Archive for 2019-2020

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.

WARRIOR “Well Done” Award Fall 2019

Awards and Acknowledgements in the WMC Community

Kelly Wierenga

WMC Faculty member Kelly Wierenga received her Masters in Marine and Coastal Processes from Nova Southeastern University in May 2019.  With this knowledge, this fall she taught Oceanography 101 at WMC as an elective course for high schoolers. Congrats Ms. Wierenga! 
Ms. Wierenga is one of the science teachers at WMC.  She grew up near Philadelphia, PA, but loves living along the lakeshore! She earned a B.S. in Integrated Science Education at Calvin College and has been teaching since 2011.  “While I enjoy all areas of science I particularly love marine biology. The world we live in is a fascinating place and I take pleasure in guiding students as we journey deeper into understanding and learning about it together,” explains Ms. Wierenga.  It comes as no surprise that her favorite scripture is: “Mightier than the waves of the sea is His love for you.”  -Psalms 93:4 and “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” -Hebrews 6:19.

Kelly Wierenga received her Masters in Marine and Coastal Processes from Nova Southeastern University in May 2019. 
WMC faculty member Haley Langejans was the recipient of a $250 Teacher mini-grant from the Youth Advisory Council of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

WMC faculty member Haley Langejans was the recipient of a $250 Teacher mini-grant from the Youth Advisory Council of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.  She will use it toward her Warrior Women lunch group. Congrats Ms. Langejans! 

Warrior Women is a lunchtime based female group that started at Western Michigan Christian in 2018-19. The group is still new and evolving, but its main purpose is to provide a supportive environment for female students to be able to form relationships and bond over shared experiences.

Lunch group meets at least twice a month and anyone is welcome to join. Warrior Women’s time together includes discussions on set topics, based on Christian faith, that are chosen by the girls as important. Time together is seen as confidential, as some topics are more private, and is an opportunity when they all get to show each other what it means to be a Christian woman in today’s world.

“This group of young women has been so open about sharing and discussing sometimes difficult topics; but in doing so, it has become so apparent to us all just how alike we are. This avenue for support is so crucial for these young women, especially during a time in life when it is easy to feel alone,” shares Langejans.

New this year: Warrior Women small group activities will benefit the school i.e. creating positive message boards, decorating lockers for holidays, making cookies to share.

WMC Benefit: WMC strives to be more than just a school, but a place where students feel safe, heard and loved. Warrior Women is a direct representation of this goal. It is an outlet for our young women to be able to grow together, teach each other, and express themselves in a positive, faith-based space.

Ms. Langejans is an Educational Support Services (ESS) Accommodations Coordinator at WMC for both MS and HS students. She is a 2010 graduate of our Western Michigan Christian, and from here went on to earn a degree in Communications from Grand Valley State University. “I was blessed to be home for the last year and a half of my daughter’s life, joyfully watching her grow, but now feel so happy to be starting a career back in the Christian school atmosphere! It is such a gift to be able to work in an environment where my faith can be expressed openly in all aspects,” explains Ms. Langejans.

Her favorite verse is found in Psalms 119:50, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” 

We’re grateful for the stellar staff at WMC!

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.

The DIBS! and B2 Retail Fundraising Update for Oct/Nov 2019

DIBS! On Resale

  • Total sales in Oct/Nov 2019 were $37,724, of which a $20,324 donation went to West Michigan Christian Schools!
  • Shop DIBS! for everything Christmas including decor, dishes, mugs, knick-knacks, candles, silk floral arrangements, “ugly” or lovely Christmas sweaters, stockings, great ideas for stocking stuffers, and more.
  • Help Wanted for Dec 21 and 28th and January 4th. Get DOUBLE the service HOURS for these dates! First come first served so EMAIL DIBS TODAY
  • CASH for Your CLASS: Congratulations to Summer Lile (pictured below) who won December’s CASH for your Class from DIBS! On Resale along with and FCS’s Carolina Heredia! 

DIBS! On Resale is located at 1279 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon Michigan.

Click here to learn more about DIBS! On Resale, WMCS’s very own re-sale store, and our partnership!

