WMC SPORTS UPDATE: Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School Athletic Department News

Important Communication from the Athletic Director

Dear WMC Community:

On March 12, 2020, the Michigan High School Athletic Association directed all member schools to suspend activities in all sports for all seasons– effective Monday, March 16 through at least Sunday, April 5 – to fall in line with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that all schools close for the next three weeks in order to deter the spread of COVID-19.

MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl

All athletic activities to be halted include practices, scrimmages, and competitions/games, as well as strength training, conditioning, and any other organized sessions and activities in all MHSAA in-season and out-of-season sports.

The suspension of activities applies to sports for all three MHSAA seasons as Spring sports practices have begun, Winter tournaments were suspended Thursday and Fall sports coaches are working with limited numbers of athletes during the offseason.

“By suspending all sports activities for the next three weeks, we are taking an additional step to maintain safety and minimize risk first, and also keep a level playing field for our schools and teams during this time of uncertainty,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “A number of schools across the state already were making this decision, and setting this as the standard across our membership is appropriate especially given the quick pace with which this situation is continuing to evolve. Given the rapid, fast-moving and unprecedented events of this week, the MHSAA will use the time during this all-sport suspension of activities to evaluate all options and next steps which will be shared with schools in a timely manner.”

Updates will continue to be posted as necessary to the MHSAA Website at https://www.mhsaa.com/coronavirus.

In His service,

Kurt Gruppen,

WMC Athletic Director

WMC UPDATE: Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School News

Important Communication from the Principal

Dear WMC Community:

Last evening, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that in order to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan, she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings, (public, private, and boarding), to students starting Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6. 

As of earlier today, the number of presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan is twelve, including three in Kent county. 

“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” said Governor Whitmer. “I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe. I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.” 

WMC will provide professional development for our teachers on March 16 and 17.  On Wednesday, March 18, WMC will implement our plans for online instruction for our students until face to face instruction resumes.  This method of delivery is new, but our commitment to provide an excellent education to our students remains the same. Students may come to pick up any forgotten belongings or educational resources needed on Monday of next week. Starting on Tuesday, until face to face instruction begins, no students are allowed on campus.

Beginning immediately after school today our building will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.  We are mobilizing additional cleaning staff and resources to ensure our facilities are pristine and germ – free.  

Extracurricular activities and other school-related events or functions are put on hold until further notice. WMC will continue to follow the Michigan High School Athletic Association guidelines as it relates to sports.  We will continue to follow the recommendations of Federal, State, and Local authorities as it relates to preventing the spread of this virus.

The order of Governor Whitmer ascribed schools to reopen on Monday, April 6, 2020.  The scheduled time of our Spring Break is Friday, April 3 – Sunday, April 12, 2020. As of this date, we will maintain this scheduled break. I will update you if necessary.

Finally, I understand the tremendous burden that this announcement and action will have on many families within our community.  The goal of our actions is to provide the best possible solution and to place our students in the best possible position for success.  

Please join me in prayer for our state and nation.  Our God’s sovereignty and eternal presence is the foundation of our hope.  God’s blessings as we work through this challenge.   

In the Lord’s Service,
Samuel Greer Jr.Principal

Good Times! Positive and Uplifting News of the WMC Community – Winter 2020

Warrior Celebrations, Additions, and Unions

Shout praises to the LORD! Our God is kind, and it is right and good to sing praises to him. Psalms 147:1

Engagements

Tyler Somers and Emily Meyers (both graduated 2019) were engaged to be married on March 4th.

Mr. and Mrs. Somers to-be!

Adoptions

Josh Scholma (WMC faculty) and his wife Laura adopted Chloe Renae Scholma on January 17, 2020.  Chloe is 1.5 years old and now has three very proud (and protective) older brothers Josiah, Micah, and Ezra Scholma.

The Scholma Family

Birth Announcements

Aubrey Goorman (graduated 2018) and Alan Diaz welcomed their baby boy Emerson Alan Diaz, 8lb 7 oz and 20.5 inches, on January 22, 2020. 

Emerson Alan Diaz

Morgan (Boersma) Seiler (graduated 2011) and Billy Seiler welcomed their baby Macsen William Seiler, 9lbs. and 3 oz. and 20.5 inches, on January 20th, 2020.

Macsen William Seiler

Tyler Cook (graduated 2015)  and Marisa Cook (graduated 2013) welcomed their baby boy Haven Cook, 7lbs 7oz and 20.5 in, born February 14, 2020.

Haven Cook

Zack and Samantha (Nichols) Buter welcomed Olive Paige Buter, 7 lbs and 19 inches, February 3. Zach graduated from WMC in 2011 and Samantha in 2013.

Olive Paige Buter

GOD IS GOOD! Congratulations to you all!

Warrior nation, please lift up the little ones and these relationships in prayer and keep these PRAISE REPORTS coming.

TELL US about your news.

