
  • 2x Soccer All-State Honorable Mention
  • 2x Track and Field State Championship Runner-Up
  • 3x Soccer All-District
  • Plans to attend a four-year university to major in Business and ultimately work towards an MBA

Ariana Treat
Whitehall High School
  • 3x individually qualified/competed at MHSAA Cross-Country State Championships
  • Raced at MITCA Michigan Meet of Champions
  • Placed at GMAA Cross-Country Championships each year of high school
  • Plans to attend the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Pennsylvania with a scholarship

2023 Literary Arts Nominees

NOTE: Some entries may contain adult themes. Minors, please ask for parental permission before reading.

Artios Academies of West Michigan – Frankie Kendziera – “In the Gloaming”

Calvary Christian School – Kamea Sutherland – “The Crimson Smile”

Fremont High School – Madison Schamber – “Pursue”

Fruitport High School – Adam Beerawi – “The World”

Grand Haven High School – Avery Rant – “Requiem”

Grant High School – Austin Whitney – “Integrity”

Hart High School – Amelia Tuinstra – “The Journey”

Hesperia High School – Leticia Pinales – “The war above”, “Faulty Wiring”, “Home”

Holton High School – Aiden Potter – “When I Saw the Moon”

Mason County Central High School – Charlie Banks – “The Effects of Stress on Student-Athletes”

Mason County Eastern High School – Kennady Tyler – “Time to let go”, “The effects of simple kindness”, “Pluviophile”

Mona Shores High School – Maddox Schaner-Follett – “The Dreambringer”

Montague High School – Ak Davey – “Love (A Slam Poem)”, “Stepping Stone”, “The Timeline of Hope”

Muskegon High School – Adelyn (Addie) Witmer – “Conversations With a Father”

North Muskegon High School – Jaley Schultz – “The Problem with Perfection”

Oakridge High School – Aleena Minor – “Living with Myself”

Pentwater High School – Eliana Mandarano – “Reality Was My Dream”, “Thank You Letter To The One Who Never Cared”, “Too Human”

Ravenna High School – Raelyn Olsen – “Stone Crusher”

Reeths-Puffer High School – Aidan Roberson – “A Father’s Forged Bond”

Spring Lake High School – Abigail Uganski – “The Old Man on Pontaluna Road”

White Cloud High School – Aleyiah Desnoyers – “Waking Up”, “Anchors in Time”, “Isolation”

Whitehall High School – Brielle Kohlbeck – “every single weekend”

2023 Digital Media Arts Nominees

NOTE: Some entries may contain adult themes. Minors, please ask for parental permission before watching.

Artios Academies of West Michigan – “ALONE? The Sisters Revenge” (17:05)

Created by: Isaac Rasmussen

Synopsis: A girl hiding the truth about her younger sisters death, deals with guilt and the hate of her haunting younger sister.

Grand Haven High School – “Fidgeting With Fire” (1:34)

Created by: David Lenger

Synopsis: Silent narrative surrounding a young girl’s important decision on whether she will reach out to her absent father.

Holton High School – “My Sister: Emily Faith” (2:30)

Created by: Natalie Wiseman

Synopsis: My mother shares my family’s story of the love and loss we felt regarding my sister Emily Faiths short time here. She was born when my mom was only 23 weeks pregnant. She passed away after 1 month and 10 days. We share what she taught us in her short time being here. “Life is not measured in the amount of breaths you take but the amount of moments that take your breath away”.

Mason County Central High School – “The Lurker” (4:12)

Created by: Brody Shelton

Synopsis: The Lurker is about a group of teens going for a hike and eventually stumbling upon the not so well known “Dusk Woods” of which one of the group members has heard of because she is a “horror fanatic”. As the teens travel through these woods, the jokester of the group (Wyatt) discovers several pieces of paper warning about the dangers that lie within. As the teens continue with their travel, they each go missing one by one. The remaining group members believe that everyone is just messing with them, until they find some concerning remains.

