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WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Kevin Aardema

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to 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 Kevin Aardema of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

In the words of Ben Garretson WMC’s Class of 2020 Valedictorian and top runner for WMCS Men’s Cross Country team:

Mr. Aardema is a great teacher and a fantastic coach. He encouraged us in the classroom and on the course. Though he sometimes employed tough love, his dedication to his students and athletes was always evident. We appreciated having him as a teacher and coach and are glad for the impact he’s had on our lives. 

In the words of Abby VanderKooi, WMC’s 2019 Footlocker National Cross Country First Team All-American:

Truthfully I don’t even know what to say, there are too many things to be said! I love Mr. Aardema very much and I have great respect for him. As a coach, he is so chill. I still remember once before a very small not-really-important-for-anything cross country meet I was freaking out about and just really nervous, Mr. Aardema told me, ‘Abby, I will tell you when you need to be nervous for a race!’ And he has proceeded to never tell me I needed to be nervous about a race — okay, maybe nationals, though. He is so calm and collected. He tells me to just go out there and run my race. Even if I am really worried about something, I know that Coach A will always be calm and there for me. He also ALWAYS thinks it’s a great day to run. Sometimes I step into his classroom and it is freezing, rainy, and windy (I HATE THE WIND!) and he says, “It’s a great day to run!” Sometimes you can only laugh at him. I really enjoy having him as a coach and teacher, and I hope he knows that he deserves to be honored on Teacher Tuesday!

Q: Where did you go to school?

A: I graduated from Grosse Pointe South HS and attended Calvin College. I have a master’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy.  My first 9 years of teaching were in the Detroit Public School system at Denby High School followed by teaching mathematics at WMC since 2001.

Q: What classes do you teach at WMC?

A: I teach Algebra II, AP Statistics, and AP Calculus. I also coach Cross Country at WMC.

Kay, Adrienne (WMC class of 2014), Josie (WMC class of 2018) and Kevin Aardema. Both daughters were Valedictorians at WMC!

Q: What’s your favorite scripture?

A: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” – Psalm 42:1

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: As I work with kids who are under so much pressure, much of it self created, I remind them of a quote by Bill Murray, “It just doesn’t matter.”   What really matters is your relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: I love getting to know kids.

Kevin kayaking on Lake Superior.

Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: Cross country practice!

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

A: I have been told I am patient.

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

A: I wish I could stop giving grades to kids and just teach and learn for the love of learning.

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

A: The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some great kids.

Kevin Aardema and Kyle Kempster at the Pilgrim Prance, the annual Thanksgiving race these two BFFs pioneered for local runners in 2009. Free race admittance. Silly costumes encouraged.

As you can see Kevin is a man of few words! His sparse responses to the above Q&A leave you wanting to learn more. His daughter, Adrienne Aardema, captured her father thoughtfully in her 2014 Valedictorian address so we decided to share it with you.

Enjoy!

Everything I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned From My Dad

by Adrienne Aardema

WMC Class of 2014 Valedictorian Speech

I wanted to say something fresh but true tonight, and since many of you know of my dad, Kevin Aardema, I thought I would share some things that I have learned from him.  My Dad is a math teacher and cross-country coach at WMC.  He answers almost all questions with his personal set of one-liners that cover the philosophical spectrum.  I’m sharing with you my top ten list, and I have heard these from him hundreds of times.

10 – Sometimes your best isn’t good enough.

Well, this is a callous (but true) statement for a coach/Dad to make.  It’s blunt, but it reminds me that, on my own, I’m not that great.  The real goodness in me is always God working through me.

9 – If you don’t puke, then you weren’t really trying.

My Dad usually tells us this before races.  In general, it means: “give it your all, even when it hurts or is embarrassing”.

8 – You’re my favorite.

This is my Dad’s way of saying “Good job, but you’d better keep it up because that could change.”

7 – Just go out there and have fun.

…What he told me before my last cross-country meet, and before I ran the slowest time race that I’ve ever run.

6 – It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win.

I find this a little bit contradictory to his last statement about “just go out there and have some fun”, but he is competitive to the core.  Obviously, there is gospel truth in this statement also, because our ultimate victory in Christ does not depend upon our deeds.

5 – The first pancake never comes out well.

My Dad says this every time we make pancakes, but he always looks directly at me, the first-born.  I’m still not sure what this means, but he always throws the first pancake in the trash.

