The following essay was written by a seventh-grade student at Rockford Christian School, and submitted an essay for her language arts assignment. Her teacher, in turn, submitted it for a contest where it was accepted for a future publication. We hope readers will enjoy the work as much as we did here at The Squire. by ANNE VANDERWELL The occasional chatter of a squirrel joins the normal chaos of our small downtown. Pretty much everyone knows each other so people always stop to talk. Kids mill around while parents mingle together. Bands come to play their music. Birds’ cheerful melodies fill the incomplete silence. Puppies yelp playfully and chase after chipmunks that dive into their holes or dens. If you’re lucky you’ll see a bride and groom smiling for a picture, soon to be whisked away on the perfect honeymoon. There are tons of cute small stores with funky names such as Rudy Kazoodys, Pins, Stripes and Polka dots, and Gumballs and Overalls. One candy store we stopped by was daring shoppers to try a fried bug; if they did, they got to pick a free toffee from the store. Every Saturday in the summer is the farmers market where stores hand out free samples and sell their products. Fresh fruit and vegetables find their way into your stomach and fridge. Rusted signs line the side of the river along the edge of downtown. They say, “Don’t feed Waterfowl” that no one has bothered to obey in ages. Once you are on the bridge you can not hear yourself think. The raging beast of the waterfall is roaring enthusiastically, engulfing anything smaller than a log into the endless flow of water. The edge of rocks peaking above the water can not be seen due to painted turtles sunning themselves. Maybe you will see a snapping turtle the size of your face! In the spring, larger fish can be seen attempting, yet failing, to jump up and over the dam. Miniature festivals pop up regularly.
Rockford Christian School
Katie Underwood’s first-grade students learned firsthand about people in their community as they toured Rockford in search of gingerbread men they had made earlier in the day but had come up missing. The youngsters had read Jan Brett’s book “Gingerbread Baby” as part of their curriculum to learn about community workers. The children visited locations downtown to meet the people who work there. They visited the library, City Hall, Ward’s Hair Care and other locations, each time receiving a clue to the next stop. The final clue brought them to Arnie’s, where they were able to decorate their gingerbread men and eat them.
Students at Rockford Christian School learned that hunger isn’t a problem only in far away places. Working with Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids, the students raised in donations and food, a total value of $1,650, an amount which will feed eleven students after-school meals for a year. On Wednesday, May 19, the students released 11 butterflies representing the 11 children released from hunger. Kids Food Basket was founded by a teacher in Grand Rapids who saw kindergarten students picking through a dumpster after school. She asked them what they were doing and they said there was no food at their home. Third grade teacher Becky Werden said, “The children learned that kids can be hungry right in our own neighborhoods and community. We are always more blessed by doing projects like this.”
For the fourth month in a row, students from Rockford Christian School (RCS) brought excitement and energy to the Mobile Food Pantry held on April 28 at the Rockford American Legion Post. Led by science teacher David Buth, 25 students assisted with the distribution of 5,006 pounds of food to 117 families. Whether removing food from the truck, working the tables or pushing a shopping cart, the students cheerfully went about their work. More than anything else, they brought smiles to everyone’s face. The membership of the Merritt Lamb American Legion Post is grateful for the help and encouragement so graciously given by the students of RCS.
Twenty-six Rockford Christian School (RCS) junior high students recently participated in the Feeding America event sponsored by the Merritt Lamb American Legion Post 102 in Rockford. Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Their mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage the country in the fight to end hunger. Each year, the Feeding America network provides food to more than 37 million low-income people facing hunger in the United States, including more than14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. Feeding America has a network of more than 200 food banks to serve all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, securing and distributing more than 2.5 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually. Those member food banks support approximately 63,000 local charitable agencies and 70,000 programs, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need. The teens arrived at the Post and were given a briefing on how to process the food and assist the visitors. When the Feeding America delivery arrived, the students unloaded 5,000 pounds of food from the truck. While the students worked hard unloading the food, approximately 100 families waited patiently and registered for the event. Each family received about 50 pounds of food. The American Legion volunteers gently guided the RCS students and provided a smooth-functioning system for distribution. The students enjoyed meeting the people and talking with them on various topics. Once all the food was distributed, the students helped the Post members tear down and clean up the facility. Many students were grateful for the opportunity to serve and conveyed how meaningful the day was for them personally. The students involved in the Feeding America event were Julia Blanker, Drew Bouwkamp, Audrey Conrad, Lindsey Frontjes, Tristan Fuller, Andrew Holesinger, Kaitlynn Kimmel, Bailey Kolenda, Jake Melton, Nkatha Mwenda, Nathaniel Overmeyer, Beau Redfield, Austin Rumsey, Andrew Schumacher, Hannah Stimac, Zach Terpstra, and Laura Vanderhorst.