Archive for Pk-12 Collaborative of Schools

Congratulations! You’re a United States Citizen

MCS 2nd graders get to witness their teacher become an American!

For 2nd grade teacher Ximena and others, swearing the oath of allegiance is the culmination of a long process of naturalization that can take years. So when our 2nd grade Spanish Immersion students found out Ximena was finally becoming a U.S. citizen, they wanted to be there with her.

But they almost missed out on the experience altogether.

A Few Surprises

After a 45 minute drive, her students (and parent volunteers) arrived at the Herrick District library and made their way part way down the stairs – when they were stopped. As parent Laura explains, “An official told us we could go no farther, that the room was full and that we wouldn’t be able to witness the ceremony.  We asked if we could at least see Ximena. They did go get her so we could at least say hello, give her a card and greet her before the ceremony. “

Did we say that we didn’t tell Ximena that we were coming? Surprise! She was a little flustered when staff pulled her out of line and asked her to come along with them. (Sorry, Ximena!)

While all of this was going on, a library volunteer, who happened to be an MCS graduate, saw what was going on. He talked to the library Director, who was sympathetic to our situation.  As we were huddled in the lobby trying to decide what to do next, the director told us that she would fit us in somehow.  Soon they announced us as a special group attending and ushered us up on the side of the platform so the kids had a better view. They told our students to cheer loud, and the man who initially told us to leave gave each kid a high five as they came up on the platform!

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Some of the highlights of the ceremony were hearing all 30 countries listed that were represented by participants in this particular ceremony. Our students loved cheering for Ximena as they called her up to receive her certificate.  The coordinators also made it a point to highlight our group of students and let them tell the audience what school they were from. They also had Ximena stand up and wave to her class. 

The students loved being a part of this unique experience. As one student shared, “It was cool how many people were there and that they could all become citizens”. For many of the kids, it is probably the only time they will witness this ceremony. And they loved surprising their teacher.

Ximena was indeed surprised. She was a little overcome too (in the best way).

It has been a long, almost six year journey where I have seen how God’s sovereignty has worked upon our family. First, the doors opened for us to move from our home country and leave everything to then move to the USA in a matter of a few short months.  We first arrived in December, 2013 and we were exposed to a new culture and language.  We did not know where we would end up – but God had a plan for us.

Our family’s almost 6 year journey concluded by becoming a U.S. citizen and being part of this great nation. This country has welcomed me with open arms and it continues to do it for so many other immigrants that arrive from all over the world.  God has facilitated this process to be smooth and now I’m very happy it is completed.

I am thankful for all my students and the parents who came and were the perfect audience for this unique experience.  It certainly made it a lot more special for me to share this special moment with each of them.

– Ximena

We’re happy we could support Ximena on this day. “I’m so proud of Ximena, and of our students and how they behaved,” shares Laura. “They were able to experience a taste of what becoming a citizen involves, and were able to see some of the variety of people who come to join our country. It was a great day!”

Lessons from a Veteran

WWII Veteran shares with MCS students his story – and how God is at work even in hard times.

As a soldier in the ninth air force during World War II, Mr. Clarence Schipper met a lot of hardship and sadness. Yet he came back home with his faith strengthened.
When he visited our 4th grade students in Miss Potts class this spring, he shared his testimony and some memories of the war.

Mr. Schipper showing students pictures from when he served in World War II

“I saw a lot in the last two years (of the war). We crossed the English Channel on D+16 (that’s 16 days after D day) and we went through northern France. We went through the tip of Belgium, down into the Netherlands… and then across Germany.

I saw death, destruction, cities bombed, planes shot down, pilots killed. We were near one battle where Germans shot up a British truck and a tank. I looked inside to the truck and there were two English guys. One had his arm around his buddy to protect him – but they both were dead. And in a tank nearby were soldiers that were trying to get out of a crippled tank – they were shot and dead.

Our unit was not a combat unit, but we were close to the front… we were in the Battle of the Bulge, we had buzz bombs flying over us (and some landed near us), and we went through the Buchenwald concentration camp.”

