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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Mikaela Deur

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 Mikaela Deur of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School Store

Mikaela has been teaching Kindergarten at Grand Haven Christian since the fall of 2017. She attended GHC as a student all the way through, from preschool to 8th-grade graduation. After that, she attended  Western Michigan Christian High School and went on to Calvin College for her education degree. “It feels like coming home to be back here,” explains Mikaela. Having her back is a delightful homecoming for her and the GHC staff alike!

It feels like coming home to be back here (at GHC).

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Mikaela

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

One day last winter I was on recess-duty and one of my students ran up to me to hold my hand and walk with me. She looked up at me and said, “Miss D, I always walk next to you at recess because it’s the warmest spot… you know, because love is warmer than everything and you love us so much.”

I’m always overwhelmed by the outpouring of love that comes from kindergartners. I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them!

I could write a book of all the incredibly sweet and authentic things that these students have said to me. They love so deeply and it’s such a gift to be able to teach them.

Getting ready to sing with GRSC in Carnegie Hall.

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

I actually sing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus.

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with them!

Last year I had the amazing privilege of singing on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York with the Grand Rapids Symphony Choir!3.   What do you love most about your job?

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

There are so many things I could say because kindergarteners might just be the best people in the world! They’re eager and enthusiastic about learning. They’re 100% authentic to themselves. They tell some pretty incredible knock-knock jokes.

But I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

I think what I love most of all is that everything that we do in our classroom can come back to Jesus. Every conversation that we have can be framed around our amazing Savior. It’s a freedom and a privilege that I don’t take for granted to be able to pray, teach the Bible, and talk about Jesus all throughout our day.

Celebrating March is Reading Month with favorite book character day in Kindergarten.

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

I love our mornings. I try to make sure every student is greeted by their name and given an uplifting interaction at least twice within the first 10-15 minutes. My students start the day being greeted at the door, then move right into working on their own specific list of sight words. Once they’ve finished this quick activity, everyone gets a high five or a fist bump, and then they get to play with loose parts for a couple of minutes. Almost every student is working on different sight words, so it’s a simple way to differentiate every morning. It also gives me a chance to have a conversation with every student and frame their day for success.

This always leads right into our morning meeting, where my students get to greet their peers, we sing a worship song and pray together. Not to mention, kindergarteners come in with an amazing amount of enthusiasm and so much exciting news to share after 18 hours away from their teacher, so it’s always wonderful for me to hear what is happening in their lives as they come in!

100 days of Kindergarten!

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

I’m pretty much constantly singing, so it was only natural for me to become a kindergarten teacher. We sing about anything and everything. After our morning work and loose parts STEM play, we start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

We start every morning with a worship song from there on, our day is packed with songs about finding good fit spots, shapes, counting, days of the week, the weather, letter sounds, Bible stories… you name the topic and I’ve got a song for it!

Leading with the worship team at her church. When their church building was under renovation they meet in the GHC gym!

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

I’ve been known to sip on an iced coffee with cream and vanilla all school day… but I also love Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper.

As a beloved faculty member, Mikaela 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 her and the amazing Kingdom work she does at GHC.

Enjoying a vacation to Gulf Shores, AL with her family.

Mikaela’s sister and brother, Paige Deur and Will Deur.

Mikaela, 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.

West Michigan Christian Schools Announces New Community Based Instruction Partnerships for HS Students

ESS UPDATE: New CBI Opportunities in Grand Haven

West Michigan Christian School’s Educational Support Services (ESS) team is excited to announce new Community-Based Instruction (CBI) partnerships for our high school students at two local Lakeshore businesses.  

Grand Haven-based Lake Effect Kitchen and Chow Hound Pet Supplies are providing opportunities for CBI for Western Michigan Christian High School (WMC) students with diverse learning needs. Juniors and Seniors on the Certificate of Completion track at WMC, now have the opportunity to learn more about their God-given strengths and gifts in the workplace, which serves to prepare students for potential employment post-high school.

 

Photo caption: Sawyer Arkema, a New Era Christian School graduate and currently a Junior at WMC, enjoys cooking and loves animals. The WMC ESS team sought out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and passions.

“These Community Based Instruction opportunities allow our students invaluable and inclusive vocational opportunities. I am proud to share that we currently have the ability and resources to bring these opportunities to our students. This helps build on the vision of WMCS, which is to support whole-families by allowing students of all learning needs the opportunity to be a part of the WMCS family, no matter their individual ability,” shares Whitney Jackson, WMCS Director of Educational Support Services and CBI co-project head.

After conducting student “interest inventories,” the WMCS ESS team determines each child’s areas of interests, gifts, and passions. The ESS team then seeks out workplaces that could utilize those gifts and abilities.

 

Lake Effect Kitchen is a commercial kitchen located in Grand Haven, Michigan, specializing in take-home meals. They mentor students with disabilities through their CBI program and have recently hired two employees on the autism spectrum. Their vision is to provide authentic community and competitive employment for all.

As part of the CBI program, students participate in serving lunch to students at a local elementary school as well as prepare for lunch at the kitchen using their culinary skills. This helps students strengthen their social skills, as well as, learning skills for working within a kitchen setting.

 

Chow Hound Pet Supplies stores are located in the greater Grand Rapids area, Holland, Grand Haven, & Portage. As West Michigan’s largest family-owned pet store, students gaining experience at Chow Hound have the opportunity to help with daily cleaning tasks as well as preparing for animals to be groomed.

 

Once students complete their four years at WMC, students are eligible to continue receiving educational services until they turn twenty-six years old through their residential school district. Families are encouraged to reach out to their zoned districts to learn more about what programs they offer as each district varies.

LEARN MORE about WMCS ESS.

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) 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.

Much Fun & Funds Raised at the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

Better Together: All Five West Michigan Christian Schools Come Together for an Annual Fundraiser

Over the past three years, the WMCS Golf Outing has made a difference in the lives of thousands of students who attend any one of our five West Michigan Christian Schools and their families. Whether by raising funds or by providing a fun 5-school community event of fellowship, this best-ball tournament is successful and well-attended every year.

“We sold out a week before the event,” explained GHC’s Kristin Clausing. “That’s a first for us! In years past, we always had room for foursomes to sign up the day of.” The WMCS golf event committee encourages golfers to get their foursomes in early next year to reserve a spot.

Barb serving and talking with golfers

Barb Sikkenga catered breakfast for the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing. She also served lunch!

I enjoy golfing but I also love to serve our 5-school community!

The event, held at Grand View Golf Course at Double JJ Resort in New Era, was catered by Barb Sikkenga, whose granddaughter currently attends Fremont Christian School and three children graduated New Era Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School. Also on the WMCS Collaborative Board,  Sikkenga served a lovely continental breakfast complete with her famous cinnamon rolls.  “I enjoy golfing but I also love to serve our 5-school community!” shared the service-minded Sikkenga.

