March 17, 2022


Holland, MI- State Representative Jim Lilly, R - Macatawa visited Careerline Tech Center Monday, May 14 to present two Careerline Tech Center students with State of Michigan Tributes. The students received the tributes in recognition of their work on the Hezekiah Smith Michigan Historical Marker in the City of Ferrysburg. Smith was a free Black man, landowner, and civil rights activist in Ottawa and Muskegon Counties in the late 1840s.

Rep Jim Lilly with teacher and students Doxey with award Palmbos with award

Honorees were Jenison High School senior and Software & Game Development program student Aidan Palmbos, and Ethan Doxey, a Hamilton High School senior and student in the Entrepreneurship & Global Business program. Palmbos created a QR code that accesses a voice-recorded history lesson read by Doxey on the City of Ferrysburg website. 

Palmbos would like to pursue a career in Computer Science. Working on this project allowed him to assemble the rough draft of the webpage that holds the QR code audio as well as help create the QR Code for the historical marker. “Thanks to Tech Center I now have real-life customer-based work experience and I was able to make a difference and a lasting contribution to all members of the community,” Palmbos said.  

Rebecca Hopp, the now-former City of Ferrysburg Mayor and current Careerline Tech Center Entrepreneurship and Global Business program instructor initiated the marker to recognize Smith for his accomplishments. The majority of the marker was paid for through grants, and she knew the skills to complete the remainder of the project could be found at Careerline Tech Center. 

After the presentation, Representative Lilly answered questions from students. 

“Tech Center is honored Representative Lilly took time out of his schedule to recognize our students for their accomplishments,” Careerline Tech Center Director Dave Searles, said. “Contributing to a historical marker and receiving tributes from the State of Michigan are experiences that will last a lifetime and Tech Center is proud to be a part of it.”

Hopp said the collaboration created a legacy as the first historical marker in Michigan with a QR code linked to an audio recording. 

“This initiative created an opportunity for individuals with hearing challenges to learn about Hezekiah Smith's contribution to our community,” Hopp said. “I served as the Mayor of the City of Ferrysburg during this collaboration project and I am so honored to have been able to provide the students this unique opportunity that allowed students to create a place in history that will remain for future generations to enjoy and learn.” 

Careerline Tech Center 

Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland.

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District 

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District works collaboratively with schools and communities to meet the educational needs of students of all ages in the Ottawa area. By pooling resources and providing services regionally, Ottawa Area ISD provides important programs and services to local K‐12 school districts, charter, parochial and private schools and adults in the most cost‐effective ways possible. To learn more about Ottawa Area ISD visit