Mr. Schipper shared what it was like to encounter the people that the Germans starved, and how they fed some of them out of their mess kits with food left over. And as all this came to a head, he questioned, ‘Is there a God who cares?’

“I walked up a steep hill and I began to read my Bible. Here’s what I read:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:12-15

And when I read that, when I thought how Jesus suffered like we did and was tempted in every way that I was, I wanted to follow Him for the rest of my life. And so when I got back home I made profession of faith in our church. And I’m glad I did.

The students enjoyed trying on his uniform and learning all about the different symbols on his hat and jacket.

Some other things our students learned from Mr. Schipper?
” They ate C and K-rations. He taught us about K rations.”
” He was scared for his life – war isn’t easy! Mr. Schipper is so brave.” (One of our students wrote he is the bravest person they know.)
” He served for 2, almost 3 years.”
” He showed us lots of pictures.”
” He talked with us about weapons and war technology”.
” He was drafted before he finished high school, but he did get his diploma.”

We were so thankful to hear Mr. Schipper’s story and to be able to ask him questions. Thank you to all those who served our country in the past – and serve today – to protect our freedoms.

The Power of Stories

Stories Worth Telling

What makes a story worth telling?  Miss Potts’ fourth grade class has spent some time this winter focused on this question.  As a starting point, Miss Potts’ grandma Mrs. Haak (a former teacher) came in and shared her story with the class. She helped the kids to think about God’s faithfulness and how, despite the fact that life has a lot of changes, God never changes.  The Bible is full of stories of people not so different from us who had amazing stories.

Short Stories

The class of students brainstormed some reasons that stories are worth telling, and after more reflection, started creating their own autobiographies.   Being on average 10 years old, their autobiographies were rather short.  Once they finished their stories, they shared them with some of the residents at Christian Care.

Longer Stories

After sharing their autobiographies, the students each interviewed a resident so that they could write a biography about their (considerably longer) stories.  In preparation for this phase of the project, Grandma Haak came back and shared with the class a little bit about Alzheimer’s disease. She helped the kids understand the disease and shared a story about her friend with Alzheimer’s.  She shared that even though the disease changes the person’s life, they are still the same person inside.  Grandma Haak prepared the kids a little bit of how to talk to people at Christian Care or what to do if they don’t respond in ways we might expect.

We asked the students to share what they learned from the stories that the residents shared.  Here are a few their responses:

Bryson: You can learn a lot from older people because you might ask them about it and they can help you with what to do.
Braeden: Their lives are kind of like us. (He liked games and basketball and baseball too).
Mia: Even though they may have disabilities they are still the same person.
Ny’Asia: Even if a person is having a bad day or eats different they are still a lot like you.

Future Stories

Miss Potts asked the students to think about what they hope for as they get older.  A few of their responses:

 Leah  “I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me in the future. I hope I live an amazing life with God, and a good relationship with my friends. I love my family, friends, and God and I count on them to help me at hard and good times through my life. I think life is going to be amazing with them.”

Becca  “I’m so thankful for all the gifts that God has given me. I hope that when I get older I can use my gifts to serve others right now I can use my gifts to serve my family by baking cakes”.

Our students were inspired by many of the stories that the residents shared.  As Isaac summarized, “They have experiences that we haven’t and they can give us advice to help us. Because they might have learned it the hard way. Maybe when I’m older I can do that (give advice to younger people) – because I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way.”

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!

“Beyond Academics”

WHAT LEGACY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR CHILDREN?

Give them the gift of Christian education because Christ-centered education at West Michigan Christian Schools goes Beyond Academics. It gets to the heart of what matters. From preschool through high school, our students learn who Christ is, what He says about our identity, how He impacts every part of our lives and why we live to serve Him.

The legacy of Christian education is an endowment parents give to their children; one that will affect your great grandchildren and generations to come. It’s an investment in their future. Training them up according to the Scriptures is a divine directive, a call, that all parents have been given.

All four of our schools, Grand Haven Christian School, Muskegon Christian School, New Era Christian School and Western Michigan Christian High School and Middle School, are enrolling now for the 2017-18 school year.

For more information about WMCS, the Lakeshore’s PK-12 Christian School system of choice, contact us today!