Mona Shores High School – “The USB” (8:07)

Created by: Noah Fritzemeier

Synopsis: The main character goes to the back of an ally to buy cheats for math homework, however; what conspires is nothing but a horrible guilt ridden trip. One full of sorrows and regret.

Reeths-Puffer High School – “James” (3:21)

Created by: Dylan Mason

Synopsis: James is into making weekly videos about being more sustainable at his school. He posts a video which results in him getting some hate comments and his car vandalized. His grades start slipping at school and he is pulled into the counseling office where he explains what’s been going on to him. The councilor Mrs.VanHalen gives him an envelope of anonymous student messages that thank James for what he is doing at their school. James wraps up the film by reminding the audience that someone is always out there for you, and you are always loved.

2022 Showcase Results

Digital Media

  • First Place – Mona Shores High School – “Check” – Erik Kubicek
  • Second Place – Pentwater High School – “Don’t Overcook Pizza” – Leonardo Lozano, Haley Powers, Alivia Kolenda, and Alexis Settler
  • Third Place – Spring Lake High School – “Memories” – Grace Kleppe

Literary Arts

  • First Place – Fruitport High School – “The Black Door at the End of the White Hallway” – Adam Beerawi
  • Second Place – Montague High School – “Jouska,” “I Leave Everything Unfinished (But I Guess That’s Better Than Nothing),” and “In Which I Write The Same Poem Again” – August Hawley
  • Third Place – Grand Haven High School – “Story in Verse: The Ghost and the Sun” – Kaitlan Balsam
  • Honorable Mention – Spring Lake High School – “Sin,” “Death,” and “Rebirth” – Haley Brosnan
  • Honorable Mention – Fremont High School – “I Am From,” “Inside Me,” and “The Count Down” – Kaitlyn Bergman

Performing Arts

Solo/Duo Category

  • First Place – North Muskegon High School – “Ghost in the Wind” – Adrian Martinez
  • Second Place – Holton High School – “Times Are Hard For Dreamers” – Bella Resterhouse
  • Third Place – Spring Lake High School – “Hey Jude” – Owen Timmerman

Group Category

  • First Place – Calvary Christian School – “Dream a Little Dream of Me” – “Calvary Trio” – Bradley Richards, Kendon Sutherland, and Claire Swanson
  • Second Place – North Muskegon High School – “Jolene” – “Stetson Sisters” – Gabriella Gaston, Alexandra Lindsay, and Riley McEvoy
  • Third Place – Mona Shores High School – “Parting Glass” – “Amárach” – Brooklynn Bailey, Cequoia Davis, Ansel Hartman, Ana Ivanov, Oscar Justian, Aiden Mack, MJ McCaskey, Ella Recknagel, and Zachary Schnotala

Gary W. Ostrom Showstopper Award

  • Calvary Christian School – “Pirates of the Caribbean” – Josiah Jackson

Visual Arts

  • First Place – Spring Lake High School – “Unity in Diversity” – Inez Allard
  • Second Place – Shelby High School – “Elsa Guerrero” – Esmeralda Guerrero
  • Third Place – Grand Haven High School – “Mixed Media Glass Art” – Alec Law
  • Honorable Mention – Fruitport High School – “Equation” – Samantha Navitskas
  • Honorable Mention – Orchard View High School – “Self Autonomy” – Elijah Pierce