When the golfers completed the course, they enjoyed a delicious picnic style lunch also catered by Sikkenga complete with pulled pork sliders, sides, and dessert. WMCS is so grateful for the generosity of the Sikkenga family— a sincere thank you to you and Brian for your ongoing support in our school community!

 

Denice Belknap with tickets

Denice Belknap, Director of Advancement at WMC, offered golfers a fun challenge at hole #11.

This year, Denise Belknap of WMC and one of the golf event coordinators, provided golfers with something new at hole #11. Belknap, who also serves as Director of Advancement for WMC, enlisted the help of WMC student golfers Daniel Vanbiesbrouk and Elizabeth Vos who, for a cash donation, gave the golf teams the option of using their best ball.  Many teams did! If they did not use one of the students’ balls, they received a long string of raffle tickets for the luncheon prize drawing. Thank you for your service, Daniel and Elizabeth! You made hole #11 the most fun of all! 

Check out Daniel’s near hole-in-one in the video below:

 

And the 2018 WMCS Golf Outing Winner’s Were…

First place went to (pictured left to right) Rick Ray, Tyler Ray, Caleb Johnson, and Brian Sikkenga. They won an overnight stay golf or ski package at Crystal Mountain.  Second place was awarded to (pictured left to right) Jon Brower, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger, and Kevin Kamphuis. The foursome won and a round of golf at Pilgrim’s Run.  Third place foursome was (pictured left to right) Scott Edema, Joel VandenBrand, Todd VandenBrand, and Todd Clarkin winning a round of golf at Grand Haven Golf Course. 

1st Place Champions of the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

1st Place Foursome

First place went to (pictured left to right) Caleb Johnson, GHC’s Tyler Ray, Rick Ray, and Brian Sikkenga. They won an overnight stay golf or ski package at Crystal Mountain.

2nd Place

2nd place foursome

Second place was awarded to (pictured left to right) Jon Brower, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger, and Kevin Kamphuis. The foursome won and a round of golf at Pilgrim’s Run.

3rd Place

 

Third place foursome was (pictured left to right) Scott Edema, Joel VandenBrand, Todd VandenBrand, and Todd Clarkin winning a round of golf at Grand Haven Golf Course.

Event Fundraising Update & Tally:

This annual fundraiser garners donations for the WMCS 5-school collaborative. This year, the five principals announced that 100% of the event’s funds would be going to something new and very specific.

Dan DeKam shared, “The WMCS 5-school collaborative strives for excellence, relevance, and resonance in Christian Education. We also aim to transform young lives for Christ.  That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of a new instructional framework called Teaching for Transformation (TfT).  Over the next three years, training in TfT will equip our PK-12 teachers with more effective tools with which to integrate faith and learning. Our schools have always pursued excellence in all areas of instruction and we are enthusiastic about the way that TfT will help our students develop a strong Christian perspective on learning and a desire to live a life of gratitude. Each of you plays a powerful role in preparing and equipping our teachers to better train up our students by participating in our golf outing as a sponsor and golfer.  Thank you so much for coming and supporting WMCS!”

The West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) collaborative system of schools strives for excellence, relevance, and resonance in Christian Education. We also aim to transform young lives for Christ.  That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of a new instructional framework called Teaching for Transformation (TfT).

DeKam went on to explain that the total fee for the 3-year TfT training program is $55K.  The Golf Outing successfully raised almost $20,000, which puts us on right track in year one of three.

Teachers had their first introductory TfT training this past summer and will reconvene again this fall for more. As our faculty from all five schools dig deeper into this new instructional framework, more stories about TfT will be shared on the WMCS blog.

The Teaching for Transformation (TfT) instructional framework is a 3-year training program for the 5-schools WMCS faculty. The 2018 WMCS Golf Outing raised almost $20,000 toward our $55k goal.

 

BETTER TOGETHER: The WMCS Golf Outing is an All-School Effort

Hosted and coordinated by the WMCS Golf Committee,  the event was a collaborative effort led by a representative from each of our 5 schools.  The WMCS Golf Committee included Heidi Snyder of FCS, Phil Morse of NEC, Lisa Taylor of MCS, Kristin Clausing of GHC, Denice Belknap of WMC, and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative.

Golf Event Coordinators on golf cart

The WMCS Golf Outing Committee: (Pictured left to right) Heidi Snyder of FCS, Lisa Taylor of MCS, Kristin Clausing of GHC and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative, and Denice Belknap of WMC. Not pictured is Phil Morse of NEC.

 

Our Fabulous & Faithful Sponsors

The event was supported and sponsored by those who were led by the Lord to donate. We received a variety of prizes and financial contributions to assist in making this event a success.

A special “Thank You” to our top event sponsors: Abbit Management, JOST, Calvin College, Cherette Group and Summit Laboratory.

Abbit logo

Abbit is a loyal WMCS 2018 Golf Outing Sponsor!

 

Calvin College LOGO

Calvin College is a loyal WMCS Golf Outing sponsor and always has a foursome in attendance!

 

Jost logo

JOST is a loyal WMCS Golf Outing sponsor with a foursome in the tourney annually.

 

The Cherette Group Logo

The Cherette Group is a new 2018-19 Golf Outing Sponsor!

 

Summit Laboratory logo

Summit Laboratory was a 2018-19 WMCS Golf Outing sponsor and also had a foursome in the tournament.

Golf Outing Sponsor banner

WMCS thanks all sponsors and everyone who came out to play and help make the event such a success. Be sure to sign up early next year to secure a spot!

Click here to see more event photos on Facebook! 

To see the full PHOTO GALLERY GO TO THE WMCS FACEBOOK PAGE! https://www.facebook.com/WMCSchools/photos/

What is WMCS?

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.

Our PK-12 School Family includes:

Want to help West Michigan Christian School reach its Teaching for Transformation budget?

Please EMAIL US! 

West Michigan Christian Schools Begins Teaching for Transformation

TfT is a Powerful New PK-12 Christian Education Learning Framework

Dedicated to a process of continuous improvement and growth, West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) strives for excellence, relevance and resonance in Christian Education. Since our primary objective is to teach children how to think about, live in and interact with God’s creation from a Christ-centered perspective, every year we faithfully and strategically consider how we can do this better.

WMCS is excited to announce the launch of a new curriculum development program called Teaching for Transformation (TfT), which will assist our PK-12 teachers to better integrate faith and learning in a way that will transform the Kingdom-focused culture of our school system.

What is TfT?

The TfT program, as developed by The Prairie Centre for Christian Education (PCCE), provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences that are grounded in a transformational worldview with a focus on seeing and living out God’s story. The TfT program is currently being used by over fifty schools worldwide (Canada, United States, Africa, and Central America).

