West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for May 2019

Service-Learning Means Fellowship at New Era Christian School

Peer-to-Peer: Sometimes Just Being a Friend is All Someone Needs

Every month, our 7th and 8th-grade students partner with a group of middle school students from the Oceana County area who have diverse learning abilities.

They all meet at The Ladder Community Center in Shelby. The Ladder is a friendly, intergenerational and ethnically diverse community center aimed at knowing and serving our neighbors and uniting our community around Christ so that lives are transformed. The Ladder is dedicated to impacting families by guiding people to love and follow Jesus, making the organization a great partner for NEC’s service-learning program.

 

The students of New Era Christian School come to the community center to enjoy their peers and build them up by spending quality time together and just having fun. Their activities range from old school games like pool and puzzles to getting creative with a giant game of spoons, four corners, among other things.

“My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!” shared Tonya Springer, of West Shore Educational Service District. West Shore ESD is a resource for all schools in the area and NEC works in partnership with them so they can all connect at The Ladder each month.

My students are always so excited to be with the other kiddos!  They enjoy connecting with others just like a typical kiddo!!  It has been a great experience for all.  I enjoy sitting back and watching the kids be kids!

This year they all performed Christmas carols using only their voices and spoons! It was a great time had by all. Nothing fancy. The key was the kids were present. No cell phones–simply face to face contact. Everyone connects and has a great time of laughter and fellowship. Being a friend to someone and playing together creates a powerful connection — for both the NEC students AND the kids that come to The Ladder. 

A few NEC students shared their reflections on their personal experiences at The Ladder this year:

“That day is a really big day for me. I usually hang out with Crystal. I don’t know what her disability is exactly, but she seems disconnected and younger than a typical fourteen-year-old. She is incredible at drawing and when we did a puzzle she did more than half the puzzle! I also was around another girl, Sharon, who is with autism. She seemed very shy and you could tell what she means by her hand motions more than her words. Overall, it has been a life changing experience to realize that everyone struggles with something but some things are more visible than others. They are still a child loved by God.” – NEC 8th grader Anna Morse.

“The Ladder is very fun. It is also very humbling because I have good social skills, I can run, and I get invited to parties. Gary and Rick struggle with those things.  I almost wanted to cry because of how humbled I was.  It makes me more sensitive to make sure all kids feel included.” -NEC 7th grader Brody Erickson.

This has been a great opportunity for our students to serve Jesus by serving others. It’s technically service-learning for NEC students but everyone is blessed in this win-win situation!

About NEC

Located in beautiful New Era, Michigan, New Era Christian School serves student preschool through 8th-grade. Of the many important decisions you’ll make in life, few are more significant than the ones that affect your children. Of these choices, selecting a school may well prove to be the most important. NEC exists to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity. To learn more about NEC contact us! 

New Era Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

Fremont Christian School Says Goodbye to Principal John Barkel

To my FCS and WMCS family;

It is with excitement, but also sadness that I say farewell to Fremont Christian School and the WMCS Collaborative.

The Lord has opened a new door for my family and I and we’ll be moving to Grand Rapids where I will be the new principal of Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School.

In this process of change, I have done much reflecting on my time at FCS, and ultimately, my calling as a Christian school principal. This is a special role to play. We principals have signed up for and are given a great responsibility. The students, parent relationships, teachers, the buildings, and our school boards are all components that require our attention and love.

By letting God into our schools, we get to see first-hand His amazing work being done in the lives of students and families. As time goes on, this love grows for the people and the place. Our relationships with people grow, and we care more and more about the future of our schools. Our love grows and care deepens because we principals see the Kingdom need for these places. Our work is not a job, but a mission to fulfill our calling in God’s Kingdom. What an amazing opportunity and responsibility we have! 

Our work is not a job, but a mission to fulfill our calling in God’s Kingdom.

So saying goodbye to Fremont Christian School has been an emotional challenge as I have embraced this school as a member of my family. I think I speak for Samuel, Phil, James, and Dan (my fellow WMCS Administrators) when I say that we love our Christian schools and they hold a very special place in our hearts.

I pray for God’s richest blessings on you all and on our WMCS schools who are carrying out God’s work for His Kingdom.

Farewell, for now, and God bless!

John Barkel, FCS Principal

Fremont Christian School was blessed to have John Barkel on staff since 2000. He started as a math and science teacher and taught for six years before he moved into the administrator position in 2012. His stellar leadership has been appreciated by many and his immense contribution is priceless. WMCS Collab Exec Director Dan DeKam and principal of Muskegon Christian School said this of his colleague, “John is one of the great ones. His heart for his students was evident in how he genuinely delighted in his work. He will be missed and I wish him well on his new journey.”

Nick Donkersloot will be assuming the role of the FCS principal. Nick has served as a 5th-grade teacher for three years at FCS and Barkel shared, “Nick has Christian School leadership in his blood. He loves FCS and is eager to take the helm.” All of us at West Michigan Christian Schools wish many blessings to both John and Nick in their Kingdom work ahead. Please join us in saying a prayer for a smooth transition for each of these great men in their Christian education careers!

About FCS

Located in Fremont, Michigan, Fremont Christian School (PK-8th) is a place where you will experience love, family, Jesus, and joy.  We have been serving the greater Fremont community for 100+ years  Our teaching is rooted in the Word of God.  Our faculty strive to help students reach their fullest potential as Children of God. Whether you choose our outdoor program or our Spanish Immersion, we ensure you that your child will receive a rich experience learning about God’s world and how to live in it. For more information about FCS contact us! 
Fremon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

An 8th-Grade Boy’s Testimony About Being a Student at Fremont Christian School

FCS Helps Families in Providing a Safe Place for Students

Fremont Christian School prides itself on being a caring, safe, loving environment where students are free to be themselves and grow as academically, socially, mentally and spiritually as a child of Christ! We invited FCS 8th-grader Matthew Wemple to talk about his journey at FCS. He came to the FCS in search of teachers and fellow students who were kind, accepting and faithful.  What he found brought him joy and got him ready for high school!

Q: Why did you come to FCS?

