Archive for Muskegon Christian School

New Faces at MCS this Fall

New Spanish Immersion Teacher

Lisa Bonilla is our new 4th Grade Spanish Immersion teacher at MCS.  She was born and raised in Frankenmuth, MI. Growing up she was actively involved in sports, music, academic clubs, and youth group with church. After high school, she went to GVSU for one year to study social work, but then had an opportunity to go to Honduras to visit her sister who was involved in ministry there. After visiting for a month, she was offered a job to help open a school. She dropped everything in Michigan and moved to Central America for four years. While there, she taught Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and music.  “I was also involved with prison ministry, played soccer nearly every day, and fell in love with the language, people, food, and culture,” shares Lisa.  She also began studies online through Liberty University.

She moved with her husband to Virginia in 2014 so they could both finish their degrees at Liberty. After her husband finished his studies in 2017, they moved back to her home state of Michigan.  Lisa adds, “It’s good to be back!  After having been an ABA therapist for kids with autism for a year here in Muskegon, I’m very excited to be back in teaching.  A big thanks to all of you who have already made me feel so welcome here at MCS.”

Our Front Desk Has a New Face Too

Laura Scholma has 3 boys who attend MCS and her husband Josh teaches at WMC.  Laura loves to run and has coached cross country for the last 15 years.  She also worked at Covenant Life Church as the Early Childhood Coordinator for a number of years before joining our staff. She’s not afraid of a good challenge (eg. she has bicycled across the Mackinaw Bridge 5 times).  She is excited to help support the teachers and families by serving in the main office.

Other New Staff

We have a new teacher for our youngest students at MCS this year.  Patience Hartley enjoys leading a room full of active preschoolers in our 3 year old preschool room.  She attended Grace Bible College and was born and raised in Muskegon.
Our new music teacher, Brenda Oosterhouse, originates from Iowa but graduated from Calvin and now lives in Marne with her family.
Rhonda Hill is a new face in our support services office. She and her husband have 2 boys who graduated from MCS and now attend WMC.
Brittany Merrill is helping with our Preschool Spanish Immersion program this year.  She has been so impressed by the language acquisition of our students and is so excited to be part of this program.

Please welcome our new staff when you see them in the halls!

Family Fun Events at MCS this Fall

We have some great family activities coming up this fall at MCS!
Our Grandparents Day is Friday, October 12th at 1pm. Grandparents and special friends are invited to join us in the Three Oaks gym next door (the old WMC gymnasium) at 1pm for the formal program followed by coffee and cookies in the MCS gym afterward and classroom visits.

We will host our Scholastic Book Fair from October 8-12.  The Book Fair will be open from 2-3:30 during Grandparents Day as well.  Books make a great gift for students (hint: stock up for Christmas).

Our Fall Family Fest is Tuesday, October 23rd from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  Join us for cider and donuts, games, pumpkin decorating, face painting, concessions and more.

Do you want to learn more about any of these events and opportunities?  Contact us!

Parent (and MCS Principal) Dan DeKam Shares Why He Chose West Michigan Christian Schools

Why WMCS?
Almost twenty years ago, we brought our oldest daughter to Muskegon Christian School for her first day of classes.  This past Friday, our youngest daughter graduated from high school at Western Michigan Christian.
There is some rejoicing to have our last one through – yes, school principals pay tuition too. But there is also a lot of gratitude for our Christian Schools here in West Michigan.

We have had a great partner in raising our children to know and love the Lord, to recognize Him in the everyday business of life, to see the miracle of creation and give Him praise, and to live in obedience in the way we love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.

We are thankful for the examples set by the WMCS teachers, coaches, staff and administration in modeling a Christ-like life. As with any endeavor this side of heaven, it has not been perfect. But in the imperfections, we also saw the grace and the opportunity to understand accountability and forgiveness.

We are also thankful for all of you who have made these schools possible for these many years. We thank the donors who give so generously to this worthy cause and for other parents who sacrifice. With our five children all in Christian School at the same time, we have felt the generosity of the Christian community in reducing the tuition to a rate we could manage. While we admittedly look forward to a little relief from tuition payments we feel it was worth every penny and we are anticipating the opportunity to give back.