“Being able to share the Gospel in the classroom is a gift and a privilege, so we want to make sure our faculty achieves this to the best of their God-given ability.  TfT adeptly and strategically gives our teachers the tools, training, and knowledge to make sure their class time shares a compelling vision of the Kingdom, one that also creates a longing and desire within every student to be an integral part in God’s unfolding plan,” explains Dan DeKam, Muskegon Christian School Administrator and Executive Director of the West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative.

Being able to share the Gospel in the classroom is a gift and a privilege, so we want to make sure our faculty achieves this to the best of their God-given ability.  TfT adeptly and strategically gives our teachers the tools, training, and knowledge to make sure their class time shares a compelling vision of the Kingdom, one that also creates a longing and desire within every student to be an integral part in God’s unfolding plan.

WMCS TfT Faculty Training

Over the next three years, our teachers will undergo training in how to implement this new teaching framework.  This is an instructional practice for PK-12 that will be adopted by the teachers throughout our collaborative system.

As our teachers train and begin to implement their new TfT tools, we will be sharing new developments with the WMCS member school family via newsletters (like this) and via “The Voice” our WMCS blog.  

“Once you live out God’s grace in His story, you can’t go back to being normal and going through the motions; you can’t go back to a meaningless scene stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time,” shared a teacher from a TfT-trained school.

Once you live out God’s grace in His story, you can’t go back to being normal and going through the motions; you can’t go back to a meaningless scene stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.

Don’t WMCS Teachers Already Instruct This Way?

Yes, our WMCS staff teach from a Biblical worldview. In fact, West Michigan Christian Schools have been offering Biblical worldview Christian Education in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan for more than 100 years! Although God’s Word stays inerrant and relevant throughout time, as educators we have to work hard to make sure that the way we teach does too.

TfT’s impressive tools and intricate curricular framework provides teachers with a template to develop a unit from a Christian perspective in a fresh and new way, that will, we believe, result in transformed lives, for both students and teachers, while it also permeates the entire culture of WMCS. All five WMCS principals and our staff are encouraged and excited to bring this to our respective schools!” shares DeKam.  

TfT’s impressive tools and intricate curricular framework provides teachers with a template to develop a unit from a Christian perspective in a fresh and new way, that will, we believe, result in transformed lives, for both students and teachers, while it also permeates the entire culture of WMCS. All five WMCS principals and our staff are encouraged and excited to bring this to our respective schools!

TfT Costs

For an individual school to adopt TfT, the cost is about $30,000 over three years.  By adopting the TfT model as a collaborative, our cost over three years for all five WMCS member schools is $50,000. This is a significant cost savings for all the schools and demonstrates one of the ways we can do more together.

The funds raised at the WMCS Golf Outing 2018 will go toward Teaching for Transformation costs.

Interested in donating toward TfT? Become a WMCS Golf Outing 2018 Sponsor!

LEARN HOW!

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) 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.

The 2018 Graduates of West Michigan Christian Schools

Congratulations to all 2018 Graduates of the WMCS Member School Family!

We had a lot to celebrate this year at West Michigan Christian Schools.

Below is a breakdown of 6th, 8th, and 12th grade graduates by each WMCS member school.

Do you know anyone? Share this post to FB and congratulate the grads you know!

Fremont Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2018:

Pictured: Back Row L to R: Maddie Wiersema, Kaitlynn Bennett, Kayleigh Hood, Carly Zimmerman,  Alexa Zudweg, Hannah Postma, Jade Bills, Ashley Wittenberger, Elly Hooker, Jessie Petry, Abby VanderKooi, and Kyla Wiersema
Front Row L to R: Case Knuver, Matthew Minasian, Collin Hammersley, Jake Dykman, Carson Herman

Grand Haven Christian School’s 8th Grade Graduating Class 2018:

Pictured: Back Row L to R: Sam Vander Heide, Kellen Mitchell, Joseph Baker, Jacob Molder, Samuel Van Orman, Brooks Kingma, Tommy Vandermolen, Libby Mast.

Middle Row L to R: Shaylynn Crum, Peter Brink, Cade Powell, Beau Campbell.

Front Row L to R: Lina Miedema, Knightly Giaimo, Evan Gergen, Aiden Kenny, Ashley Binnendyk, Ava Rotman, Hope Wright, Eden Horne.

Annabelle Baker will be remembered for her servant’s heart and her obedience to be the hands and feet of Christ. Annabelle participated on the GHC/WMC cheer team for the second year in a row and received recognition for her work in both English and Bible throughout the school year. Annabelle will be heading to Western Michigan Christian (WMC) in the fall.

Joseph Baker will be remembered for his thoughtful and quiet manner. As the youngest, he is the last to graduate from his family and next year will be the first time in 25 years that there will not be a Baker at GHC. Joseph was recognized during the 8th-grade awards assembly with the Wordsmith award in spelling. Joseph will be attending Grand Haven High School next year.

Ashley Binnendyk is the Class of 2018’s valedictorian. She will be remembered for her tireless work ethic and her servant’s heart. She helped organize the Hand 2 Hand program, often giving up her lunch period, and she also had the lead role of Mary Poppins in this year’s middle school play. Ashley, a soon to be a freshman at Western Michigan Christian (WMC), was a recipient of the Presidential Award and was also recognized for outstanding achievement in Choir and PE.

Peter Brink entered the middle school as a boy and leaves as a young man rooted in his knowledge of his Savior’s love for him as a child of God. Peter took advantage of the various offerings in the middle school and the opportunities they provide to explore God-given and life-lasting skills. Peter was recognized with the Presidential Award and Millionaire’s Award in history. He also played on the school soccer, golf, basketball, and baseball teams and was a part of the middle school play and ski club in the winter. Peter will begin his high school journey next year at Western Michigan Christian (WMC).

Beau Campbell served as Vice President of Student Senate during the 2017-2018 school year. Beau also provided leadership and consistency on the school’s soccer, basketball, baseball, and track & field teams. Beau will be remembered for his quick wit and smile. Beau will be attending Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next fall.

Shaylynn Crum, who will be attending Western Michigan Christian (WMC) in the fall, is the salutatorian of this year’s graduating class. Shay, as she is known by her friends and classmates, has a personality and sincerity that draws others to her. She is fun-loving but also has an amazing heart for God. Shay received the Presidential Award and was also recognized in the areas of English Language Arts and Spanish. She was also a part of the Hand 2 Hand ministry and was on the school’s volleyball, soccer, and track & field teams.

Evan Gergen will be moving on to Mona Shores High School in the fall. Evan will be remembered for his awesome Christmas sweaters as well as his care and concern for others. Evan made the Living Through History curriculum come alive this year with his participation in class and received recognition as part of the Millionaire’s Club for wise decision making. This year Evan was also a part of the boys’ golf team and a mainstay of the middle school band and choirs.