4 – I am a pizza genius!!

…the contagious power of optimism.  My Dad makes this remark every time he makes pizza, whether or not it is burnt, or tasteless, or wonderful.

3 – You’re just a stupid kid.

This is my Dad’s off-hand way of offering grace, but it also puts me in my place.

2 – The pain is only temporary.

This is my Dad’s constant advice when he is encouraging me to finish something difficult.

1 – A bath solves everything.

I should probably say something about baptism, but I think he really means a bath

These are the Elemental Aardema Truths, and whether I want to or not, I will carry them with me as I leave my home and childhood. 

There are also Elemental Truths that WMC has offered us:  they involve hope and grace and courage and friendship.  I am grateful for them.  Thank you teachers and families and coaches for the life lessons you leave with us.

I wish my classmates well, as they carry their own legacies into adulthood.

Thank you and God bless you.

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

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Kevin! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Chad!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools 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.

Curious if you should switch your kids to WMC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about us!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian School’s Mark Hill

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to 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.

In the words of Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC Administrator:

Our WMC middle school students know that they are in for a special treat under the leadership of Mr. Hill. Mark is a treasure of wisdom and knowledge. He is able to adapt to any and every situation. Science and the principles of this universe come alive under the instruction of Mr. Mark Hill.

Celebrating Mark Hill of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I have nearly completed my first year of teaching at WMC.  Prior to coming to WMC, I taught for 21 years in the public school system.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach 7th and 8th-grade science, language arts, and STEM.

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there? 

A: I have two boys.  Andrew graduated from WMC last year and is currently attending Calvin University.  Ethan is in 10th grade at WMC.

Me with my sons Andrew (left) and Ethan (right).

Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date?

A: This is going to sound weird but, the day classes resumed after finding out that Mr. Vredevoogd had passed away.  It was one of the hardest teaching days in my life. However, what turned it into a favorite moment is that we had an opportunity to come together as a community of believers and discuss our faith and how Christ has overcome death.  I have never felt so supported as a teacher than I had that day and I could feel the Holy Spirit working among us.

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

A: My wife Rhonda (DeBoer) (WMC class of ‘92) who teaches at Muskegon Christian School, and her two sisters, Gina (WMC class of ‘86) and Marla (WMC class of ‘89) are also alumni of WMC.  Small world!

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: I love coming to work every day to be with the kids- hearing their stories and connecting with them on a more personal level.  It is why I chose the profession I did.

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: Starting our day with a word of prayer.  It gives us a moment to pause and focus and thank God for the day he has set forth before us.

John 9:4, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (NIV)

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

A: Most people would agree that you have to be a little “different” to teach middle school students.  I LOVE working with this age group! They are so full of life, energy, and questions that you have to be on your toes and ready for anything to happen during the day.

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

A: Vernors!

Q:    How do you feel Teaching for Transformation will augment or re-shape your tactics/approach/perspective as a Christian educator?

A: I am excited to be an early adopter for TfT.  The ability for kids to tie their academic work to their faith is what is truly exciting.  I have been trained in Project-Based Learning (PBL) and TfT gives students the “Greater Why”- we are Servants Called to Serve! 

We are currently looking at body systems and diseases that might affect these systems. Students are in the process of choosing how we want to serve kids their age who may have a disease or medical condition.  Stay tuned to see what they choose!

AS A BELOVED FACULTY MEMBER, MARK IS PART OF THE HEART OF WMCS. WE ARE BLESSED AND FAVORED TO HAVE HIM AS PART OF OUR SCHOOL FAMILY!  

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Mark! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools 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.

Curious about starting your child in WMC’s Middle School program?

LEARN MORE.

Does Your Child Need a Fresh Start? Explore New Beginnings at West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12

New Beginnings at WMCS

Today’s youth face a barrage of influences that compete for and invade their attention, at EVERY age.

Give your child a leg up with a fresh start at West Michigan Christian Schools!

At WMCS, the seeds of Truth are sown early and consistently cultivated until the child is rooted and ready for secondary school. Backed up at home, this powerful collaboration gives your child what is needed to grow into a fruit-bearing child of God.

Fresh Take on Timeless Truth

Lakeshore parents have trusted West Michigan Christian Schools for 137 years–not a typo!

WMCS Timeline Infographic with chronological dates and logos of all five schools
WMCS has been offering Christian Education in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan for more than 100 years!

