Pay it forward continues to make a change in everyday lives


Students part of pay it forward toured the Children’s Advocacy Center in Holland and were able to learn the work of the center. (Photo courtesy of Brian Williams)

Natalie Dupuis, Assigning Editor

Pay it forward is a semester-long class where students create a project to benefit the community and make an impact in other people’s lives. 

“I wanted to create a class that offered a whole bunch of experiences for a person who’s experiencing a transitional time in their life, which would be the high school seniors kind of starting adulting,” teacher Brian Williams said.

The first five or six weeks of the class are dedicated to visiting places in the community and focusing on how to be the best version of one’s self. The rest of the semester, students have time to create a solution to one of the problems they saw in the community.

“Once we take the mask off, it makes us more interested in being vested in our community,” Williams said. 

Williams says he doesn’t believe that people are born empathetic and it’s something people need to learn through experiences. Having pay it forward here at the high school allows students to connect to our community. 

“It allows relationships and partnerships to grow between school, businesses, nonprofits and individuals,” Williams said. 

Williams’ hope is to expand pay it forward further outside of Grand Haven High School and to other schools in the area.

“I feel we can come together as a community,” Williams said. “Communities can heal each other from within more once they understand each other.”