2022 Visual Arts Nominees

“Shades Of Green” (Glass)
Zoe Buckley, Fremont High School
My artwork is beautiful as well as functional. I only began to like looking at this piece when the process of making it was complete. I struggle to achieve in my eyes what perfection is. There is no meaning in this piece and it evokes no emotion in me, I only hope the viewer knows I worked hard on it.
“mixed media glass art” (Blown Glass)
Alec Law, Grand Haven High School
Most fathers might disapprove of their child playing with fire, but somehow, I convinced mine to allow it. Working with my hands has always been a large part of my life. I have been actively perfecting my craft since the age of ten, when I became interested in making jewelry. The pursuit of my work has helped me overcome challenges and push my creative boundaries. Through my dedication and drive, I have reached new levels of ingenuity and achieved new goals. My work has enabled me to meet amazing people who have been instrumental in my development as an artist and I’m very grateful for that. I first became interested in jewelry making when my grandmother visited one summer. I was enamored with the tools and wire used to create these works of art. From then on, I was hooked. My passion for creating evolved to glass fusing techniques. Along the way, I have met and have been influenced by many incredible artists. In large part, I credit my elementary art teacher, Mr. Aducci, for sparking my interest in glass as a medium. Experiencing the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens also drove my interest in torch working and borosilicate glass work. When I work with glass, I play with how and where to add color and design. Trying different techniques with borosilicate glass to see what the material can do. Through experimenting I push my designs and creations and continue to grow my work in different ways
“Teenage Struggles” (Mixed Media)
Lea Kusche, Hart High School
The idea of my project is inspired by the show Euphoria, which is mainly about teenagers that struggle with mental health issues and drugs. I drew myself as a Euphoria character to show that those things are issues in real life as well. I included the space objects to describe the feeling of being lost and displayed the different factors that can cause struggles for teenagers.
“The Blue Jean Mitten” (Fabric)
Amya Battice, Mason County Central High School
The Blue Jean Mitten is a piece I made to represent Michigan and the blues that surround us .
“Art Recreation of Elaine de Kooning Self Portrait” (Digital Photography)
Patricia Gaiser, Mona Shores High School
In my art recreation of Elaine de Kooning’s self portrait, I tried to portray the soft yellow toned color palette and old modern feel of her painting into my photo. I used the items I had around my house to get as similar as I could to the background and outfit of Koonings portrait. After the photo was taken I went back and edited it to really finish it off with adding hues, saturation, highlights and many more editing styles. I picked Elaine because I loved her abstract paintings and her personality shown through her artwork. This piece is so interesting to me and that’s why I thought it would be perfect to recreate it.
“Paradiso e Contrapasso” (Mixed Media)
AJ Asmus, Muskegon Catholic Central High School
While creating this piece I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the souls recently lost. My hope was to capture the solemn reverence obligated by human nature to those who have passed.
“A Serene Night in Chicago.” (Color Pencil)
Evelyn Hernandez, Muskegon High School
The question I assigned myself was Can I use tints and shades of colors to give paintings meaning. To answer this question I made sure to research what vibes each color gives to know what I want to portray within the art piece. I used a basic picture in my camera roll and thought it would be fun to see if different colors could make it look cool. I used blue shades with tints of purple to give the viewer a feeling of serenity and calmness. I really liked how it turned out. It’s cool how you can turn a simple background into a whole different thing with just a mix of different colors.
“Science Fiction Fashion” (Fabric)
Haley Powers, Pentwater High School
Science Fiction Fashion is a 2-piece set and a crown inspired by the costuming in science fiction films. I was inspired by a kind of dystopian desert that is often used in sci-fi films. The skirt is inspired by clothing people would often wear to renaissance fairs because often times the clothing in science fiction is inspired early fashion history. I painted a corset I made using metallic colors.
“Science Fiction Fashion” (Fabric)
Haley Powers, Pentwater High School
Science Fiction Fashion is a 2 piece set and a crown inspired by the costuming in science fiction films. I was inspired by a kind of dystopian desert that is often used in sci-fi films. The skirt is inspired by clothing people would often wear to renaissance fairs because often times the clothing in science fiction is inspired early fashion history. I painted a corset I made using metallic colors.
“Elsa Guerrero” (Graphite and Charcoal)
Esmeralda Guerrero, Shelby High School
The two portraits in this picture are of my youngest sister Elsa Guerrero. I created this diptych to illustrate the emotions of my overly expressive sister. Out of all five of my youngest sisters, she’s always brought out the best of me. I admire everything about her and hold her dear in my heart.
“I Do” (Oil)
Courtney LaClair, White Cloud High School
I created this piece as a Christmas gift for my parents. I wanted to create something that would have a lot of emotional value to them. I decided on painting them on their wedding day because it was one of the greatest days of their lives. I found that the oil paint allowed me to give the painting a hazy, memory-like effect.
