Words from Cy Moore

I have only been such a small part of the Noorthoek story. The first and most important are the students and the effect "lifelong learning" has had on their lives. There are so many people that deserve recognition from the involvement of the parents, teachers, administrators, donors and the many other volunteers that started  and continued to support the Noorthoek experience. One of the most important ingredients was, and is, the belief and support of Grand Rapids Community College.

Being a part of the Noorthoek family was one of the most important accomplishments of my life and that I was to be able to aid in the formation, continuation, and stability of Noorthoek Academy by serving on its board as President, Treasurer and Endowment Chair.

I will never forget our students and their sheer joy in being able to attend college and exuberance in everything they do at Noorthoek from attending class, to the "Celebration," to fundraising for the "Walk."

In the early years of Noorthoek, at one of our first "Celebrations," one of our major donors told me that Noorthoek was the best donation he had ever made. He said "this is the first time I got a hug from an individual that benefited from the money I donated." "Just let your donors see the students and what their money is doing and get one of those hugs!"

It was indeed my privilege and honor to have served on the Noorthoek board to make a difference in our students' lives, that is my reward.

I am a lifelong supporter of Noorthoek.


Words from Lu Chappell

Noorthoek Academy is an organization that is near and dear to my heart. Reflecting on my time with Noorthoek, I must say it was an honor and a privilege to have served as a member of the Noorthoek Academy Board of Trustees for twenty plus years. My own involvement became more personal when my precious step-son Fred was given an opportunity to attend classes on a trial basis to discover if it was a good fit for him. It was!!! Thankfully both Education Directors during his tenure as a student were able to adapt the lessons toward his learning style. He was successful in the program and felt great pride in his success. Fred made many friends at Noorthoek and learned about his world and the world at large. Fred was a happy Noorthoek student for ten years and our entire family cherishes the beautiful poetry he was able to write about his dad. These poems were published in the yearly poetry book which are now neatly arranged on his bookshelf in his room. Fred knows each page in each book where his poems are printed. If asked, he will gladly show you.

Noorthoek is still in my heart and I am grateful that as a member of the Friend’s Committee I can still lend my support and time to this amazing organization. This group of wonderful individuals is the fundraising arm of Noorthoek Academy, and it plans and implements both "The Big Step Walk" and the end of the school year “Celebration." Both of these events give me an opportunity for some one-on-one time with the students and their family and friends. These two events are full of joy and excitement. It is great fun for the students and the other attendees, including me.

I am grateful for my time as a Board member and look forward to supporting Noorthoek Academy as a “Friend" or in whatever other way I can.


Tayton Scott wrote this about the Anatomy class taught by Leigh Kleinert

Forensic anatomy is interesting to me because I can learn about how to find data and solve crime in real life. I went to my first Anatomy lab at Noorthoek Academy on October 6, 2023. In the lab we did some DNA testing on who exploded the lab room that was filled with bubbles. First we waited to let the gel form. Then we filled the pipettes with the DNA and put it in the gel and we waited patiently. After that, we put the liquid into this electromagnetic current machine for another fifteen minutes to see the DNA and try to solve the clues for who did the crime. The class doesn’t know yet who did it, but we will find out at our next lab in November. I am looking forward to finding out!
Mark Wright has this to share on the Creative Writing class taught by Sandy Barraza.
The Creative Writing class is helping me to improve my skills as a storyteller.  I have fun in class learning all the different types of words and phrases that are used in writing.  We have been studying lots of stuff I had never even thought about. It is fun being part of a class that focuses on creativity. The most current topic has been metaphors. I never realized the value of metaphors until this class. The best thing about this class is that we all work together in one big group. I have always loved working with other people and talking out ideas.

Creative Writing is an awesome class where you get to have fun while learning and interacting with people who are really into writing.  This class is such a great experience that it makes me excited for future classes at Noorthoek.


Florica Koning has this to say about our Arts and Science class about China taught by Kait.I'm learning about Chinese religion, arts, geography, wildlife and beautiful places and landmarks like the Forgotten City and the Great Wall of China! I am learning about Emperors, leaders, and dictators. Mao Zedong was one of the dictators, who made people read his little red book of sayings and made them take them with them wherever they were.

I think of who built the Great Wall and all the rooms and buildings in the Forgotten City and how much work they put into building these fascinating landmarks!  How long it must have taken to build these places!
I have learned about religion in China and about Confucianism, Taoism, and all their beliefs, sayings, and other religious practices and beliefs as well. I Learned Tai Chi, which is a very calming exercise many people in China do to calm down and for their health. I did a Tai  Chi exercise in class with Miss Katelyn and all my classmates and it was so fun! I loved watching the video up on the screen and doing the movements.
Right now I am learning about Chinese New Year and about the Chinese Zodiac! This class is so much fun! At the beginning of this class, I wrote a report about the Lady of Dai who was one of the world's most well preserved Chinese Mummies!

Trevor Leshuk has this to share from the SOMI Fit class (a partnership with Americorps and Special Olympics of West Michigan).

Somi Fit  is a class based on learning about making good choices to improve your health and maintain a good diet. This class provides different ways for daily exercise.  If you’re at a higher level physically, then you can do more advanced exercise.  This class is about overcoming challenges and making better habits for food choices. There is something for everyone.

Fitness is very important for all of us. Why? It helps with better focus on our mental health and then we feel better about ourselves. Fitness also helps us with strength to improve body muscle building. Fitness helps to relieve stress and anger. Staying hydrated, drinking lots of water every day, helps our skin and mental focus.

In Somi Fit class we learn not only about physical fitness but also about nutrition, and we discuss portion control. We learn that fitness isn’t just about our body, it's also important to have friends, healthy relationships, and supportive peers. In this class this helps to teach me new ways to make myself feel better and more confident to do anything!