Although God’s Word is timeless, how we reach students must be fresh

Our PK-12 school system provides preschoolers through high school seniors, with the fertile soil to transform and thrive spiritually, socially and academically.

The WMCS 5-School System offers:

  • Teaching for Transformation PK-12
  • Spanish Immersion and English programs PreK-6th
  • Preschool (PT and FT options)
  • Kindergarten; English or Spanish Immersion. (PT and FT options)
  • Active learning via STEM & Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • PK-12 Christian educational experience with Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School

Our schools 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.

Come to West Michigan Christian Schools and give your child the New Beginning he/she needs to bloom!

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, 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).

Go to WMCSchools.org to LEARN MORE and to determine which school is the best match for your family.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Western Michigan Christian’s Robin Tyink

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to 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 Robin Tyink of Western Michigan Christian School (7-12th grade)

Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC’s Administrator shares his thoughts about Robin:

The department of English and Language Arts is led by one of WMC’s finest — Mrs. Robin Tyink.  Robin is an outstanding member of the teaching staff here at Western Michigan Christian Middle & High School.  Robin’s commitment to the art of instruction from a Christian perspective is a bright and shining light in the lives of our students.  

Not only is Robin excellent in the classroom, but she is also actively involved in the social and spiritual culture of our school.  She is the current winner of the Project Grace award, an early adopter of Teaching for Transformation and often leads in chapel presentations to share with us her excitement concerning the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  

It is my honor and privilege to proclaim Robin Tyink, this week’s WMCS Teacher Tuesday feature!  

Q: How many years have you taught at WMC?

A: This is my sixth year at WMC, but my 18th year teaching. 

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach English 9, AP Language & Composition, and AP Literature and Composition

Q: Do you have kids?

A: I have a kindergartner, Isaac, and sixth-grader, Natalee, at Fremont Christian School (PK-8th), one of the feeders schools to WMC.

Q. What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? 

A: Project Grace this year (2019) was just awesome.  To see how God moved through my group of seniors was truly awe-inspiring.  They worked together in order to meet their goal and did so by organizing pop can drives, bake sales and more.  They were able to raise over $6000. It was such a blessing to deliver gifts with them this year. 

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

A: I love theatre.  As a family, we love to go to plays and musicals. Also, my family lives at a summer camp all year long.  My husband, Scott, is the Facilities Director at Camp Echo. This means we get to live at camp! I work at the camp store during the summer and literally sell thousands of ice cream cookie sandwiches!

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: I love building relationships with my students.  I love to know what is going on in their lives and being able to share what is going on in mine with them. 

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

A: I am a voracious reader.  God has instilled this joy in me, and I love to share my enthusiasm for books with my students. 

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

A: Coke! 

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

A: I am so grateful for the caring community at WMC.  The students and staff truly form a family here. 

Q: As we enter year two in Teaching for Transformation, what are your thoughts on TfT?

A: I am so excited about TfT.  As an early adopter, I have been on the ground floor with this project.  I am excited about how TfT allows us as teachers to authentically show our students how faith connects with their academic learning.  TfT allows us to fill a real need, for real people by doing real work! As AP Lit beings Frankenstein in March, we will be discussing what people and events influence our personal stories.  These students will then be teaming up with a WMC middle school classroom to help them write their own stories. 

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

A Small Token of Appreciation

Thank you Robin, from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple small tokens of appreciation for you, Robin! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop, Robin!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools 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.

Curious if you should switch your kids to WMC or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE about partnering with WMCS for PK-12 Christian education!

A Testimony by Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC Principal

He is Faithful at Every Turn

by Pastor Samuel Greer, Principal of Western Michigan Christian High Scholl and Middle School

I am often asked for a statement that reflects my testimony to the power and authority of Jesus Christ. This past summer has brought me to a place of absolute trust and confidence in Christ as Master of the universe. Our family was ready to embrace the joys of summer break when, suddenly, life took an unpredictable turn. Instead, our summer was spent with daily visits to the intensive care unit of our local hospital and the Traumatic Brain Unit of Spectrum Health. Since June, my family has wrestled with the challenges of life and the daily struggles of human frailty in the wake of my wife Judy’s fall at home.

Remarkably, we’ve also experienced great blessings and even clarity in this trial. The power of prayer and the strength of the Christian community has been the stabilizing foundation over the last several months. Working and worshipping with individuals that share the hope we have in Jesus Christ has strengthened me for the journey that is ahead.