Knightly Giaimo has a great work ethic and commitment to learning. Unfortunately, Knightly has experienced extreme back pain that kept him out of school for extended periods of time over the past two years. Knightly will be remembered for his skills with technology and gaming as well as his kind heart and willingness to help those in need.

Eden Horne participated in many activities while at Grand Haven Christian. She was on the volleyball and soccer teams, she played in the band and sang in the choir. She also had one of the main roles in the middle school musical and was recognized with the Presidential Award for maintaining above a 3.5-grade point average and was recognized with the Band Award for the 2017-2018 school year. Eden will be attending Western Michigan Christian (WMC) in the fall.

Aidan Kenny will be joining his older brother, Evan, at Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next year. You would not know by watching Aidan interact with his classmates and friends that he came to GHC just two years ago. Although quieter than most, when Aidan had something to share, everyone listened intently. Aidan was recognized this spring for his participation on all of the GHC sports teams during the year as well as the Presidential Award.

Brooks Kingma has a testimony to share with the world and he is not afraid to tell others about his journey during middle school as he battled and overcame cancer. Brooks will be remembered as the big, tall, strong kid with a gentle heart for God and others. Brooks was recognized with the Presidential & PE Awards as well as the Hands & Feet for his service in the programs at GHC. He will be attending Grand Haven High School in the fall where he will be participating in football and golf.

Libby Mast is the youngest of the Mast family. She will be attending Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next fall and her graduation brings to an end 20 consecutive years of a Mast walking the halls of GHC. Libby was instrumental in launching First Priority, a student-led Bible study where students met each week and shared their testimonies. Libby was a recipient of the Presidential Award, participated in the Hand 2 Hand program, and was also an integral part of the school’s volleyball, basketball, and soccer teams.

Lina Miedema has participated in many activities here at GHC. She has been in choir, band, the musicals, on the volleyball team, basketball team, and Student Senate, just to name a few.  While juggling all that, she proved herself to be an excellent student earning the Presidential Award as well as recognition in math, English, and Bible. Lina will be heading to Spring Lake High School in the fall.

Kellen Mitchell will be joining his sister, Chloe, at Western Michigan Christian (WMC) in late August. During his 8th grade Capstone Project, Kellen spoke of his desire to share the love and grace of God with the world. He didn’t just talk about it, but also lived it out by taking the time to interact and build relationships with those younger than him. Kellen was recognized this spring for his work ethic in class and his debate skills in English. We are all rooting for him next year, whether in the classroom, on the basketball court, or in the community.

Jacob Mulder will be heading to Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next year. Jacob has a talent for working with technology that he has put to good use at GHC and his church. Jacob is kind-hearted, often taking the time to genuinely ask how someone is doing or offering to listen. Jacob was recognized with the Technology & Presidential Awards as well as the Living Through History, Avid Reader, and Millionaire’s Club Awards. He will be greatly missed by the teachers and younger students at GHC.

Cade Powell, the ironman of the 8th grade that did not miss a single day of school this year, will be attending Fruitport High School next fall. Cade will be remembered for his deep-rooted faith and kindness for others. Cade played football this year for Lakeshore Middle School, was a part of the middle school play, and was an amazing leader in Team Challenge activities, which mixes together students in 6th-8th grade. Cade was also recognized with the Presidential Award & Moses Award in Bible.

Ava Rotman is intelligent, hard-working, and is someone with a compassionate heart that celebrates with friends and classmates during the joys of life. Ava took advantage of the opportunities offered to her during middle school. She was part of the volleyball, soccer, track & field teams as well as the cooperative cheer team with WMC. Ava also received recognition via the Presidential Award and Math Enrichment Award for successfully completing Geometry. She also led a group of students that gave up a lunch recess once a week to help organize the school’s Maker’s Space. Ava will be joining big brother, Eli, at Western Michigan Christian (WMC) in the fall.

Sam Vander Heide will be heading north to Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next year. Sam was recognized with the Honor Roll Award for achieving above a 3.0 GPA during his time at GHC. Sam was a part of the boys’ basketball and baseball teams and played in the band during the school year. Sam will be remembered for his even-keel attitude and ability to roll with changes made both in the classroom and with the daily schedule.

Tommy Vander Molen has a sense of humor and personal fashion unrivaled in his class. Tommy received the Presidential Award and Avid Reader Award this spring. He enjoys any book he can physically put his hands on (although he won’t admit it, his teachers think he has warmed up to and somewhat enjoys his Kindle now). Tommy will forever be remembered as a student who never complained to teachers or classmates, even when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in the summer of 2016. Instead, he has brought light and laughter to many who are blessed by his friendship and genuine kindness. Tommy will be going to Western Michigan Christian (WMC) this fall. 

Samuel Van Orman was this year’s student body president. He helped oversee student senate meetings each week, organized student-led committees, and was a leader of the First Priority group that met each week. All the while he took Geometry, participated in every sport offered during the school year and played the part of Bert in the middle school play of Mary Poppins.  Samuel was the recipient of the Presidential Award, Bible Bowl Award and was a part of the Millionaire’s Club in History. He was also recognized with the Hands & Feet Award for his service to the school and its student body. He will be joining his older brother, Ethan, at Western Michigan Christian (WMC) next year.

Hope Wright came to Grand Haven Christian for the second semester of her 8th-grade year. She will be remembered as someone who loves animals of all kinds. She has a compassionate heart and enjoys being surrounded by friends. Hope was recognized in English for her talent to debate and clearly articulate a position and support those who cannot speak for themselves.

Muskegon Christian School’s 6th Grade Graduating Class 2018:

Every class has its own distinct characteristics.  This year, the graduating 6th grade was dynamic and liked to laugh. A lot. As class representative Asher Stoaks shared during graduation ceremonies, “if one person in the class would start laughing, the whole class would laugh, even if most of us wouldn’t know what just happened.”  

Sixth graders worked on strengthening relationships with each other in activities like Spotlight Sparkle, where students formed a large circle with one in the middle and then took turns saying what they appreciated about the person sitting in the “spotlight.”  They worked up a sweat volunteering to serve others at International Aid packing hygiene kits and were in charge of setting up the gym for Praise service and other events.

Sixth graders are challenged with opportunities to be servant leaders.  “We want the 6th graders to recognize their spiritual gifts and become school leaders in community building” summarized 6th-grade teacher Liz Morrison.  “The best leadership challenges for these students come out of our regular MCS Family Group activities.  By the end of the year, these 6th graders are confidently leading their K-6th groups through small group and Field Day activities.  It’s great to see them use their gifts and encourage the younger students.”

