West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for Fremont Christian School

A Statement from West Michigan Christian Schools

“𝔸𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕃𝕠𝕣𝕕 𝕣𝕖𝕢𝕦𝕚𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕪𝕠𝕦? 𝕋𝕠 𝕒𝕔𝕥 𝕛𝕦𝕤𝕥𝕝𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕧𝕖 𝕞𝕖𝕣𝕔𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕨𝕒𝕝𝕜 𝕙𝕦𝕞𝕓𝕝𝕪 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝔾𝕠𝕕.” – Micah 6:8

The events of the last several weeks have prompted us to make a public statement regarding the proliferation of racism, bigotry, and abuse that has polluted our country.


These events vividly illustrate that this world is not the way God intends it to be. Our black and brown brothers and sisters have been suffering for generations in a society that has been oppressive and excluding. What has happened these past few months are only the most recent examples of suffering and frustration.

𝔸𝕟𝕕 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕕𝕠𝕖𝕤 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕃𝕠𝕣𝕕 𝕣𝕖𝕢𝕦𝕚𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝕪𝕠𝕦? 𝕋𝕠 𝕒𝕔𝕥 𝕛𝕦𝕤𝕥𝕝𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕝𝕠𝕧𝕖 𝕞𝕖𝕣𝕔𝕪 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕨𝕒𝕝𝕜 𝕙𝕦𝕞𝕓𝕝𝕪 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙 𝕪𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝔾𝕠𝕕

West Michigan Christian Schools (Fremont Christian SchoolGrand Haven Christian SchoolMuskegon Christian SchoolNew Era Christian School, and Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School) recognize that we too must do even better. We must actively engage our students and disciple them to be community builders and justice seekers as we endeavor to make this world more as God would want it to be. While we must identify and work against the injustice we see in society, we must also determine to root out our own injustice and racism in its many forms and seek to hold ourselves accountable as well.


We cannot be idle, nor can we be silent. The agenda of the Gospel demands that the lifestyle of the believer must be saturated with behavior that honors the human dignity of every individual.

We cannot be idle, nor can we be silent. The agenda of the Gospel demands that the lifestyle of the believer must be saturated with behavior that honors the human dignity of every individual.

The Christian community must reflect the love of Jesus and His desire that all men and women are treated with Biblical humility. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must repent of our own failures and respond with love in both word and action.

The Christian community must reflect the love of Jesus and His desire that all men and women are treated with biblical humility. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must repent of our own failures and respond with love in both word and action.

The leadership of West Michigan Christian Schools is intent on continuing this discussion and taking action to hold ourselves accountable and to be a positive presence in West Michigan as we strive to love every member of the Body of Christ.

Principals of WMCS:

Tim Annema, GHC
Dan DeKam, MCS
Nick Donkersloot, FCS
Pastor Samuel Greer, WMC
Phil Morse, NEC

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Johnny Vasquez

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 Johnny Vasquez of Fremont Christian School (PK-6th grade)

In the words of FCS Principal, Nick Donkersloot:

FCS’ very own superhero! Senor Johnny has created a classroom full of students who can accomplish amazing feats just like all the superheroes that plaster the walls of their classroom. When Johnny is not working tirelessly in his classroom, he can be found in the kitchen baking some delicious Puerto Rican treats for his students and colleagues to enjoy.

Enjoying a beautiful day at the park!

Q: Where are you from? 


A: I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and graduated in 2007 from the Puerto Rico Baptist College. 

We enjoy serving together at church!

Q: How long have you taught at FCS? 


A: I have taught at Fremont Christian School for 2 years. I started as the 5th-grade Spanish Immersion teacher but this year I was the 4th grade Spanish Immersion teacher. 

We enjoy going out, grabbing something to drink and take a random picture.


Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? 

A: Probably everyone knows this about me but I love movies! I even collect them. I also enjoy reading, music, and art. 

Teaching during this quarantine got us coming up with fun/crazy ideas. So we needed to put on our Grinch onesies and do some reading for our students. It has been fun.

Q: What’s your favorite drink? 

A: My favorite beverage is Dr. Pepper and passion fruit juice. 

Twinning — he picked our outfit for the day!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 


A: The best part of my day is been around my FCS family. I surely miss that nowadays (during the pandemic shut-down). 