B2 Outlet Store Muskegon

  • Total funds raised for WMCS from October + November sales were $9,828.42!
  • B2 Muskegon was the second-highest 4-day grand opening in the history of B2!
  • Holiday Specials: Melissa and Doug Toys 25% off until the end of the month
  • B2 is doing a $1,000 shopping spree and a $100 gift card to one winner
    • To enter simply stop in our Muskegon store and fill out an entry form! How would YOU spend that money?
  • B2 Blessings! B2 Outlet Stores is blessing people in every community!
Watch to see how B2 gives back…Santa BELIEVES! Praise God! 🙂
  • WMCS School Tally: As of December 1st, this is the school tally for total sales. WMC is in the lead! GO, WARRIORS! Help us win the $250 gift card at the end of the school year by telling the B2 cashier you support “WMC” when you check out!
  1. WMC – $2801.19
  2. Muskegon – $1985.13
  3. Grand Haven – $1690.99
  4. New Era – $1314.45
  5. Fremont – $787.08

Keep shopping! 😄 Every time you shop at the Muskegon store you are helping your community. Spread the word to your friends too!

B2’s mission is about restoring hope, inspiring vision and empowering change both locally and internationally! Every dollar spent is giving back with every purchase made.

Join B2 in giving back to West Michigan Christian Schools and global missions, simply by shopping there!

B2 Muskegon is located at 1638 Apple Avenue in Muskegon, Michigan 49442.

Click here to learn more about the partnership between West Michigan Christian Schools and B2!

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School is a member of West Michigan Christian Schools (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. Please click here to contact WMCS.

Christ-Centered Spiritual Development at WMC

Fall/Winter 2019 Wrap Up

ABC: Authentic Biblical Community

The spiritual development theme for the 2019-2020 year is ABC, Authentic Biblical Community. What that means for the students attending WMC is putting others over self. This can be applicable in the classroom by helping others when they miss a class or writing an encouraging note to lift up one’s spirits, and sharing prayer requests and prayers.

It’s the idea that no man is an island and you never have to walk alone. It’s a shared responsibility to live for Christ and demonstrate love for others since He first loved us. We see this in chapels, Project Grace, Warrior Weekend, theatrical performances, the lunchroom, and anywhere in between. It’s simply living out our calling to be united by the Spirit of Christ by being the body of Christ.

Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School students convene at chapel on day one of school for the 2019-2020 school year. Principal Samuel Greer delivers a sermon-like call to these students to encourage them to “Rise Up” to being an “Authentic Biblical Community.” This word, from Pastor Greer, was followed by two days of community service where students served a host of local nonprofit organizations giving of themselves and forgoing their own “personal joys” to put others first.

First Days of School: August 26-27, 2019

The first-day back-to-school at WMC looks quite different from most middle and high schools. Our students show up in scruffy clothes ready to get to work! Days of service have long been part of the WMC culture.

From left, Juniors Aurora Iversen and Katelyn Morris painting.

This year our juniors and seniors worked with Community Encompass and AmeriCorps. One hundred-thirty high school students rode in chartered busses to Muskegon to work on sprucing up some group homes and another group cleared a parking lot of weeds and junk. The goal of performing these acts of service was to display Christian principles and attributes, portraying our call to an “act of faith.” 

From left, Juniors Olivia Hendrie, Alisha Leffring and Taylor Folkema lend a hand with some yard work.

The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). Our school lives out a mission to show that we as Christians need to serve others, as well as serving God. 


WMC Juniors Tyler Gould and Caleb Kozal help with yard work.

Back on campus, middle schoolers, in a demonstrative effort to help build an understanding of authentic biblical community, worked together in small groups. 

Separated by grade, they went ahead and created coloring books for children who are categorized as ESL (meaning English is their second language) in the foster system with Bethany Christian Services. Some made “grocery bags” for families, which consisted of basic living necessities such as hygiene kits, and soaps, etc. The students worked very diligently to ensure the job got done. 

7th grader Paydon Jackson writing a positive message to be sent to foster children.

Freshman and sophomores stayed on campus working on various services projects that blessed organizations. There were multiple assembly stations that included making DIY cat toys for the Noah Project (WMC loves God’s creatures too), making DIY laundry soap for MOCAP, packing lunches for the Kids Food Basket, creating care packages for folks in assisted living at Christian Haven Home, and even some “home improvement” projects around the WMC campus for Mr. Hain.