Our Congratulations to the 2018 MCS Graduates, who include:

Chalon Anderson-Williams

Nyi’Kayla Anhalt

Trevor Clapp

Monti Collins

Emma Croff

Brandon Curtis

Kyla Drake

Samantha Fish

Kabir Ghotra

Erik Gould

Ethan Gould

Henry Hubers

Kevin Jackson

Ian Kelsey

Eleanor Kingshott

Laken Konyndyk

Elise Lenertz

Daniel Maat

Benjamin Moorhead

Katelyn Rosema

James Spencer

Jayden Start

Haylee Steenhagen

Alyssia Stewart

Asher Stoaks

Sydney Sytsema

Mason Taylor

Andrew West

Jacob West

 

New Era Christian School’s Graduating Class of 2018:

Pictured: L to R – Isaiah Morales, Joe Waller, Jaden Johnson, Parker Erickson, Thorissa Carter

Thorissa Carter is the daughter of Andy and Dee Carter.  She once said, “The earth can’t be round because the souls of my shoes are flat.”  Thorissa is quiet and incredibly thoughtful. In the fall she will attend Shelby High School.

Parker Erickson is the son of Brian and Cindy Erickson.  He once said, “I wonder what will happen if I take this battery apart?”  (He did try it. The results were smoky and smelly). Parker is inventive and a very talented writer.  In the fall he will attend Shelby High School.

Jaden Johnson is the son of Jared and Emily Johnson.  He once thought that a box turtle was in the shape of a rectangular prism.  Jaden is a supportive friend on the field or court and is a true competitor.  In the fall he will attend Western Michigan Christian High School.

Isaiah Morales is the son of Eddy and Anna Morales.  He once left a brand new $50 soccer t-shirt on an ATM machine in Chicago.  Isaiah is creative and a very hard worker. In the fall he will attend Western Michigan Christian High School.

Joe Waller is the son of Darin and Angie Waller.  He once said, “Wouldn’t you rather learn Algebra than sit here and be bored?”  Joe is a leader and has strong organizational skills. In the fall he will attend Western Michigan Christian High School.

 

 

Western Michigan Christian’s Senior Class of 2018,  was led by WMC’s Top Ten (pictured above). 

Back Row L to R:   Samuel Braak, Samuel VanAndel, Jared Hanes, Braydon VanderWeide, and Matthew Doty.

Front Row L to R:  Chandler Breit, Natalie VanHouwelingen, Annika Erickson, Emma Brink, and Gabrielle Frens.

Matthew Doty graduated as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2018.  He is the son of Doug and Sonya Doty and a member of Ferrysburg Community Church.  While at WMC, Matthew was on Science Olympiad, ran cross country, and was a student ambassador for WMC’s international program.  In the fall he will attend Calvin College and plans to major in chemical engineering.

Annika Erickson, graduated as the Salutatorian of her class, is the daughter of Jeff and Deborah Erickson of Spring Lake and attends Second Christian Reformed Church of Grand Haven.  In her years at WMC, she was in volleyball, soccer, competitive cheer, and chamber choir.  During her summers she took mission trips to Haiti and Costa Rica.  Annika was also involved in Blue Lake Choral Ensemble, Michigan Mat, and Science Scholars Program, and was a teen volunteer at John Ball Zoo.  In the fall she plans to attend the University of Michigan for Computer Science.

Samuel Braak is a member of Second Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven and the son of Dan and Debbie Braak of Spring Lake.  While at WMC he ran cross country and track, enjoyed being a small group leader, and was a member of the Earth Club.  In the fall Sam will attend Calvin College to major in Biology and go pre-med.

Emma Brink is the daughter of Daniel and Jewel Brink of Newaygo and a member of Grant Christian Reformed Church where she is actively involved in her youth group.  Emma ran cross country and was on the track and field team, along with being a member of the concert band while she attended WMC.  Emma plans to major in nursing at Calvin College in the fall.

Sam VanAndel is the son of Bert and Sheryl VanAndel of Norton Shores. He is a member of Calvin Christian Reformed Church of Muskegon.  Sam is very active in his youth group at church and organized mission trips for two years in a row ministering in Thunder Bay, South Dakota, and St. Thomas.  He is a member of Sportsmen for Youth Board, West Michigan Wildlife Association, and is a youth turkey hunting mentor and guide.  Sam sang in Chamber Choir at WMC and will attend Cornerstone University in the fall to major in business.

Jared Hanes is the son of Deanna Hanes and LaVaun Hanes of North Muskegon and is a member of Port City Church.  Jared was involved in cross country, bowling, and choir including participating in the musical tours while at WMC.  He is currently working on his senior service project that involves hosting a prom for the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District special needs students.  Jared plans to attend Baker College of Muskegon and major in nursing in the fall.

Gabrielle Frens is the daughter of Randall and Kathy Frens of Fremont. She attends Reeman Christian Reformed Church where she volunteers for nursery and vacation Bible school.  Gabi was on the MS/WMC Co-op swim team, sang in the choir, and participated in the fall plays and the musicals.  She also served as a peer tutor and a small group leader for a chapel.  In the fall Gabi plans on majoring in music therapy at Queens University of Charlotte, NC.

Chandler Breit is a member of Harvest Bible Chapel of North Muskegon and is the son of Charlotte and Darren Breit of North Muskegon.  In his years at WMC Chandler was involved in soccer, golf, choir, and band.  In the fall Chandler plans to attend either Hope College or the University of Michigan.

Brayden VanDerWeide plans on attending Calvin College and majoring in STEM this coming fall.  He is the son of Melanie Guikema and Arie VanderWeide of Muskegon.  Brayden is a member of Fremont Wesleyan Church.

Natalie VanHouwelingen is a member of Covenant Life Church and the daughter of Marc and Amber VanHouwelingen of Grand Haven.  In the fall Natalie is undecided where she will head to study interior design.  While at WMC, she participated in competitive cheer, was on student council, and pep team leader.  For her service project, Natalie was a food truck volunteer at All Shores Wesleyan.

A Complete List of all Western Michigan Christian High School Class of 2018

(Click here to see the FB photo album.)