Having fun with my mini-me.

Q: How has God gifted you as a teacher? 


A: I believe the Lord has given me a desire and enjoyment to be around young people. I really like to interact with students and find things in common with them. 


Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment?


A: My favorite teaching moment has been to see how much my students enjoy learning about my culture. I remember last year in November we celebrated the Puerto Rico Discovery Week. They were so excited to learn our traditional music, games, famous places and food. At the end of the week, we enjoyed some Puerto Rican food. They had a blast! I also enjoy seeing how they like to pray for other people’s needs. And not only that, they show extreme joy when they know God has answered our prayers. 

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

A: I am really grateful to work at a place where we can count on each other. Working with people that show the love of Christ. I also like the fact that my family works/studies in FCS, my wife is the 1st-grade Spanish Immersion teacher and our 3-year-old boy goes to the preschool. 

As a beloved faculty member, Johnny 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, Johnny! 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, Johnny!

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 FCS or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner. Being a PK-12 school system, WMCS is one-stop Christian education!

LEARN MORE about us!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Ann Yonker

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.

Ann Yonker

Celebrating Ann Yonker of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of FCS Principal, Nick Donkersloot:

Mrs. Yonker has a joy and love for her students and that is evident each and every day. A veteran teacher whom others lean on for advice and support, Ann always has time for everyone. Mrs. Yonker has the unique ability to create a whole world with just her words when she is telling a Bible story. Mrs. Yonker never settles for mediocre, both in her and her student’s work. She is constantly pushing herself and others to be the best that they can be.  

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I have taught at Fremont Christian for 29 years.

Field Trip to Muskegon Winter Sports Park with my 2nd graders. 


Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach 2nd-grade Outdoor Education – it’s the best!! 

Me and my students in the classroom.

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

A: Both of my sons graduated from FCS and WMCHS. Jonathan is 24 and Tyler is 20.

The Yonker Family: Jonathan, Ann, Steve, and Tyler.

A very proud moment – watching my son graduate from Marine Boot Camp in SanDiego, California.


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

A: It is really hard to come up with just one!  As a working mom, you sometimes feel like you are missing the time spent with your children, so it was very special for me to have both of my sons in my classroom.  It gave me a glimpse into their lives as students and I was finally able to go on field trips with my own children! 

Q: What your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you? 

A: I love going to High School events and having former students come up to me.  It is great hearing what is going on in their lives and it means a lot that they are willing to take the time to say hi and talk a bit. 

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

A: I love to travel and try new things!  I have visited 48 states and toured through 27 different countries.  I’ve tried high ropes courses, white water rafting, the Muskegon Luge run, and skydiving.    

Kayaking in beautiful Glacier National Park 

A very friendly mountain goat we encountered while hiking on the Highline Trail in Glacier!
My favorite place in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring!

Getting ready to ride the luge run in Muskegon.

Camping near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. 

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

A: I love teaching second grade!  Second graders are excited about learning and school, but what I love the most is building relationships with students.  I get very close to my students after a whole year and really miss them when they move on (or have to be at home because of distance learning!).  Because I am in lower elementary I get to watch them grow up and move through the grades at FCS.  I love going to All-School chapels and having older students come up to me for a hug and to say hi.   

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: I love prayer journal time with my class.  We gather on the floor and share what is on our minds and hearts. It is a time when I learn as much from my students as I hope they learn from me.  It is powerful to hear your students praying for you! I am so grateful to be at a school where I can share my faith and sit in a circle with my students as we pray for each other. 

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


A: Report cards!  It is impossible to give parents a good idea of what their child is like at school with the grades you give on a piece of paper.  No child can be defined by a report card!

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

A: Coke Zero – I’m a caffeine junky!

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

A: That every fall I get to start over at a job I love!  Teaching never gets boring because each year you can do things differently with a whole new group of students.  I am also very grateful for the overwhelming support of parents, fellow staff, administration, and school board.

As a beloved faculty member, Ann 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 from all of your colleagues and school families at WMCS!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Ann! 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 FCS or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? Time to start thinking about a school system partner. Being a PK-12 school system, WMCS is one-stop Christian education!

LEARN MORE about us!