On day two all middle and high school students enjoyed some team-building activities led by Camp Roger out on the soccer field.  This was an opportunity for students to work together, communicate, problem-solve in groups in order to complete a variety of challenging activities.

From left, Kevin Jackson and Daniel Mott prepare care packages for MOCAP.
From left, Kim Nguyen, Taylor Pham and Madison Brinkert plank-walking.

This day of service and team building ended with the very intentional reading of Acts 2: 42-47 and discussion about what Authentic Biblical Community looked like in the New Testament and what it would look like at WMC today.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

ACTS 2:42-47
Senior Dagen Bayes prepares for the parachute drop.
From left, Claudia Kingma, Sawyer Arkema, Carson VanHekken and Jaden Binnendyk discuss their parachute drop.
from left, Kaylynn Pearce, David Clausing and Kendal Young discuss in small groups.
From left, Thien Bui, Jocelyn Kruithoff and Anh Lan Nguyen work on puzzle.

Project Grace: December 2-16, 2019

Project Grace started many years ago by Principal Pastor Greer as a way for WMC to bless and support local families during the time of Christmas.  This effort includes a variety of opportunities for students to raise funds. In fact, everyone gets very creative! You’ll hear and see this all over town as they work together for this worthy cause. Student classes (everyone’s 2nd hour) compete against each other and the winning group gets the blessing of being able to hand-deliver the gifts.

Parents and the WMC community have the opportunity to join in on this giving spirit at the Project Grace Boys Varsity Basketball Game on Monday, December 16 where donations are encouraged!

“We are passionate about this work. It’s not only important to us as students through Project Grace but these are real people in the community where we live. It’s truly the best use of time and energy and I am proud to be a part of it,” explains Senior Chloe Mitchell. 

Complete Project Grace coverage will be featured in the next Prayer Warrior newsletter.

You’re Invited to a WMC Chapel!

On Tuesday, December 10 we have Alan Seaborn as a speaker at our High School Chapel.  Alan works at Winning at Home in Zeeland. All WMC parents are invited to attend this chapel. 

WMC’s Academic Excellence Fall Round-Up

Fall 2010 Wrap Up

It’s a lot. So many students, grades, subjects, classes, days, hours…you get the gist. So we decided to stop by a few classrooms each trimester to give you a little peek at what goes on academically at WMC.

But first, did you know that WMC is at the top in the area in standardized test scores? That’s a fact! For the past three years, we have had the best reported SAT composite score in Muskegon County. Our students go on to the best colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan, Penn State, other Big Ten schools, Calvin University, Hope College, and many more. Although SAT composite scores for private schools are not released, the Western Michigan Christian High School SAT composite for 2019 is 1129 and is the 31st best-reported score in the state. Click here for a searchable database of all public schools in Michigan.

Did you know that WMC is at the top in the area in standardized test scores? That’s a fact!

Dr. Kristy Taylor, WMC Director of Curriculum and Instruction, is very pleased with this year’s score, “We are so excited for our staff and students who work hard day in and day out. In the last five years, we have really been focusing on curriculum development through our late starts and through our K-12 alignment in the WMCS collaborative, and the progress we’ve made is now showing in our test scores. A huge thank you goes out to our teachers who work tirelessly to ensure that each and every student in our building is being educated with excellence.

In the last five years, we have really been focusing on curriculum development through our late starts and through our K-12 alignment in the WMCS collaborative, and the progress we’ve made is now showing in our test scores.

STEM

This year some WMC high school and middle school students took an Introduction to STEM course taught by Mark Hill. They were introduced to what STEM is as well as certain engineering careers. 

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

After researching student-selected careers, students had the opportunity to apply and work with different engineering concepts. Students developed and built Rube Goldberg devices, designed, engineered and built usable furniture out of cardboard and glue, and built and coded autonomous cars that could run through an obstacle course. The reason for a course such as this is for students to begin to understand the design process and search out possible careers in STEM-related fields and local trades. Students understood, in a course such as this, that “failure” leads to opportunities for success and that many questions we have lead to multiple answers.

One of the Rube Goldberg devices that students designed and built.


“At Orchard View Middle School, I previously taught automation and robotics to 7th graders and design and modeling to 8th graders through PLTW (Project Lead the Way),” shared Mr. Hill. 

Students using Python software to program Dexter robots to travel autonomously through a simple maze.

