Thornapple Kellogg class builds relationships across grades

Football Frenzy

MIDDLEVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Some would call it a unique class or a modern-day twist on what used to be known as homeroom.

“It’s just kind of a break from your school and your week and you make a lot of relationships in here that are different than what you do in the average day,” Julia Curtis, a senior at Thornapple Kellogg High School, said.

It’s Curtis’ fourth year in the class called Strong Time. In fact, all Thornapple Kellogg students have the class, held once a week for 20 minutes.

“The first day we came in here, we brainstormed some fun things for all of us to be able to interact with each other because we are all from different grades. We do things outside (and) we do things in here, so we all get to know each other,” Curtis said.

Strong Time classes include kids from all grade levels and groups stay together for their entire high school careers. When seniors graduate, incoming freshmen take their place.

“I like hanging out with different grades, underclassmen and having the chance to hang out with people that are (from an) outside clique or group, so I can interact with different people and become friends with different people,” Hunter DeHaan, a senior, said.

Students in their Strong Time Class at Thornapple Kellogg High School. (Oct. 10, 2019)

Each teacher gets to decide how they will run their Strong Time. U.S. and world history teacher Danny Thompson lets his students call the shots.

“We’re kind of getting out and doing competitive things with our classes. So, it’s kind of like family versus family. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to do some Family Feud going on in different classrooms, some Jeopardy. Things to get people get out of their comfort zone. We’re seeing them cheering on each other. It’s just really good stuff,” Thompson said.

Students in their Strong Time class at Thornapple Kellogg High School. (Oct. 10, 2019)

Some from outside the school may look at it as time wasted, but Thompson argues otherwise.

“When it boils down to it, no matter what job you’re going to get (and) no matter what field you’re going to get, you need to be able to talk to people, help people and that is what this class is doing,” Thompson said.

Thompson added he has seen his students both grow as friends and mentors during their time in his class.

Students who News 8 spoke with endorsed Strong Time and encouraged other districts to add classes like it.

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