A: I came to FCS for a new beginning. My parents heard a lot of good things about this school and they thought it would be a great place to learn and grow, and they thought right. On my first day here I was scared of being teased just like I was at my old school and right away if felt accepted. Everyone at this school has been great and welcoming for the past two years.”

Q: What do you like about FCS?

A: I like Fremont Christian School because there is more opportunity to grow in faith. Also in helping to show God’s light to all that we come into contact within the community. The teachers are wonderful. When you are at a rough time, the teachers are always there to help and cheer you up, which some kids never have at other schools. I also like how there are opportunities to help around the school. I help set up for chapel and help with the sound system every Friday, which is fun. There are also other opportunities like keeping the floor clean.

Q: How has FCS prepared you for high school?

A: FCS has prepared me for high school by taking us to Western Michigan Christian School to take a tour so we are more comfortable on our first day. They have told us what to expect in high school, how to take good notes, and also how to act. They also help prepare our spirit to take on the faith challenges.

About FCS

Located in Fremont, Michigan, Fremont Christian School (PK-8th) is a place where you will experience love, family, Jesus, and joy.  We have been serving the greater Fremont community for 100+ years  Our teaching is rooted in the Word of God.  Our faculty strive to help students reach their fullest potential as Children of God. Whether you choose our outdoor program or our Spanish Immersion, we ensure you that your child will receive a rich experience learning about God’s world and how to live in it. For more information about FCS contact us! 
Fremon Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

New Era Christian is a School Family That Cares

New Era Christian School: When The Storm Hits & Community Surrounds You

We are educators. That’s why kids come to school here. To learn and prepare them for high school. Academics are important and, to be honest, we do that very well here. Our students rank at the top in the state.

But there’s so much more going on here at New Era Christian School. We are a loving community of believers who support, disciple, love, laugh, pray and even cry together, year after year.

We GROW in the Word and as a school family. How? We get real and get low and jump in when needed. That can be teachers coming to work early for group devotions, prayer time and bible study. Other times it is seen when parents pray over each other in the halls or students lift each other up in prayer. As life would have it here in this broken world, sometimes families go through difficult trials and they need the loving support of our school community. One story, in particular, comes to mind that is a beautiful example of just that.

Dion and Amy Stumpo have three kids, ages 8, 6, and 4 in grades 2nd, K and a three-year-old in preschool. As life would have it, they hit some tough times. Here’s a sweet testimony about how the love of NEC touched them amidst their trial:  

Two years ago, we found out that our two-year-old daughter, Jubilee, had a dislocated hip for an unknown amount of time. It may have been since birth and nobody caught it. She had surgery in January 2017. We were pretty new to New Era Christian School. Our oldest son, Dion, had been in four-year-old preschool and at the time of the surgery was a kindergarten student.  We weren’t really familiar with the families or staff yet.  The only reason we informed anyone at school that the surgery was happening was that our son was quite concerned about it. If it came up at school, we wanted people to be aware so they knew how to help him.

When the surgery happened, Mrs. Wolffis told us to expect an envelope coming home with our kindergarten son.  Our assumption was that it was an envelope full of get well cards that the class had made. When he got home we saw it was this big office envelope full of cards signed by the students and staff with, “We’re praying for you” AND gift cards for gas, groceries and a quick bite to eat.  

Even after the surgery, we’d run into different people and they’d ask, “Are you the one with the little girl who had the surgery?  We’ve been praying for you. How’s she doing?”  People genuinely cared.  It was a little bit overwhelming because we had never been a part of a community quite like that.

When we would come in to drop Dion or Hannah off, kids would see us in the hallway with Jubilee in her big old pink body cast and would recognize her.  It wasn’t one of those things where they say that they are praying for you but they really are not. You could tell by the reactions of the kids when they saw her that they had been praying for her because they recognized her as “the baby who we prayed for.”  

Precious little Jubilee Stumpo in her pink body cast.

It was really cool to be part of a community that was so involved in helping in any way that they could.  We even had a friend through school and church that helped us with transporting our other kids from school a lot of days just so I wouldn’t have to buckle Jubilee in the car with the whole contraption.

It is really awesome to be part of a community that rallied around us and supported us when, at the time, they didn’t know us that well.

About NEC

Located in beautiful New Era, Michigan, New Era Christian School serves student preschool through 8th-grade. Of the many important decisions you’ll make in life, few are more significant than the ones that affect your children. Of these choices, selecting a school may well prove to be the most important. NEC exists to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity. To learn more about NEC contact us! 

New Era Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

The 2019 Graduates of West Michigan Christian Schools

Congratulations to all 2019 Graduates of the WMCS School Family!

Bravo! We had a lot to celebrate this year at West Michigan Christian Schools. Below is a breakdown of 6th (MCS only), 8th, and 12th-grade graduates of each WMCS member school:

8th grade grads from Fremont Christian School on jungle gym

Fremont Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Grace Boisvert
Kiarrah Bridges
Lydia Deters
Madelyn DeWeerd
Christa Hale
Landon Heykoop
Caleb Pell
Keagen Rich
Mia Rivera
Gary Springstead
Josie Visser
Sydney Wagenmaker
Jacob Walker
Matthew Whemple
Reis Wiersema
Morgan Woods
Landon Bartilameoli

GHC 2019 Grads

Grand Haven Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Jaden Binnendyk
Jonathan Clausing
Makaela Crum
Ben DeGram
Meralee Detar
Ellie Dyk
Michaela Faith
Ainslie Granzetto
Casey Guthrie
Staci Krieger
Emma Leahy
Emily Matz
Austin Meiste
Libby Miedema
Olivia Roberts
Makenna Sytsma
Brianna Zuidema

MCS 6th Grade Grads 2019

Muskegon Christian School’s 6th-Grade Graduating Class 2019:

Trevor Breuker
Levi Brown
Gabriel Cook
Elisha Croff
Lexi Daggett
Maria Eenigenberg
Kennedi Flowers
Myles Foreman
Kimora Frierson
Avia Greer
Dakota Harper
Lillian Jackson
Paydon Jackson
Trezelle Jenkins
Abigail Leffring
Hallie Lindale
Jayla Lofquist
Jacob Lynn
Luke Maat
Melia Medendorp
Chandler Medendorp
Daniel Moorhead
Theodore Osterman
Talen Peterson
Levi Postema
Ryan Rogers
Josue Sandoval
Benjamin Visser
Jessica Wakefield

NEC Grads 2019 by lake

New Era Christian School’s Graduating Class of 2019:

Kayla Balder

Chase Gowell

Ani Hill

Anna Morse

Theodore Stone

GHC 2019 Grads

WMC’s Top 10 (Sarah VanderKooi not pictured): Back row left to right: Caleb Minasian, Eli Rotman, Jack Zuidema, Andrew Hill, Hayden Hubers, and Elijah Abel. Front row left to right: Rebecca TerHarr, Josian Aardema, and Emily Rosema.

