Honorary Award for Service to Grand Haven Area Public Schools
As an educator for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Ken Larson touched countless lives. His teaching career in Grand Haven spanned from 1967 to his retirement in 2000, and the impact he left will enhance generations to come.
Larson taught seventh and eighth-grade General Science, ninth-grade Conservation/Environmental Education, eighth-grade Outdoor Education, New
Directions for At Risk Children and Remedial Science for those with special needs. His list of accomplishments includes being an initial member of the Middle School teaching team that brought Middle School education concepts to Grand Haven. He established age-appropriate Junior High enrichment classes to replace study halls in the 1970s, and established the GHAPS Science Olympiad program at the Junior High. He designed and developed an Adventure Center that incorporated team-building activities and indoor challenges that included the first rock climbing wall in a West Michigan School, and established a real time remote TV-8 weather collection station at the Junior High.
Among his lasting legacies is his establishment of the Outdoor Recreation Program, an enrichment program that evolved into the Outdoor Education Program, and a Junior High Nature Center and Arboretum. The recipient of many awards and honors, Ken received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State University. He and his wife live in Grand Haven.
Honorary Award for Service to Grand Haven Area Public Schools
Dale Brinks taught Honors ninth-grade English, Advanced American Literature, Advanced Journalism, Advanced Composition, Language and Yearbook during his 1964 to 2000 tenure at Grand Haven High School.He also became the Bucs’ Blade school newspaper advisor in 1977. Under his leadership, the paper received the National Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award and the Columbia Scholastic Press Silver Crown Award. Bucs’ Blade was also inducted in the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association Hall of Fame and the National Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was given the Grand Haven Area Public Schools Excellence in Service Award.
Brinks holds degrees from Hope College, Western Michigan University and earned graduate credits from Wayne State University. He and his wife live in Grand Haven.
Honorary Award for Service to Grand Haven Area Public Schools
For 32 years, from 1964-96, Carroll Bennink taught in Grand Haven schools, primarily as an eighth-grade Social Studies instructor. He also taught seventh-grade Social Studies and eighth-grade English.
Also well known as a coach, he served as the ninth-grade football Assistant Coach, then as Head Coach, for a total of 22 years. In addition, he coached boys’ and girls’ Junior High track for 13 years and varsity girls’ track for 19. He also led girls varsity cross country for one year.
Under Carroll’s leadership, the varsity girls’ track team won the regionals twice and once placed fifth at the State level. Six of his athletes received All State honors, and one qualified for the Olympic Training Camp. His teams won many awards and honors at invitational and conference meets, and members of his teams were those who set most of the school’s records, many of which still stand.
He was the 1988 Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Track Coach of the Year, was selected by students to win the Excellence in Education Award five times, and is the recipient of the 1996 Excellence in Service Award given by Grand Haven Area Public Schools. He and his wife reside in Spring Lake.
Service to Grand Haven Area Public Schools/Society – Class of 1948
Quiet philanthropist and local businessman Midge Verplank is the Co-chair of Verplank Dock, Verplank Trucking, Asphalt Paving, Inc., and serves on the Boards of Shape Corporation and Light Corp. These are just a few of the hats he has worn for his family’s many successful ventures, including Co-founder of Shape Corporation and its affiliated businesses. And while his thriving companies contribute much to our local economy and quality of life, he has always personally devoted significant time and energy to enhance our community.
His long list of community service includes serving as a Trustee on the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation Board of Directors and Chairing its Investment Committee, serving on the original Spring Lake Library fundraising committee, and Co-chairing the $2.5 million campaign for the new Spring Lake Library we enjoy today. He is also a supporter of the Grand Haven High School Athletic Complex, the Spring Lake Yacht Club, the West Michigan Yachting Association and the University of Michigan Athletic Department. He and his brother Gary’s significant Challenge Grant helped raise a million dollars toward the preservation of North Ottawa Dunes. In 2010 he received the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
Service to Grand Haven Area Public Schools/Society – Class of 1958
Gary Verplank, is co-founder and CEO of Shape Corp., Light Corp., Finish Corp., Bio-Solutions, Net Shape, Pliant Plastics, and other affiliated local companies that employ more than 1,300 area residents and contribute tremendously to the community in countless ways.
His community service roles include being a member of the Ferrysburg City Council, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce of Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg, President and Board member of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Chairman of the North Ottawa Community Coalition, and past Spring Lake Yacht Club Commodore and Board member.
