Name: Chad Westra
Schools: and the Michael Berry Career Center
Accomplishment: Westra, who is graduating from EFHS this month as valedictorian, has worked hard during the last four years while balancing a long list of activities at school and in the community.
“I'm obviously really pleased that I was named valedictorian,” he said. “I had been ranked No. 1 before, but I wasn’t sure I would be valedictorian until they told me.”
Westra is a lifelong Dearborn resident. He attended until the eighth grade. What he likes best about Edsel Ford is the variety of courses and options offered through the district, and the support of his teachers. He said he particularly enjoyed spending half-days at the Michael Berry Career Center, where he took several computer courses.
“It was a lot of work getting to this point,” Westra said. “It feels great.”
Westra said his favorite classes are math, history and a three-dimensional design class he takes at Michael Berry as part of the Dearborn Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the German National Honor Society.
Key to awesomeness: For an 18-year-old, Westra’s life is packed with activities and studies that rival most adults' schedules.
When he’s not in class, he can often be found on the tennis court. Westra has been part of the Thunderbirds tennis team for all for all four years at the school, and served as its captain for the last two. He also plays trombone in the school’s jazz band.
Additionally, Westra is active in the youth group at church, called “Lifeguards.” As part of that group, he has helped low-income and elderly individuals make home repairs, and traveled on several youth missions.
Westra is the son of Beth and Doug Westra of Dearborn. Beth said she was thrilled her son was named valedictorian.
“Chad’s always done a really good job in school, and he’s always taken it seriously,” she said. “I was first told he was exceptional when he was in the seventh grade.”
Edsel Ford Principal Hassane Jaafar agrees that Westra is a fantastic young man with a bright future ahead of him.
“He’s a great student that takes part in a lot of activities inside and outside of school–and he has a mean tennis serve,” said Jaafar. “I expect he’s going far in life.”
Westra plans on attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, where he will study history. He said he has not decided on a career at this time.
It’s June, and graduation is in the air. That means Dearborn Patch is going to highlight each Dearborn valedictorian on Wednesdays all month.
But being at the top of the heap is not the only factor that makes a Whiz Kid, and if you know a student who is working hard to make the grade at school–or in life–we’d like to know about it. Everyone deserves a little attention, and we want to tell these stories.
Email your Whiz Kid nominations to Editor Jessica Carreras at Jessica.email@example.com. Please include the name, age, school, achievement and key to awesomeness, as well as a photo. Then come back every Wednesday for our Whiz Kid spotlight. You never know who may be smiling at you from the computer screen.