“Dad’s Music” (Acrylic)
Neva Hundt, Whitehall High School
I created this impressionist painting of my dad playing the guitar. In my art class, we were focusing on impressionism, so I painted something that was creating values and involved human form. I was challenged to create lots of different skin tones and the variation of depth for the background and all with out blending. Playing music is something we have always done together and are very passionate about.
“Equation” (Acrylic)
Samantha Navitskas, Fruitport High School
As I started to approach this piece for showcase I wanted to make it grand and stand out. I wanted this piece to be original and like no other. I found myself to be an abstract artist in 2015 when I loved working with color and having no expectations or limits. There was no right or wrong and that’s why I love being an abstract artist. While approaching this painting I was excited but mostly scared for I have never entered a contest like this and I’ve never done a painting this big. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I knew it was what I wanted. This piece has brought excitement, stress and happiness. Everyday I had a different opinion of the painting, one day from liking it to the next wanting to give up and throw it away but in the end it was worth it, I had to trust the process.
“Tea of Life” (Clay)
Sydney Higgins, Grant High School
I created a functional teapot from clay. I used the coil method with a hand wheel to create the piece. I was inspired by Japanese culture and nature to create the unique shape and designs. When creating this piece I wanted to make it cohesive. The rain is falling from the top of the handle all the way down to the bottom giving the plants life and holding the tea. I was excited to create a functional piece that I would actually use.
“All I Can do is Watch” (Mixed Media)
Gina Nye, Holton High School
I created this piece shortly after I lost someone very close to me to bad influences. I felt I slowly watched and encouraged this behavior in the end. The grief and guilt consumed me and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I expressed it in this art piece. Know I can hardly recognize them and watch their life from the sidelines. All I Can do is Watch…
“A Perfect, Imbalanced World” (Decoupage)
Trevor Oomen, Mason County Eastern High School
A little change can make a big difference. The Imbalance of my sculpture represents the Imbalance of the world when covid first started.
“this earth and i” (Graphite and Acrylic)
August Hawley, Montague High School
When I started this project, I realized that I’ve been making the same piece over and over again for three years. I intended to for this to be my final “thesis” on the intersection between people and nature and the idea that they’re synonymous. We need the world around us (bees, forests, etc), but we have to remember that we are the world around us, too, and when we hurt the earth, we hurt ourselves just as much. I have a feeling that this will still be far from my last dive into this particular project.
“me in a nutshell” (Acrylic)
Jayquan Sharp, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy
i started with a photo that me and my friends took and drew lines on a canvas and started painting. i was very happy and proud of myself for what i did.
“Dragon’s Lair” (Graphite)
Daisy Belanger, Newaygo High School
In my art, I like to capture fantastical scenes with a story behind it. With just a piece of pencil and paper, a whole scene can create a sense of exploration.
“Your Side, My Side, and the Truth” (Chalk and Oil Pastel)
Ginger VanAntwerp, North Muskegon High School
There are always three sides to every story. I Imagine if we took a deeper look, we may find that Rapunzel was the witch, and her mother really was her mother. Perhaps the real truth lies within deeper emotions. The secrets that no one dares to reveal, after all fear has a way of changing people. Perhaps Rapunzel just felt unheard, her tower was a metaphor, and her mother was just preoccupied with self care and outward appearance. Reality can be infinite.
“Self Autonomy” (Watercolor and Pastels)
Elijah Pierce, Orchard View High School
Me, exploring, expanding, living.
“Connection” (Acrylic)
Reanna Becker, Ravenna High School
For this piece I wanted to focus on relationships and connections. In this painting the male figure represents the Moon and the female represents the Sun. The Moon figure has a sense of mystery and darkness surrounding it, while the Sun radiates a sense of energy and positivity. I wanted to show that even though two things are completely different from one another they can manage to co-exist.
“Imagine” (Duct Tape)
Hailey Bos, Reeths-Puffer High School
In light of recent events affecting individuals around the world, I wanted to create an artwork that most people would recognize as a symbol of peace. John Lennon, a peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist in the Beatles, stood for political causes much greater than himself. With the unification of 10,800 individual pieces of tape—as we are all individual human beings—to embody a living legend, my work stands for something bigger than ourselves: a world where the pieces unite for peace and acceptance of everyone.
“Unity in Diversity ” (Acrylic and Gold Leaf)
Inez Allard, Spring Lake High School
I made this piece during Black History Month, and I was inspired by the clothing and symbols from Ghanaian culture. I chose to use the Adinkra symbol called Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu on the dress which represents unity in diversity. The name literally translates to “Siamese crocodiles”. The two conjoined crocodiles in the symbol represent democracy and cooperation. Crocodiles are typically independent creatures, but in this case, are forced to co-exist and unite for survival. The meaning of this ancient symbol is still relevant today.

