September 30 2010

No separation between school, community

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

by Adam Burkholder Assistant Principal, North Rockford Middle School  “Rockford!” What is your initial thought when you hear this? Is it schools? Is it community? Is it both? From my perspective, the two entities are synonymous—when you refer to one you are speaking of the other as well. Upon graduation from college and being hired here in Rockford, the popular question from former college teammates was “How can you move back and teach in the district you grew up in?” My initial answer to that question was to encourage those friends to come see for themselves, and many of them have. Now that most of us have children, the answer has taken on a more deeply rooted answer. The blending of school and community is a powerful instrument in the success of our students, our schools, and the community of Rockford as a whole, and I am honored to be part of this community. City and school leaders are continuously looking for ways to grow together. Our students will have yet one more opportunity to become involved for the betterment of both school and community. The well-established Lions Club approached me last year about getting a junior Lions Club (Leo Club) going in the middle schools. Last year the concept began at East Rockford Middle School and will be carried over to the remaining secondary buildings this school year. The Leo Club will be comprised of students who want to give back to both their school and community. The only prerequisite is that you are a student in grades 7-12 here in Rockford. In organizing my thoughts prior to speaking to our seventh- and eighth-graders from last year, I wondered how important community involvement was from a post-secondary perspective. On nearly every college application I reviewed (both in state and out of state), one of the first questions was: What community organizations have you been involved in? Now, the idea of starting a Leo Club in the secondary schools was not simply for the purpose of providing substance students can apply to a college application, but rather I feel it emphasizes the fact that getting involved in communities is a positive and powerful device for both individuals and groups as a whole. There is no distinct […]

Rams take two water polo conference games

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford boys water polo team hosted two conference foes last week, defeating each with an impressive display of team balance and depth. At the midway point of the season, the Rams’ record stands at 19-5 overall; 3-0 in the conference. Grandville came to town Monday, Sept. 20, hoping to defeat the Rams in conference play for the second straight year. The Bulldogs won a close game against Rockford last year, causing the two teams to split the conference crown. Rockford was ready for the Bulldogs this year, jumping to a 6-0 first-quarter lead, thanks to crisp ball movement and precise shooting. The Rams then battled Grandville goal-for-goal, cruising to 16-9 victory. Eight different Rockford players scored goals, led by senior Jeff Schmitt with four. Wednesday night, Sept. 22, brought the West Ottawa Panthers to the Rockford pool. Again Rockford sped to an early lead and never looked back, finishing with an 18-8 victory. Ten different Rams scored goals; sophomore Nick Willison was the leader with three. Aggressive defense captured 29 steals, including five by junior Alex Savage. In these two games, the Rams displayed an unselfish team-oriented approach to the game. Of the 34 goals scored, 25 were the result of assists. “We are a much better team than we were just two weeks ago,” observed Coach Dave McWatters. “There are many more challenges to go, but the pieces are coming together. Our individual athletes are figuring out how to lift one another’s quality of play. In other words, we are figuring out the elusive art of great team play.” “We get along well together as a team,” said Jared Martella, one of the team’s senior leaders. “There are no divisions between the different grade levels. We play well together no matter who’s in the pool, and we work to keep a positive attitude in the locker room.” Over the weekend, Rockford finished third at Zeeland’s Bird House Bash Invitational. Stout defense and balanced scoring produced big wins against Hudsonville (11-0), West Ottawa (13-0), and Zeeland (14-3). But Saturday morning the Rams lost a 6-5 overtime match to Birmingham Groves, the number four team in the state. Throughout the week, opposing teams had to contend with Rockford’s deep and talented bench. “Some teams depend […]

Byron Center named grand champion at RHS’s annual marching invitational

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford High School (RHS) marching band hosted its 28th Annual Rockford Marching Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 18. “It was wonderful to have so many talented groups join us this year,” said RHS Band Director Brian Phillips. “It’s unusual to see this kind of participation so early in the season, not to mention how well-prepared they are already!” The event, a Scholastic Marching Band competition, featured 21 Class C, B and A schools. Each band was judged on music performance, music effect, marching performance and visual effect, providing valuable feedback for the organizations. Awards are presented based on the top score in all these areas. Additional caption awards are also presented for music, marching, percussion and auxiliary performances. Rockford’s marching band performed in exhibition during the invitation and was also judged, although was not eligible to receive awards due to its role as host. In Class C competition, Newaygo took top honors for both captions and overall performance. Godwin Heights repeated these honors for Class B competition. For Class A competition, Northview won the auxiliary caption, Otsego the percussion caption, and top honors went to Byron Center for music, marching and overall performance. Byron Center also was named the 2010 grand champion. In addition to showcasing talented performances, the invitational also serves as a major fundraiser for RHS bands. Rockford is scheduled to compete in invitationals at Otsego on September 25, Plymouth-Canton on October 2, Jenison on October 23, and RHS is hosting the Reeths-Puffer competition at the Ted on October 30. The marching season culminates with a final competition through the Michigan Competing Band Association (MCBA) state championship, which takes place at Detroit’s Ford Field on November 6. In order to qualify for state finals, bands must compete in at least two MCBA-sanctioned contests and place among the 11 highest scoring bands in its flight. Rockford has made the state finals every year since joining the MCBA. For more information on Rockford bands visit

Rockford spikers down Muskegon

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Rams volleyball team moved to 3-0 in OK Red action with a win over Muskegon last Thursday night, Sept. 23, at Muskegon High School. The Rams won the match in three straight games: 25-8, 25-7 and 25-9. The win improved the Rams’ overall record to 28-5. On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Rams traveled to Portage Central High School to compete in a tournament featuring the top-ranked volleyball programs in the state in both Class A and B. Rockford finished pool play with wins over Delton-Kellogg and Plainwell. In power pool play, Rockford lost to number-one-ranked Marian three games, in a best-of-three match, and then made a stand with a convincing win over number-four-ranked Portage Central in two straight wins. The Rams—seeded number two overall in tournament bracket play—then lost in the quarterfinals to conference opponent East Kentwood in two straight sets. The Rams look to avenge their loss to East Kentwood this Thursday night, Sept. 30, when the Falcons visit Rockford in an OK Red conference showdown. This match will feature two undefeated teams in conference play and promises to be an exciting contest. If you enjoy exciting volleyball played at a high level, come cheer on the Rams Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at Rockford High School.

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