My name is Russ Olcheske and it is my privilege to be working as a reporter for hudsonvilleathletics.com. I will primarily be covering the varsity football team, but might sneak in some other features as the winter and spring seasons develop.
My ties to Hudsonville athletics are strong. I graduated from Hudsonville in 2000 and participated in cross country, basketball, and tennis. As I moved on to college at Grand Valley State University, I continued to stay involved with Hudsonville athletics as an assistant for the boys basketball program, and volunteered my time covering Hudsonville events for WCET-TV, as well as assisting then athletic director George Murphy with a variety of small jobs helping out at numerous athletic events.
From an academic standpoint, I had a positive experience and enjoyed my time wandering through the halls of Alward Elementary, the Junior High(which then became the 9th grade building), and finally the high school. My teachers and coaches had such an influence in making me the person I am today. At Alward, I was in a classroom with some of the all time greats – Mrs. Nephew, Mr. Vandenberg, Mrs. Barclay, and Mr. Borchers. At the junior high, Mrs Chenlo made math fun, Mr. Tracey taught us about every country on the globe, Mr. Lemmen and Ms. Sweers made sure we put our commas in the right place, and Mr. St Antoine made the 5th hour floor hockey tournament in gym class seem like the Stanley Cup Finals.
Freshman phys-ed/health was a blast with Mr. Glanville, who was in his first year as a teacher. At the high school, the great teachers are too numerous to mention them all, but some that stick out in my mind were Mr. Bolhuis, Mr. Duram, Mr. Kinnane, Mr. Kasteline, Mr. Signore, and assistant principal Mr. Blacquiere. I did not fully realize it at the time, but all of these teachers through the years cared so much for their students as people first. They genuinely and sincerely cared about kids and would often be found in the stands at athletic and performing arts events. My coaches were tough but fair, and taught me much more than the intricacies of how to serve a tennis ball or shoot a basketball. Thank you to Mr. TenBrink, Mr. Immink, Mr. Tanis, Mr. Bentley, and Mr. Kunzi – my memories are fond.
After completing my teacher assisting and student teaching in the West Ottawa and Jenison school districts, I had the opportunity to work as a substitute teacher at many of the secondary schools in the district from 2005-2006. This allowed me the opportunity to meet even more passionate administrators such as Mr. Feenstra, Mr. McDowell and Mr. Powers, and teachers such as Mr. Beemer and Mrs. Haberling, who always made sure the students were well behaved and respectful on the days I filled in. I spent almost 2 months working at Baldwin Street Middle School when Mr. Glass and Mr. Schuur had surgery, and I still remember those 6th graders who received their diplomas just last spring. Jakson Kreiser, was one of those students, who passed away this summer on a mountain hike in Montana. He kept my hands full, but I always appreciated his innocent rambunctiousness as a 6th grader.
In the summer of 2006, a job opportunity was available at Holt High School(just south of Lansing) in the social studies department. It was time to take what I had learned at Hudsonville and GVSU to mid-Michigan. I am now entering my 7th year as a teacher and coach at Holt, and I have discovered that Holt is a community much like Hudsonville. The teachers care about kids, people rally together in the face of adversity, and the community supports academics, the fine arts and athletics. It is truly a privilege to work in Holt and my life has been enriched by the students, parents, and staff members that I have interacted with. I have made a new home in Holt, and look forward to working here for decades to come
However, Hudsonville will always be my “first home,” and for the second consecutive year my two homes will join as one in the opening week of the high school football season. I will have people that I care about deeply, sitting in the stands on both sides of the stadium and players competing on the field and coaches on the sidelines. I had the same unique experience last year broadcasting the Hudsonville @ Holt game for WCET-TV, followed by a night out in Holt with family and friends. I am confident that the Holt community will enjoy their time in Hudsonville. I will encourage them to come early and enjoy some of the Hudsonville staples such as Mr. Burger, Country Sundae, DJ’s Pizza Plus, and the Hudsonville Fair.
Hudsonville is a special place, and I always look forward to coming back. That is why I will be covering the varsity football team each week and brining you game reports, player news, and special features on a variety of football related topics. Look for my Holt/Hudsonville game recap on Thursday night!