They Grow Up So Quickly!
Two decades ago, it seemed that the road to the day when our youngest would graduate was long and never-ending. Now we are left wondering how all of that happened so quickly.

To those who are just starting down this road – pay attention!    You won’t want to miss anything.

Give Your Child the Best Education
From both personal and professional experience, I very much recommend the PK-12 Christian Education that our WMCS collaborative family of five schools in Fremont, Grand Haven, Muskegon, New Era and Norton Shores offers. Covering such a wide area in the Lakeshore region of West Michigan, our school system has something for every family.

Come see for yourself!

The 2018 MCS Auction Booklet is here!

Check out our auction booklet and make plans to join us on May the 4th to bid on your favorite items!

  CLICK HERE!

         MCS

Auction Book

         2018

We’ve got something for everyone.  Here’s just a taste:

  • a 10ft Aruba Kayak
  • 1 Week stay at Florida Keys Condo
  • Sun Dolphin Paddleboard
  • 4 tickets to Unity Festival
  • U of M and MSU football packages
  • Detroit Tigers package
  • 4 Field Museum and 4 Shedd Aquarium tickets
  • Will and Living Trust preparation

View the book to see all the items and plan to join us. Tickets are only $10 and are for sale in the MCS office or at the door.  You ticket covers a full catered dinner and access to an epic night of fun!

Thanks to the many businesses who have sponsored our auction tonight with their donations and sponsorship.  We encourage you to thank them with your future patronage.

A special thanks to all the businesses who sponsored this year auction:
 
Van’s Car wash
i’move
Core Realty Partners
Sytsema Funeral and Creation Services
Bishop Heating and Air Conditioning
 
GMB Architecture and Engineering
WESCO
Independent Bank
West Coast Pediatric Dentistry
Harborwood Family Medicine
 
Shelby State Bank
and other friends of MCS.

March (Reading) Madness captures MCS!

Every year we offer up special opportunities for our students to develop a love of books during the month of March.

To kick off March (Reading) Madness this year, our staff inspired students with a video featuring themselves and challenged the students to commit to reading up to 700 minutes during this month (based on grade).   On March 6th, a few members of the Muskegon Lumberjacks shared a book with the students (and a few personal stories and hockey facts as well).

Kids were caught reading everywhere around the school!  Kindergarten students explored favorite Dr. Seuss stories together. Local author Susan Ream shared her book with the students in the gym.

Fairy Tales were a Highlight!

We particularly love sharing classic tales with students.  Ms. Potts fourth grade students created books that retold a well known fairy tale story from a different perspective (eg. The Three Little Pigs from the wolf’s point of view) and then read them to first grade students.

Our teacher’s reenactment of the classic story Chicken Little proved that our teachers have a flare for the dramatic and that this story never loses its appeal.

Reading Goals were Reached

We were able to raise over $2,500 from the Read-a-thon for the PPO.  More importantly, students were reading  and experienced great new books in novel ways.

Way to read, MCS!

Courtroom Experience Brings The Boston Tea Party to Life

“Not Guilty!”  That was the conclusion the jury came to in the ‘trial’ of fictitious character Samuel Bigglesworth for his involvement in the Boston Tea Party.  Mr. Bonnema’s 5th grade class participated in a mock trial as a culmination of a project to determine whether the Boston Tea Party was the sole factor in starting the Revolutionary War. The students developed both the prosecution and defense cases, and also created character witnesses to testify. The trial was presided by Judge (and our Principal) Dan DeKam, with Mr. Bonnema as the Bailiff, and the 5th grade Spanish Immersion class as the jury.

The student who pretended to be defendant Samuel Bigglesworth shared that preparing for the trial was kind of tricky.  “You only have so many questions you can prepare to answer – and they might have better questions than the ones you thought of!  I learned that people like Samuel were fighting for civil rights and considered the things England was doing acts of war,” Eli summarized.

In addition to the mock trial, the class also visited the Muskegon County Courthouse, met with a Muskegon County judge, witnessed a mock trial performed by the Prosecutor’s office and learned about trial procedure from the Assistant Prosecutor to Muskegon County (and MCS dad) Tim Maat!