If you would like to get involved with the STEM program at WMC feel free to email Mr. Hill.

SCIENCE FAIR

This fall, Kelly Wierenga’s “Physical Science A” students chose a scientific question to research and test. These projects related to real-world issues such as water pollution, energy efficiency, and human health. Student presentations were judged by members of the community including WMC parents as well as representatives from libraries, Blandford Nature Center, and the MI Department of Environmental Quality. 

Two projects tied for 1st place including Staci Krieger’s “Doodling…Distracting or Not Distracting?” and “Goldfish and Water Pollution” by Emily Matz, Michaela Faith, and Meralee Detar.

WMC students voted for their favorite and the project “Water Quality Experiment” by Sophie Hendrie and Isabel Post won the Popular Vote award.

One of Ms. Wierenga’s students created this video montage of all the Science Fair submissions.

CIVICS & CURRENT EVENTS

Every class David Miedema teaches, at some point, will include a student debate. It’s a two-pronged approach; students get to evaluate important issues from multiple perspectives and consider various angles before drawing conclusions. They also benefit from practicing some public speaking and active listening.

In today’s political climate, there can be a lot of hostility and animosity on certain issues. Instead, in Mr. Miedema’s class, students practice speaking and listening with grace, respect, and love while still seeking to boldly live out God’s truth.

“Kids love these debates because they center on controversial issues ranging from immigration, sexuality, and gun rights to more local concerns like school chapel and service hours. It involves a lot of emotion and allows students to share ideas and ask questions about issues that actually matter to them in a controlled, respectful setting,” explains Mr. Miedema. 

WMC Award-Winning Arts Program

FALL 2019 Wrap-Up for WMC’s Arts Program

For current updates/photos/videos on the WMC Music Department, FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK.

MSU Choral Leadership Day

CAPTION: (back row) Silas Jeltema, Daniel Plaisier, David Clausing, (front row) Alyssa Eekhoff, Esther Hartley, Trinity Nelson, and Jamel Williams

On September 24, seven members of the WMC Chamber Choir headed to East Lansing to participate in MSU’s Choral Leadership Workshop.  Only a select number of schools were invited to join in this event, and it was truly an assembly of the best high school singers in the state. Our students worked with MSU’s vocal music professors to learn seven full-length pieces of music, which they then presented in concert at the conclusion of the day.  They also got to hear a special performance by MSU’s top choir, along with several graduate-level vocal soloists. The following students represented WMC: (back row) Silas Jeltema, Daniel Plaisier, David Clausing, (front row) Alyssa Eekhoff, Esther Hartley, Trinity Nelson, and Jamel Williams.


Fall Choral Workshop Concert

On Monday, November 11, WMC’s Vocal Music Department hosted a Choral Workshop Day for the 7th and 8th-grade choir students from FCS, GHC, and WMC.  Mrs. Becksvoort worked with the middle school students in a pre-concert clinic, reinforcing fundamentals of tone quality, projection, blend, and stage presence.  The middle school students were treated to a pizza dinner, courtesy of the Warrior Music Boosters! Following dinner, all the 7th through 12th-grade students gathered in the Orchard View Community Auditorium for a concert featuring the WMC Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, and Chamber Choir, and wrapping up with three selections by the Mass (7-12) Choir.  

CAPTION: Mrs. B snaps a selfie with Chamber Choir students while preparing for the Fall Choral Workshop Concert.

It was awesome to sing the mass pieces that are so reflective of our faith…Especially with a wide age range declaring the story of the gospel, it makes it that much more powerful – Senior Sophie Hawke

“It was awesome to sing the mass pieces that are so reflective of our faith,” remarked Sophie Hawke, a senior member of the WMC Chamber Choir. “Especially with a wide age range declaring the story of the gospel, it makes it that much more powerful.”

“The sound of 160 students singing ‘Jesus Saves’ at the end of the concert was enough to bring resounding applause from the audience,” shared Choral Director, Kathryn Becksvoort. Glory! 🎶 

CAPTION: Mrs. B gets a selfie with the middle school students from GHC, WMC, and FCS during the clinic portion of the Fall Choral Workshop Day.