I am left with a strengthened conviction that living with purpose and using our individual and collective God-given gifts to further His Kingdom is a privilege and a blessed opportunity that we all have daily; one that should be rejoiced, leveraged and surely not squandered.

I praise God for the Christian community of both Western Michigan Christian School and the lakeshore. I am left with a strengthened conviction that living with purpose and using our individual and collective
God-given gifts to further His Kingdom is a privilege and a blessed opportunity that we all have daily; one that should be rejoiced, leveraged and surely not squandered. My hope, for those who will read this statement, is that you will sense the need, mirror my conviction, and join as one school family in support of Christian education to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

I believe, with all of my heart, that God’s plan and purpose are being lived out in the classrooms and hallways at WMC and at all four feeder schools. It is my prayer that you will participate in the mission of sharing Jesus Christ and providing Christian education to every family.

I believe, with all of my heart, that God’s plan and purpose are being lived out in the classrooms and hallways at WMC and at all four feeder schools.

Contact us for more INFORMATION about Western Michigan Christian School’s 7-12th grade.

This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.

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.

A Testimony by Tim Annema, GHC Principal

Family, Faith & My Deepest Hope

By Tim Annema, Principal of Grand Haven Christian School

Growing up on a dairy farm, there was never a shortage of things to do; cleaning stalls, feeding calves, milking, or my personal favorite, fieldwork. My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He was up at 4:30 am each day and often worked late into the night paying bills, working out in the fields, or monitoring the birth of a new calf in the barn.

Through all of this, my dad made sure to make time for his faith and family. He was always at the table for family dinners and made it to all of our concerts, games, and recitals. He was also involved in ministry, serving on both church council and the Christian school board. Over time, I have grown to not only appreciate and value these attributes but also emulate them in my daily walk. These attributes did not just appear one day in my father or myself, they were cultivated over time.

The prayer of Oscar Romero hangs in my office as a reminder that God is at work, whether as a farmer, principal, parent, or grandparent. This is what we are about:

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the
Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

My deepest hope is that each child of God will experience value and love found in Jesus Christ while being equipped and called to action to live for Him. Often, we prefer to know that we have the skill-set and ability to complete a task before committing, however, many times God calls for us to act, promising He will equip us along the way. He did so through Moses as he led the Israelites out of captivity from Egypt, David as he defeated the Philistine giant, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, who endured the pain and suffering of the cross.

My deepest hope is that each child of God will experience value and love found in Jesus Christ while being equipped and called to action to live for Him.

As someone new to the role and responsibilities of a principal, I find comfort in knowing that God has called me to act and will sustain me along the way. Furthermore, as a parent of four boys, all at GHC, I am thankful
for the teachers and staff who play a significant role in my children’s lives, sowing and cultivating seeds of faith.

My prayer is that every student at Grand Haven Christian School and within all West Michigan Christian Schools will experience the call of God and respond, trusting that God will equip along the way.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Grand Haven Christian School?

This testimony was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. To download a PDF copy of the newsletter CLICK HERE.

WMC is the Lakeshore’s #1 Choice for Christian High School

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School (7-12th grade) is the Secondary School Destination for Many PK-6 and PK-8th Grade Schools in the Lakeshore Area

WMC offers students and families much support as well as unique academic programs.

Here’s a snapshot below:

STUDENT GUIDANCE


Jeff Schipper, who joined WMC in 2018 as the guidance counselor, delights in helping students navigate the best path per their talents and goals.

Whether students are on the 4-year college, community college or trade school track, Mr. Schipper facilitates the discernment process by meeting with each student yearly to set and evaluate their goals.

He also is available to support students with social and emotional needs.

Guidance Questions?

ESS – EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES

WMC’s Haley Langejans (ESS
Teacher) and Dan Garland (ESS
Accommodations Coordinator).


WMC’s Educational Support Services (ESS) team includes Haley Langejans who serves as an ESS Teacher and Dan Garland, an ESS Accommodations Coordinator.

The ESS department is overseen by WMCS ESS Director Whitney Jackson, who works alongside classroom teachers (pictured right) to provide support to students with diagnosed disabilities and students with documented learning gaps.

WMC provides ancillary services (Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Evaluation Services…) to qualifying students.