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Gladys Pell

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 Gladys Pell of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

A quote from Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Administrator:

There is no denying the love that Gladys has for music. God has blessed her with a gift that she loves to share with her students. Her passion and joy are evident in how she is able to take our middle school students and turn them into amazing bands and choirs. Gladys is always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge her students. FCS is blessed to have Mrs. Pell. 

Gladys Pell

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I came to Fremont Christian School in the fall of 1985. I left in 1993 to be home with kids, did some teaching at Fremont Public and Providence Christian HS before coming back to FCS in 2006 and it’s good to be “home.”

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Currently, I am teaching all bands and choirs in grades 5-8, as well as 7th-grade pre-Algebra. I’ve taught everything from K music to 9th grade German over the years!

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

A: My husband, Dan, and I have 4 kids, all graduates of Fremont Christian School: Michael (FCS ’07, PCHS ‘11) is married to Nicole Ribbens Pell (WMC ’11); Elizabeth (FCS ’10, WMC ’14) is married to Tyler Herlien; Emilee (FCS ’11, WMC ’15) and Hannah (FCS ’14, WMC ’18).

The Pell family celebrated a marriage this past summer.

Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? Tell us the story.

A: In my 2nd year at FCS, I was able to take the Jr. high band to State Festival, where our sight-reading judge was my former 5-12th grade band director, Henry VanderLinde. I had dreamt of being a band director since 6th grade, and to be at Festival with him as our judge, and then to receive a top rating from him was very exciting for me! As a young teacher, it really felt like God was confirming the choices He led me to make for my career!

Q: What your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

A: I was walking through the Amway Grand Hotel at a recent music teacher convention when a young lady ran out of a business in the hotel and wrapped me in a huge hug! It was a former student who recognized me and wanted me to know how much music class was a positive influence in her life, and the one thing she looked forward to every day in MS and HS. 

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

A: My parents were first-generation immigrants from Germany to the United States. They spoke German at home all the time because they wanted to immerse us in their native language — a great selling point for immersion classes—it works! I can understand almost everything anyone says in German, but please don’t ask me to speak it! Since I don’t use it much, I would most definitely embarrass myself! And…my first trip to Germany was when I was only 18 months old!

The annual TIGER game day!

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

A: The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: That first cup of hot tea in the morning as I read through my morning devotions and get ready to face the day!

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

A: I have a fairly high tolerance level for noise, which I think is important in what I do. Sometimes musical creativity can be noisy! And, NO…I don’t wear earplugs!

I also feel God has blessed me with an ability to relate to MS kids and love them, even on their difficult days. 

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

A: I would LOVE to get the bands and choirs back into the festival scene, which would give them a greater opportunity to be beauty creators outside of our community. 

Dan & Gladys on an Alaskan vacation celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary!

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

A: My students could answer this one: hot tea! You would be hard-pressed to find me without a cup close by (although often it does get cold….)

I also love a hot cocoa day with my 7/8 Choirs on those cold, Michigan winter days!

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

A: The support of an amazing school community: parents/grandparents, school board, and staff! It is so gratifying to have a team effort in raising kids to understand their role in God’s story!



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

A: I believe that Teaching for Transformation has been my goal since beginning to teach so many years ago. I love being able to share my faith through music and have always tried to encourage kids to grow in their walk with God through the music we use. I do love the current terminology that reminds us that we are a part of God’s continuing story. It is my prayer that my students will always see the value of music in their lives and how their music choices can impact the world around them. I pray that they will be active participants in worshiping God through music.

Gladys and her husband Dan.

As a beloved faculty member, Gladys 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

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

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Gladys! 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 if you should switch your kids to MCS or any of our five schools?

Do you have a toddler? It’s time to start thinking about a school system partner.

LEARN MORE ABOUT US!

A Testimony By Nick Donkersloot, of FCS

A Man After His Father’s Own Heart

By Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Principal

Every boy grows up wanting to be like their hero and I was no exception. A childhood hero is usually a superhero or an all-star athlete. My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot;
he also happened to be my father.

My hero, however, was a Christian school principal named Mr. Donkersloot; he also happened to be my father.

I have known I wanted to be in education my whole life, and after thirteen years of teaching, I have finally been able to realize that dream by becoming the principal at Fremont Christian.

