Paraprofessional stands out among students

Paraprofessional Mark Lundvick leaves an impact on every student he meets


Grant Engelsman

TYPING: Lundvick types up an email to send to a staff member. He has his tablet next to him if needed plus his walkie talkie on if he needs to be reached by another staff member or student. “The one thing I think is kind of cool about Mark is that he’s taken the initiative to do different things when I wouldn’t have,” paraprofessional Ann Graves said.

Paraprofessional Mark Lundvick watches students as they file into the fieldhouse, carefully checking to see if they are wearing their lanyard with ID attached around their neck.

As he walks around, observing if students are keeping to the COVID-19 related rules, students strike up conversations with him whether it’s asking about his day or about something they’re dealing with.

He really cares and tries to be a mentor to students. He wants them to succeed and allows them to come find him to blow off steam and let them vent if needed. Whether it’s in the hallway or in his office.

“Sometimes I feel like maybe they’re using me as a crutch, to not attend class on a regular basis,” Lundvick said. “I’ll let them vent a little bit, but at some point, I encourage them to get back to class.”

Lundvick tries to be consistent with everyone whether he deals with somebody five times a day or once a month.
“I try to give everybody a chance to do the right thing,” Lundvick said. “I just try to be consistent in applying the policies and procedures here at the school.”

Lundvick doesn’t try to be a “bad cop” for busting kids for the stuff they do wrong. He really cares and tries to be a mentor and help them succeed.

Senior Kennedy Braginton has known Lundvick since his freshman year and continues to keep in touch with him in and out of school on Facebook.

“He’s very caring and he actually listens to you,” Braginton said. “He pays attention to what you’re saying. He doesn’t try to blame stuff on you. He’s just honest.”

Lundvick went to college, studied to be a teacher and got a degree in education, but went into the sporting goods business for 38 years. Lundivick’s son in law and the school’s past officer, Deputy Ryan DeVries, talked to him about coming to Grand Haven High School as a paraprofessional. 

“When Ryan approached me about it, it sounded like ‘man, this might be going back to my education roots, but not as a teacher, but in the school environment,’” Lundvick said. 

Being a paraprofessional requires being available for staff whether that’s pulling students out of class or helping out a teacher if assistance is needed in the classroom. 

“I view myself as a support mechanism for the school,” Lundvick said. “I feel my role is to help them and make the day easier.”

I view myself as a support mechanism for the school. I feel my role is to help them and make the day easier.”

— Mark Lundvick

Since starting in March of 2017, Lundvick has made an impression on many and continues to be there for students when they need him. 

Interacting with multiple students a day allows Lundvick to build relationships with them. He says he usually ends up interacting with the same group of students and oftentimes they’re the ones that aren’t spending a lot of time in class.

“One of my goals is to always meet a student that I haven’t met before,” Lundvick said. “I’ve always felt that a person’s name is one of the most valuable things a person has. So, if I have a conversation with someone, and I haven’t met them before, I always ask them ‘what’s your name?” 

Senior James Spero has known Lundvick since sophomore year and his relationship with Lundvick is an important part of his school career. 

“I’ve never met someone more calm, cool and collected than Mark,” Spero said. “I think he sees both sides of my personality. It’s kind of cool he gets both of them.”

Spero thinks the main reason students like him is because he’s real with many different students throughout the day. 

Paraprofessional and Lundvick’s co-worker, Ann Graves, says students find him approachable.

Graves thinks  students are comfortable going to him because he’s willing to listen to what they have to say. She added that he has a dry sense of humor where students are able to understand his sarcasm; this is what sticks out to her about Lundvick, his sense of humor. 

“He’s not quick to take offense,” Graves said. “You can joke with him and he’s willing to help. He’s always one of the first ones to say ‘yeah, I got it.’” 

She added that Lundvick brings a lot to the table as a paraprofessional. 

“I think he has a lot of life experience coming from outside of a school environment,” Graves said. “He keeps it professional and you kind of understand when to say something and when not say something because of his past experiences.”

Lundvick continues to move and keeps an eye open as a paraprofessional; he’s able to notice things without exactly looking for them.

“The one thing that I think is kind of cool about Mark is that he’s taken the initiative to do different things where I wouldn’t have,” Graves said.

Senior Max Sokolow says Lundvick is very approachable. 

“He’s very considerate of your situation,” Sokolow said. “He tries to understand your situation, then makes a decision of what to do.”

Working at GHHS gives Lundvick the opportunity to support students as well as staff. He says it’s never boring and there’s something new virtually every day. 

“When I first started here, after a month, I went home and was telling some stories to my wife,” Lundvick said. “She goes ‘you come home with much better stories than I ever came back from my former life.’ The things that happened here are different enough that I can go home and tell stories that are much more exciting than they used to be.”