Mr. Kuiper Says a Fond Goodbye to WHS


The Impact of Mark Kuiper

As students transition from 2019 to the 2020 school year, some things are a little different in our building. From the reconstruction of our high school to the gain and loss of staff members, so much is changing at Wyoming High School.
Students gladly welcome and thank our latest staff for stepping into a new role and becoming a part of the Wyoming family. After some unfortunate budget cuts, other members of our staff have left. Four weeks into our 2019-2020 school year, students have noticed a certain staff member’s absence: Mark Kuiper. Many are left pondering, “Where’d the little dude go?”
Our school was put in a position to hire a student advocate, someone would serve to support students in unique ways. It was decided to place an emphasis on hiring someone who could help support career and college readiness by assisting students in applying for college, going on college visits, applying for jobs, applying for trade schools, and scholarships. For this reason, Mrs. Young, who served in this role the previous year, was hired.
Unfortunately, this meant that we could not also bring Mr. Kuiper back. It was a difficult decision but the decision was made with respect to how we can support students in taking the next step after high school. Mr. Kuiper was known for keeping our lunchrooms neat, being a shoulder for students to lean on, directing leadership and extracurricular committees, the notable “Speak Wall”, and “The Stories of Us”. Currently, he’s a student advocate for East Kentwood Public Schools.
When asking students about the impact Kuiper has had on our school we’ve had multiple responses along the lines of “ [him being] very nice to everyone, [making] everyone feel welcomed and [him making] students feel cared for.”
Matthew Berg, a Junior, says “He taught me how to be nice to others, that’s my guy right there.”
He created a connection between the student body as he “brought us together like a wolf pack family,” Alexis Ladner claims.
Senior, Elizabeth Kremer says, “I know my life definitely won’t be the same anymore, and I think I can speak for all of Wyoming High School when I say that.” She continues, “He taught me that I have a voice, and that voice is powerful, and it can really make an impact. I remember something he told me on that last day. He said, ‘Now that you know you have one, I want to encourage you to use it.’ I’ve taken all of his words to heart and I’m carrying them with me now through my senior year and beyond.”
Kuiper connected with many students by discussing their difficulties and being a listener. “He made me think about my decisions and slow down,” said Adrian Brownridge. His closest student, near son, Rohim, says “He would look out for me in classes, my emotions, teachers, and while making friends,”…”We grew close together.” When working with Anna Servo, Mr. Kuiper assisted her with homecoming, student council, and was great in assisting her to cover lessons. Mr. Cornell claims that “he was a good advocate for kids.” Jaznay Lora, a senior, states that Mr. Kuiper “taught [her] to open up, to acknowledge [her] feelings, and know it’s okay to feel what [she] felt.” Mr. Kordich adds, “Mr. Kuiper was soft-spoken and kind to all he interacted with, and that energy was contagious in our building.” “Moving In Spirit Seeing Inside Others Needs – M.I.S.S.I.ON… this is what Mr. Kuiper was all about,” says Mr. Doyle.
Wyoming High School’s new principal Mr. Baumbach had plenty of nice things to say about Mr. Kuiper for example, “ He made people feel welcomed and connected with students.” He continued saying,” No one could replace him.” If he could tell him anything he said he would tell him, “Thank you for bringing alpha wolf to what it is.”
Some students wish they could have a final word with Mr. Kuiper, many saying “Where are you, and I miss you” or “Thank you for everything you have done for us.” If Mrs. Servo could tell Mr. Kuiper something, she’d want to say “Thank you for everything you did to positively impact our school.” The most meaningful quote said by Cornell, “I hope he continues to have a positive impact on young people because he has a gift for that.” Senior, Morgan Lamar, wants to tell Mr. Kuiper that she “Hopes life is good, thank you for all that you’ve done for me.” As her eyes begin to water, Karol Romero wants to tell him she’s “Happy [she] met him, he’s made [her] a better person.”
Mr. Kuiper has always loved Wyoming as he had worked here for 2 years. He helped a lot of kids who were in trouble and needed someone to talk to about relationships, family, personal crises, and educational decisions. He strongly thinks that “Students need a voice and someone to talk to, a place to let it out positively and to feel like a part of something.” He genuinely cares for the school claiming that work never felt like “It was [his] job, it just came out of the heart.” Wyoming High School has meant so much to Mr. Kuiper as he felt that “there’s something unique about Wyoming that cannot be replaced in [one’s] heart. It is not understood until you’re out of it.” His final message to us is “I know it sounds cliche, but they should be grateful for the goodness of the school, not just because of the diversity but in terms of how the majority of teachers care about students. I would encourage students to practice kindness, graciousness, and compassion. Encourage people to love people, especially those who need love. Continue to be voices for those who don’t have one. I miss you guys very much.”
Overall, Mr. Kuiper has strongly impacted our high school. He’s been that person that’s always open to putting someone else before himself. Since beginning his career at Wyoming high school, he’s left a legacy permanently impacting anyone that has ever crossed his path. Although he’s no longer walking our hallways, his influence is forever tattooed in our hearts.
Mark Kuiper sure did leave a mark at our school.