Celebrating Seniors: Zeeland East, Zeeland West


ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Zeeland is known for a unique rivalry between the Chix and Dux, East versus West, all on the same campus.

Students from both schools have come together during the even more unique time they find themselves in today.

“I think it’s cool to see like how everyone has come together as a community and how every event is more special now. I think that it would be cool that after all of this is done, we can still do like that type of thing,” Cortland, a graduating senior, explained. 

Leaders from both schools have found ways to honor the graduates with yard signs and social media videos as they prepare for commencement.

Zeeland East is planning for a graduation ceremony on July 30, even if the circumstances dictate it must be a drive-through operation.

The seniors at Zeeland East will have a chance to celebrate before then with a senior send-off day. While remaining in their cars, the graduates and their parents will ride through a route on the front parking lots of ZEHS in which they will visit different stations for a final Chix experience. The senior parent group will give a gift to every student at that time.

Students from East and West joined News 8 for a virtual discussion on their senior year, and how differently it turned out compared to their expectations. They all agreed that not seeing their friends has been one of the bigger difficulties.

“Not being able to see anybody, and to go from seeing hundreds of people a day, to just seeing my family is kind of weird,” Abby said.

Athletes in the group, like McKenna and Liz, lamented missing their sports seasons and not being able to mentor the younger players ahead of their own senior years.

Maddie is planning to attend community college to study radiology and is glad she won’t be going far from home at first.

“I’d be a little more scared to move far away or get my hopes up to move and then have it be a bummer if I had to miss out on the first year of college,” she said.

Jonah will also stay close to home, attending Grand Valley State University. 

Katie Joles and Catherine Laporte are the valedictorians for Zeeland East and Zeeland West high schools, respectively. They shared a video message for their classmates, which included the following:

“While there are a lot of negatives we could focus on right now, we can also choose to have a more positive attitude. This isn’t forever. Eventually, we’ll be able to hang out in groups of more than six people or leave our houses to do something besides getting groceries. These three months won’t define our lives if we don’t let them. Whether it be traveling the world, starting a business, or yes, just hanging out with friends. We’ll get through this, class of 2020.”

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