West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

Archive for Grand Haven Christian School

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Kathryn Becksvoort

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 Kathryn Becksvoort of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:

Kathryn is an amazingly talented musician, teacher, wife, and mother of four. She is passionate about providing ways in which students can use their voice and other musical instruments to make beautiful music in praise to God. Mrs. Becksvoort also directs the choirs at WMC, providing different music opportunities for GHC students for up 13 years of their life!

Q: How many years have you taught?

A: This is my 17th year teaching music and choir at GHC.  It is my 13th year teaching middle and high school choir at WMC.

Directing the 5th Graders at the 2019 Christmas Concert

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: I teach preschool-8th grade general music and choir at GHC.  I teach 7th-12th grade choir at WMC

Selfie in music class with Kinder

Q: Do you have kids at GHC?

A: My son Jack is in 5th grade, my daughter Clara is in 2nd grade, and my daughter Louise is in Young 5’s.  My daughter Cecilia will be coming to the preschool in the fall!

Selfie with the Men’s Choir as they prepare to sing at State Choir Festival at Hope College

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

A: I love being able to connect with my students.  Music is such a passion for many of them – being able to nurture and showcase their musical gifts is a privilege and a blessing.  I love seeing them take those gifts out into the community and into their churches to bless others as well!

Selfie with Lou on her 5th birthday, getting ice cream at Norm’s.

Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: I love getting up early in the morning, and being greeted by my sweet three-year-old.  She’s a morning person and a very early riser.  She always has a big smile and hugs for her mama!

Selfie with Jack on our taco date at Mercury Park

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

A:  I think God has blessed me with musical talents, which I love to share.  But beyond that, I think He has given me the skills of communication and empathy, so I can really reach my students where they are and help them grow.

Selfie with Dave this past summer at Silver Lake (while at Mac Woods)

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

A: I might let someone else teach fourth-grade recorders.  Just kidding – I actually love it!  Is that strange?

Selfie with the Chamber Choir, just before the Fall Concert at Orchard View.

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

A: Iced coffee!

Family photo from fall 2019
(from left to right) the kids’ order is Clara, Cecilia, Louise, and Jack.

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

A: GHC has always strongly supported the music program.  I know that whether it’s an elementary musical, a children’s Christmas program, a middle school choir concert, or anything else, I know that the parents, administrators, and teachers always come to cheer us on and support us in the audience!  Students then feel loved and encouraged in their musical endeavors, and strive to achieve excellence!  We know that as we share our musical gifts, we are there to glorify God.  I love being able to communicate that at GHC.

Directing the Chamber Choir and the Chamber Alumni at the WMC Collage Concert (at the Frauenthal).

As a beloved faculty member, Kathryn 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, Kathryn! 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 GHC 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 Grand Haven Christian School’s Hanna Cacciatore

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 Hanna Cacciatore of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

Grand Haven Christian School

A quote from Tim Annema GHC Administrator:

Señora Cacciatore is a caring and compassionate wife, mother, and teacher. She daily demonstrates these attributes to her Spanish immersion Kindergarten students. It’s amazing to walk into her classroom after just six months of school and hear her students purely conversing in Spanish. Hanna is a valuable member of our teaching staff and is intentional about building community both before and after the school day with students, parents, and fellow staff members.

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: This is my second year at GHC but my 10th year teaching.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Kindergarten Spanish Immersion

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

A: My daughter Natalie is in the Young 5’s classroom, my son Daniel will be in preschool next year!

Hanna with her daughter Natalie and son Daniel.

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

A: Last school year we read the story “Un beso en mi mano” (“The Kissing Hand”), after reading the story I had planned on having the students do a craft with a hand tracing and heart but the students really wanted to make a raccoon. Each student had different ideas on how to make a raccoon using different materials, I decided to go with it! It was a lot of fun to see their individual creativity come out, each raccoon turned out differently and it was fun to share them with one another.

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

A: While living in Honduras, my husband and I traveled around Honduras and ventured into Guatemala and Nicaragua. We got to see Mayan ruins, hear Kaqchikel (an indigenous Mayan language), and release baby sea turtles. Before we left Honduras my husband surprised me with a trip to Roatan with our kids and a friend, this was a trip I had wanted for the longest time but didn’t think we would get to before we left Honduras.

The Cacciatore clan at the GH Pier.

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

A: I love seeing the “Aha!” moments and watching the students’ faces light up with new knowledge and connections. I also love seeing the transformation of English to Spanish throughout the year. Most of my students enter the year not knowing any Spanish and leave at the end of the year speaking it fluently.

Q: What’s the best part of your day?

A: The best part of my day is greeting parents and students at the door in the morning. I love seeing the smiling faces and the excitement of the students as they enter the classroom. I love being able to catch up with parents for a minute or two and developing the relationship between home and school.