Remembering Our WMC Warriors Winter 2020

“MY BODY AND MIND MAY FAIL, BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND MY PORTION FOREVER.”  -PSALMS 73:26

This section is dedicated to members of the Warrior Nation who have passed on to eternal glory. 

Please EMAIL US if you have information about any other WMC supporters, alumni, staff, or friends who have passed.

Thomas Joel Fisher

Mr. Thomas Joel Fisher, age 72, passed away Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Muskegon. Tom was born March 9, 1947 to Joe and Thressa (VanderWall) Fisher in Muskegon, and was a lifelong resident. He was the co-owner of Fisher Brothers Greenhouse and was a U.S. Air Force veteran. Tom was a member of Temple United Methodist Church and was active with Supper House Ministries. He worked and volunteered at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum and was a volunteer at the Frauenthal Center. Tom was a man of faith who loved his family, especially his grandchildren. He also enjoyed reading and activities with the Old Speckled Hen MG Club. On March 3, 1972 Tom married Jacqueline Rose, and she survives him along with 4 daughters.

Marshall Teunis

Mr. Marshall Teunis, age 90, of Ferrysburg passed away Thursday, November 14, 2019. He was born January 5, 1929 in Ferrysburg to John and Kate (Groenevelt) Teunis. On March 5, 1954 he married Dorothy Wezeman and she preceded him in death on April 29, 2018.

Marshall was an active third-generation charter member of Spring Lake Christian Reformed Church. He enjoyed outdoor activities, fishing, hunting, camping, gardening, and he loved woodworking. His faith was foremost in his life, and also family was very important to him. Marshall served his country in the US Army. He worked as a contractor for many years and was a city assessor and building and fire inspector for the City of Ferrysburg.

Delores J. (Hoekwater) Wierenga

Delores J. Wierenga, age 93 of Grand Haven, peacefully left this world and entered Heaven. She was born on May 24, 1926 to Art and Jennie (Winkle) Hoekwater in Grand Rapids, MI. Delores graduated from Sparta High School in 1945 and married Harold Wierenga Sr. on October 21, 1949. They were happily married for 52 years until Harold’s death in 2001.

Delores was a member of Second Reformed Church for 64 years and was part of the choir, Ladies Guild, and Mr. and Mrs. Fellowship group. She loved flowers and was an avid gardener. Delores deeply loved her family and was faithful to her friends.

Margaret A. Dolislager

Margaret graduated from Shelby High School in 1946 as valedictorian of her class. She proudly graduated from the Hackley School of Nursing in 1949. Margaret married John William Dolislager, her husband of 60 years, on October 18, 1950.

In addition to being a dedicated and loving mother of six children, she worked at Hackley Hospital for over 40 years with the majority of that time serving as an RN in the emergency room where she loved the work and variety of patients. She was well-respected and held in high regard by her coworkers; she treated each and every patient medically and personally with dignity and respect.

She loved to knit and crochet items for family and friends; she also created and maintained genealogies for both the Dolislager and Folkema families. She was a lifelong member of the Christian Reformed Church and member of the First CRC in Muskegon. While at First CRC, Margaret published the church newsletter “The Messenger” for many years. In her early retirement years, she and her husband distributed Bibles as a part of the Reach Out Bible Ministry. Margaret touched many people’s lives and was widely loved.

Ferdinand Sellinger

He was born on April 8, 1952 to Franz and Elisabeth Sellinger in Waiblingen, Germany. Fred married the former Rose Miller on September 25, 1971 and she preceded him in death in 1999. He proudly served his country while in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1972-1974. Fred enjoyed spending time outdoors watching the birds and deer and camping. He was a great handyman who could fix anything. Fred liked to pull pranks anytime he could and was a known jokester. He could usually be found watching cartoons or the SyFy channel or taking his ’66 Ford Fairlane he named ‘White Rat’ out for a drive. 

Weldon Luckey

Luckey, Weldon Weldon Deeds Luckey, age 89 of Grand Haven, passed away on Sunday, December 15, 2019. The Funeral Service for Weldon will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven.

Elaine M. VanderWel

VanderWel, Elaine M. Muskegon Mrs. Elaine M. VanderWel, 83, went to be with her Lord and Savior Sunday, December 22, 2019. She was born July 4, 1936 to George and Mary (Dood) Tjapkes in Muskegon, and was a lifelong resident. Elaine had worked at Vanderveldes Furniture and Art Van before retiring. She had been a member of the former First Christian Reformed Church, and is currently a member of Calvin Christian Reformed Church. On September 5, 1956 she married Wayne E. VanderWel.

Edward “Ed” Fred Bushouse

Ed was born to the late Fred and Jennie (Noteboom) Bushouse on September 4, 1922 in Kalamazoo, MI. 

After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, given his aptitude for numbers, he went on to earn a two-year Business Degree at Mahers Business College. Ed was drafted into the Army on December 26, 1942 at the age of 20 and moved into the Army Air Corps in January 1944. 