Regional Honors Choir

The Michigan State Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) coordinates an honors choir program each year.  There is a rigorous application and audition process in the early fall, and nine members of the WMC Vocal Music Department accepted that challenge.  While fewer than half of all applicants are accepted into the Regional Honors Choir, all nine WMC applicants were successful! These students will participate in an intense day of rehearsal and performance at Allendale High School on December 7, where they will audition for the State Honors Choir.  These nine students include David Clausing, Daniel Plaisier, Luke Moorhead, Jamel Williams, Belen Francis, Carlee Castle, Emma Visker, Esther Hartley, and Ashley Erdman. Congratulations to these fine singers! 


CAPTION: WMC Chamber Choir members accepted into the MSVMA Regional Honors Choir:
(Left to right. Back Row) David Clausing, Daniel Plaisier, Luke Moorhead, Jamel Williams, (Left to right. Front Row) Belen Francis, Carlee Castle, Emma Visker, Esther Hartley, and Ashley Erdman

Musical Theater Solo & Ensemble

On Saturday, November 23, the WMCHS Vocal Music Department participated in Musical Theater Solo & Ensemble, held in Hudsonville. 

Ashton Leffring and Jonathan Clausing perform a duet.

All ensembles and soloists from WMC received Division 1 ratings!

WMC Jazz Choir

Participants included the newly-formed WMC Jazz Choir (pictured above), Jessica Eenigenburg, Cate Garretson, Jonathan Clausing, Ashton Leffring, Emily Matz, Michaela Faith, Sydney Wagenmaker, Belen Francis, Emma Visker, and Ashley Erdman.


WMC Jazz Band Hosts an Instrument Petting Zoo

On November 15th the WMC Jazz Band performed at the Spring Lake District Library. The musicians treated everyone to some classic and recent Disney songs from Frozen, Monsters Inc., Toy Story, The Incredibles, and more! After the performance, kids enjoyed the Instrument Petting Zoo where they may try all kinds of different instruments.

Nick DeBone, WMC Band Director, who aims to introduce young children to the love of music early, hosted the event with the help of his talented WMC Jazz Band student musicians! “It’s rare that kids get to touch, feel and try out instruments, so this event allows for this fun experience.”

The event was FREE and open to the public and the Grand Haven Tribune reported on the event! Due to its success, Mr. DeBone will be hosting more like it in the future! 

Noah Francis works with a student at Spring Lake Library.
Sam Sipe introduces the xylophone to young students.
A’Nyah Greer explains the fine points of the saxophone.

Warrior Pep Band

For the first time in a decade, the Warrior Pep band marched in a parade formation onto the soccer field to pep tunes. This event took place on the Warrior Soccer Field during Warrior Weekend. 

Fall Play: Get Smart

The theatre program of Western Michigan Christian High School exists as a vehicle for practicing the values of self-discipline, hard work, goal setting, character strength, honesty, teamwork, and respect.  We intend to honor God in all that we do.

This year the fall play was Get Smart starring David Clausing (pictured right) as the highly intellectual yet bumbling spy!

from left to right  Margaret Antekeier 9th, David Clausing 12th, Jacelyn liter 10th, Ashly Erdman 11th, Trinity Nelson 12th.
(Left to right) Kaylynn Pearce 12th, Ella Buursman 12th, Belen Francis 10th, Jonathan Clausing 9th, Trinity Nelson 12th, Luke Hanes 12th, David Clausing 12th, Ashley Erdman, Benjamin Ferrier 10th, Michaiah Clarke 12th, Zoey Vanderstelt 10th, Jonathan Willams 9th, Ella Buursama, 12th Claire Doty, Jacelyn Liter 10th.

Jingle Bell Parade

The WMC Marching Band, led by Nick DeBone (pictured below with Kyle Kempster), participated in the Grand Haven “Jingle Bell Parade” this year on December 7, 2019.  Attendees sang along with these Warriors as they rung in the Christmas season!

WMC Marching Band at WMCS Feeder Schools

This year, the WMC Marching Band will visit the feeder schools. Dec 9-13th will be sending instrumental and vocal ensembles to share Christmas joy and promote the Collage. The WMC Music Boosters are offering FREE Christmas Collage tickets to all feeder school 8th graders.  This winter they march through the hallways decking the halls at GHC and MCS on Dec 11th. 