Western Michigan Christian’s Senior Class of 2019, was led by WMC’s Top Ten:

Josian Aardema will graduate as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019. She is the daughter of Kevin and Kay Aardema of Grand Haven and a member of Ferrysburg Community Church. While at WMC, Josie ran Cross Country and Track, was a coach for Girls on the Run, and a founding member of the Earth Club. In the fall she will attend Calvin College and plans to major in Environmental Science.

Elijah Abel is the son of Charissa and Kyle Abel of Norton Shores and attends Covenant Life Church in Grand Haven. While he attended WMC, he was involved with Student Council, Science Olympiad, on the Yearbook Staff and was an International Student Ambassador. In the fall he plans to major in Engineering at the University of Michigan…Go Blue!

Andrew Hill is a member of Edgewood Lutheran Church where he is a church worship musician and the son of Mark and Rhonda Hill of Norton Shores. In the fall Andrew is planning to attend Calvin College and major in Finance. While at WMC, Andrew participated in Baseball, Tennis, and Jazz Band.

Hayden Hubers is the son of Ruthie and Butch Hubers of Whitehall and attends House Church. At WMC he led worship at Chapel, played Varsity Soccer, Basketball, and sang in the Chamber Choir. He served and was involved in leading worship for local churches, served on the Youth Advisory Council, packed lunches for Feed My Starving Children, and an International Aid volunteer. He also participated in Berkley College of Music’s Summer programs and led Basketball Camps. Hayden plans to pursue something music related while taking online classes in the fall.

Caleb Minasian is the son of Michael and Kelly Minasian of Newaygo and attends First Christian Reformed Church of Fremont. While attending WMC, he has been on the Soccer and Golf Teams. Caleb also was involved in the Fall Play Tech Team, acted in the Fall Plays, and Musicals. He played in the Jazz Band, Concert Band, and sang in Chamber Choir. In the fall he plans to go to Michigan Technological University for Engineering.

Emily Rosema is the daughter of Joy and Aaron Rosema of Fruitport. She played Varsity Soccer for four years during her time at WMC. Emily plans on attending Grand Valley State University in the fall where she will major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Spanish.

Eli Rotman will graduate as the Salutatorian of his class. He is the son of Eric and Dawn Rotman and attends Second Christian Reformed Church of Grand Haven where he was in the Brass Ensemble. In his years at WMC, he ran Cross Country and Track, was in Science Olympiad, and played in Concert Band. In the fall he plans to attend the University of Michigan for Materials Science and Engineering.

Rebecca TerHaar was very involved in Volleyball, Softball, Chamber Choir, Jazz Band, and Chapel Leadership the four years she was at WMC. She is the daughter of Curt and Cheri TerHaar from Grand Haven. She will major in Occupational Therapy at Calvin College in the fall.

Sarah VanderKooi is planning on attending Albion College and majoring in their PreVet program next fall. She was active in Cross Country, Track, and sang in the Chamber Choir at WMC. She volunteered as an Equine Horse Therapist, helped at the local food trucks, and worked at a Mississippi Service Project. Sarah is the daughter of Ted and Dawn VanderKooi of Fremont. She is a member of Bethel Reformed OPC where she helped with the church refreshments and enjoyed playing piano at church.

Jack Zuidema is the son of Mark and Julie Zuidema of Muskegon and is a member of Harvest Bible Church. Jack was involved in Cross Country and Track. He also was a 4th-grade Basketball Coach for Grand Haven Christian School. Jack plans to attend Calvin College and major in Actuarial Science in the fall.

The complete WMC Class of 2019 includes:

In alphabetical order: Josie Aardema, Elijah Abel, Drew Andree, Delaney Bakker, McKenna Bonnema, Zachary Butkis, Allesha Cooper, Bri Curtis, Ema Davis, Chuma Dumalisile, Anika Eenigenburg, Nolan Fairfield, Elijah Faith, Libby Fisher, Travis Goodrich, Holly Gould, Noelle Gray, Joe Hain, Lex Hall-Bacon, Andrew Hill, Mon Ho, Sydney Holtvluwer, Hayden Hubers, Haeseong (Daniel) Jeung, Yubin Kim, Morgan Kinnucan, Ngoc La, Jada Love, Li Xun (Morrison) Ma, Khanya Mbutuma,  Caleb Minasian, Sarah Moorhead, Kyle Morris, Tylor Morrison, Emily Myers, Madi Pearce, Tam Pham, Andrew Rasmussen, Emily Rosema, Eli Rotman, Evan Ruiter, Zandile Skolpati, Tyler Somers, Katie Summerfield, Jared Swords, Anna Sytsema, Brandon Sytsma, Rebecca TerHaar, Paul Tyaliti, Daniel Vanbiesbrouck, Sarah VanderKooi, Elizabeth Vos, Heechan Wang, Shangfei (Sam) Wang, Steph Weesies, Kyle Wolffis, Brant Zeerip, and Jack Zuidema.

Interested in learning more about our 5-school faith-based education from preschool to 12th grade?

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West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS), is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

Grand Haven Christian School is a Safe Haven for Students

How One Family Found Refuge in GHC: A Heartfelt Testimony

GHC is able to boast about our excellent academic program, as evident by our test scores and the success of our students beyond their time at GHC, but we are so much more to our students and families. Shaping hearts is part of our mission statement and a focus for our teachers and staff. Our desire is to create an environment where students feel safe, loved, and cared for – knowing they are a wonderful creation and child of God. The academic successes will follow, but for students to know who they are and whose they are is of utmost importance. We had a family transfer to GHC for this very reason last year and found their daughter’s life transformed by her experiences here.