After he returned from the war, Ed married the love of his life; the former Phyllis Balgooyen, on July 26, 1946 in Grand Haven.  He built a home, which they shared for 64 years. Ed and Phyl enjoyed a strong, loving marriage for 67 years until she went home to heaven on Feb. 25, 2014. 

Ed was very passionate about and dedicated to God, his family, his church, his community, and his country. He was involved in the banking industry for 41 years. Ed began his career as a teller at the People’s Bank & Trust Company which later became NBD of Grand Haven and now is Chase Bank; he retired in 1987 as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board.

Ed was a very involved member of Second Christian Reformed Church where he served as an elder, deacon, and treasurer, along with many other volunteer positions. He was also on the initial building committee for their current building.

Ed was very active in the Tri-Cities area throughout his life. He was treasurer of the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds, Haven School for Handicap (Kandu), and the Ottawa County Citizens Mental Health Council. He was a secretary for the American National Red Cross, and he served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Economic Development Corp. Board, and Northwest Ottawa Industrial Development Corp. Ed also served as President of the Optimist Club and a past member of the Chamber of Commerce, Grand Haven Jaycees, Grand Haven Rotary, and the Spring Lake Country Club. He was a co-founder of the Tri-Cities area chapter of Habitat for Humanity and served as chairman for 12 years.

Thelma A. Bergman

Thelma A. Bergman, 90, widow of Vernon Bergman passed on January 1, 2020. She was born on July 23, 1929 to Marinus (Rean) and Ella (Sieplinga) Cook in Muskegon, MI. Thelma graduated from Muskegon High School in June of 1947, and on September 15, 1956 she married Vernon Bergman. Together they raised their four sons.

Thelma retired from Muskegon Community College, was a founding member of Celebration Community Church in Muskegon, and a long-time member of the former East Muskegon Christian Reformed Church. 

Sandra Kay (Polinskey) Olthof

Sandra Kay Olthof, age 80 of Grand Haven, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, surrounded by her family. She was born on July 28, 1939 in Caledonia, MI to the late Frank and Rose (Maichele) Polinskey. Sandra married Charles Olthof on August 19, 1967 in Holland, MI. He preceded her in death on March 7, 2010

Sandra lived in Grand Haven for 44 years, after moving here from Holland. She worked at Meijer in Grand Haven for over 40 years, and was a longtime member of First Christian Reformed Church. Sandra loved biking, knitting, and feeding the wildlife around her home. She loved her children, and especially loved spending time with her granddaughter and great-grandson.

William “Bill” C. Wolffis

Mr. William C. “Bill” Wolffis, age 77, peacefully passed away on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at North Ottawa Hospice in Spring Lake, MI. He was born in Muskegon on March 7, 1942 to Raymond and Grace (Yonkman) Wolffis, and was a resident of the area most of his life. 

Bill was employed by CWC for 13 years, working the remainder of his professional career at Kaydon Corp. where he served as V.P. of Administration until his retirement in 1987. Bill was a proud member of the 1958 Western Michigan Christian H.S. State Championship Tennis Team and continued to be an avid tennis player and golfer. He was a huge sports fan and especially enjoyed attending his kids’ and grandkids’ sporting events. 

Bill was an active member of Calvin Church where he served as an Elder, and on various committees. He volunteered with International Aid where he traveled to Africa on a needs assessment team. He served on the General Hospital Board of Directors, including one term as President. Bill’s Pulmonary Fibrosis diagnosis necessitated a lung transplant in 2009 and he was blessed with a strong healthy lung for more than 10 years. He was dedicated to his faith, family and friends and was generous to others in need.

Helen “Nancy” Dykstra Jeffries

Helen Nannette (Nancy) (Hall) Dykstra Jeffries went to her eternal home January 31, 2020. Nancy was born in Muskegon, MI on September 13, 1931 to Carl Arthur (Art) and Julia (King) Hall. 

Nancy graduated from Whitehall High School in 1949, married Edward Dykstra, moved to New Era and became a farmer. Nancy and Ed had 53 years working the farm and selling fruit at various farmer’s markets. They spent their winters in Florida for many years. During their later years they traveled all over the USA. After Ed’s death Nancy attended a high school reunion and ran into a former high school beau (Jeff) whom she married a couple of years later. They also wintered in Florida, traveled and spent time at Jeff’s cabin. 

Jack VanAndel

He was born in Muskegon, MI to Peter and Elizabeth (Heeres) Van Andel. He graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School and Muskegon Community College. After graduation he worked for Professional Ambulance, then in 1981 began his career in law enforcement as a deputy for the Muskegon County Sherriff Department, retiring in 2011 at the rank of Lieutenant. 

He enjoyed golfing, traveling, and anything with speed from his Harley to his golf cart, as well as wintering in Mesa, AZ after retirement. Jack was a beloved friend leaving his imprint wherever he went. On September 5, 2003, Jack married Cheryl Dyer and they became inseparable best friends. He wholeheartedly endorsed his role as a father and grandfather and loved spending time with family. 

