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Rocket Alum Lands Prestigious Award


American Tree Farm System Honors Brittany VanderWall with 2019 National Leadership Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2019) The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) is pleased to recognize Brittany VanderWall of Michigan with the 2019 National Leadership Award. The award recognizes the efforts of extraordinary volunteers for their leadership in motivating other volunteers, educating landowners and accomplishing his or her state committee’s forest conservation goals.

“Brittany has an incredible energy and enthusiasm for ATFS that is contagious. Not only has she inspired many other young forestry professionals to get involved in ATFS in Michigan, but also across the nation,” said Tom Martin, the president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation, the organization that oversees ATFS. “We are at a time where we are seeing a changing of the guard in forestry – both with land ownership, as well as with the leaders and volunteers in ATFS. Brittany is at the vanguard of the next generation of resource professionals leading ATFS and helping to reach more family forest owners, and helping them increase their impact on wood, wildlife and clean water.”

ATFS is an internationally-known recognition and certification program that provides family and private forest owners with support and tools to keep their forests healthy and sustainable. It is administered nationally, and run at the state level by volunteer committees. VanderWall has been involved with Michigan ATFS since 2015 and has served as state Tree Farm Chair since 2016.

Brittany VanderWall

Upon becoming chair of the Michigan Tree Farm Program, VanderWall led an effort to change how the committee conducts business, moving it to a task and training-based structure and providing clearly defined roles for volunteers. This effort has inspired more foresters, who now feel their time is more valued, to get involved in the committee. This, along with renewing an incentives system and streamlining other protocols has ultimately allowed the Michigan Tree Farm Program to service landowners more effectively.

In addition to her volunteer commitments to the Michigan Tree Farm Program, Brittany is the District Forester for the Presque Isle Conservation District, working full time assisting family forest landowners in northern Michigan.  Her role includes educating landowners about forest ecology, proper timber harvesting practices and programs to participate in that suit the landowner’s needs, such as ATFS.  In her four years at the Conservation District, she has participated in or hosted more than 60 workshops, educational field days and seminars.

VanderWall was presented the award by U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen on February 26 at the 2019 ATFS National Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.


Contact: Elizabeth Greener; (202)-253-1096; egreener@forestfoundation.org

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The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 73,000 family forest owners sustainable managing 19 million acres of forestland. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program, of the American Forest Foundation.


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R-PHS Choir Rates High With Judges

The Reeths-Puffer High School Choirs performed at the Michigan School Vocal Music Association’s District Choral Festival in Grand Haven on Thursday, March 14th.  All RPHS Choirs received Division 1, Excellent Ratings for their performances and sight-singing.

Our select women’s choir, Vocal Fusion, was the first choir to sing at the competition.  Our host school’s teacher, Juli Dick, remarked, “Your ladies just set the bar high for the day!”  The RPHS Combined Women’s Choir (which includes Rocket Ladies Choir, MadriGALS, and Vocal Fusion), wowed the judges as well.  Gregory Cleveland, one of the judges, wrote, “I loved working with this choir!  Pure joy!”  He even took time to take a quick photo of the group, stating that he just wanted to share this moment with his daughter who used to sing in his combined women’s choir.  The RPHS Combined Women’s Choir went on to sight-sing perfectly for a 30 out of 30 score.

Our Rocket Men’s Choir and Mad Men performed “Inscription for Hope”  and “O Sole Mio” with freshman soloist Caleb Sobolewski.  The judges were impressed with the choirs beautiful tone, intonation, and outstanding diction.  While the men worked on their sight-singing, a storm raged outside the building making hearing difficult.  Instead of letting the added noise distract them, the choir stepped up their volume and earned a perfect score of 30 out of 30.

RP Madrigals premiered Eric Hester’s song “Before”.  Eric Hester is a Reeths-Puffer and Madrigal Alumnus.  The song was composed in the anticipation of his firstborn child.  Their performance of “Before” and “The Word” left two of the judges teary-eyed.  Judge Monty Bishop, and 2018 MSVMA Teacher of the Year, even followed Madrigals into the sight-singing room, to convey how moved he was by Madrigal’s performance.  The next day, Eric Hester congratulated Madrigals on a successful performance via cell phone, as he had seen the video of “Before” posted on Facebook.  RP Madrigals achieved perfect performance scores from all three judges, and they were invited to apply for a performance time at the Michigan Music Conference next year.
Over all, it was a great day for the RPHS Choirs, congratulations!
A few selections to listen to are presented below.
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R-P Educator Named Innovator of the Year

R-P Speech Pathologist and Co-Founder of Camp Shout Out, Ms. Julie Raynor, was awarded the 2019 Lakeshore Innovator of the Year award last week at a reception held at the Grand Valley State University Innovation Hub in downtown Muskegon.

Ms. Raynor became interested in young people who stutter when her young daughter woke up from a nap with a sudden and severe stutter.  Since that time (2007), Ms. Raynor has participated in numerous workshops and conferences dealing specifically with fluency.