Read for yourself about how God worked through GHC to create a safe and loving school experience for the Orr family:

Upon completion of fourth grade in the public school system, it was inevitable that our daughter would soon further her education at the public intermediate school in the fall. Our daughter has always been a shy, introverted child with a large tender heart. During her year in second grade, she faced a great deal of bullying. It became so intense, that the principal concluded it would be best for our daughter and all students within the classroom to remove two of the students and place them in other classrooms. As you can imagine, this type of bullying created a great deal of anxiety, inability to focus, low self-esteem and a change in her academics. Fortunately, her third and fourth-grade teachers took her under their wings and rebuilt her academic and self-confidence. By the end of her fourth grade, she was ready to take on her new adventures in the fall within the public intermediate school.

By the fourth week in the intermediate school, the phone calls began, and our daughter was in the office physically sick on a regular basis and the tears didn’t stop.  As anticipated, we felt the transition period could be rough, but believed she would work through it. We instantly became more involved at school. Weekly/daily meetings began along with regular emails to her teachers and even flowers for the secretary who stayed with her whenever she was sick and did all she could to calm her.

Homeschooling became a consistent request, along with the plea of, “Please do not make me go back, PLEASE!” Her academics began to decline, she was becoming more introverted and depressed. We were very fortunate that she was always willing to talk and share her experiences with us. While we listened and continued to encourage her to stay positive and keep the faith, we stayed involved. Our gut told us this was not where we wanted her to stay, we quietly began researching other options. The more we researched, the more defeated and confused we became.

Enter, Grand Haven Christian. We had numerous friends who had children attend and graduate from GHC. While we felt somewhat familiar with the school, we gathered more information and planned for her to do a school visit. In preparation for this visit, we found a sense of peace knowing that during this day our faith in God would be shared by the very people she would call classmates. Our daughter did not know a soul at the time of her first visit. With all she had been through you can imagine how we felt leaving her at GHC for the day. We cried when we left her and cried, even more, when we picked her up! Why? Well, she jumped in the car with a smile and said, “This is it! This is where I belong, this is where I want to be!” A year and a half later still not one tear shed and she still has a smile nearly every morning and afternoon.

Academically, she spent only six months in 5th-grade and loved every minute of it. Sixth-grade started a little rough for us, partly because we were not familiar with the routine and things came quickly at us. Tessa seemed to be getting behind and we quickly asked to meet with one teacher to talk it through. To our amazement, we walked into a meeting room where nearly EVERY teacher was present! We were in total amazement, as each sat with their computers taking notes and sharing notes, they made it clear that our daughter and her academic success mattered to more people than just us! We were able to share some history. Suddenly, the things they were seeing made sense and their input helped us tremendously!! To this day, I feel they are there for her and our family as a whole. Academically, she is proud to be an Honor Roll student and is so thankful to have supportive teachers on her side!

When we started at GHC, there was one thing that disappointed her! There wasn’t an equestrian team. That was a dream of hers all through grade school, to be a part of a school equestrian team. We simply said, “If you want it, then we will have to figure it out! Let’s see what can be done to make it happen. Complaining about it will not change the situation.” She started 5th-grade in January by mid-March, GHC had an Equestrian team. With only six weeks to prepare for their first competition, the team placed 3rd overall. This year, however, they won the competition! They returned from the equestrian meet with the championship trophy, which is currently displayed in the GHC trophy case! The support of the school, the school board, teachers and students has meant the world to her!

three girls and one of a horse

Congratulations to the GHC Equestrian team in making MIE and school history by tying for first place this weekend in the Michigan Interscholastic Equestrian competition which was held in Ludington. The team was small but mighty led by Alaina Somers and Tessa Orr, with grooming help from Kaitlin Haight, and coached by Karen Orr. We are so proud of the hard work of all of these ladies and are proud of the way they represented GHC and all of WMCS!

Tessa has always refused taking part in other sports as she is so afraid of being made fun of, it was a huge surprise when she announced she was going to play basketball this year. What a joy it was to hear that her classmates encouraged her to join the team. Her agreeing to follow through and play through to the end is a huge testament as to her feelings about the school and her classmates. We guarantee you, she would not have ever entertained the idea for even a brief moment at her previous school. So thankful!

Tessa has a younger sister graduating from fourth grade, at a public school, in just a few weeks. She has a very large network of friends that will be moving onto the public Intermediate school. We’ve talked about the fact that her sister is a different child who’s had different life experiences, with a different network of friends. Do we pull her from her friends and the public school system or do we give it a second try? Well, simply said by the 9-year-old, “Mom, Dad here’s the deal, I can call those friends at any time. I will make new friends at GHC. I want to go to school and start my day with prayer. I want to learn more about God. I want to be happy every day and I want to feel ‘safe’ like Tessa said when she started at GHC,”  She continued with, “I sure don’t want all of the craziness; I just want a good education!” Well, please look for Brylie at GHC this fall!

We truly feel GHC saved Tessa in many ways. She knows now she can feel safe at school. She can have a voice, be heard and not be made fun of or judged. She can be a part of the team and even create her own. It’s o.k. to laugh out loud while getting an education. It’s truly o.k. to believe in yourself and, in others. She’s always known, but now believes that “It’s okay to cast away your cares upon Jesus, for He cares for you!”

 About GHC

Located in beautiful Grand Haven, Michigan, Grand Haven Christian School offers the most comprehensive Christian day school program in the area. Teaching from the Reformed perspective that emphasizes Jesus as Lord of all areas of life, we offer classes for students preschool through 8th-grade in all regular academic disciplines as well as physical education, band, choir, music, visual arts, computer technology, and introductory Spanish. Contact GHC today for more information! 

Grand Haven Christian School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools  (WMCS),  a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region, including Western Michigan Christian (7-12), Fremont Christian (PK-8), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian (PK-6) and New Era Christian (PK-8). The WMCS system works under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality PK-12 Christian Education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs.