Terry Lee Alman

Terry Lee Alman, age 69 of Grand Haven, went to be with his heavenly Father on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at home surrounded by his wife and three kids. He was born on March 27, 1950 to Frederick and Evelyn (Pigusch) Alman in Grand Haven.

Terry graduated Grand Haven High School in 1968 and went on to receive his Associates Degree at Muskegon Community College. He worked at Hazekamp Meats for 28 years before his retirement and never missed a day of work. On September 18, 1976, he married Cheryl Bekins in Grand Haven.

Terry enjoyed fishing, golfing, cooking, and above all spending time with his family. He loved traveling to Florida and was a big fan of the Maize & Blue.

Stephen M. Ring

He was born January 7, 1950 to Chester and R. Elaine (Hubbard) Ring in Marion, Indiana. Steve was a U.S. Army veteran, who also served several years in the Army National Guard following active duty. Steve was also the parts and service manager at Shelby Ford. 

Steve and Norma were members of the former First Christian Reformed Church, and are presently members of New Era Reformed Church. Steve enjoyed golfing and bowling before developing Parkinson’s Disease. On May 19, 1973 he married Norma G. Hackney.

Mrs. Dena Malda

Mrs. Dena Malda, age 99, went to be with her Lord on Friday, February 21, 2020. She was born August 14, 1920 to Henry and Dirkje (VanDelzen) VanAndel in Muskegon, and was a lifelong resident. 

Dena had been a longtime member of the former First Christian Reformed Church, and was currently a member of Grace Christian Reformed Church. On December 5, 1947 she married John N. Malda, and he preceded her in death on September 14, 2010, as did her son John William Malda on January 21, 2007.


Please EMAIL US if you have information about any other WMC supporters, alumni, staff, or friends who have passed.

WARRIOR “Well Done” Award Winter 2020

AWARDS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS IN OUR WMC COMMUNITY

WMC Alum from the Class of 1965 is Honored

WMC alumnus from the class of 1965, Ruthann Sterenberg, is one loyal Warrior. She and her husband attend all WMC basketball games every year! In fact, we caught up with her on March 9th, 2020 at the boys varsity district opener basketball game in Ravenna. She’s pictured above wearing her WMC sweatshirt to show her school spirit and with her Warrior “Well Done” certificate of excellence.

Earlier last month, when Ruthann heard that the WMC Music Boosters were doing a fundraiser, she asked for “her own sales sheet” and took it upon herself to sell 113 sandwiches raising $339 for the music students.

Ruthann recalls her student fundraising days at her other WMCS alma mater, Muskegon Christian School. “We sold Jello boxes — and I did well!” shared Sterenberg. Her servant’s heart and loyal support of the green and white earns our deep gratitude and a heart-felt WMC “Well Done” Award.

Thank you, Ruthann!

WMC’s Master Chili-Maker 2020

While WMC students studied for 2nd-trimester finals, a few of WMC’s faculty and administrative staff got to work in their home kitchens to prepare for the WMC’s staff Chili Cook-Off. The aroma from nine piping-hot crock pots beckoned that staff to come belly up and start the tasting.

After an official counting done by the accountants at Ernst & Young, the tabulation of delegates and superdelegates, and party bosses having their say, the winner of the 2020 WMC Chili Cook-Off is Jeff Schipper.

The field was loaded, and I really had to fight through some self-doubt.  Knowing I created a delicious batch of chili, I knew I had a chance. But after tasting some of the competition, including one with shaved ribeye steak, I realized the others came to play.  Thanks to an unnamed secret ingredient and some extra determination, I’m just thankful to come away with the victory. Next year, I will need to step up my game to keep the trophy in the guidance office,” shared Jeff Schipper, master chili maker and WMC Guidance Counselor. 

“Well done,” Mr. Schipper!

Former Warrior Named Police Officer of the Year

WMC Graduate Stephen Wiersema (1991) was named Grand Rapids Police Officer of the Year for Administrative and Investigations Services.

Stephen isn’t the only Warrior in the GR Police Department. He works with three WMC grads including his brother Robert Wiersma (1992) and Captain Michael Maycroft (1991). Steve is also the brother-in-law of WMC grad and girls varsity basketball Coach Jeremy Goorman. If you look at the photo below you will see quite a few Warrior alumni in his family!

Stephen Wiersema, Grand Rapids Police Officer of the Year 2020, pictured with his family at the 37th annual awards ceremony at the Amway Grand Hotel in February 2020.

As a loyal and talented public servant, your WMC family congratulates you on your achievement and honors you with a Warrior “Well Done” Award.

A special shout out to GRPD’s Captain Maycroft for emailing us to share this news! 

DO YOU WANT TO NOMINATE A WMC STAFF MEMBER, VOLUNTEER, ALUMNUS, SUPPORTER OR STUDENT FOR THE WARRIOR “WELL DONE” AWARDS? WE WELCOME NOMINATIONS VIA EMAIL.

WMC Online Event & Auction 2020

Fellowship in the Family Room (Event updated on 3/25/2020)

WHEN: FRIDAY, April 3 at 9:00 AM – April 11th at 9:00 PM.