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

A: My favorite drink is a caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

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

A: I am most grateful for the GHC community: my fellow staff, school administrators, parents, and students. This is only my second year at GHC but it feels like I have always been here. I feel loved and supported by the community and am very blessed to be here at GHC.

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

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Hanna! 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 GHC’s Spanish Immersion program?

LEARN MORE.

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Grand Haven Christian School’s Wailand Groenendyk

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 Wailand Groenendyk of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)

In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:

Wailand has had a tremendous impact on my life, as a colleague and also as a husband and father of four boys. Wailand is calm, quiet, and soft-spoken outside of the classroom, but when the room fills with students his passion for kids, specifically middle school students, and God’s Word is evident. I have marveled over the years at his ability to teach Scripture while also speaking to the hearts of those in his classroom. Wailand is creative and a great leader of the middle school team at GHC.

Q & A with Wailand Groenendyk:

Q: How many years have you taught at GHC?

A: I have been a teacher at Grand Haven Christian School for 40 years.

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: My first class was 5/6 grade, split class. For several years I taught 6th grade as a self-contained classroom. When GHCS transitioned from a K-9  to PS-8, I began teaching in the Middle School. I have taught 6th grade Bible and Social Studies, 7th grade Bible and Social Studies, 8th grade Bible and History and 9th grade Bible.  Currently, I am the Sixth Grade homeroom teacher and am teaching 6th Bible, 7th Bible, and 8th Bible & American History.

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

A: While attending Calvin College, I met my wife Jean (GHC co-worker Mr. Mark Brondyke’s sister). We have four sons and three daughters-in-law as well as seven grandchildren.  All of our sons (Tad, Casey, Will & Tully) attended GHCS K-8th grade and each also graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School. Tad attended Mid America Seminary and hopes to be a pastor,  Casey works for Bekins Appliances, Will is a web designer, and Tully teaches 5th Grade at Grand Rapids Christian School.  


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

A: Leading the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders through the Bible over three years is an absolute delight. To take them from Genesis to Revelation on a journey that helps them see the beautiful design of our Sovereign God opens up opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives. 

Teaching Living Through History is also a fabulous experience. When the kids connect their emotions to the content of American History and “feel” what it was like to have a tyrant King, crops destroyed, investments flourish, and gold fever they connect with those who paved the way before them.  There have been so many “Ah-ha” moments over the years like when I (as King G) was taxing the daylights out of the student colonies, they got so fed up they actually stood up in class and began singing the Star Spangled Banner, after which they promptly declared their independence! 

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

C:\Users\Wailand\Desktop\20190317_145549.jpg

A1: Last year’s Winterim, I “taught” the Bob Ross method of oil painting for a group of middle schoolers. It was a blast!  I have been dabbling with the oil paints since and have had some success in producing “art” that actually looks like art.

Maranda visits with “Bob Ross” (AKA Wailand Groenendyk)

A2: For twenty-three years I have taught “summer school” at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. I am technically a Title I tutor and I work with the adolescent boys in the Residential Treatment program.

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

A: The thing about my job I love the most are the middle school kids. They are so multifaceted; walking with them is like walking through a field of diamonds.  They gleam, beam, reflect, can be rough, can be tough, can be a solitaire, perhaps shine best in a bunch or just need a little polishing. There’s a part of kids that is so predictable that you can use that predictability to make successful teaching moments. Then there’s that unpredictability where a kid will come up with a “new” insight that also makes for a great learning experience.

Isaiah makes a visit to Mr. G’s classroom!

Kids are fun and funny. Nearly every day the students will provide an opportunity to experience joy, Sometimes it’s a muffled chuckled; other times the laughter can’t be contained. Kids are a challenge. They make you think. They keep you on your toes. They figure out new angles just when you think you have all the angles covered.  Middle School kids have a keen sense of justice and will hold teachers to high standards for fairness. While middle schoolers can be brutally honest, they are also quick to forgive and forget. What a blessing!

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

A: The older I get the more I can see the evidence of God’s providence.  My fifth-grade science teacher was Mr. Ron Zoet at West Side Christian School (Walker Building). Ron inspired me to be a teacher. Twelve years later, God, in His providence, brought me to a teaching position in the school where Ron Zoet was the principal. That was 40 years ago. My story has been unfolding in marvelous ways that I could not even have begun to imagine. God has taught me the patience needed to be a teacher, given me a measure of wisdom, and a love for learning.

King G of Blue Island also shows up once in a while.

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


A: Vernors!

Image result for vernors

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

A: I am grateful for the people I work with. We truly are like family. I genuinely enjoy being a part of the staff and family of Grand Haven Christian School.  Our parents are supportive and caring. The school climate at GHC is “WE” not us and them.