ESS Questions?

SPANISH IMMERSION

WMC is now home to students who have attended kindergarten through 6th-grade in the MCS Spanish Immersion program.

Soon WMC will welcome students from the growing SI programs at both GHC and FCS. Students can continue their language studies at WMC in full immersion classes in Bible, Spanish Language Arts, and upper levels of Spanish and graduate from WMC with their college language requirements.

To be eligible to attend the SI program at WMC, students must start in the language immersion program in Kindergarten. Three of our four WMC feeders schools offer Spanish Immersion programs including, Grand Haven Christian, Muskegon Christian, and Fremont Christian.

SI Questions?

This blog post was part of the WMCS Faith Matter’s Fall 2019 Newsletter. To download a PDF copy of the newsletter CLICK HERE.

Early Adopters Emerge in the West Michigan Christian Schools Teaching for Transformation Program

The Education of a “Peculiar People”

By Jennifer Van Hekken, WMCS PK-8 Curriculum Director & TfT Director

You may have heard the phrase “Teaching for Transformation” thrown around in various school communications and maybe you’re curious what it means.

Teaching for Transformation (TfT) is a program that is being integrated into Christian schools across the country, and we (the WMCS 5-school PK-12 system) are excited to be added to that esteemed list of schools.

The TfT model of education begins with three years of faculty training. Year one begins with eight modules, or lessons, delivered to all WMCS teachers.  In the second year of TfT, twenty-five percent of the staff emerge as early adopters of the program and begin implementing the framework into their classrooms. Year three of TfT focuses on the training of the remaining three-fourths of the staff, moving the early adopters into a training role.

Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information.

As WMCS enters our second year of training, I’m excited to observe unique teaching and learning already taking shape in our schools. Our faculty is shifting into teaching for the purpose of transformation, not just the transfer of information. Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks. I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!   

Our children experience a lot of noise (literal information overload) and teachers are challenged with competing with that. TfT has a way of breaking through the clutter, creating an emotional and spiritual connection that spurs a deeper learning experience that truly sticks.

At WMCS it is our desire that beyond anything else, our students understand that they are a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) who play an important role in God’s story and are set apart to do “good works which have been laid out for them in advance” (Ephesians 2:10).  TfT equips teachers to weave this concept into all of their lessons, making for an impactful and transformational learning environment. 

I am wholeheartedly convinced that this is the right way to do Christian education in the 20th Century!  

Our early adopters are already capturing this vision in their classrooms through the addition of their Deep Hope for their students and the creation of a Storyline for their classrooms.

WMCS TfT Early Adopters Explain it Best

Athena Findlay (GHC) has chosen the Storyline “Find Your Purpose,” and is reminding her students through all of their English Language Arts studies that, as they read others’ stories, they themselves also play a role in God’s story, and they are challenged to consider their own purpose in that story.

Athena Findley, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a middle school English teacher at Grand Haven Christian School.

Jen Menefee (MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Loved by God,” and spends time in her classroom reminding her students that all of the people groups that they study in Social Studies, as well as every student in the classroom, is loved by God, which changes how they see both themselves and others.

Jen Menefee, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a second-grade teacher at Muskegon Christian School.

Nick Debone (WMC/MCS) has chosen the Storyline “Created to Worship.” He reminds his students that regardless of what type of music they are playing, what instrument they have chosen, and how difficult a piece can be, their ultimate goal is to understand that they were created to worship and that they get to use Band class to live that out. 

Nick DeBone, a Teaching for Transformation early adopter, is a band director at Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School.

Believers are God’s Own Special People

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

As a 5-school PK-12 collaborative, we are so excited about the way that the TfT framework can continue to help us intentionally integrate faith and learning in a way that not only helps our students grow but also brings about transformation in both students’ and teachers’ lives. 

For more information about the WMCS Teaching for Transformation program, please contact us!

This article appeared in the West Michigan Christian Schools PK-12 Faith Matters Newsletter, Fall 2019 print edition. To read the full newsletter click here.

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 West Michigan Christian Schools Collaborative Annual 2019 Golf Outing

The WMCS Annual Golf Outing is the only fundraising event of the year that benefits all five member schools. It’s so well-attended that the spots are selling out early!

This year we gathered at Chase Hammond Golf Course on September 14, 2019, as the sun started to rise. Our generous sponsors, partners, and supporters arrived ready for a fun day of best-ball golf while raising funds for the WMCS faculty Teaching for Transformation (TfT) program.