WHERE: Your Own Living Room

You’re invited to the Western Michigan Christian annual school event/auction which is being held, in YOUR own home!

Greetings WMC Community!

As the ever-changing news of the COVID-19 Virus hits closer to home, and following Governor Whitmer’s executive order, we have made the decision to reformat our event from Fellowship in the Frauenthal to Fellowship in the Family Room.

We may not be able to gather together at this time, but we can still celebrate the mission of WMC in our family rooms!

Similar to our teachers, we are putting together an “online experience.” Since you can’t come to the event, we will bring the event to you!

This event provides a portion of the operating revenue for Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School, and we are thankful to our sponsors, donors, and volunteers who make this opportunity possible.

URGENT NOTE:

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that we have your CURRENT EMAIL on record at WMC. If you do not receive email communications from WMC, please email Scott ASAP to update him with your contact information as this event will be email-based. Please help us spread the word by sharing this event update with alumni who rely on US Post Office for their communications.

We are excited to present our event to you remotely and look forward to being able to gather in fellowship face-to-face in the future.

Thank you for your continued support of WMC!

If you have any questions or concerns, email scottliggett@wmchs.net.

Stay tuned – more info to follow.

INVITE OTHERS

The more the merrier! Feel free to invite your friends and family by sharing this link on Facebook.

QUESTIONS?

Feel free to contact event organizer Scott Liggett at 231.799.9644 ext. 208 or EMAIL him.

2019 is a Historic Year for Project Grace

Students Raise Record Amount: More than $18,000!

It all began with a giving heart almost 20 years ago. A WMC teacher learned of a family in need at Christmas time. He decided that he and his students would come together in a personal way to bless them.

Principal Samuel Greer tells the story of how Project Grace began.

That teacher, Pastor Samuel Greer, is now the principal of Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School and, by the grace of God, the spirit of giving that he and his class started back in 2000, has grown into a Project Grace, an annual WMC tradition that is a student-led outreach ministry that aims to bless local families all over the lakeshore region at Christmastime.

Reciprocally, Project Grace greatly blesses the workers. The team is comprised of 350 7th-12 grade students and 40 staff members at WMC.

Project Grace as explained by WMC seniors (left to right) Abby Sweetman, Emma Visker, Jenna Houskamp, Grace VanBeek, and Chloe Mitchell.
“Go! Authentic Biblical Community!”

Greer fondly reflects on year #19 of Project Grace, “Every year I get an opportunity to see God’s hand at work in the lives of students and staff at WMC. One of the greatest expressions of God’s presence at our school is Project Grace. Each year we have seen God’s faithfulness in that He has enabled us to reach families in His name.”

Every year I get an opportunity to see God’s hand at work in the lives of students and staff at Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School. One of the greatest expressions of God’s presence at our school is Project Grace.

WMC students have raised a total of more than $100,000 in 19 years. The funds are used to provide food, clothing, and gifts to local families in need.

Student-Led Fundraising Efforts

This year, thanks to so many generous donations, WMC was able to deliver food, clothing, and gifts to 17 families in the area.

How was the money raised?

Students earned money in various ways. Some worked for friends and family and some chose to do special projects like selling baked goods at their churches and/or collecting returnable cans.

Mrs. Tyink’s class hit the streets of Grand Haven going door to door visiting private homes and local businesses alike! Mr. Garland’s 2nd-hour class hosted an “Elf” Breakfast of Champions eating contest and also sold rootbeer floats.

Individual classes competed in daily competitions with daily winners earning prizes such as Buffalo Wild Wings, donuts, and more.

Raising $18k was a collaborative, all-hands-on-deck effort!

In fact, the total was about $80.00 short of the $18k mark, so the students, teachers, and staff at WMC had one last love offering at school on Thursday. Students gave what they had; change, small bills, and lunch money. Then a WMC staff member wrote a personal check allowing Project Grace to hit the $18k mark! To Him be the GLORY!

Top Five Classrooms

The top five fundraising classes are pictured below:

This year’s winning class, Robin Tyink’s AP Literature class raised more than $6,000, including an anonymous gift of $1000.

FIRST PLACE CLASS:
Robin Tyink’s AP Literature class raised more than $6,000, including an anonymous gift of $1000. Left to right back row: Robin Tyink, Alyssa Eekhoff, Chloe Mitchell, Jenna Houskamp, David Clausing, Emma Visker, Luke Moorhead, Evan Kenny, Nathan VanderWeide, Ben Waldo.
Front row: Grace VanBeek, Carly Betten, Abby Sweetman, Trinity Nelson, and Ella Buursma.
SECOND PLACE:
Mr. Aardema’s 2nd-hour Algebra II class
THIRD PLACE:
Mr. Smith’s 2nd hour Bible 12 class
FOURTH PLACE:
Audrey Markel’s 8th Grade Math Class
FIFTH PLACE:
Miss VanWhye’s 2nd hour Spanish 3 class

Choosing Families

Every year, WMC reaches out to local churches and schools to connect with families in need. Families in Norton Shores, Muskegon, Grand Haven, and Spring Lake are blessed by the efforts of Project Grace. If you want to be considered or know a family who might need some extra help next year, please contact us for more information. Pastor Samuel Greer and Matt Smith together determine the families that will be served.