Christmas Collage 2019

You’re Invited!  Dec 17, 2019

We’re hard at work preparing for our 37th annual WMC Christmas Collage. 

What is the WMC Christmas Collage?

It’s an ensemble of our choirs (men’s, women’s and chamber) as well as our bands (jazz and concert) that come together for an evening of entertainment in the historic Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon.

You don’t have to have students performing to come and enjoy! We welcome everyone and cordially invite you to come to celebrate the birth of Jesus while we all make a beautiful noise unto the Lord! 

You can buy your Christmas Collage tickets early in the WMC school office or at the door. Seating is first come first served.

The WMC Music Boosters are offering FREE Collage tickets to all feeder school 8th graders. Click here to learn more.

For current updates/photos/videos on the WMC Music Department, FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK.

WMC High School Sports Fall Round-up 2019

Highs & Lows

It was a bittersweet ending to the fall sports season at Western Michigan Christian High School.

On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, the Warrior soccer team battled University Liggett 100 minutes, 80 regulation and two 10-minute overtime sessions without a goal being scored. The state championship match went to a shootout with WMC scoring four goals and University Liggett three.

What normally would have been a celebration the following Monday was an unusual celebration. The students, faculty and hundreds of family and friends, numbering about 1,000, gathered in Warrior Gym to celebrate, not the state title, but the life of a beloved teacher, Brian Vredevoogd, who had died very unexpectedly a week earlier.

It was a sad day, but a day we could all feel the presence of the family of God.

The soccer team’s celebration will be held this winter between games of the basketball season. Date and time TBD.

BOYS SOCCER:

First State Championship Since 2010

The season started slow for the Warriors with a 4-0 opening loss at Holland Christian, three ties and a disappointing-upset, 2-0, loss to Whitehall in front of a large “Warrior Weekend” crowd.

It appears the Warrior Weekend loss helped propel the Warriors to the state title as they finished the rest of the season without a loss.

As the regular season was coming to an end, it appeared the Warriors, coached by David Hulings, were becoming more focused and they ended the regular season being Lakes Eight Conference champs with a 6-0-2 league record and an overall record of 11-2-3.

Host WMC breezed through the district tournament with wins over Eau Claire, 8-0; Hudsonville Libertas Christian, 6-0 and Holland Black River, 6-0.

The Regional was a different story. The four teams were all ranked in the top five teams in the state in D-4, including No. 1 ranked Grandville Calvin Christian.

The host Warriors opened Regional play with a 3-0 win over North Muskegon and then defeated Calvin Christian, 2-1 in a shootout to advance to the state semi-final game at East Kentwood. WMC shut out Dansville, 2-0 and it was on to Novi for the state championship game versus University Leggitt.

WMC was crowned state champs after keeper Jameson Goorman stopped four of Leggitt’s penalty kicks for a 1-0 Warrior win.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL:

Several Historic Firsts in this Record-breaking Season

Volleyball is a game of stats and six records were broken this season including:

  • Aces-Match – 17, Esther Hartley vs. Muskegon Heights 2019
  • Assists-Season – 1311, Chloe Mitchell 2019
  • Assists-Career – 2724, Chloe Mitchell 2017-2019
  • Blocks-Career – 195, Chloe Mitchell 2017-2019
  • Digs-Career – 1239, Meghan Heiss 2017-2019
  • Team Record 39-11-3 (.764), Trent Smillie 2019   — (Previous record of 27-8-3 was figured incorrectly at .780.  That value is actually .750 as a tie counts as half a win and half a loss.)

This year’s Warriors girls volleyball team, coached by Trent Smillie, went undefeated in conference play to win the Lakes Eight Conference championship.

The host Warriors defeated Saugatuck and North Muskegon to earn the state district championship and then traveled to the regional at Hesperia where they defeated host Hesperia and then Pewamo-Westphalia for the school’s first-ever regional championship trophy.

Warriors celebrate WMC’s first Volleyball Regional Championship. Back row from Left: Head Coach Trent Smillie, Coach Meredith Smillie, (9th) Libby Mast, (10th) Madison Wiersema, (10th) Alisha Leffring, (12th) Eden Tencate, (12th) Anna Negen, (12th) Claudia Kingma, (11th) Greta VanderHeide, (11th) Taylor Folkema, (10th) Kyla Wiersema, Coach Chelsea Cooke-Tripp, Coach Ashley Sandine. Front row from left: Connor Smillie, (12th) Esther Hartley, (11th) Katelyn Olsen, (12th) Grace VanBeek, (12th) Meghan Heiss, (12th) Chloe Mitchell, (12th) Carli Betten

WMC competed in the MHSAA state quarterfinals at Unity Christian High School against top-ranked Schoolcraft. This was the first time WMC made it to the quarterfinals, however, Schoolcraft took the win that day.