Gary’s honors include being recognized by the West Michigan Business Hall of Fame, and he is the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Among his many philanthropic causes are the Grand Haven and Spring Lake High Schools, the GHHS Science Olympiad Team, the GHHS Excellence in Service Program, Buccaneer Stadium, Grand Haven D.A.R.E Program, Spring Lake Bike Path, Grand Haven Community Foundation, Greater Ottawa County United Way, Imagination Station, Spring Lake Junior Sailing Association, and Spring Lake High School sailing team. At Shape Corp. he established a Giving Back program that enables employees to perform volunteer community service during their work hours that helps hundreds with needs in the community. He and his brother Midge’s significant Challenge Grant helped to raise one million dollars toward the preservation of the North Ottawa Dunes.
Gary received his B.S.E. in Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He resides in Spring Lake, and has three children and five grandchildren.
Career/Academic Accomplishments – Class of 1987
David Van Dyke is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and the Director of the Masters of Arts program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College.
The Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist operates a private practice, Summit Clinical Services, and specializes in work with children, adolescents and their families.
David was an Associate Professor at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University/Chicago for 12 years. He has also taught at the Chicago Center for Family Health, MacNeal Hospital and the University of Georgia. He is also the Senior Partner of Systemic Solutions, which provides psychologically informed training for businesses and nonprofits in the Chicago area, and is an editorial reviewer for publications including the Journal of Systemic Therapies.
He received his B.A. from Wheaton College, his M.S. from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. His high school activities included the Science Olympiad team and he was also captain of both the football and baseball teams his senior year. He resides in Wheaton, Ill., with his wife and family.
Career/Academic Accomplishments – Class of 1988
Christopher Howell is the Chief of Police for the District of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department. He previously served the department as Deputy Chief and as a Detective, Sergeant, Task Force Agent assigned to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
His expertise is in the investigation of local, national and international drug and weapons trafficking and surveillance, and he has coordinated multinational, multi agency teams of up to 150 agents and officers. His cases have been featured on such television shows as The FBI Files and America’s Most Wanted. He has worked as part of the Police Intelligence Group and Insular Investigation Unit under the direction of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and has worked numerous undercover and covert surveillance assignments, in addition to providing expert testimony in state and federal courts.
Christopher’s many awards and honors include recognition from the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Empire State College graduate will be moving back to the area this summer with his family.
Career/Academic Accomplishments – Class of 1994
Former Grand Haven High School Homecoming Queen and Science Olympiad standout on the 1993 and 1994 National Champion Teams, Megan Fix, M.D., earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where she also earned her medical degree in 2003.
Currently, Megan is the Associate Residency Director and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. From 2003-07, she completed a Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and was chief resident from 2006-07.
Additional positions Megan has held include the Director of Medical Student Education at Maine Medical Center and Assistant Professorships at Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. The recipient of many awards and honors, Megan lives in Park City, Utah, with her husband and family.
Athletic Achievement – Class of 1978
Voted Grand Haven High School’s Most Valuable Swimmer 1976-78, George Kruggel’s many accomplishments include 1977 State AAU record times in both the 100-and 200-meter butterfly. In 1978 he became the first-ever All American Swimmer at Grand Haven High School, where he set five individual records in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley, and the 100-yard butterfly, and those records stood for 30 years. In 1977, George was a Bronze medal winner at the Summer National Junior Olympics.
Kruggel was a member of the Michigan State University Swimming and Diving Team 1979-82, where he was a four-year Varsity Letter Award winner and record holder in the 100-yard butterfly. In 2008, he was awarded the MSU Swimming and Diving William Heusner Service Award.
A former Tri-Cities YMCA board member, George also coached youth swimmers there in the United States Swimming program, and, while working for GMB Architects/Engineers, George helped to design the swimming pool and aquatic center at the new GHHS. He resides in Grand Haven with his wife, Lori, and their daughters.
Athletic Achievement – Class of 1979
Swimmer George Hoogerhyde was an outstanding athlete and a two-time Class A Champion. Titles he holds include 1979 State Champion in the 50-yard freestyle and 1979 State Champion in the 100-yard freestyle. He was also named a 1979 All American in the 50-yard freestyle, 1979 All American (Honorable Mention) 100-yard freestyle and 1979 All State (all classes) in 100-yard freestyle. He served as the 1979 co-captain of the GHHS swim team and is also a former high school record holder in three individual events and one relay.
George was a member of the Ohio State University Men’s Swimming and Diving Team from 1979-82, and there he is a former record holder in three individual events and three relays. During his senior year at OSU, he finished as runner-up at the Big Ten Conference meet in three events and was voted the school’s Most Valuable Swimmer. The three-year NCAA qualifier was also an Olympic Trial Qualifier in 1984.
Currently the Vice President of Development for KIDS HOPE USA, George resides in Grand Haven with his wife and family.