Ms. Raynor’s own positive experience with summer camps in her youth helped give rise to Camp Shout Out.  Camp Shout Out is about:

  • Swimming, boating, ropes course, crafts, horseback riding, campfires and more.
  • Personalized communication goals targeted within small and large group interactions
  • Parent education, participation (first & last days of camp)
  • Experts in action!  Board certified speech pathologists & graduate students support

To learn more about Camp Shout Out, click here

With more than twenty potential winners, the five finalists were honored with a reception held at the Grand Valley Innovation Hub to be recognized for their innovations.  The reception program brochure is pictured below.

Ms. Raynor’s acceptance speech can be viewed below.  She’s an exceptional person!


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Grad Night Registration Deadline: March 28th

Seniors!  Yes, the members of the class of 2019!  Time is running out to get registered for Grad Night 2019!  The Grad Night party takes place on the campus of GVSU and it’s a night of fun that you will long remember.

Registration forms are available in the Student Services and completed forms can be turned into the same place, Student Services.

Home of 2019 Graduate Yard Signs are now available!  They are $20.00 each.  Signs will be on sale during conferences, March 26th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the high school.

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Hey Seniors….Get Hired!

Seniors: GET HIRED at the Muskegon Made Job Fair!

Need a job? Sign up to attend this year’s Muskegon Made Job Fair on Tuesday, April 30 from 9AM to 1PM at the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center!

You will meet and connect with local employers ready to hire with positions that need to be filled! Space is limited, so sign up today to reserve your spot by March 29, 2019! This event is for Muskegon County high school seniors only.

Want to learn more? Visit www.muskegonmade.org to explore our program, catch a glimpse of the job fair in action, and learn more about the employers who will be at the Career Tech Center on April 30.

How to Attend

Cost to attend: FREE! Sign up online at www.muskegonmade.org to reserve your spot by March 29, 2019.

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Showcase 2019: R-PHS Will Represent!

Showcase is an annual fine arts competition among schools in west Michigan.  The competition traces its roots back to 1981. Reeths-Puffer has had a strong connection to the show since its inception as we have participated with talented acts and have provided the stage crew each and every year.  This April, we will send 16 of our very best students to compete in the two day event at the historic Frauenthal Theatre and another 8 to serve backstage. Reeths-Puffer will perform on Wednesday, April 10 or Thursday, April 11.    The awards are given out at the end of Thursday’s show. The awards in the four performing categories are 3rd place – $300, 2nd place – $500 and 1st place – $1000.  These are cash awards, not scholarships.  There is also an overall “Showstopper” award given out which carries a $1000 prize as well.  

In academics, our honoree is valedictorian Dekota Kilcrease.   He will be honored for academic achievement in the program. He  will also have his senior picture displayed on our academic wall of honor at the high school.

In athletics, Karina VanDuinen and Carter Fulton are the female and male honorees. Both were unanimously chosen by their coaches as the most outstanding athletes in our student body.  Each will have their picture displayed during the show and their athletic accomplishments listed in the program.

Athletics and Academic honorees do not compete, but are included in the program with a narrative of their accomplishments.  

Our visual artist is Cody Neinas. He was selected by the art department.  His piece is called “Aged Emotion” and is a pencil and charcoal drawing. The piece will  be submitted March 29th to the Betty Clark-Canon gallery where it will be displayed for the month of April.  His work is presented (photo of his actual work) below:

Our literary artist is Sarah Huiber. She was chosen by the English department for her poetry.  Her 3 poems titled The Monster You Make of Me, Boxed Inside Myself and To Faith.  They will be reprinted in the Showcase program for all to enjoy.  If you would like to read her work, click on this link.

Our solo / duo performer is Madison Navoni.   She will perform “On My Own” from Les Miserables. Her  vast talent will be featured in this extremely difficult solo from one of the most famous musicals of all time.   

Our group performance is made up of Cassidy Briggs, Jake Westerhof, Ray Brock, Madison Navoni, Anna Compton, Maddy Wentworth, Jonathan Krause, Jaxon Carpenter, Laura Nolan, Brenan Norman and  Gabby Peabody. They will perform the powerful ballad “Don’t Stop me Now” by Queen.

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College Match

R-PHS students will soon engage in the M-Step, Michigan’s chosen assessment plan for all juniors attending public schools across our great state.  The chart below gives the reader an idea of the typical SAT scores of freshmen class of the colleges and universities included in the chart.  It gives perspective and comparisons to recognizable schools in our state.

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ECMC & The Muskegon Promise

On Feb 20th about 30 R-P Sophomore parents learned about Early College Opportunities and The Muskegon Promise Scholarship.  For more information and application please visit:

Or contact your son/daughters counselor…deadlines are approaching
Mr. Schlaff A-G 744-1647 # 3710 schlaffp@reeths-puffer.org
Mrs Olson H-O 744-1647 #3706 olsonp@reeths-puffer.org
Mr Smith P-Z 744-1647 #3707 smithm@reeths-puffer.org