covenant ISSUE 3 | SUMMER 2019
Ripple Effect THE LASTING IMPACT OF OUR FIRST PRINCIPAL | PAGE 11
Internationally Invested THE BEGINNING OF GLOBAL RELATIONSHIPS | PAGE 2
The World of J-Term NON-TRADITIONAL LEARNING | PAGE 7
index International 2 BTS 5 J-Term 7
The mission of Covenant Christian High School is to provide an excellent, Christ-centered education, equipping students for a life of scholarship, leadership, and service.
Andy Goodwin Principal & CEO
By Christ-centered education, above all, we mean to celebrate the finished work of Christ. Through his Word and through his virgin birth, life on earth, murder, burial, and resurrection, we know that we have life abundant and can live in right relationship and in true freedom. Excellence is a response, a good and proper and beautiful response to the finished work of Christ. But being excellent, done well, is far less about performance than about bearing the fruits of right relationship. A life transformed understands that distinction. It is sometimes difficult to pursue excellence without an ever-growing desire to keep score, to grade or make the grade, to hear and hit the right notes, to present the most accurate or attractive image. In this season, you or someone you love might be trying to finish strongly, with excellence. Or you or someone you love might just be trying to finish. As we celebrate these stories of what God is doing through Covenant, I would like to invite you, invite us, to be excellent in rest and to continue to simply receive the beauty of good work, of strong talent, and of joy in the context of fine arts. â€œNow to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.â€? (Eph. 3:2021)
Calendar 10 Jim Spencer 11 Athletics 13 Scholarship. Leadership. Service. 15
production team DESIGN Kristina Cook PHOTOGRAPHY Rick McIntyre Rich Unland Christopher Colson Covenant Student Publications OUR MISSION Covenant Christian High School is dedicated to providing an excellent, Christ-centered education, equipping students for a life of scholarship, leadership, and service. OUR VISION Covenant Christian High School will be a leader in 21st century education. We will accomplish this through the total preparation of the student, influence in educational, ecclesial, and cultural communities, and the replication of the Covenant model.
For the Kingdom,
Andy Goodwin Principal & CEO
7525 West 21st Street, Indianapolis, IN 46214 Phone: 317.390.0202 Fax: 317.390.6823
International students on their fall break trip to Chicago.
Internationally Invested The Goal of Covenant’s International Program Covenant Christian High School aims to be a highly relational school. Student-to-student, teacher-to-student, teacher-to-parent, and some of our families opt into another unique relationship with a global reach; a student-parent-family-school relationship that invites a student from thousands of miles away into their lives for a time. For many families, those relationships that start as uncomfortable, stretching exercises in cultural difference end up becoming family relationships that span the globe and years beyond the homestay experience. The International Program at CCHS is an opportunity for families to host students from foreign countries. Typically the program will bring 15-20 students to Covenant, with a full program being approximately 30 students. Students live with families of students currently enrolled at Covenant or families that have close ties to the school. International Director David Tripple says that the goal is not merely to provide an education and living quarters, but to wholly invest in the life of the student.
For Sean and Michelle Lampton (parents of Spencer ‘16, Trevor ‘18, Parker ‘20, and Brenner ‘22) hosting a student from another country felt like a rite of passage for their family. Michelle’s family hosted a student from Holland during her junior year of high school and wanted her children to have a similar experience.
The goal is not merely to provide an education and living quarters, but to wholly invest in the life of a student.
“A primary goal of the international homestay program is that our international students would be exposed to God’s love on a daily basis as they interact with their host family,” said Tripple. “Being part of a host family provides significantly more support (emotional, mental, physical, academic, social, spiritual, etc.) to our international students when compared with the boarding school or dormitory approach of other international programs. Many of our international alumni have identified their host family experience as a most important or life-changing aspect of their Covenant experience.”
“I learned a lot, both good and bad, through hosting my student, so I thought it would be a good thing for our boys,” said Michelle. She and Sean said that their experience stretched them as parents and as a family, but through their experiences, they established lifelong relationships with their two hosted students, Renjie He ‘15 and David Wu ‘17. “We were able to meet Renjie’s mom during a visit to school before the program started, so it was nice to get his family involved,” said Sean. “Americans would probably struggle to send their children thousands of miles away, but these parents do. They expect their child to get a good education, and I think it helps ease the family’s fears when they know us.” The Lamptons said that first introduction helped establish a baseline that could allow them to fully integrate their students into their family. “You learn that Chinese teenagers are no different from American teenagers,” said Sean. Even though they were not the boys’ parents, both Sean and Michelle felt like they were able to parent their international students in a way that turned them into sons and brothers for the family. They had occasional behavioral issues that had to be addressed, but they also felt David and Renjie could have their own lives in the US, just like they wanted their own sons to do. Sean, Spencer, and Trevor got to travel to China a few summers ago to spend a few weeks with both families. The Lamptons even hosted Renjie’s younger brother at their during winter break from a different school this year. As Renjie and David graduated and left Covenant, it was not the end of the experience for the Lamptons. “They love my deviled eggs, so we still see them every Thanksgiving,” said Michelle, laughing. “I still talk to them on the phone and message them, and Renjie’s mother and I talk through WeChat.” As they started participating in the homestay program, Michelle said that they never anticipated the fulfillment that participating in the program would bring their family. “Exchange students start like a guest that you end up treating like they’re your own children. You really do end up treating them like they’re your own children.” Sean tried to summarize the impact of their experience. “It’s a privilege because it’s such an opportunity to impact someone’s life. It’s the proverbial adage, what you’re giving versus what you get, living life together with them. I never anticipated a freshman from China referring to us as an American Mom and Dad. It’s not what you expect, but it ends up like that.”