“The project was a great civics lesson as well as a fun way to learn more about the Revolutionary period of our country’s history,” Mr. Bonnema concluded.

Contact Us and Come Explore MCS!

Would you like to talk with some of our Spanish Immersion students and staff?  (You’ll be amazed at how quickly our students learn to master a second language!)

Do you want to explore all of our classrooms including preschool and Kindergarten?  (We have activities to keep your young ones busy!)

Have you wondered what we offer at Muskegon Christian School and what makes us unique?  (We think we’ll surprise you.)

We offer more at MCS

More opportunities for students to actively engage with the curriculum through Project Based Learning.  A staff that is passionate to discover with our students how God reveals Himself through his Word and His world.  Traditional English as well as a Spanish Immersion programs from Kindergarten through 6th grade (with partnership with WMC Schools for a complete PreK-12 educational experience).  We are an educational community that wants more for our children and offers a quality education that prepares each student for a lifetime of Christian discipleship.  And we’d love to meet YOU!

Please contact us to schedule a tour so that we can show you what makes Muskegon Christian School unique – and how we offer more.

MCS Students Get a Job and Travel to Washington D.C.

Imagination Fuels Learning at MCS

How do you learn about basic financial principles when you are 7 years old?  Start a business!
And what better way to learn about Symbols of America than by taking a trip to Washington, D.C.?

The “2nd Grade Mall”

Every winter, our 2nd grade students participate in the creation of a “2nd Grade Mall” in the gym as a fun application of the concepts they are learning.  They first spend a month studying goods, services, consumers, producers, income, budgets and how God calls us to use our money as part of their curriculum, with a special focus on production and the buying and selling of goods.  In preparation for the mall, each 2nd grader spends time making ‘products’ to sell at their store. They are able to see what it is like to make 17-25 of the same product and to set up a shop marketed to other 2nd graders in the mall.

On the day of the mall, some of the students were very set on earning ‘money’ by selling their items, while other students were eager to close up shop and to see what everyone else was selling. They were each given $11.50 in play money to spend at the mall.  Items for sale included baked goods, bookmarks, paper planes, balloons, and even snow cones!   Some students shopped a lot and ended up with no money (but lots of treats) while others ended with lots of money (one had earned over $40).
After the store, students shared their thoughts on the event:

  • “Working at a store is actually fun!”
  •  “I learned if you wanted to get more money, sell more stuff.  If you wanted to buy more stuff, use your money!”
  •  “I learned that some people don’t always like the price of your product.”
  •  “I learned what it will be like when I get old.”

The students had a great time while also learning how earning money, goods and services, producers and consumers all tie together.

First Graders Take a Trip to Washington, D.C.!

One of the highlights of 1st grade at MCS is the annual (imaginary) trip to Washington D.C., an amazing trip that takes place in the space of 3 hours throughout the MCS building and serves as the culmination activity for their Symbols of America unit.  This trip involves a number of parent volunteers who take on such roles as check-in attendants or security staff  (and who seem to have as much fun as the kids on this journey)!

Students must show proper ‘ID’ and check in with their tickets and luggage, then clear the rigorous customs and inspection area.  (Yes, they even have to remove their shoes!)  They then move onto the ‘plane’ in the gym.  They enjoy a ‘tour’ of popular D.C. landmarks including the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building and the White House.  Tired from a full day, they change into pajamas and rest at their ‘hotel rooms’ in preparation for their ride back home.  What a memorable experience for students and ‘staff” alike!

Save the Date for the 2018 MCS Star Wars Auction!

We are excited to be hosting our annual Muskegon Christian School Auction at  The Century Club in the heart of downtown Muskegon on Friday, May 4th at 6pm.  Our goal is to raise over $40,000 from this auction and all funds raised will help support our teachers and students at MCS.   This auction is our biggest event of the year and we love how it brings together our community leaders, donors, current parents, and friends of MCS.  We would love you to be a part of it!

We are currently collecting items for our auction!  Especially popular items include gift certificates from local businesses, getaway and ‘staycation’ items and once-in-a-lifetime (think ‘bucket list’) offerings.   Do you have a donation for us?  We love new and creative gifts to offer at our auction!  Hundreds of people attend our annual auction and your donation would be noticed by many more through our advertising efforts and in our booklet.