Shopping Sprees

Students shopped for items Tuesday, December 17.  Kevin Aardema, a high school AP Calculus and Algebra II teacher, challenged his students to “give ’til it hurt”, “It has to mean something.” His class challenged Robin Tyink’s class for the overall highest total collected. “I am proud of my students for pushing hard and putting it over the top. This is great for our school to come together, get motivated and give to others.”

Joyful Special Delivery

The Warrior vans rolled out of the WMC parking lot packed with Mrs. Tyink and her eager students.

A trailer, pulled by one of the Warrior vans, was strategically loaded up with itemized/numbered/labeled bags of gifts, clothing, and groceries making for smooth and organized deliveries to each recipient’s home.

Students made an assembly line at the back of the van and brought the bags of food and wrapped gifts (that were on wish lists!) into each home, where they visited with each family and prayed with them. God’s love was visible and tangible in the joyful tears, laughter, and hugs.

Warrior Van #1

Mrs. Tyink’s van was driven by her husband Scott carrying students (left to right back row) Jenna Houskamp, Zach Foreman, (middle row) Chloe Mitchell, Carly Betten, Alyssa Eekhoff, and (front row) Grave VanBeek and Claudia Kingma.

Warrior Van #2

Dr. Taylor drove van #1 with (left to right) David Clausing, Luke Moorhead, Ben Waldo, Emma Visker, Ella Buursma, and Abby Sweetman.

“It is a blessing to see God at work in our school and in our community. This year we delivered to a family that we prayed with last year because the father had just lost his job. When we visited this year we learned that he now has a job. We were able to pray with them again and thank God for His work in their lives,” shared Robin Tyink.

The theme at WMC this year was living in an Authentic Biblical Community. Giving with a heart of love that builds community within both the school and with our neighbors and the community at large.

Matt Smith, Spiritual Development coordinator, was pleased with the student effort, “I am always amazed at the way our community of students, staff, and families come together to reflect God’s love for us and give to others. That is what Christmas is about.”

Building Relationships in the Community

This year we delivered to a family that we prayed with last year because the father had just lost his job. When we visited this year we learned that he now has a job. We were able to pray with them again and thank God for His work in their lives.

Project Grace is always a highlight of the year for Pastor Greer, “It has been a blessing to see our students work to benefit others and to see God work through WMC students and have them see first hand the power of giving to others. This project aligns with our mission to educate with excellence, integrate faith with knowledge, equip students to work and serve Christ in their communities.”

Krystle Wagner from The Grand Haven Tribune reported:

(Chloe) Mitchell (WMC senior) thanked (Robin) Tyink for her giving heart and showing students what it means to be selfless. “WMC helped instill the spirit of giving into all of us,” Mitchell said.

WMC helped instill the spirit of giving into all of us

As students returned from stores and wrapped gifts, Greer said it was a “moving day” at the school. By participating in Project Grace, Greer said he hopes students learn that everyone is created in God’s image regardless of their socioeconomics and race.

Read the FULL STORY on Project Grace in The Grand Haven Tribune.

To learn more about Project Grace or to inquire about submitting your family for consideration for Christmas 2020 click here.

Western Michigan Christian (WMC) High School and Middle School (7-12th) is located at 455 East Ellis Rd. Muskegon, including 355 students from 5 countries, 30 cities, and 75 churches. WMC is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools(WMCS), 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.

Please >> click here to contact WMCS.

WMC Sophomore Abby VanderKooi Shines at Footlocker Cross Country National Championship

Abby VanderKooi at Foot Locker National Championships

Coach Greg Gould gives the breakdown for the Championship race.

First and foremost, and I know I speak for Abby, her family and Coach Aardema as well; thank you to everybody who supported and prayed for Abby on this incredible journey to her second Foot Locker Cross Country National. To even be in a race like this is incredible, the talent level is almost beyond belief, and no matter your resume there are no guarantees of placing near the front.


I know many of you have watched the race live or online afterwards; read or heard several pre or post race interviews, but I have been asked to provide a recap from a coaches perspective.


I had the good fortune to be able to travel to San Diego the same day as Abby and her family, allowing me to attend Friday morning’s course preview; which I knew from last year would really be the last time Abby and I could discuss potential race strategy or any concerns with the course. Abby found the course to be in better condition than last year and was able to quickly get familiar with her surroundings and settle on a potential race plan. 


Saturday morning arrived quickly and the weather conditions were perfect for running fast, after warming up, some time in prayer and the introduction of all forty runners it was finally time to race the two loop course.


Abby found the course to be in better condition than last year and was able to quickly get familiar with her surroundings and settle on a potential race plan. 