I know that I am a fallen man; we are all fallen. I also know the joy of God’s never-ending grace and love for us. A love that meant he sent his son to die on the cross for us ensuring our salvation. I know that in all things I am in
God’s hands and no matter what I do he will never let go of me. This is the foundation of who I am, and it is truly a joy to share that with all around me. I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. One thing that I have loved about being a principal is being able to pop into the classroom and celebrate with them in whatever they are learning.

I try to shine God’s light in all that I do. Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them (students).

Hopefully, God’s light is as evident in me as it is in them. My whole childhood was centered around Christian education. My education from kindergarten through high school was at a Christian school. My father was my principal for elementary school, middle school and first two years of high school. I also spent the first two years of my undergrad at Calvin College. I have always been thankful for the foundation in my background in Christian education. I not only learned the importance of a quality education where Christ is at the center of all things, but I experienced it. It is a foundation that carried me through to my teaching career. I have seen the value and benefits of having my faith and the faith of my staff and students woven throughout every aspect of FCS. This is why I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

I am so excited that we are implementing Teaching for Transformation. TFT will help staff make sure that God’s story and our part in that story is at the foundation of all we teach.

We are part of God’s story and because of His redemption, we get to be a part of the restoration story. I take pride and joy in working on bringing restoration to God’s world.

Interested in more INFORMATION about Fremont Christian School’s PK-8th 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.

Fremont Christian School Says Goodbye to Principal John Barkel

To my FCS and WMCS family;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farewell, for now, and God bless!

John Barkel, FCS Principal

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

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

About FCS

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

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

CONTACT US today for more information!

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

FCS Helps Families in Providing a Safe Place for Students

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

Q: Why did you come to FCS?

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

Q: What do you like about FCS?

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

Q: How has FCS prepared you for high school?

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

About FCS

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

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

CONTACT US today for more information!

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

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q & A with Lizzie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Classroom shot of kids dresses in Seuss costumes

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

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

 
4. Q: What’s your favorite drink?

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

Cans of Ginger & Elderflower Soda

Ginger & Elderflower Craft Soda are Lizzie’s faves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lizzie on living room floor reading to her nieces and nephew

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

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

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

3-shot of Lizzie and her mom and sister

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

e

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Pedro Chuchoque

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

Celebrating Pedro Chuchoque of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Pedro Chuchoque became part of the FCS faculty in 2017 and teaches all subjects of second-grade Spanish Immersion. 

He studied graphic design in college in Bogota, Colombia before moving to Costa Rica for two years, where he met his Michigander wife. 
 
Pedro relocated to Michigan and attended Eastern Gateway Community College. Before coming to FCS, he worked as a paraprofessional at Rockford Public Schools.  He plans to continue his education in the future.
Pedro and Amanda smiling selfie with bandanas on their heads

Pedro and his lovely bride Amanda!

Pedro explains his journey into Christian education as divine. He shares that he was “guided by God” who led him to FCS when he was at a public school in a different position.  He followed a prompting to contact the principal at FCS, and after talking with him, he was curious to learn more. 

Pedro visited FCS, saw a lot of great things but specifically loved how students had the opportunity to learn more about the Bible in the classroom.  He made the transition and “feels really blessed to be part of this great school.” 

Pedro and his wife Amanda have four children; Giovanni 4, Malekai 8, Zahara 10, and Camryn 16.

Family selfie in front of forest

Giovanni, 4, wife Amanda, Pedro, Malekai, 8, Zahara, 10, and Camryn, 16, (pictured right to left).

They love to have fun as a family, spend time with each other and do everything together! 

group photo in front of Ark Encounter

The Chochuque’s experience Ark Encounter!

Pedro takes family selfie outside in a wood bridge

Family time in the great outdoors!

family photo in front park sign

More family adventures!

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

Q & A with Pedro

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

This year I was nominated for the WGVU Cool Teacher Contest by my 2nd grade Spanish Immersion student Mercedes (pictured below). Last week I found out that I was a “Cool Teacher”  winner! What an honor and what fun for my students! I was really surprised when I received the news about both the nomination and the win — I was deeply touched.

The TV station came to our school to shoot some video and do some interviews, which was exciting for the students to experience. They are also are going to throw our class a congratulatory party so we look forward to the fiesta! It was a great experience, I think they will remember that moment for the rest of their lives.  We can’t wait to see the segment air on TV! 

