The Story Behind DeMeester


Not every teacher cares about their students. Some of them just like to get the job done and will just show up in the morning, give their lessons and go on with their day. But Robbin DeMeester is not like that.

“I’ve learned so much about Mrs. DeMeester both as a teacher and as a friend. As a teacher, she has a passion for what she does,” said Vicki Felton, a close colleague of DeMeester. “She strives for perfection in her classroom and in her productions. She pushes kids to be the best versions of themselves and holds them to that expectations while loving them for who they are.”

DeMeester is most likely one of the most caring teachers that FHC has to offer. DeMeester cares about her students and focuses hard to ensure a proper education. But not only does she work hard to make sure you pass her class, she tries hard to engage herself in the well-being of every one of her students.

“Mrs. DeMeester is business-like, yet caring and fun. She somehow manages to wrap all of those qualities into her teaching style,” Felton said. “It’s probably what makes her so great and why kids love her so much.”       

DeMeester was born in Columbus, Ohio. She attended a small college in southern Ohio where she met her husband. DeMeester married him while in college, then moved to Lansing. She lived there when her husband was in college and she was finishing college. Then they moved to Grand Rapids, and have lived here since 1987.

DeMeester has two kids that she cares greatly for. Her son Jared graduated in 2010. He attended Hope College and was a double major in chemistry and jazz studies. Mrs. DeMeester also has a daughter who graduated in 2008. She’s an education major and she is teaching at Steelcase right now and planning on getting back into education. Both of DeMeester’s children had the opportunity to graduate from FHC. They even went here before Mrs. DeMeester started to work here, so they could be in the system for such a great school district with really good teachers.

“What I have found about this entire district is, teachers who have been teachers to my children and colleagues of mine, who are really caring about people, they care about hearts and not just about your mind,” DeMeester said. “I have really been thankful for the support of the teachers throughout the district and obviously in our building. I love the teachers in our building. I am so grateful for them.”

DeMeester has worked at FHC for 15 years. She has been teaching 25 years total. Before she worked at FHC, she spent some time working up at Rockford. She believes that the FHPS school district is very fortunate for all the opportunities we have. When she worked at Rockford, it was very hard for all the students to get involved with school activities because there were so many people.

“It was very difficult for kids to get involved in anything because the competition’s so stiff,” DeMeester began. “If they want to be on a team or get in a show or whatever, they are up against 2500 people and I like that Forest Hills has the mindset that we have these sister schools so the kids have more opportunities to be involved in things. I’m thankful for that.”

Here at FHC, DeMeester is the theater director. This year she put on the production Anne of Green Gables as the play, and The Little Mermaid as the musical. The Little Mermaid was DeMeester’s 70th production and her 50th here at FHC. The Little Mermaid also set a record at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center, it’s the highest selling show they have ever had there because they were sold out three nights in a row. So in terms of ticket sales, The Little Mermaid was the most successful show she has put on here at FHC. In terms of personal success, there are a lot of shows for a lot of different reasons that DeMeester feel are successes. Shows that they built are from the ground up.

“We’ve rented a lot of different sets, but some of them we’ve built, and I feel like that’s a success because it takes the whole community and FHC student body to help with that, so that is something that is very successful,” DeMeester said.

Demeester also likes the idea of bringing old theater, that kids have never seen, such as old shows, and having kids fall in love with them. She likes bringing classic theater to schools. Shows that they have studied authors like Romeo and Juliet or when they did To Kill A Mockingbird as a play.

“So there are different measures of success that I feel like have been important in my career,” DeMeester said.

Out of all the productions DeMeester has put on, it’s hard to pick out your very favorite but most people can narrow it down based on their own personal favorite books or movies she has remade.

“I can’t pick just one. I have loved so many of the productions,” began another close colleague of DeMeester, Kara Kimball. “It is hard to top The Little Mermaid, but another one of my favorites was The Breakfast Club. Since it is one of my all time favorite movies, I loved watching it all unfold on stage, and it was perfectly cast”

But besides theater and English, DeMeester also teaches a class called senior seminar. It was a class developed by DeMeester’s predecessor who ran the theater department before she got there 15 years ago. She wanted to start a class that would combine communication components and English.

“It’s a lot of getting to know yourself, figuring out who you are and what you want to be,” DeMeester said. “It’s knowing what your element is, so your element is what you love to do, what your passion is and how to get someone to pay you to do it for your life’s work. It’s figuring all those elements out so that you can pursue the career that’s going to give you the most fulfillment. It’s super cool.”

Senior seminar is a great class to help better your communication with the relationship that you’re in, with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your colleague, roommate or whoever you get an apartment with once you leave here you’re family. It teaches you a lot about yourself that you didn’t know and it shows you the areas of communication you’re strong in and the areas that you could work on so that someday as a parent, as a spouse, as a sibling, as a friend or as a co-worker, you’re stronger in those areas.

“She puts her heart and soul into everything that she does. She is passionate about teaching and the theater performances that she directs,” said FHC principal Steve Passinault.