As expected the start was very fast, driven mostly by Abby’s Midwest team, a pair of girls from the South Region and a pair from the Northeast Region. This event’s split times are captured electronically every half mile. The opening half mile was reached in a very fast 2:26 by the leader with Abby in close contact in fifth at 2:28. At that point one of Abby’s Midwest teammates who is know to be very aggressive in the early going came to the front to keep the pace very fast reaching the mile in 5:09, Abby was now up to fourth at 5:11.


Several girls were still right there in one long line of runners, as the race made it’s first of two climbs up a very long climb in excess of 300 meters, with the first 100+ meters being very steep. This climb would start to slim down the lead group and by 1.5 miles Abby had moved into 3rd, but there was really seven girls in a span of nine seconds; entering the second loop, all of them capable of coming to the front and trying to break away. 


by 1.5 miles Abby had moved into 3rd, but there was really seven girls in a span of nine seconds


By two miles the lead group had been reduced to three, Abby and two Midwest teammates reached two miles in 10:43-10:44 and the eventual second place finisher had broken free of the next pack and was closing down on the first three at an incredible rate in a huge effort to attach herself to that group of three before the final climb of the big hill which was coming at around 2.5 miles. That girl made contact with the three leaders just after two miles and now four were on the front and just prior to the final climb the eventual first and second place finishers started testing one another; with Abby working to cover each of the surges as they made there way to the base of the final climb. 
The second trip up the big climb was where the fireworks really started as the top two girls were attacking each other and Abby launched her own attack in an attempt to stay with them, dropping the fourth place girl back a bit. By the top of the climb the two leaders had opened some daylight on Abby, but she had really put a big effort in to stay within striking distance should either of them falter on the upcoming downhill and remaining 300-400 meters after that. Amazingly after the last descent the top two still had not been able to get any gap over the other and Abby was still within striking distance if either had misjudged their effort and/or the distance remaining.


Amazingly after the last descent the top two still had not been able to get any gap over the other and Abby was still within striking distance if either had misjudged their effort and/or the distance remaining.


With about 250 meters remaining the two leaders started to really trade surges and accelerated away from Abby a bit. Abby was fully aware that she was running a potential person best as the two mile split was very fast and the pace had not relented much in the final mile. My last vantage point on the course was at this point, about 250 meters from the finish. Knowing I personally could not reach the finish before Abby due to the construction of the fencing keeping the spectators off the course, my only hope to “see” the finish was to get about 100 meters further up the course to just past the three mile mark where the race would cross over the start line and head slightly left to the finish area.


Directly behind the start there was a large display showing the race live, with an official time clock running in the corner… I managed to reach that point just as Abby went by and knowing she could no longer hear me anyway; started yelling at the screen as I saw the potential for a personal best. Abby stopped the clock at 16:55.2, indeed a new personal best and matched her third place finish from last year, in what was the fastest top three finishers in event history on this course, which has hosted all but seven of the forty-one Foot Locker Nationals.


After Saturday’s race Abby now has run the third fastest time by a freshman girl in this event on the San Diego course (2018), and the second fastest time by a sophomore girl (2019) and the ninth fastest girls time ever at this event, for the San Diego course.
God has blessed Abby with incredible talent… I have been blessed to help coach her, to God be the Glory.

Coach Gould

Links to the race, interviews and event coverage.

Dyestat pre-race interview

Foot Locker National Championship Girls Race webcast replay

Milesplit post-race interview

Dyestat interview at awards banquet

Mlive post-race interview

Runner’s World event coverage

Student Stress and Anxiety

How WMC Teachers Help Your Child Cope and How You Can Too

By Haley Langejans, WMC Educational Support Services (ESS) Accommodations Coordinator

Our ESS team recently went to a professional development put on by All Belong (previously named the CLC Network) where it was again driven home how much anxiety and negative emotions have affected students today; it seems more prevalent now than ever and I think we are all seeing the “block” this has created in students being able to learn successfully. 

Although I am an ESS teacher, this blog post speaks to ALL students PK-12. I spoke with WMCS Director of ESS, Whitney Jackson who shares my thoughts, “This is a concern that is seen across all collaborative schools, affecting students of all ages! Anxiety doesn’t discriminate against age; even our youngest learners are experiencing it and we need to be equipped to know how to support our students.”

This article came across my radar last week and, although it seems to pertain more to elementary age, it still offers really great information that I wanted to share as it helps me greatly in understanding some of the behaviors we see here at WMC. As teachers, it’s easy to easily forget how difficult it is to function in an academic environment when other mental health struggles are taking place. And our students themselves often do not know how to recognize or express appropriately what is really going on inside. 

Although we are here to teach the materials and concepts of what is required to earn a diploma, I believe, especially as Christian educators, that it’s our duty to dive deeper with our students. Not only will this free up the mental energy needed to actually learn what we work so hard to teach, but it will create a culture within our school of students who have developed skills to appropriately address emotion. I do not think we can under-emphasis the benefits of this! 