Or if you’d like to give in a different way by underwriting our event, we also offer great sponsorship opportunities.  Whether you are a basic X-wing sponsor or a Millennium Falcon event sponsor, each sponsorship includes:

  • Your company’s recognition in promotional material & in the Auction booklet
  • Social media mentions
  • Receipting for tax purposes
  • That good feeling you get when you’ve supported a great cause ( our students!)

We are a 501(c)3 and all donations will be receipted for tax purposes.

Donations can be mailed to:
Muskegon Christian School, Attn: Auction Committee, 1220 Eastgate St, Muskegon, MI  49442
For more information on this event including donation and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us!

Look for updates and sneak peeks on items up for bid here on our blog and on MCS Facebook page.
Plan to join us on May the 4th for an epic auction adventure!

Spanish Immersion from the Viewpoint of our Students

What Our Kids Had to Say

We recently interviewed a few of our Spanish Immersion students to get some feedback on what the immersion experience has been like for them.  Students usually start the program in Kindergarten but can join as late as midway through 1st grade.  By fifth grade, they can conversationally bounce back and forth between English and Spanish with ease.  It is really amazing to experience their mastery of the language!

We’d like to share our conversation with a couple of fifth grade Spanish Immersion students, Abby and Maria.

How did your Spanish Immersion experience start?

Abby – At the beginning, I didn’t know Spanish at all and the teacher spoke Spanish.  She wouldn’t tell you how to say each word but instead just talked to us all the time and we just somehow started understanding her.
Maria –  I didn’t start Spanish Immersion till 1st grade while the other kids had started in Kindergarten or even earlier.  The teachers helped me a lot.

What’s the most challenging part of Spanish Immersion?

Abby – The silent ‘h’ is tricky because you have to figure out if it’s in a word or not.  And learning the accent took some time – if you speak Spanish words in an English accent they don’t sound right.
Maria – But learning how to spell Spanish words is much easier than English.   In English there are many more tricks you need to learn. In Spanish, you can usually sound it out.

What advice would you have for students new to Spanish Immersion?

Maria – Keep trying!  Sometimes you feel like you can’t do it because you don’t understand, but it gets easier.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  I asked a lot and the teachers helped me.
Abby – Keep an open mind.  When I first started I came in the classroom and the teacher only spoke Spanish.  I would sit there and feel a little lost, but it got easier pretty quickly.

Tell me about a time that you were able to use Spanish outside of the classroom.

Abby – We’ve traveled to Florida and were in a situation where we needed help and the people there only spoke Spanish.  I was able to translate between my parents and the staff.  And here at home I will hear people speaking Spanish in a store and sometimes go up to kids my age and speak to them in Spanish.  Every time I do they will be surprised and say something like ‘You speak Spanish? – I do too!’ That’s really fun.
Maria – (Laughing) I sometimes eavesdrop on people in stores but then I can help them sometimes too.

What would you tell parents who are thinking about Spanish Immersion for their child?

Abby – It’s great – they should do it.  I loved that we did lots of songs and games when we learned Spanish that helped us.  And by learning both Spanish to English I’ve learned a lot of root words.  It makes you smarter.  It will also help me get better jobs because I can speak in 2 languages.
Maria – I want to be a flight attendant someday and travel the world and this will make me more able to get this job.

Further Thoughts from the Parents

Maria’s mom gave us some feedback on the Immersion experience at MCS as well.

“It was a rough go for the first few months, but she has grown to love it.  I’m amazed at how she thinks in Spanish. She doesn’t translate, she knows and understands.  Although her Spanish spelling and grammar are almost perfect, her English spelling is a little behind.

We are excited for the opportunities this opens for her. She is already talking about being a translator, teacher or flight attendant someday so she can keep using her Spanish.

I would not say this program is for everyone. I think a family has to be committed to it and see the big picture. I do think it is an amazing program and has opened up something for Maria none of us had, or could even imagine. I often think about kids all over the world learning English and their native language and I love that my child will also be bilingual.  She helps her siblings with their homework regularly. She has recited the Bible in Spanish in church.
My older kids wish they had the opportunity – they are quite jealous of her ability.”