My colleagues and me on “Dress Like Your Grandparent Day.”
A proud grandpa and three of his grandsons.
My wife, kids, and grandkids on Memorial Day. “I am a blessed man.”

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

We have a couple small tokens of appreciation for you, Wailand! 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, Wailand!

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 GHC or any of our five schools?

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

LEARN MORE about us!

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.

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

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

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

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

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

Grand Haven Christian School Store

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

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

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

Tyler and Bre on their wedding day on a bridge outside

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

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

two golden retrievers on a couch

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

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

 Enjoy getting to know him a bit more!

Q & A with Tyler

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

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

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

Coach Ray and the JV basketball team on the sideline

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Group photo of Tyler and some early elementary students outside

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Tyler and Bre holding massive iguana

Tyler and his bride Bre enjoying the Mayan Riviera.

 

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

Tyler and his lovely wife in a flower field

Tyler and Breanna Ray

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Teachers are the heart of WMCS!

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

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

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

Grand Haven Christian School Store

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

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

 Enjoy getting to know her a bit more!

Q & A with Mikaela

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

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

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

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

Getting ready to sing with GRSC in Carnegie Hall.

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

I actually sing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100 days of Kindergarten!

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

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

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

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

6. What’s your specific favorite beverage?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much Fun & Funds Raised at the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

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

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

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

Barb serving and talking with golfers

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

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

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

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

Denice Belknap with tickets

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

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

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

And the 2018 WMCS Golf Outing Winner’s Were…

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

1st Place Champions of the WMCS 2018 Golf Outing

1st Place Foursome

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

2nd Place

2nd place foursome

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

3rd Place

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

Event Fundraising Update & Tally:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golf Event Coordinators on golf cart

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

Our Fabulous & Faithful Sponsors

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

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

Abbit logo

Abbit is a loyal WMCS 2018 Golf Outing Sponsor!

Calvin College LOGO

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

Jost logo

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

The Cherette Group Logo

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

Summit Laboratory logo

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

Golf Outing Sponsor banner

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

Click here to see more event photos on Facebook! 

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

This article appeared in the WMCS Faith Matters Fall 2018 Newsletter. Download a copy to read the full news update!

What is WMCS?

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

Our PK-12 School Family includes:

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

Please EMAIL US! 

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

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

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

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

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

Grand Haven Christian School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASK US! 

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

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

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) together strive to:

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

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

 

Why Enroll Your Child at West Michigan Christian Schools? Part 4 – Testimonial

This Father of 3 was Profoundly Shaped by His Christian Instructors and Wants the Same for His Children

Many of my formational experiences as a child came from my failures and from falling short of expectations. In several of those difficult situations, I was picked back up and shaped by my Christian school teachers. Those teachers not only nurtured my faith in all areas of the curriculum they taught but more importantly, nurtured within me a life of love and service to Jesus.

I was picked back up and shaped by my Christian school teachers. Those teachers not only nurtured my faith in all areas of the curriculum they taught but more importantly, nurtured within me a life of love and service to Jesus.

I have a deep respect and a grateful heart for those who have been called to the honorable task of serving through Christian education. I often look back and fondly remember those teachers who modeled their love for Jesus and taught me to love Him, from elementary school through college.

I often look back and fondly remember those teachers who modeled their love for Jesus and taught me to love Him, from elementary school through college.

My Christian education was a priceless investment made by my parents. It was not always easy making that commitment for my three sisters and me, but it will reap eternal dividends. The gift of our spiritual formation and the building of God’s kingdom will never be regretted or considered a sacrifice, but rather a blessing and a necessity. The lessons I learned about myself and about God’s purpose for my life through Christian education, I deeply desire for my children as well.

My Christian education was a priceless investment made by my parents. The gift of our spiritual formation and the building of God’s kingdom will never be regretted or considered a sacrifice, but rather a blessing and a necessity.

My wife and I have been tasked with a great opportunity and responsibility in raising our children for God. We want them to be taught at home, in church and at school (where they spend most of their time), to see Jesus in all things, in the joys and especially in the struggles. We want them to experience acts of grace, share it with others, and learn to receive it themselves.

Our Christian schools will nurture our children to become lifelong learners, kingdom builders, and servant leaders. This is the everlasting legacy we are blessed to be able to provide our community, society, and Christian culture.

Our Christian schools will nurture our children to become lifelong learners, kingdom builders, and servant leaders. This is the everlasting legacy we are blessed to be able to provide our community, society, and Christian culture.

WMCS is ENROLLING NOW for the 2018-19 school year.

Please CLICK HERE >> to GET MORE INFO about Christian education options for children preschool through 12th grade.

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.

Better together,

James Onderlinde

Grand Haven Christian School, Principal (and proud dad of 3)

Feature Photo caption: Onderlinde’s Family includes (from left to right) Benjamin, James, John, James’s wife Wendy, and Luke.