Volleyball team lined up for the National Anthem and lineups prior to the State Quarter-final match.

They finished the season at 39-11-3.

After the season ended, the team again made history as senior Chloe Mitchell was named to the all-state first team.  

Senior Chloe Mitchell was named to the all-state first team,
a first time honor for the Warrior volleyball team!
Chloe was recruited by Aquinas College and will be playing for the Saints next year.

Click on link below to watch Mlive video of WMC history-making regional final win:


CROSS COUNTRY

Repeat State Champ for VanderKooi and State Finals for Team

WMC’s Abby VanderKooi repeated as cross country state champion this fall at the D-4 girls state finals at the International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.

WMC’s recently resurrected-cross country program continues to be successful year after year.

The Warrior girls, coached by Kevin Aardema and led by super-sophomore Abby VanderKooi, one of the top runners in the state and nation, finished second to Ludington in the Lakes Eight Conference.

Girls Cross-country team at MHSAA State Finals. From left: Coach Greg Gould, (12th) Emma Visker, (12th) Abby Sweetman, (11th) Lily Zenz, (11th) Audrey Braak, (11th) Natalie Riksen, (12th) Chloe Kozal, (11th) Elise Van Meurs, Coach Kevin Aardema. Front row from left: (10th) Ava Rotman, (9th) Bri Zuidema, (9th) Cate Garretson, (9th) Jessica Eenigenburg. Not pictured: (10th) Abby VanderKooi.

They finished second at the Regional to advance to the state finals at the Brooklyn International Speedway where they finished 8th out of 27 teams and Abby repeated as state champion in D-4.

Abby went through the entire season without losing a race, winning most of them by over two minutes.

Boys cross country team with trophy. From left: (12th) Caleb Croff, Coach Kevin Aardema, (12th) Daniel Plaisier, Coach Greg Gould, (12th) Ben Garretson, (9th) Jonathan Clausing, (11th) Pierce Newell, (11th) Noah Ferrier, (12th) Ben Waldo.

The boys (pictured above), coached by Greg Gould, finished as co-champions with Ludington in the conference and third at the Regional to advance to the state final where they finished 15th out of 28 teams.

GIRLS GOLF:

The team of seven sophomores and two seniors include Zoe Vanderstelt, Elizabeth Bonnema, Sydney Betten, Grace Sytsema, Belen Francis, Ainsley Doornbos, Micah Betten, and Adayla Liggett.

It was a rebuilding year for the WMC girls golf team.

The team, coached by Scott Liggett, was composed of seven sophomores and two seniors (pictured above).

Coach Liggett sees a “bright future” for girls golf at WMC!

BOYS TENNIS:

Senior Tyler Newhouse playing in a singles tournament.

The boy’s tennis team, coached by Nick Bennett, showed great improvement over the last few years.

Season Record: 4-7

City Results:  4th Place

Conference:  6th Place

FOOTBALL:

WMC’s Solomon Waller (#3) picking up some yardage for the WMC/Muskegon Catholic co-op football team in this year’s season opener.

WMC completed its second season of a co-op program with Muskegon Catholic.

The 2019 team turned around from a losing season in 2018 to qualify for the playoffs and finish the season at 6-3.

The team lost to Ravenna in the first round of the playoffs, 14-0.

There were only seven seniors on this year’s team.

SWIM/DIVE TEAM

A Historic Season for the Turtles

WMC swimmers and their conference trophy. From left: Isabel Post (9th), Zoe Sytsema (11th), Naomi Huttenga (9th).

The 2019 Mona Shore/Greater Muskegon Girls “Turtles” Co-op Swim/Dive Team made history with their first-ever Girls OK Rainbow Tier 2 Swim /Dive Conference Championship!

They went the entire season without a loss.

Click here for more information about the WMC Warriors Athletic Program for both middle and high school.