Mona Shores Public Schools

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Mona Shores Public Schools is a public school district located in Michigan, United States, in the western side of the state near Lake Michigan. The district includes most of the city of Norton Shores, which is just south of Muskegon. The acting superintendent is Bill O'Brien.


The district was formed in 1959, when the residents of the existing districts of Churchill, Hile, Lincoln, Maple Grove, and Mona Beach (all K-8 districts) voted to unite into a single K-12 district.[1] The district comprises four elementary schools (K-5), one middle school (6-8) and Mona Shores High School, with total enrollment of about 3,800 students.[2]

Sports and extracurricular activities[edit]

The Mona Shores Public Schools has a thriving fine arts department. In 2004, the Mona Shores High School was only one of forty high schools in the country to receive the Grammy Signature School Award for excellence in music education. Mona Shores Public Schools offers band, choir, orchestra, music theory, and guitar courses to its students.

The school is well known for its band program which includes outstanding Concert Bands, Jazz Ensembles and Marching Band. The Marching Band won state titles in 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2003 as well as a USSBA National Championship in 2006. Travel has played an important role in the success of the Mona Shores band program with overseas performance tours every three years since 1972 and many performance tours to the U.S. East coast, South and Midwest. The current director of the Mona Shores band program is Jason Boyden. Assistant directors are Matthew Sedatole and Gregory Nimtz. Former directors include: John Butterfield (1962-1985) and Jack Adams (1985-2003). Former assistant directors include: Jack Cooke, Bernie Blue, Douglas Hostetler, Susan Veenstra and Timothy Staudacher.

The district is also well known for its choral program under the current direction of Shawn Lawton (Mona Shores High School) and Kyle Cain(Mona Shores Middle School). Former high school directors include: Larry Gray and Skip Frizzell. Former middle school directors include: Larry Rueger and Katherine Bourdon. In 2002, a number of auditioned members of the Mona Shores Singers (the top choir at the time) were invited to perform at the White House for the president and his staff. The choir also presents many annual concerts including Pop go the Sailors and The Singing Christmas Tree, which is the tallest in the United States. The choir's singing Christmas Tree was featured on TLC's production of Extreme Christmas Trees in December 2011.[citation needed]

The orchestra program was founded in 1986. The high school orchestras, under the direction of Timothy Staudacher, have performed at music festivals and conferences not only in their home state of Michigan, but also throughout the United States including Smoky Mountain Music Festival (1998 - Overall Winner, 1995 - First Division Winner); Magic Music Days at Disney World Florida (2000); Midwest Music Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, (2000, 2001, and 2005); American String Teachers Association National Orchestra Festival in Detroit, Michigan, (2007- Fifth Place in the String Orchestra Division); Michigan Music Conference Performing Ensemble (2008). The high school orchestras have consistently earned first division ratings each year in Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association District Festivals. The orchestra began touring internationally in 2000, with a trip to The Czech Music Camp for Youth near Prague in the Czech Republic. The group has since traveled to and performed in China (2005), Ireland and England (2008) and most recently to Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria in June 2012, under the direction of current middle school orchestra director, Kelly De Rose. Timothy Staudacher also founded the Mona Shores Fiddlers (MSF), an extra curricular alternative styles ensemble, which performs throughout the Muskegon community, including at the Michigan Irish Music Festival.[3] The MSF hosts an annual Fiddle Fest in November which has featured guests artist including Detour, Barrage, and Finvarra's Wren.

Mona Shores has also become a powerhouse in ice hockey in the past decade. The team won a state title in 2000, and has consistently made trips to the Frozen Four. In the 2006-2007 season, the team came up short, losing in the championship game to another strong team, Grosse Point South, 4-3 in overtime, on March 10, 2007.

The boys basketball team has been on-again and off-again, with the 2006-2007 squad winning the District Championship under the leadership of third-year coach Jeremy Andres.

The Baseball team has also enjoyed a recent rise to power in the Muskegon Area. Under the direction of fourth year head coach Walt Gawkowski the Sailors won the 2006 GMAA, District, and OK-Green titles. The 2006 squad won the first district title in 26 years. The Sailor Baseball program has continued to support local Universities by turning out college players nearly every year.

The girls golf team has won four consecutive Division 2 state championships, the first time any team in the Lower Peninsula has done so.[4]

Mona Shores is also known for its outstanding debate teams having won Novice State Championships in 1982,1983,1984,1986,1989 and 2007 and Varsity State Championships in 1986 and 1990 and a state finalist in 2002. The team consistently qualifies as a quarter finalist,semifinalist, or finalist in the Novice and Varsity State Tournament. The team was coached by John H. McKendry Jr from 1978 to 1990, coached by Brent Green from 2000 to the 2009-2010 season, before it was handed off to Green's assistant coach Mandi Garvey.[citation needed]

Homecoming controversy[edit]

In September 2010, the district drew nationwide press attention when it prohibited transgender senior Oak Reed from being crowned homecoming king. After many votes were cast for Reed, the votes stopped being counted. The school administration told Reed on September 20, 2010 (homecoming was scheduled for the following weekend) that votes for him were not counted because on his school records he was listed as female and therefore could not serve as king (since the ballot said to vote for one male and one female). News reports about the controversy began spreading on September 26. In the past the school was very accommodating to Reed's needs (separate locker rooms & bathroom assignments, use of male pronouns, allowing Reed to wear the male band uniform and graduation robe).[5][6][7][8] The ACLU was reported to be investigating the case.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]