Owen Turner Alfree**
Cameron Charles Beisel**
Samuel Lee Braak**
Catherine Marie Bradford-Royle*
Chandler Bernard Breit**
Emma Grace Brink**
Cristina Marie Burns
Dawei Chen
Cammie Rose Clark*
Bao Dang
Holly Joy Davis
Simon Avery Dean*
Ellie Grace DeKam
Peyton Olivia Deur*
Matthew James Doty**
Annika Britt Erickson**
Casey Steven Fink

Johnscott Gregory Finley**
Evan Thomas Fles**
Sydney Joy Foreman**
Gabrielle Joy Frens**
William Edward Gamble
Nathaniel Frederick Gilson
Aubrey Lynn Goorman
Rebecca Lynn Gorenflo
Brandyn Larry Gould
Jared Lee Hanes**
Daniel Charles Hartley**
Madison Lyn Heiss
Hyeonseo Kim
Hanna Jeanne Klaassen**
Ashlyn Ann Lane
Brendan Jonathan Lee
Jiayao Li
Addison Elizabeth Liggett**
Zhi Lin
Kylie Arlene Luhring**
Lane Andrew McIntyre
Jeffrey Glenn Merz**
Emilee Kay Michael
Caleb Michael Morritt
Jacob Allan Moser*
Taylor Elaine Mosher
Isaiah John Nail
Hannah Kathleen Nestell**
Joshua Kai Ren Paquin**
Hannah Elaine Pell**
Andrew Timothy Plaisier**
Olivia Elaine Plyler*
Josie Elizabeth Poel**
Garrett Lee Pollack**
James Edward Prince**
Chloe Ann Roberts
Shelby Nicole Schuitema
Lillian Marie Stonecypher
Abigial JaNai Summerfield*
Dirk Michael Teeter
Thomas Lee TenCate**
William David TenCate
Adam Joel Van Hoeven
Samuel Jacob VanAndel**
Tyler Scott VanBeek
Seth Johannes VanderKooi**
Isaac Timothy VanderVelde
Brayden James VanderWeide**
Natalie VanHouwelingen**
Cassandra Marie Waller
Chunqi Wang
Yixin Wang*
Elizabeth Ann Welsh
Shantele Elizabeth Wilkinson*
Thomas Jackson Williams
Jordan David Wisniewski
Madison Elizabeth Woods
Tyler John Yonker
Yongjin Yoo*
Amity Grace Zenz
Liangyi Zhu
** Denotes Gold Honor Cord Recipient

*   Denotes Silver Honor Cord Recipient

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) 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.

 

 

West Michigan Christian Schools 2017-18 Year in Review

Annual Themes Serve as a Guiding Light That Ensures a Purposeful Path for all Five Schools

Below is an illuminating peek behind the curtain at all five of our very purposeful WMCS member schools.  In their own words, each school shared about the 2017-18 journey and how they saw Christ in it all.

Walking in Wonder

This year at Fremont Christian School (FCS), our theme had us “Walking in the Wonder” of Jesus Christ.

One area where this theme was so evident was in our building addition project, which required all hands on deck. We walked in His wonder when we saw the incredible ways His community of believers came together for a common goal.

This was especially evident in a number of students who went beyond what was expected of them. Several students set up lemonade stands and donated all the money earned. Some others raised pigs for the county fair and donated a large portion of their sales to the building project. These students were not asked to give, they did it out of support for FCS, God’s school.

Several students set up lemonade stands and donated all the money earned. Some others raised pigs for the county fair and donated a large portion of their sales to the building project.

This is the wonder of Jesus – His presence, His inspiration that drives young people to root for HIS school, and want it to continue on. The wonder of Jesus was surely evident through the grace and support of our students.

 

UNITE!

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

This verse became the foundation for the Grand Haven Christian (GHC) theme “UNITE!”

Throughout the year, our students were challenged through chapel presentations, classroom devotions, and teachable moments to live in unity with one another.

At times, it requires hardships and difficulties for communities to grow in exceptional ways. The trials that several of our students and families endured this year were catalysts for unity growth.

At times, it requires hardships and difficulties for communities to grow in exceptional ways. The trials that several of our students and families endured this year were catalysts for unity growth.

Three of our graduating 8th graders have experienced serious health issues, with two of them still facing challenges as they move into high school. Witnessing the 8th-grade class rally around these boys and encourage them along their difficult journeys exemplified unity.

Witnessing the 8th-grade class rally around these boys and encourage them along their difficult journeys exemplified unity.

A father of two of our students was also recently diagnosed with cancer, and again, the school community united together to provide meals for this family, support, and care for their children, and offer prayers to encourage this family.  

…the school community united together to provide meals for this family, support, and care for their children, and offer prayers to encourage…

Daily we see the students look out for the child who is sitting by him/herself, playing games as a class at recess, doing cross-grade level activities, and so much more! Living in unity together is something we strive for every day and every year at GHC. Through the focused chapels and classroom activities, our prayer is that students will take the concept of unity into all areas of their life.

 

He Must Become Greater

The Muskegon Christian School (MCS) theme this year was just a simple equation based on John 3:30:  HE>i.  

We kicked off the school year with Spiritual Emphasis Week and challenged our students to live out this theme by asking themselves in the various situations they would face, “Am I making God greater in this conversation, in the work I’m doing, in the way I’m treating others?”  

Throughout the year, student Family Groups (small groups of students K-6th grade) worked on projects that helped them reflect on our theme and apply it to their lives in practical ways.

We kicked off the school year with Spiritual Emphasis Week and challenged our students to live out this theme by asking themselves in the various situations they would face: Am I making God greater in this conversation, in the work I’m doing, in the way I’m treating others?

It’s powerful to see God moving in the lives of our students, even if it’s just in short moments of grace. In the words of Mother Teresa; ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’  We witnessed grace in the kindness of a 3rd-grader hanging back with a kindergartener on field day to encourage him (even helping him tie his shoes).  The kindergartener didn’t ask for help; the older student saw the need, reached out, and helped!

It’s powerful to see God moving in the lives of our students, even if it’s just in short moments of grace. In the words of Mother Teresa; Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

We’ve seen God made greater in students taking ownership of the times they fail and trying to make things right.  A student had been ‘clipped down’ numerous times for running in the hallway.  Well, one particular day he ran out of the classroom upon dismissal and rammed into a parent.  A few days later, the student sought out that parent at praise service and apologized – completely on his own!  Another young lady struggled with being honest all year for fear of getting into trouble or having a bigger consequence.  Despite that, she approached her teacher to share that she had taken something that wasn’t hers the day prior.  She apologized and replaced what she had taken.

None of us are perfect – we are all working out our salvation.  It is a blessing to share this journey together with a staff and student body who strive to make God greater in all that we do.  We are thankful to have shared another great year at MCS together!

None of us are perfect – we are all working out our salvation.  It is a blessing to share this journey together with a staff and student body who strive to make God greater in all that we do.  

New Era Christian (NEC): Living in Community with Christ

The Spiritual Emphasis for the 2017-18 school year for New Era Christian (NEC) was living in community with Christ.  On April 26 and 27, that expanded to Chicago where the 7th and 8th-grade students went on an overnight field trip to learn about art, architecture, world history, American history, science, and big city culture. While they were there, they served the community of Christ by serving the homeless. Preschool through 8th-grade students donated toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap and Subway gift cards. Those items were equally distributed in bags decorated with pictures and words of encouragement drawn and written by New Era Christian School students.

The students were asked to write about their experience handing out the personal care packages to the homeless.

Thorissa Carter wrote, “One man, in particular, stood out to me. When a care package was given to him, his face kind of lit up and he couldn’t stop smiling, even when we walked away.”

One man, in particular, stood out to me. When a care package was given to him, his face kind of lit up and he couldn’t stop smiling, even when we walked away.