If you and your children are not already a part of the WMCS family, please prayerfully consider the PK-12 private Christian education of West Michigan Christian Schools for your children!

CONTACT US today for more information!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Lizzie Van Wyk

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Lizzie van Wyk of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Preschool teacher Lizzie Van Wyk works with preschoolers that are all in the age range of 3-5 years old! Currently, in the 2018-19 school year,  she has thirty-four students that bring so much happiness and joy to her life!
 
Lizzie is a FCS alum too! She grew up in Fremont, and attended Fremont Christian School from PreK through 8th grade! She loves to interact with those who poured so much time into helping her grow to be a follower of Christ when she was a young student! Now, she gets the honor of teaching the children & grandchildren of her former instructors! To that point, Lizzie strongly feels that there is nothing that speaks more to her than this verse:  “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4) “I had so many teachers throughout my time as a student at FCS that really declared the Lord’s mighty acts to me. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent here as a student, and I will continue to share with the next generation!” declared Lizzie.
 
I had so many teachers throughout my time as a student at FCS that really declared the Lord’s mighty acts to me. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent here as a student, and I will continue to share with the next generation!
 
Volleyball team selfie

I have loved coaching middle school volleyball with my co-coach Kaitlyn Arendsen!

 
She graduated from Calvin College with a BA in Early Childhood Education and began teaching at FCS in 2016.
 
Lizzie and 3 other YL leaders

In my free time, I spend a lot of time with high school students from Fremont High School through Fremont Young Life! We have a great time learning about Jesus, telling stories, playing crazy games and building relationships! This picture is of the 4 Fremont YL leaders and was taken up at Timberwolf Lake, a Young Life camp!

 
When she is not at school, Lizzie spends time on the lake with her extended family, she coaches middle school volleyball and ministers to high schoolers through Fremont Young Life!
Lizzie and friends on a boat

Spending time out on Fremont Lake with some friends from college!

 
Lizzie loves her job, and coming to work is so life-giving that most days she says that it doesn’t feel like “work.” Her favorite part about teaching at FCS is being able to show children the ways God blesses us each day, through the small things like learning how to snap, to the big things like reading your first book! 
 
Lizzie loves her job, and coming to work is so life-giving that most days she says that it doesn’t feel like work.
 
Lizzie and her husband Zach

My husband Zach is a youth director at 2nd CRC in Fremont. He is also a Young Life church partner! We’ve been married since 2016, and love living and working in Fremont together!

 
Lizzie shared that “God has richly blessed Fremont Christian Preschool, and I continue to learn new things about the Lord and the intricate human beings he created.”
 
God has richly blessed Fremont Christian Preschool, and I continue to learn new things about the Lord and the intricate human beings he created.

Everyone at FCS and all of us at WMCS are grateful for her wonderful contribution!

Q & A with Lizzie

1. Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you? 

A: Every year I challenge myself to try three new things throughout the year. This year my 3 things have been:

  • Start a garden at my house! It has been SO fun to research, plan out, plant, and tend to! 
  • My sister and I started a small business together this year, and it has given me GREAT JOY and time to try new projects as well as spend time with her! JoyJane Designs is a shop of recycled/refurbished Christmas handmade products. (When the website or social media accounts launch, we’ll add a link. Stay tuned!)
  • Playing the Piano! I took lessons for eight years when I was in elementary/middle school, but really hadn’t played for the last nine years! I picked it back up this year when I got a second-hand piano from some church friends, and I LOVE it!
2.   Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you?

A:  I love trying new things! I also love a good challenge. Teaching can be a great challenge, and every day in preschool is a new, unique, and challenging day so that seems to be a great combination! 

I love trying new things! I also love a good challenge. Teaching can be a great challenge, and every day in preschool is a new, unique, and challenging day so that seems to be a great combination! 

3. Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

A: I am most grateful for the families that entrust us with their kids! I’m thankful for the partnerships that we have and that we can all see them as children of God, who are unique and growing in Christ! 

Classroom shot of kids dresses in Seuss costumes

The preschoolers enjoyed dressing up as the Cat in the Hat this year! One of my preschool aides, Gail Wagenmaker jumped right in on the fun of being Thing 1 & Thing 2!

I am most grateful for the families that entrust us with their kids! I’m thankful for the partnerships that we have and that we can all see them as children of God, who are unique and growing in Christ! 

 
4. Q: What’s your favorite drink?

A: Some of our family friends own a farm in Hudsonville that produces ginger soda & Elderflower soda! That has definitely been my beverage of choice for the past few years!

Cans of Ginger & Elderflower Soda

Ginger & Elderflower Craft Soda are Lizzie’s faves!

I’m also an avid coffee drinker, but I can NOT handle it black! Pass the flavored creamer, please! 

 
 
5. Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

A: We were learning about animal habitats and traits. I asked my students if anyone knew what the word nocturnal means, and a little boy raised his hand and ever so enthusiastically said: “ When you knock on a turtle shell!”

Another favorite moment happened this year. We have been learning the song “Great are You, Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. We were learning the part where it says, “we pour out our praise to YOU only.” Every line we learned, we discussed what it meant, and one of my youngest students ever so sweetly said, “I wish I could pour out my praise to Jesus all the time.” It was such a sweet reminder for me! 
 
6. Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: The thing I love the most about my job is that I get to see first hand how God is working in the lives of small children. This is most prominent in how they relate with each other, how they explore HIS creation, and how their curiosity about Jesus gives me great opportunities to talk about how much HE loves them!

The thing I love the most about my job is that I get to see first hand how God is working in the lives of small children. This is most prominent in how they relate with each other, how they explore HIS creation, and how their curiosity about Jesus gives me great opportunities to talk about how much HE loves them!

Lizzie on living room floor reading to her nieces and nephew

Altogether, I have 6 nieces and 1 nephew that live in Fremont, Muskegon, and Iowa! They know that every time they ask me to read a book, that I simply can’t say no to them!

7. Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: The best part of my day is our morning meeting! I get to hear what is on the hearts of the littles in my room, who they want to pray for, what fun things they did this weekend, and what they are looking forward to learning more about!

