Dawn Walstrom Safford
Dawn Walstrom Safford is a 1980 graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School. She played four sports and earned nine varsity letters in an era when high school was only three years. She earned All-City honors seven times and was chosen team MVP three times. In 1980, she was selected by the GRCH varsity coaches as the recipient of the Eagle Award, an honor presented to the top female athlete in the school. Dawn represented GRCH in a video celebrating 99 years of athletics in the GR City League. In 1979, Dawn was described as “one of the area’s most versatile athletes” by Bob Becker, the Sports Editor of the Grand Rapids Press.
Her sophomore and junior years, Dawn played on the varsity softball team. The All-City left fielder led her team to a second-place finish in the City League and the Regional Finals her 10thgrade year.
In basketball, Dawn played guard/forward for three years on the varsity team. In both her junior and senior years, the Eagles were defeated in the regional finals by West Catholic, the eventual State Champion. In 1979, she broke the school record for points scored in a game (32). In her senior year, she was the leading scorer in the City League. Dawn was named MVP and was an All-City and All-State Honorable mention selection her junior and senior years. She was also named to the GR Press All-Area Team as a junior and senior. Years later, in 1998, Dawn was selected as one of the Grand Rapids City League’s “Top 25 Outstanding Women’s Basketball Players.”
As a three-year varsity volleyball player on three very successful Eagle teams, Dawn received many honors. She was selected to the GR Press All-Star Team as a sophomore, named MVP as a senior, and was an All-City player her junior and senior year. In addition, she was selected to the John Bos All-Conference Team and the GR Press All-Tournament Team her senior year.
Her senior year, Dawn joined the track team and helped lead them to a City League Championship and Class B State Championship. She demonstrated her versatility by running the 220, 440, 880 and the anchor leg of the mile relay. Her mile relay team (Walstrom, Tanya DeVries, Gayle Heyer, Amy Boerman) was undefeated all season, and their school record of 3:59.8 still stands today. Dawn also placed third in the high jump and second in the 440 at Regionals.
As a junior, Dawn won the City League’s “Ms. Physical Education Competition.” The three-day event included an interview and eleven different events which showcased her many diverse talents.
After graduation, Dawn attended Calvin College where she played basketball and track. Unfortunately, her college career was cut short by several injuries during her stint as a Knight.
After Calvin College, Dawn continued her education at Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University, earning a M.A. in Counseling and a M.A. in Educational Leadership.
In the 1980’s Dawn returned to GRCH as an assistant track coach and JV basketball coach. She has also coached track at GR Catholic Central, and golf at Hamilton High. In addition, she served as a basketball, soccer, and softball sports camp counselor at Calvin College.
Dawn has been the Director of Guidance at Hamilton High School since 1994. She and her husband Robert live in Holland, MI.
Dawn’s Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3:5, 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.