Ani Hill composed, “We passed out not only utensils but also the love of God.”

We passed out not only utensils but also the love of God.

Isaiah Morales penned, “The most exciting part that made me almost cry was when we were crossing the street to go to our other location. I saw a homeless woman, who had nothing, with three people kneeling around her with their hands holding each other and their heads bowed.  Then I heard them saying these words, ‘Dear God, please help her….’ Then Joe gave her a bag. God gave us the gift to help all that need to be helped. Praise the Lord on that one.”

The most exciting part that made me almost cry was when we were crossing the street to go to our other location. I saw a homeless woman, who had nothing, with three people kneeling around her with their hands holding each other and their heads bowed.  Then I heard them saying these words, ‘Dear God, please help her….’ Then Joe gave her a bag. God gave us the gift to help all that need to be helped. 

These activities align with the purpose of the school – to grow students in faith, academics, and personal maturity.

 

Rise Up To Identity

Western Michigan Christian’s (WMC) theme for the 2017-18 school year was Rise Up To Identity. What does it mean when you find your identity in Christ? We find ourselves identifying with academics, athletics, and other things but it can be powerful to fully identify with Christ.

What does it mean when you find your identity in Christ? We find ourselves identifying with academics, athletics, and other things but it can be powerful to fully identify with Christ.

During the fall Spiritual Emphasis, we focused on loving God, loving ourselves and others, and making disciples. The spring Spiritual Emphasis focused on our faith journey. This included testimony from the perspective of different students including one whose family forbade him from being a Christian and being baptized. The spring session closed with a celebration of Sawyer Arkema on World Down Syndrome Day and Sawyer led us in worship. J.P. Dorsey, Site Director at Northpoint Bible College and pastor at Grand Rapids First, led a teaching on not being spiritual orphans.

God has adopted us and we can go out to live in the power of Jesus, knowing that we are children of God. When asked at the end of the school year what the theme meant to them and how this became reality for him a freshman student shared that rising up to identity meant, “…being identified as a child of our Lord and Savior, it is not being ashamed of what you are but being proud to be called one of His. For me, this means being a part of people’s lives so that I can show them the work of Jesus, and being backed up by the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. One thing that brought this to reality in my life was praying with my friends and seeing where their faith was with God as the year progressed. Another thing that brought this to a reality was having prospective students from other schools shadow me, it was fun to be a good leader to those people and to see how WMC is different from other schools that people are coming from.”

being identified as a child of our Lord and Savior, it is not being ashamed of what you are but being proud to be called one of His.

It was truly a year of growth for students and staff as they explored identity in Christ. Tyler Ingalls, Spiritual Development Coordinator at WMC, was encouraged by the growth of students and staff this year. “Our students prayed over each other and shared powerful testimony about where they were at in their faith journey. We had excellent participation by staff and I look forward to working next year with students from all backgrounds and experiences.”

Our students prayed over each other and shared powerful testimony about where they were at in their faith journey. We had excellent participation by staff and I look forward to working next year with students from all backgrounds and experiences.

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

ASK US!

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) 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.

Grand Haven Christian Completes Year One of the First Spanish Immersion Class in the Tri-Cities Area of West Michigan

Habla inglés? Some Kindergartners and 1st Graders at GHC Do Now!

Approximately eighteen months ago, Grand Haven Christian School (GHC) began exploring the opportunity of becoming the only school in the Tri-Cities area to offer Spanish immersion. With the success of this program in other WMCS member schools, and after seeing great interest from our constituents, GHC decided to begin its own immersion program.

With the success of this program in other WMCS member schools, and after seeing great interest from our constituents, GHC decided to begin its own immersion program.

With a highly qualified teacher in place, GHC began with a kindergarten/1st combination class. Twenty students and their families joined in to experience the unique educational opportunity. This class brought in seven new students who were previously not a part of GHC and a couple of those families also brought additional siblings to GHC as well.

Grand Haven Christian School

“The class exceeded our expectations as we witnessed first-hand how quickly students were able to develop a second language and become conversational with their teacher and each other. The students have performed skits, presented reports, and eagerly shared verses or songs they know in Spanish, much to the delight of those who get to listen,” explains James Onderlinde, Principal of Grand Haven Christian School (GHC).

The class exceeded our expectations as we witnessed first-hand how quickly students were able to develop a second language and become conversational with their teacher and each other. The students have performed skits, presented reports, and eagerly shared verses or songs they know in Spanish, much to the delight of those who get to listen.

This fall, GHC will be graduating the current class to the next grade levels of Spanish Immersion and will add a new S.I. kindergarten class. Enrollment for the new class is going well and interest continues to grow.

“We feel blessed as a school because we are now able to offer a faith-based education to more families, and we are creating opportunities for these students to be able to share the good news in a second language!” shares Onderlinde.

We feel blessed as a school because we are now able to offer a faith-based education to more families, and we are creating opportunities for these students to be able to share the good news in a second language!

The Spanish Immersion classroom at GHC, led by instructor Señora Heather Grisales (who is pictured above with one of her SI students), was recently highlighted in The Grand Haven Tribune as “Classroom of the Week.” This video feature gives a deeper look into the benefits of a classroom like this. To view it, please click here and enjoy! 

Interested in learning more about Grand Haven Christian’s Spanish Immersion Program?

ASK US! 

Grand Haven Christian School is a member of WMCS,  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 work together to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian Education in West Michigan.

At WMCS, everything we do is from the perspective of a Christ-centered worldview. We not only ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  we show our students “What Jesus Says” as it relates to the classroom, the athletic field and the community we serve. WMCS extends “Beyond Academics” and educates the whole child, putting Christ at the center of all we do. Academically, we perform with excellence, with top local and nationally standardized test scores.

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

Create a seamless, exemplary Christian educational experience for families in Western Michigan from preschool through high school. Provide excellent Christian education rooted in the gospel to all who desire it. Provide a model of collaboration that will serve as a roadmap for other Christian educational communities.

To learn more about West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) click here and for more information about WMCS Membership or Partnership contact WMCS.

 

Unity Music Fest Volunteers Needed for the WMCS Booth

Do you love WMCS?

Do you like talking to new people and shining God’s light?

Do you like great Christian music?

Then volunteering at the WMCS booth at the 2018 Unity Music Fest in Muskegon at Heritage Landing is a perfect job for you. Volunteers from ALL 5 of our schools are invited!

If you work a 4-hour shift at the concert you get a FREE meal ticket and FREE concert admittance for the day! Click here >> to find out which bands play and when.

These volunteer positions are in high demand so we are taking applications for working in the WMCS booth.

Please click here to learn more and to fill out the form and submit.

Applications will be taken in order of receipt so check the calendar and sign up ASAP!

Volunteers from ALL 5 of our schools are invited!

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) 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.