3-shot of Lizzie and her mom and sister

Thrift shopping is the name of the game – and a large part of the small business that my sister and I have!

As a beloved faculty member, Lizzie is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

Join us all in celebrating Lizzie and the amazing Kingdom work she does at FCS.

Lizzie, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

 

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

 

 

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Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Muskegon Christian School’s Liz Morrison

WMCS Teachers are the BEST!

Teacher Tuesday Spotlights Extraordinary Faculty

CONGRATULATIONS Liz!

Every Tuesday throughout the school year, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight some of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Liz Morrison of Muskegon Christian School (PK-6)

Elizabeth Morrison has been an educator at Muskegon Christian School since 2002, mostly teaching English Language Arts and Computers, but also helping with paraprofessional work and the onset of the childcare program.
Liz attended Hastings High School and in 2001, she graduated with a B.A. in Education from Western Michigan University with a triple major in Science, English, and Elementary Education. She has since earned her professional certification and is close to acquiring endorsements in Math, Social Studies, and Writing. She has had the “privilege,” as she warmly explains it, of coaching Cheerleading, Girls Basketball, Girls on the Run, Middle School Track and Field, and Destination Imagination.She enjoys her sixth-grade students, especially when they expose their varied personalities and togetherness as a family, realizing the need to work hard to include everyone–even their teacher! “Talk about representing the Fellowship of Saints!” warmheartedly explains Liz.

She can her husband Brandon have a mini Dauschound named Peanut.

Weiner dog

Liz’s Sweet Dog Peanut

Enjoy getting to know Liz a little better in this Q&Q below:

Q & A w/ Liz

1. Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher?

A: The Lord has gifted me to form relationships with my students in order to form a comfortable, consistent, reliable place to learn about God and His world. I try to provide non-verbal and verbal opportunities for students to tell me their likes, dislikes, struggles, strengths, hopes, prayers and anything else so they feel valued and important…which they certainly all are. Students need opportunities for me to learn as much from them as they learn from me and Project Based Learning really opens a lot of exploration/expression opportunities and discovery. Whether it is a painful or a celebratory situation, my students know they don’t need to go through it alone as I am a Servant of Christ here to show His Love and Joy and experience life as a collaboration.

Lis and her MCS Students.

2. Q: If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be? 

A: If I could change one thing about my job it would be upgrades to the building in which I work, specifically, making it more sustainable and usable for the community. Upgrades such as:  1) energy efficient windows 2) wind turbine and/or solar panels to cut our energy costs and reliance on gas/fossil fuels 3) organic, farm-fresh local food in our hot lunches or food grown in our own raised garden beds at school once established 4) reduction in plastic and styrofoam waste in our lunch program 5) motion-sensor lights in community areas such as the bathrooms, hallways, lobby, outdoor parking. Also, incentives for staff to be eco-friendly such as: rewards for carpooling/biking/walking to work, packing your own cold lunch in reusable containers, a perk for going 100 days without calling in a sub due to illness, gift cards from the script office to staff who use the least amount of papers for copies per week. 6) MCS could be a community safe haven for the surrounding neighborhoods in the event of power outage: if we have power, we could open our doors as a place to keep warm and freshen up; even show a free movie or provide food that our food-service program might have as extra or that will expire due to cancellations. If we DON’T have power, purchase a generator in order to keep the lunch area powered and heated to welcome the community for a meal/chance to use the restroom or eat a simple dinner. A “Hospitality Committee” could be formed to implement this should needs arise. It would increase our outreach and constituents. 

3. Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job? 

A: Grateful!? Let me count the ways:

*An administrator who: clears the snow off our cars in the parking lot, shovels the snow off the porches, calls the single teachers when they’re ill and not at school to make sure they’re okay, backs up his staff sacrificially, jump-starts cars, checks tire pressures,  makes the tough phone calls, runs the dynamic meetings…Christ is His center. Trust in God trickles down to trust in his staff he believes were chosen by God.
*The teachers and other staff that: gather to pray for each other twice-weekly, will do anything for each other, aren’t afraid to hold each other accountable, will instantly apologize, give gifts or the occasional fun-prank, they love the Lord and express it in multiple languages which is beautiful to hear.
*The parents and students when: you experience an academic breakthrough or huge answer to prayer with them, they throw you a surprise birthday party, come on field trips when you know it cost them an arm and a leg to take the day(s) off AND they’re paying tuition on top of it, make little posters/pictures/signs out of the blue that you know you won’t ever be able to throw away, invite you to dinner + concerts + athletic games, show up to parent-teacher conferences which begin and end with a hug like I’m part of a family…their family.
*The Alumni continue: to recruit, serve, support, volunteer, be involved, tutor, donate, and spread the word about MCS and create a legacy with Christian Education as the center.

4. Q: We’re wrapping up year one with Teaching for Transformation. What has struck you most about TfT so far?

A: Ten years ago at a church service, the sermon my husband and I attended spoken by Bill Rudd of the Cycle of God’s Creation: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Renewal. The listeners were encouraged to think of everyone and everything as having a spot/purpose along this cycle in their own story. From then on, I started viewing the students God placed in my classroom as someone along this spectrum and it was my “Ah Hah” moment at TFT training:

*Is God Creating a new atmosphere/opportunity for this student here at MCS?
*Are they in the midst of a Fall or about to be victim of one and how do I meet their restoration needs either academically, emotionally, or spiritually?
*Are they Redemptive agents and how do I enable/equip them to do so? Am I supposed to be this role in their lives? Parent? Administrator? Pastor? Sometimes it takes the whole team.
*Renewal: all the planning, meetings, inservices, classes, studies, staff changes, life changes…God is making me new in preparation for what comes next, whatever that may be….just around the corner or 10 years from now. All I know is the last 17 years at MCS has made me who I am. A disciple who hopes to produce other disciples….’for a lifetime of Christian Discipleship.”

Liz and her husband dressed up for vintage tiki night with their camper club.

