Laura Featherston

Rockford rowing conquers state again

May 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

by MARY CLINTHORNE  For the second consecutive year, Rockford rowers earned three coveted championship trophies in the Michigan Scholastic Rowing Championship at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 19. The final points told the story as the Rockford men commanded first place with 33 points over second-place Grosse Ile’s nine points; the Rockford women earned first place with 30 points, besting second-place Forest Hills Eastern’s six points; and, in the overall category, Rockford’s combined team point total of 63 points beat out Grosse Ile’s second-place (12-point) finish. The morning’s preliminary races resulted in every Rockford boat qualifying for the afternoon finals, where they really poured on the heat to capture nine first-place victories, one second-place win, and one third-place win. Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler enjoyed viewing every one of those victories at the finish line, commenting, “Crew, as a sport, is outstanding; all the student athletes have an opportunity to participate and to learn the importance of team building.” And what a team it is! First-place finishes were earned by the men’s varsity 8+ (K. Clinthorne, T. VanFossen, M. Hendershott, Bryce VanderBerg, A. Carley, C. Fase, I. Blenman, D. Itter, and coxswain L. Conner); men’s lightweight 8+ (Clinthorne, VanFossen, M. Powers, J. Nemeth, Blenman, Itter, T. Maple, S. Ginebaugh, and coxswain R. Featherston); men’s varsity 4+ (VanderBerg, Carley, Fase, Hendershott, and coxswain Conner); and men’s junior 8+ (Maple, A. Houn, J. Ullrey, E. Sawicki, J. Tarrants, R. Dickinson, K. Loux, M. Soloman, and coxswain J. Villarreal). Varsity men’s Coach Tim Vallier reflected, “These guys have worked extremely hard to attain the outcomes we have achieved this year, and they have continued to amaze me. As a coach, their will and heart to push further with every practice and regatta is always something to be proud of.” The women rowers showed their strength by earning first place in women’s varsity 8+ (K. Fraser, K. Bilardello, A. Andrews, A. Fedeson, K. Korson, A. Galloway, S. VanFossen, J. Levin, and coxswain R. DeKorne); women’s lightweight 8+ (E. Prus, T. Powers, S. Sawicki, M. Fix, M. Marvin, T. Todd, H. Twardy, S. Wasson, and coxswain Bri VanderBerg); women’s varsity 4+ (Bilardello, Korson, Fraser, Galloway, and coxswain DeKorne); women’s junior 8+ (Levin, A. Dew, E. Emerick, L. […]


November 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

It’s good to know!  by LAURA FEATHERSTON Trustee, Board of Education Rockford Public Schools As a local real estate agent, I am frequently asked for information about area school districts. I’m obviously a bit biased towards Rockford Public Schools (RPS), but I have to be as impartial as possible! I always direct people to the administrative offices and each district’s website for details. I think has great information and urge you to visit frequently. The following information is taken from a link I like, “Fingertip Facts.” I hope it helps you learn something new about our great district! •            The district encompasses 100 square miles with a population of approximately 42,000 people. •            Our facilities include: eight elementary schools, two middle schools, the Freshman Center, high school, River Valley Alternative High School, administration, community services, facilities and operations, special services/library services, and transportation. •            The student count for the 2010-11 school year was 7,937. •            First Class Facilities—a $45 million bond issue was approved by the community in May 2008. It funded upgrades to technology district-wide, renovated and built additions to 10 schools, and expanded/improved the district’s athletic and multi-purpose fields. •            The community of Rockford Public Schools has supported every bond issue since 1990. •            The transportation department has a fleet of 70 buses and transports approximately 5,610 students per day. •            The transportation department has received state and national recognition for student safety. •            Over $2 million in scholarships were awarded to the graduating class of 2011. •            Rockford Public Schools is the only school district in the state of Michigan with a mandatory competency test as a graduation requirement, which guarantees that our graduates possess the essential skills to succeed after high school. •            The food service program provides a nutritious lunch program to approximately 6,000 students daily and meets the highest state and federal guidelines. •            The administration continues to work toward reducing current and future operating costs through an aggressive energy conservation program. To date, savings through the end of March 2011 were $3,105,614 and 100 percent of our buildings have received the Energy Star Label Award.

School board leaders honored in January

December 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

January is School Board Recognition Month, and Rockford Public Schools is joining 552 local and 57 intermediate school districts across the state to thank these community volunteers for their untiring dedication to public education. “Michiganders benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 4,000 men and women across the state,” said Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. “These public servants are elected by our community to serve, and receive little recognition for the difficult job that they do. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students.” In a climate of change and challenge, school board members in Rockford develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and impact individual students. They bear responsibility an oversight for an annual budget of $72 million, approximately 8,000 students, 900 employees and 17 buildings. “We proudly join educators and community members in saluting these education advocates as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities. Their service ensures that decisions about local public schools are made by those most familiar with the needs of our community’s children and families,” said Shibler. “They preserve the core of our democracy—public education.” Board members will be formally recognized at the January 10 Board of Education meeting at the Rockford Administration Building. The men and women currently serving on the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education (with first year elected) are: David M. Keller, president (2006); Laura L. Featherston, vice president (2006); Miles J. Postema, secretary (2004); Carol A. Hillman, treasurer (2003); and trustees Timothy J. Lewis (2010), Tamara J. Schollaart (1998), and Randall C. Sellhorn (1995).

Education Blackboard — January 28, 2010

January 28, 2010 // 0 Comments

Ehinger named to Dean’s List at Albion Doug Ehinger has recently been named to the Dean’s List at Albion College for the fall semester of 2009. He is currently a junior majoring in history, minoring in physical education, and playing football for the Britons. Ehinger is a 2007 graduate of Rockford High School and is the son of Rick and Michelle Ehinger. His brother, Parker, is a Rockford High School student. School Beat Keep kids busy this winter with RPS activities by LAURA FEATHERSTON Rockford School Board Trustee During the winter, when it is cold and wet and darkness falls early, sometimes it is hard to keep the kids busy after school. Most of us don’t want our kids spending all their free time in front of the TV or computer. Rockford Public Schools have outstanding after-school activities available for kids of all ages and skills. It does not have to be a sport or something that your child dislikes—make it fun for them. This is the best way to get them involved in an after-school activity. Through Rockford Public Schools Community Services and the After The Bell Program, there are so many different classes, clubs and sports to choose from. Whether your child wants to take up archery or learn to speak French, it can be done with an after-school activity. The key to success for your child with a new after-school activity is that you need to make sure that you as a parent are involved, as well. Parents who do not keep up with what their children do in their after-school activities are more likely to have children who do not want to continue. Support your child when they decide to take up a new activity—perhaps even volunteer to supervise or co-coach. While it may not be something that you personally loved as a child, if it is something that your child has shown a genuine interest in, it will help them grow and learn. If your child is not the most social person in the world, or is not sure where to start, consider having them attend with a friend. Check out all the great activities in your Winter 2010 Rampage/Community Services newsletter or visit for more information. Have a […]