West Michigan Christian Schools Partners with CLC Network

Equipping and Challenging Every Student to Reach Their God-Given Potential

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) has made a renewed commitment to serving students at all levels of ability, by partnering with CLC Network to strengthen our inclusive Educational Support Services (ESS) program. We are thrilled to promise a place of welcome for students with disabilities (whether physical, behavioral, intellectual, or socio-emotional) and will make sure that each student who learns differently is well-served at our schools.

An inclusive education philosophy “pushes” academic support into the classroom for all students, whereas our former model “pulled” support out of the classroom for select students. Inclusion will ensure that each student — whether they are typically developing, academically talented, or intellectually disabled — is met and challenged at their level, fulfilling their potential in the Christian community.

Inclusion will ensure that each student — whether they are typically developing, academically talented, or intellectually disabled — is met and challenged at their level, fulfilling their potential in the Christian community.

We believe each person is shaped with different areas of gift and need that complement one another; like the puzzle, the kingdom of God is incomplete unless all members are integrated into the community. Inclusive education, like this puzzle, is a reflection of the community described in 1 Corinthians 12. We desire for the student body — composed of members with complementary abilities, strengths and areas of need — to reflect this puzzle and God’s Kingdom. An inclusive community is not just about Johnny who has autism spectrum disorder, or Sam who excels in math, or Erica who struggles with reading, but instead, it’s about everyone sharing their gifts and being challenged to reach their potential.

To ensure we have the right academic and social supports in place for each student, the school has partnered with CLC Network (Christian Learning Center), a nonprofit educational consulting firm based in Grand Rapids, MI. CLC Network works with more than 65 Christian and Catholic schools throughout the United States to ensure that students with a variety of abilities and disabilities are active, integrated members of their school communities.

CLC Network works with more than 65 Christian and Catholic schools throughout the United States to ensure that students with a variety of abilities and disabilities are active, integrated members of their school communities.

Pam Maat, a teacher consultant from CLC Network, will advise our WMCS Educational Support Services (ESS) staff throughout the school year to assist with creating strengths-based plans for struggling students. Pam will also offer curriculum assistance and promote general academic and social inclusion within the school. The Educational Support Services staff will then work with general education teachers to make sure students with learning differences get the support they need, academically, socially, and behaviorally. Our staff will work together so that each student has a sense of belonging in the general education classroom. All staff will have access to CLC Network’s best-practice professional development and training, as well as their team of school psychologists to help understand and create strategies for struggling learners.

All staff will have access to CLC Network’s best-practice professional development and training, as well as their team of school psychologists to help understand and create strategies for struggling learners.

“We believe that inclusion for students at all levels of ability changes the school community for the better,” said Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski, CLC Network executive director. “We are thrilled to work with Whitney Piersma (WMCS Director of Educational Support Services) and the entire West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) staff from all five schools to implement best practices that help all students reach their potential.”

We believe that inclusion for students at all levels of ability changes the school community for the better.

To learn more about CLC Network, visit clcnetwork.org. To inquire about WMCS ESS Program or West Michigan Christian Schools in general, please click the member logo below!

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) 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.

WMCS Executive Director Letter Challenging all WMCS Families to BE the Influence

From the Desk of Dan DeKam

Influence.  It can be subtle or it can be strong, but today it is everywhere.

The competition for our attention, money, vote or our values is intense and inescapable.  The bombardment of constant product advertising, social media, instant coverage of disasters, viral videos, even “news” that may not really be news is unprecedented.

Very little of it is honoring to our Lord.

The bombardment of constant product advertising, social media, instant coverage of disasters, viral videos, even “news” that may not really be news is unprecedented.

This is one of the reasons our family has been thankful for our partnership with our Christian schools.  My wife and I recognized that in a typical day our children were directly under our care for only a few hours a day (not including sleeping) and truly interacted with us for much less than that.  As our children grew we have been so thankful for teachers who continued to influence them to consider all things in the light of scripture. They have modeled a healthy prayer life and a desire to know and understand the world around them as God’s creation and themselves as His children.  They have praised God with them in good times and they have agonized in prayer with them during the tough times. They have been invaluable partners in helping us raise our children – to influence them – in the way they should go.

As our children grew we have been so thankful for teachers who continued to influence them to consider all things in the light of scripture.

This spring, our youngest (of 5) will graduate from Western Michigan Christian High School.  Her older siblings have not only told us how well prepared they were academically to face the rigors of college, we know they have been prepared to discern and withstand the influences of culture.

This spring, our youngest (of 5) will graduate from Western Michigan Christian High School.  Her older siblings have not only told us how well prepared they were academically to face the rigors of college, we know they have been prepared to discern and withstand the influences of culture.

Our Christian schools here in the lakeshore region are prepared and excited to partner with even more families and make a difference for Christ in our communities.

 

BE the influence for Christ in your neighborhood, family and church!

 

Our 5-school WMCS collaboration has been invaluable in providing an even stronger academic experience. It has also strengthened our community and helped us hone our philosophy and practice in Christian education.

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL to cut through the clutter and BE the voice of INFLUENCE in your friends’ lives!

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL to cut through the clutter and BE the voice of INFLUENCE in your friends’ lives!

Share with them the benefits awaiting their children and their families via West Michigan Christian Schools.

Your heartfelt referral speaks volumes as does your personal invitation to check out the school system that has brought your own family blessing. It makes sense that you would want to share with others you care about!

Sharing your own testimony with friends and family about why you choose WMCS and Christian Education for your kids is powerful Influence that can be the difference in someone changing his/her mind about where their kids attend school. SHARE!

 

THIS blog post is a perfect torch for you to pass on to potential WMCS families.
Simply text this link https://mailchi.mp/wmcschools.org/be-the-voiceof-influence-from-west-michigan-christian-schools-faith-matters-spring-2018  and/or print out a copy and hand it to a friend in person.  Let the Lord to the rest!

This blog post is a perfect torch for you to pass on to potential WMCS families.

Leading by example, I and my fellow WMCS Principals share our personal testimonies in this WMCS blog as to why we choose Christian education for our own children. We are all Heads of Schools but also tuition paying dads and husbands. Have a read and enjoy getting to know us all a little more.

WMCS Principals (left to right) include Samuel Greer (WMC); Dan DeKam (MCS); Phil Morse (NEC); James Onderlinde (GHC); and John Barkel (FCS).

Next, please do us the favor of leaving a positive review for WMCS on Facebook. Click HERE >> to do that now!

Thank you in advance for using your influence to help further the Kingdom!

Better together,

Dan DeKam

WMCS, Executive Director

This article originally appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools “Faith Matters” Spring 2018 E-Newsletter. To view a PDF of the full WMCS “Faith Matters” Spring 2018 E-Newsletter and to read ALL five of the WMCS Principals’ blog posts, click here or scroll down in this blog.