5. Q: What’s your favorite beverage?

A: My specific, favorite non-alcoholic beverage would be in a 16 oz glass: 5 ice cubes, then fill the glass half full of no-pulp, Tropicana Orange Juice, the other half with Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail, topped with a splash of Dole 100 % White Grapefruit Juice (no sugar added). Drink through a straw so the amino acids only deplete the enamel on the back molars, not the front teeth.

Feel free to show Liz LOVE & APPRECIATION by treating her! 😉

6. Q: What are some unique blessings on your life?

A. Blessings of my life are being married and involved in the happenings and growth of Nelson Neighborhood. In the past 3 years, owning a large historical home has allowed us to host 8 Muskegon Lumberjack hockey players and 3 German exchange students through Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Besides these (BIG) kids filling the house, I also enjoy keeping up with two miniature dachshunds who seem to bark at anything, even their own reflection at times! By far, the months of year that MCS is in session are my favorite times since God’s presence can be seen, heard, and felt through this wonderful community of learners, faculty, and parents.

Egor, (from Russia) Michael, (from Finland) me, and Alex (from Russia) The are Muskegon Lumberjacks who’ve lived me.

As a beloved faculty member, Liz is part of the heart of WMCS. We are so BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Erin and the amazing Kingdom work she does at MCS.

Liz, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars! Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Audrey Markel

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday during the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative highlights a teacher from one of our five schools.

We have many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels.

They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Audrey Markel of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Western Michigan Christian Junior High and High School

Ashely Markel grew up in Texas and then graduated from Ouachita Baptist University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and in Secondary Education. She went on to earn a Master’s of Science Degree in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University.

In 2017, Audrey completed her National Board Certification in Grades 6-12 Mathematics. She coached soccer and taught mathematics for five years in West Memphis, Arkansas before getting married to her husband Kyle and moving to Muskegon in 2017 where she taught at Muskegon High School.

Bride flanked by 16 bridesmaids in pastel dresses of blue, pinks and purple

Some of Audrey’s friends in her wedding in August 2017!

The 2017-18 school year was Audrey’s first year teaching at Western Michigan Christian. She teaches middle school math and basic algebra and coaches WMC’s middle school girls soccer team.

WMC MS soccer team and Coach Audrey having an after game snack

Audrey Coaches WMC’s middle school girl’s soccer team.

Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Audrey

1.  What’s your favorite teaching moment to date?

My most favorite teaching moment to date was probably on the Thursday before Easter 2019. I placed math problems in Easter eggs and hid them around the room. It was so fun to watch them get more excited about doing math problems just because they found them in an easter egg!

I placed math problems in Easter eggs and hid them around the room. It was so fun to watch them get more excited about doing math problems just because they found them in an easter egg!

Math is a content area that requires practice so I always love when students are able to still enjoy their time practicing even if it’s something as simple as doing an easter egg hunt. I especially love it here at WMC because so many of the students will even say “thank you” as they leave class. That means the world to me.

We’ve had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon. From this experience, the students learned that failures and mistakes are excellent teaching moments.

We’ve had long talks about how not everything is always going to go your way, and when it doesn’t, to always try to learn what can be improved upon.

Group pic of Audrey and her students having fun.

6th and 7th-grade lock-in at WMC!

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

Most people here don’t know that my favorite food is Indian.

Sampler plate of Indian food.

Audrey’s favorite food is Indian cuisine!

3. What do you love about your job and why?

I LOVE getting to build relationships with people. I love getting to see these students and the staff every single day.

God has blessed us by allowing us to do life with others who are also uniquely created in his image. By seeing each other every single day, we have the opportunity to see so much more of God as we build relationships!

There are many trials that we go through in life and we are not meant to go through them alone.

There are many trials that we go through in life and we are not meant to go through them alone. It is such a gift to walk alongside students and staff and encourage each other to throw off everything that pulls us away from Christ and to continue to run the race of life with perseverance as we near the day of redemption (Hebrews 12:1-3)!

It is such a gift to walk alongside students and staff and encourage each other to throw off everything that pulls us away from Christ and to continue to run the race of life with perseverance as we near the day of redemption (Hebrews 12:1-3)!

Audrey dressed as a hamburger with french fry hat and Ms. Lile a princess in purple holding a toad.

Hanging out with Ms. Lile, a colleague at WMC, at a high school dance.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

I LOVE morning devotionals with my first-hour class. I have spent my teaching career in the public school setting. It is so freeing to get to openly talk about the light of the world and the LIFE that only Jesus can offer and the relationship that we get to have with God the Father through the gift of Christ and his Spirit!

I LOVE morning devotionals with my first-hour class. I have spent my teaching career in the public school setting. It is so freeing to get to openly talk about the light of the world and the LIFE that only Jesus can offer and the relationship that we get to have with God the Father through the gift of Christ and his Spirit!

I love getting to hear from my students during this time. They are so courageous as they choose to be vulnerable and share with the class how they relate to the devotional, and how they are being challenged and encouraged. Many of them have chosen to share a devotional as well.

It is so cool to have space set aside each day to intentionally encourage each other to connect with our Creator and Savior. I love hearing them pray. I love hearing them share how God impacts their lives and changes their hearts.

I love hearing them pray. I love hearing them share how God impacts their lives and changes their hearts.

After spending time in the Word together, it is such a blessing to then get to see how the Word of God shapes their lives. During this time they have written encouraging notes to staff and family and they seem to really enjoy it.

Class group photo on Pi Day.

Pi Day celebration with 4th hour!

5. How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher?

The Lord has gifted me with a love of “story.” This has helped me develop relationships with students as I genuinely care about and want to know what God is doing in their lives. 

As relationships are built, it helps me to better understand how to help motivate each student. Having a relationship with students through an appreciation of their story also helps me towards empathy when a student is having a tough day. If a student is acting out it is typically because they are hurting.

As relationships are built, it helps me to better understand how to help motivate each student. Having a relationship with students through an appreciation of their story also helps me towards empathy when a student is having a tough day. If a student is acting out it is typically because they are hurting.

If they have let us into part of their story, it is easier to identify this and then know how to encourage and challenge them.

6. What do you enjoy doing outside of school?

I love spending time with my husband and other family and friends. I also love getting to know more of Jesus by being outdoors in his creation, especially when I get to do that with people I love.