2022 Digital Media Arts Nominees

NOTE: Some entries may contain adult themes. Minors, please ask for parental permission before watching.

Fremont High School – “Mental Illness” (16:26)

Created by: Emma Robart

Synopsis: My video will be about how depression affects my mom’s life and how she lives with it every day.

Mona Shores High School – “CHECK.” (4:16)

Created by: Erik Kubicek

Synopsis: The short film ‘CHECK.’ follows a troubled young boy while he has a moral argument with his father, all while playing a game of chess. The two reopen wounds not only for themselves, but also reopen wounds over the loss of the boy’s mother. The story comes to a climactic conclusion in which the characters find themselves at their most vulnerable, and reach a saddening stalemate. The story addresses the trauma in losing a loved one not only within, but also within the most important of relationships.

Muskegon High School – “Andrew’s comedy skit.” (5:10)

Created by: Andrew Potter

Synopsis: My comedy skit talks about funny wifi passwords. I used the joke concept of “Who’s on first?” originally made by Abbott and Costello. My version has some lines similar to the version Jeff Dunham had done in 2020. I am not going to say that this was my own original joke but I am giving the original makers the credit for the joke concept.

North Muskegon High School – “One Thing About High School” (6:54)

Created by: Trystan Guerrero

Synopsis: Looking back on high school as our time is about to be done.

Pentwater High School – “Don’t Overcook Pizza” (7:58)

Created by: Leonardo Lozano, Haley Powers, Alivia Kolenda, and Alexis Settler

Synopsis: A young woman discovers that everyone in the world has disappeared and she is alone in a town where the citizens are guilty.

Spring Lake High School – “Memories” (3:24)

Created by: Grace Kleppe

Synopsis: Someone once said to treat your sadness as a guest. Let it in, comfort it, and when you’re ready, let it go. One thing about sadness is what we can learn from it. We create new memories from the sadness, from the experience we share with it. These are videos collected over the years, stitched together to tell the story that, yes, sometimes sadness and grief take a toll on us; however, we can either learn and make new memories, or let it control us.

White Cloud High School – “Don’t Text and Drive” (2:17)

Created by: Aleeya Grifford, Sydnee Ochs, and John Sidor

Synopsis: A group of teens go for an afternoon drive and make some poor decisions. The driver’s decision to text and drive results in a car accident. White Cloud High School Media Club students explain the dangers of distracted driving, and the ways in which teens can prevent these poor decisions.