2.   How specifically has the Lord gifted you?

The Lord helps me in my work by giving me the encouragement, energy and great support from family and friends to make everything possible.  If you believe in yourself, with God by your side everything is possible!

If you believe in yourself, with God by your side everything is possible!

Happy Chochoque faces

Happy Chochoque faces

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

To see the students’ progress is #1.

But the family support and their trust in me to help and teach their children is a very, very close second!

Pedro and students with funny red and link fake lip kazoos in their mouths

Pedro and his students having fun while learning!

4. What’s your favorite drink?

Coca-cola!

 

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

Pedro, 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.

 

 

e

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Amber Bull

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

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

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

Celebrating Amber Bull of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Amber Bull joined the Fremont Christian School faculty in 2013. She enjoys teaching all subjects in the 4th grade. Amber and her husband Jacob have a daughter in preschool at FCS who starts in Kindergarten next year and a one-year-old who will join in the future too!  Amber herself is a FCS graduate and she also graduated high from WMC.  She’s a Falcon Warrior!

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Amber

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

Something fun that most people do not know about me is that I play the electric bass guitar. I’ve been playing since high school when I attended Western Michigan Christian High and played in the jazz band, pep band, orchestra pit, and chapels. I continued playing in college on the Calvin College pep band.  Today, I still play the bass for my church worship band, other worship conferences, and for special chapels at our school.  God gave me this talent, and I’m thankful to use it to glorify Him!

 

I still play the bass for my church worship band, other worship conferences, and for special chapels at our school.  God gave me this talent, and I’m thankful to use it to glorify Him!

Mrs. Bull, her 4th grade class and daughter Caroline up front

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

The best part of my day is our 4th-grade morning routine.  We begin each day sharing “Good Things” that happened recently in each student’s life.  Then we turn off the lights, post God’s Word on the projector, and read the Bible together.  So far in 4th grade, we have read the first 50 Psalms, the book of Ruth, and are currently halfway through the book of Luke.  After reading God’s word, we sing praise songs together and pray.  This morning routine is a great way to start our day building friendship and community.  I pray every day that my students learn to love the Lord and each other more and more each day.

We begin each day sharing “Good Things” that happened recently in each student’s life.  Then we turn off the lights, post God’s Word on the projector, and read the Bible together.  So far in 4th grade, we have read the first 50 Psalms, the book of Ruth, and are currently halfway through the book of Luke. 

Amber and her 4th grade class in Spring of 2019 at FCS

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

I am grateful for the opportunity to share learning about God’s world with this group of kids.  I’m grateful for the time dedicated to reading, writing, math, and content areas, but also how I can teach these students how these areas fit into God’s story.  I’m grateful for the support of the parents, and how they express that their student loves going to school and enjoys the 4th grade.  I’m thankful that Fremont Christian School is a place where we glorify God by educating and nurturing students to impact the world for Christ.
I’m grateful for the time dedicated to reading, writing, math, and content areas, but also how I can teach these students how these areas fit into God’s story.

 

Amber and her current 4th grade class in Spring of 2019

 

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

What I look forward to most about Teaching For Transformation (TfT) is incorporating real work, real people, and real need into what we learn in my classroom.  I’ve already started investigating this with my students and noticed engagement and motivation increase.  For example, we were working on our letter writing unit, and I decided to have students choose someone to encourage through their writing.  We would send out real letters to real people and meet the real need of encouraging people and spreading joy. Some students chose community members like the local vet and fire station.  Others chose people further away like authors they enjoy and even the President of the United States.  We were excited to do this act of service, and we even received some letters in return thanking us for the thoughtful notes! Through this project, I saw highly motivated young writers who used what they had learned in class to bless people around them.
What I look forward to most about Teaching For Transformation (TfT) is incorporating real work, real people, and real need into what we learn in my classroom.  I’ve already started investigating this with my students and noticed engagement and motivation increase.
As a beloved faculty member, Amber is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  Join us all in celebrating Alyssa and the amazing Kingdom work she does at FCS.

Jacob, Ivy, Carline and Amber Bull

Amber and her daughter Caroline

Amber, 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.