Audrey's husband takes a group selfie while traveling in Scotland with family with ocean view in background

Audrey’s husband takes a group selfie while traveling in Scotland with family in July 2018.

I love learning and I love creating various forms of art. I love being active and working out and doing as many adventures as possible!

Audrey and Kyle sitting in full snowboard gear on a snowy slope with ski lift in background.

Audrey’s snowboarding adventure with fiance Kyle just after he proposed on the top of the mountain. Friends and family were waiting to surprise her at the bottom!

I love to travel and meet new people and try new things and eating all types of food. I love sloths and dolphins and piglets and dogs.

Audrey hugging a sloth in Roatan with hubby behind her.

A dream come true for Audrey! Holding a sloth during Spring Break in Roatan 2019.

7. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

I love coffee! Peet’s is my all time favorite.

Peet's coffee cup

Audrey’s favorite coffee is Peet’s!

As a beloved faculty member, Audrey is a very special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Audrey and the amazing Kingdom work she does at WMC.

Audrey, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Tyler Ray

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

Every Tuesday throughout the spring, the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative will highlight one of our very special teachers from all five schools.

We have so many gifted faculty members who work tirelessly to train up students at all PK-12th-grade levels. They use their giftedness and teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Tyler Ray of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School Store

The 208-19 school year marks Tyler’s third year at Grand Haven Christian School where he teaches physical education and technology to young fives all the way up to 8th-grade teens.

He attended New Era Christian School as a child went on to graduate high school from Western Michigan Christian. He is a WMCS alum through and through! 

Tyler and his wife Breanna met as juniors at WMC in high school.

Tyler and Bre on their wedding day on a bridge outside

Tyler and his wife Breanna met as juniors at WMC in high school.

They have been married for almost three years and are the proud parents of two golden retriever puppies!

two golden retrievers on a couch

Tyler and Breanna’s fur babies, Opie and Piper.

After WMC, Tyler headed to college and received his teaching degree from Cornerstone University. When he enrolled I was taking macroeconomics and finance courses, but God had other plans! (See question #7 below to learn more about his journey into education.)

 Enjoy getting to know him a bit more!

Q & A with Tyler

1.  What is your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

In addition to teaching at GHC, I have the great opportunity of coaching the WMC boys junior varsity basketball team. That’s where I get to see a few players that I had in class at Grand Haven Christian! It is fun to be in a teaching environment that is different from a traditional school setting. We get to spend A LOT of time together, which just makes the relationship we built at GHC even stronger.  

It is fun to be in a teaching environment that is different from a traditional school setting.

Coach Ray and the JV basketball team on the sideline

Coach Ray giving his WMC JV boys basketball team direction during a timeout.

2.   What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

During my college summers and leading up to my first teaching opportunity, I worked on a farm for five years.

Our largest crops were apples, cherries asparagus, but we also grew strawberries, peaches, and blueberries. I loved being out in God’s creation, driving tractors and sprayers, and being able to literally harvest the fruits of our labor.

I loved being out in God’s creation, driving tractors and sprayers, and being able to literally harvest the fruits of our labor.

3.  What do you love most about your job and why?

What I love most about my job is the opportunity to connect and build relationships with students. I do enjoy the craziness of running around, playing games, and teaching new sports. However, being able to sit down and have a conversation about what’s going on in their life, how their day is going or leading a short devotion is what makes all of this so awesome.

I grew up with great mentors because of Christian education and if I can be that same person who can share my faith and be a role model than I believe I have done my job as an educator in a Christian school.

I grew up with great mentors because of Christian education and if I can be that same person who can share my faith and be a role model than I believe I have done my job as an educator in a Christian school.

4.   What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is about fifteen minutes before the first bell rings. Usually consisting of middle schoolers, anywhere from 2 – 12 students come into my office just to hang out and talk. Some of them bring in some last minute homework but others just stop by to tell me about their weekend or day, ask me about how I fit on the moped I drive to school, or to grab a kickball and just bounce it off the wall. To the passers-by, it may seem like chaos at times but to me, it is a place of joy, smiles, and laughter.

The best part of my day is about fifteen minutes before the first bell rings.. students come into my office just to hang out and talk…To the passers-by, it may seem like chaos at times but to me, it is a place of joy, smiles, and laughter.

Group photo of Tyler and some early elementary students outside

5. How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher?

The Lord has gifted me with patience for both Kindergartners and Middle Schoolers. He has blessed me with a large presence that I can use to motivate and encourage physical activity and exercise as well as a passion to be a leader. I love to teach and coach and with that, I can share my experiences to help others in their academics, faith, and everyday life.

I love to teach and coach and with that, I can share my experiences to help others in their academics, faith, and everyday life.

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?Can of Arizona Tea Arnold Palmer

I try to limit myself to just drinking water, but on a hot summer day, my favorite would be an Arnold Palmer. I usually try to sneak that large Arizona jug onto the grocery list.

 

7. What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have taught at New Era Christian where I attended K – 8th,  but also for my current position at Grand Haven Christian.

When I enrolled in college I was taking macroeconomics and finance. I had zero intentions of being a teacher. Then I realized God had different plans and a passion for Physical Education blossomed!

Every day I am so grateful to be able to share the love of Christ and spend time with these students.

When I enrolled in college I was taking macroeconomics and finance. I had zero intentions of being a teacher. Then I realized God had different plans and a passion for Physical Education blossomed. Every day I am so grateful to be able to share the love of Christ and spend time with these students.

Tyler and Bre holding massive iguana

Tyler and his bride Bre enjoying the Mayan Riviera.

 

As a beloved faculty member, Tyler is a special part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating him and the amazing Kingdom work he does at GHC.

Tyler and his lovely wife in a flower field

Tyler and Breanna Ray

Tyler, in celebration of YOU and Teacher Tuesday, DIBS! On Resale would like to say “Thank You!” with $10 in DIBS! Dollars!

Please check in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this gift!

Did you hear? GOOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING at DIBS! and $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

Recently relocated to a new store in Muskegon, DIBS! On Resale opened its doors in 2012 to benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.