Here’s a quick 4-step process to help students with ADHD deal with his/her emotions on his/her own.

  1. Get calm.
  2. Name the feelings.
  3. Find the root cause.
  4. Release the emotions.

I shared my thoughts with Dr. Kristy Taylor, WMC Dean of Instruction, and she weighed in too:

“Being a student is stressful, but trying to juggle school work and other responsibilities while experiencing stress and anxiety can make it even harder. Common triggers for depression and anxiety can be traced back to pressures or changes in school or family life. A student can experience anxiety, for example, for a variety of reasons. One possible reason is pressure at school. Think in terms of tests or papers, a change of a teacher or classroom, conflicts with other students in the form of social media bullying or face-to-face bullying. A student may experience depression as a result of a loss of an important relationship, a change in the family (an older sibling leaves the house, new sibling joins the family, parents separate, a grandparent dies, amongst other everyday things).”

Dr. Taylor recommends these 10 TIPS to reduce stress and anxiety:

  1. Taking time to read the Bible and listening to worship music. 
  2. Recite verses over and over in your mind.
  3. Relax your muscles. When you’re stressed, your muscles get tense.
  4. Deep breathing.
  5. Talk about your problems with a professional (counseling office at school).
  6. Eat well.
  7. Slow down.
  8. Take a break.
  9. Make time for hobbies.
  10. Give yourself GRACE! Perfection is God’s attribute, not ours! 🙂

It’s important for families to know that the WMC staff and faculty are always praying for students and for His guidance on how to best walk alongside our seventh through twelfth graders. 

Please support us in prayer and, when at home, please keep these tips in mind. It’s abundantly clear that it does take a village— and oh how I love ours!

For more reading on this topic, here are some great articles:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct19/vol77/num02/Don’t-Forget-About-Me!.aspx

If, after employing these tips, your child is still experiencing some of these symptoms and you have concerns, please feel free to contact us so we can get you the help you need.

In memory of Brian Vredevoogd

A tribute to a dear friend, mentor, and colleague

Brian Vredevoogd

November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

By Audrey Markel, WMC colleague and friend

Brian Vredevoogd November 18, 1961 – October 26, 2019

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Created in the image of God-yet each unique-placed together in a mosaic masterpiece that serves as a broken reflection of who God is. What a gift to serve our Savior King alongside Brian Vredevoogd as he walked boldly as an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. Muskegon Christian Schools experienced Christ reflected through Brian in the most beautiful ways for 36 years.

Brian was admired for his faith and commitment to love and serve Jesus. Brian lived with a zeal for doing what was honoring to God in all that he was a part of as he loved the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and strength. What a wonderful homecoming celebration it must have been as he entered into the presence of Jesus!

Students were asked to share what specific “fruit” they saw in Mr. V’s life that encouraged them to grieve with HOPE (1 Thessalonians 4:13) and a confidence that he was now in the presence of Jesus.

Fun-loving Mr. V enjoying some time with his students.

“I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.”

I saw Mr. V glorifying God by always trying to understand his students. He made me feel like I had a voice. He always listened. He always wanted to tell others about God. Mr. V has always been kind to everyone. He always put others before himself. He truly loved us.

I had the opportunity to read the responses of about 80 middle school students. Their responses moved me and humbled me. But…2,880. The number of students that Brian had the opportunity to impact in class. Brian took part in exponential disciple-making.

Mr. V helping a student with his locker combo.

6,480. The number of days spent in the classroom shepherding students to Jesus. I never saw him waste even one of these. Brian took seriously where he was going to spend eternity…but not just him…where WE would be spending eternity. He lived each day in response to the saving grace of Christ and with “eternity in his heart”.

Brian reflected the order and intentional love of God by the way he would purposefully prioritize each piece of his life with godly wisdom. 

Brian served the Lord through mentoring, befriending and leading colleagues. Brian saw the people that many of us walk past without noticing. Brain took great pride in the work that the Lord called him to. It was not about making sure that he was “on top” as an educator. It was about communicating with clarity the absolute truth and the authority that is found in scripture so that students would know God. Brian spent numerous extra hours after school helping new teachers get acquainted with WMC and middle schoolers. Brian was intentional about seeking people out and offering help. He longed to help anyone in whatever way he could-he wanted them to know Jesus. Brian was a true friend. He was selfless.

Brian honored God by shepherding students. He made it a point to attend games and extra-curricular events for each of his students. Brian was dependable. He went all out for spirit days with absolutely no shame.

In all of these things, I must simply say that God used Brian to show me much more of himself. I miss hearing about his weekend with Sue and the kids and grandkids. I miss sitting in his classroom as he would show hundreds of pictures of his incredible adventure trips with his best friend Sue. He loved photography and he loved traveling. He loved adventuring. His love for each of these things, his love for life, and ultimately the author and giver of life have impacted me for eternity. I am forever grateful for our dear friend Brain Vredevoogd who relentlessly shared the love of Christ by doing all things in love.

“…But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

To read Brian’s obituary CLICK HERE.