Unity Students Excel in Co-Curricular Activities

Congratulations to the Math Challenge Teams:  On Saturday, March 19, Unity sent a team of 9th and 10th graders to compete at GRCC in their annual Math Challenge against 12 other teams from area schools.  The team finished 2nd in their division and 2nd overall.  The team was made up of sophomores Caleb Velzen and Abigail Katt along with freshmen Jamin Gordon, Sarah Huizinga, David Kremer, and Andrew DeBruin.  This team of six worked together through four different events:  Team Theme (the teams work together on a series of related problems), Pony Express (the team is under 20-minute time pressure to solve six challenging problems), the Written Quest (each team takes a 35-multiple choice test with the top four scores counting), and the Relay Rounds (each team member sitting in a row works on separate problems under a 5-minute timer, but an answer is needed from the team member in front of him or her to solve his or her problem).


Congratulations to the Science Olympiad Team which participated in the regional competition at Grand Valley State University on Saturday, March 19. Unity’s team competed against 24 other schools from around the area.  This year there were 23 events ranging from chemistry lab; astronomy; disease detectives; forensics; and write it, do it; to some new events such as hydro-geology, electric vehicle, game on, and invasive species.  It was a great day and the students performed well.

The team members this year are:

Freshmen:    Jacob Broene, Brendon Hoekstra, Ashton Senti, Eli VanDyke, Nathan VanderMeer

Juniors:        Josh Bussis, Max Chen, Benjamin Herrud, Jessie Peng, Jack Ten Harmsel, William VanZytveld, Esther Yang

Seniors:        Casey Boelema, Noah Bollo, Aaron DeBoer, Justin Hoekstra, Chad Lokker, Caitlyn Sall, Sally Zhai

Coaches:      Jen Koning, Brian Mast, Steve Pohler, Paul Eggerding, Jeff VanDyke

This year’s medal winners are: Noah Bollo and Chad Lokker – 6th place – “Electric Vehicle”

Congratulations to all the team members for this great year!


Congratulations to Unity’s Michigan Youth In Government participants. YMCA’s Michigan Youth in Government held their annual state convention in Lansing March 9-12.  This was Unity’s 21st year in the program and four Unity students participated along with approximately 600 others from around the state.

Seniors Avery Schrier and Eric Smith and Juniors Donald Cook and Nathan Roon attended along with Mr. Johnson.  Avery was involved in the written press, Eric served as a lobbyist, and Donald and Nathan were legislators in the House and Senate.  The students prepared for the weekend by researching and writing their own bills.  While in Lansing, they debated not only their own ideas, but also many others.  They met at the Capital, using the House and Senate chambers.

“Even though I only attended MYIG this year, I had a great time learning about the process of legislation in Michigan,” said senior student Eric Smith.  “I met many different people and had the opportunity to share with them my beliefs and ideas.  MYIG was a great experience and I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to attend.”

On Wednesday afternoon, before the meetings started, the Unity delegation had a brief tour of the Capital and met with Rep. Roger Victory and his staff.

Various legislators, including Lt. Governor Brian Calley, addressed the MYIG General Assembly on Thursday morning telling them to use the knowledge gained to help move Michigan forward in the next generation.  Thursday afternoon’s session at the Capital was an example of democracy in action, including loud protesters making their feelings known about the Flint water crisis.

The weekend closed with a banquet on Saturday night, finding out who the Youth Governor would be next year, and which bills had been passed.  Unity’s delegates enjoyed learning about the state government in a hands-on way and were able to stand up for their beliefs.


Congratulations to the Unity Bands for outstanding performances at the District Band Festival. Both the Symphonic and Concert Bands received “First Division” ratings (the highest rating given) at their recent performances.

The Symphonic Band will participate in State Band Festival.  Dates and times have not been set yet but will likely be on Wednesday, April 20, or Thursday, April 21, at Otsego High School.

Congratulations to Brooke VanWyk (flute), Jacob Feenstra (trombone), and Tim VanDyke (bass clarinet) for excellent individual performances at the State Solo & Ensemble on Saturday, March 19.

Advance Notice:  Mark your calendars for the Tulip Parades and our Spring Concert in May.

Both bands will march in the Volksparade on Wednesday, May 11, and the Muziekparade on Saturday, May 14.  Both parades begin at 2:00 p.m.

The Spring Concert for both bands will be held at Fair Haven Ministries on Monday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m.


Congratulations to the Chamber Strings and Concert Orchestras: Congratulations to the many students who participated in the State Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, March 19.  These students received a first division rating at District Festival in early February, and then went on to participate in the State level.  Every student received a first or second division rating.

Congratulations to:  Lizzie Bolton (violin), Ashley Freerksen (violin), Charissa Hasper (violin), Allie Leerar (violin), Cassie Niemeyer (cello), Nolan Snoeyink (violin and cello), Katie Tubergan (viola), and Grace VanderHart (violin).

Also, a special congratulations goes to Ashley Freerksen (violin), Allie Leerar (violin), and Charissa Hasper (violin) for making the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and Qualifying to play with the State Honors Orchestra.  Ashley and Allie will be going to Western Michigan University the weekend of May 12-14 to play with other qualifiers throughout the state in the honors orchestra.  This is one of the biggest honors in the state of Michigan!  Congratulations!

The Chamber Strings will be performing on Sunday, April 24, 2016 (7:30 p.m.) at St. Cecilia Music Society in downtown Grand Rapids.  They will be performing their senior solo night, taking time to honor seniors in the talents the Lord has given them.

The Spring Concert for the Orchestras will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at Fair Haven Ministries.  This is a night that will showcase the groups and the year they have had, as well as recognize the seniors.

Uniforms will need to be handed in after the Spring Concert.


Congratulations to our ChoirsTreble Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, and numerous small ensembles and soloists will be competing at State Solo and Ensemble Saturday, April 16, at Portage Central High School. Performance times vary so please check with your student to make sure they arrive early.  To prepare for State, we will have a recital night on Tuesday, April 12, at Hudsonville CRC at 7:00 p.m.  Please bring a dessert to pass.  Congratulations to Jason Entingh, Charissa Hasper, David Jansen, and Michael Piechocki who will be representing Unity in the All-State Honor’s Choir at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival in May.

Date Change:  The Spring Choir Concert will be held on Thursday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Fair Haven Ministries.