WMCS is excited to announce that we’ve raised $35,000 toward our $50k 3-year goal. That puts us right on track as we enter year two of the three-year faculty TfT training.

It’s due to your support and the steadfast generosity of our sponsors that allows WMCS to provide our staff with what they need to provide excellent education for children at our five schools.

We are always humbled by and so grateful for the generous support:

Platinum Sponsors: BettenBaker, Gort & Kraker and Summit Laboratory;

Gold sponsors: Advanced Printing & Graphics, Bishop Heating and Air, B2 Outlets Stores, DIBS! On Resale, and West Coast Pediatric Dentistry.

Silver sponsors: Hometown Pharmacy, B&B Designs, Independent Bank, Bornw Bear, Shelby State Bank. Don Rypma Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, Landscape Design, Country Dairy, Cedar Crest Dairy, and Cornerstone University. 


Envelope Please. And the Winners Are …

1st Place, with a score of 57:

From left to right:
Dean Johnson, Jeremiah Johnson, Daniel Rosema and Caleb Johnson.
Caleb, an all-state golfer in his days at WMC, was also a member of last year’s first-place foursome.

2nd Place, with a score of 59:

From left to right: The Rop brothers: Steve, Stan, Dave and Keith.

3rd Place, with a score of 60:

From left to right:
Kevin Kamphuis, Chad Kamphuis, Caleb Ledger and Adam Ledger.

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 FCSPhil Morse of NECLisa Taylor of MCSKristin Clausing of GHC, Scott Liggett of WMC, and Kimberlee Mitchell, who reps for the WMCS 5-school collaborative.

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!

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:

Interested in helping West Michigan Christian School reach its Teaching for Transformation fundraising goal?

Please EMAIL US! 

West Michigan Christian Schools Partner with B2 Outlet Stores to Raise Funds for Christian Education

We have Our Very Own Outlet Store ! 

West Michigan Christian Schools is excited to announce a new fundraising partnership with B2 Outlet Stores, a faith-based initiative that weaves together an emerging business model with a missional purpose.

For WMCS, that missional purpose is to support preschool through 12th-grade Christian education along the lakeshore of West Michigan at our five schools

B2 Outlet Stores serve the community by selling brand new, name-brand merchandise at reduced prices, then donating the majority of the store profits back into WMCS.

On October 9th, 2019 all five WMC Schools will come together to celebrate the B2 Outlet Store Grand Opening in Muskegon

            …and you’re ALL INVITED! 🎉

Shop, Save & Help Your School Win!

Each of the five West Michigan Christian Schools will receive a unique bar code, which is to be presented at checkout so B2 can keep a tally for sales for each school.

At the end of the academic 2019-2020 school year, the WMC School with the most cumulative sales will win a $250 shopping spree at B2! 

The bar code cards will be available in your school office as of Monday, September 16.

Already shopping at B2 and forgot your code? Tell the B2 cashier which school you are affiliated with and they will take care of it for you! 

To prepare for the Grand Opening, we need all helping hands on deck this month to get the store set up!

Volunteers Needed:

We need your help! To prepare for the Grand Opening, we need all helping hands on deck this month to get the store set up!

We are enlisting WMCS family, friends and student volunteers to get the store ready for the opening day next month.

The store layout is set, fixtures are purchased and clothing and other sale items have arrived! If you can hang items on a hanger, we need you!

Earn your annual school service hours while helping a GREAT cause!

Volunteer Info:

  • 2-8 volunteers starting Monday, September 9 through October 8
  • Volunteer Sign Up:
    1. Go to this link b2outlets.com/volunteers
    2. Choose the Muskegon store location by clicking the pull-down arrow
    3. Choose the hours you want to volunteer
      • Monday through Saturday shifts available:
      • M – F: 8am-11pm, 11am-2pm, 2pm-5pm, 5pm-8pm
      • Sat: 9-noon
      • Closed Sunday
    4. Enter your contact info and the B2 Team will be in touch

B2 Employment Opportunities:

The new store will also need to hire some full and part-time paid staff.

Where is it?

The B2 Outlet Store is located at 1638 Apple Avenue, in the commercial building behind Bob Evans off Apple Avenue, right off Highway 31. 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT of Christian Education at our West Michigan Christian Schools!

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), 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.