Students gathered at the Lampton home for Chinese New Year.
Mr. Trujillo teaches Spiritual Formation and Faith & Art classes.
Passion - Faith - Engagement Connecting Knowledge & Scriptural Truth A passion for scripture, an authentic faith, and significant, meaningful engagement with culture. That’s what Biblical and Theological Studies (BTS) department Head Mike Fightmaster says are the goals for students as they go through Covenant Christian High School. “As students go through our program from freshman to senior year, we hope to build up a love of scripture with a passion for truth to eventually get to a place where students know what wisdom to pursue to make their faith their own,” said Fightmaster. We aim to have all students understand the “Truth founded in the authority of scripture, having a firm understanding of how to interpret that for ourselves, and taking that [truth and understanding] and engaging the world.” In that effort to foster a well-rounded Biblical education, the BTS department relies on a lot of formal training. Currently, all of its teachers have at least one master’s degree from a variety of reputable institutions and seminaries around the country. Each teacher brings their own passions concerning God’s word and Biblical theology, their own approach as guide and shepherd through the various topics and deep dives into God’s word.
We hope to build up a love of scripture with a passion for truth.
The BTS staff continues to build upon a storied tradition of bringing students into their classrooms to foster a love for God while simultaneously challenging students with the goal of deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him. The culminating experience for most seniors through the entire history of CCHS has been the Christian Worldview class, which aims to be the capstone class for Covenant students. In Worldview, students study grand, universal questions such as, “What is my responsibility to others?” and “What is a good life?”. Their answers come in the form of intensely constructed and deeply considered papers and thesis defense presentations. Fightmaster says these questions can often stretch students to that place of authentic faith.
Mr. Fightmaster facilitates Senior Worldview presentations in the Library.
“We ask them questions in a way that challenges the validity [of assumptions of faith], but they’re rooted in truth of scripture and personal experience and they’re in a safe place to create answers —a Christian community with the freedom to question what they’ve grown up believing. Questions about doubt and faith, despair and hope—highlighting the complexity of the Christian faith—that’s what we’re doing.” Throughout the BTS program and especially during the Worldview process for seniors, Covenant aims to expose students to some of the most revered works in the library of theology, commentary, exegesis, and spiritual formation through a collection of books called The Covenant 100. That collection of works includes canonical works like Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, and C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. “We desire every student to engage with or encounter in some way these works of high biblical criticism, biblical theology, and spiritual formation—be it a page, a whole chapter, or an entire book,” said Fightmaster. “Utilizing the whole counsel of God is one of our main methods towards our objectives of passion, faith, and engagement.” As the department continues to build on the established traditions of the program, they do have a vision for continued development. Fightmaster said one of the main goals of the department going forward is “taking the head knowledge of scriptural truth and connecting it to our formation.” In emphasizing knowledge and spiritual practices, the BTS department has a vision of integrating practices like creating community, meditating, memorizing scripture, and commission, quite literally sending students to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As the department continues to develop programming and solidify goals and outcomes for all students, they are continually oriented toward the words of the Covenant credo, helping create enlightened minds and inflamed hearts, leading to transformed lives and relationship with Christ.
EXPERIENCE COVENANT APRIL ‘18
MAY ‘18 HAVE QUESTIONS? VISIT OUR SITE OR CALL OUR ADMISSIONS TEAM AT 317.390.0202
September 17 October 1 November 5 & 15 December 3 & 12 January 30 February 13 & 28 March 10 April 10 & 21 May 7
Shadow for a day. Interested students are invited to shadow a Covenant student.
This is the best way to experience the Covenant culture firsthand and determine if it is a good fit for your student. If your student wishes to shadow a particular current student, simply make a request. We are also able to match your student with someone who has similar interests. 6
Our Spanish Exchange students traveled to Europa School in Sevilla, Spain.
The World of J-Term An Experience in Nontraditional Education Covenant Christian aims to develop students who leave as lifetime learners, passionate about the value of a transformational education. The Covenant Christian January Term Program (better known around school as J-Term) started in 2006. During J-Term, teachers offer interdisciplinary classes constructed to integrate teacher curiosities and passions into 2-week courses full of unique inquiry, hands-on work, and nontraditional classroom experiences. Students who take J-Term classes take two: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. J-Term is also a chance for upperclassmen to participate in real-world internships for potential career options, as well as get the chance to travel around the country and world.
CLASSES Since 2006, a total of 385 different J-Term classes have been offered, which has involved employing 73 guest teachers to contribute to the program. Through some of our courses, approximately 210 students have learned how to dance, both ballroom and flash-mob styles. Dating back to 2009, 387 students have completed driverâ€™s education classroom content, and more than 30 students have received college credit through Indiana Wesleyan University. Some of the more popular classes offered include: Self Defense for Women, The Science of Root Beer, Introduction to Welding, and Adulting 101. Classes span all kinds of interests and topics, and new classes are offered every year! INTERNSHIPS Approximately 25% of juniors and seniors end up taking an internship in their CCHS career. Students can work with Students in Costuming for Theatre class during J-Term create costumes for upcoming Covenant Theatre productions with Costume Director, Cindy Wright.
businesses and organizations to build internship programs that suit them best. Some students will intern for the entirety of J-Term, while others have taken a hybrid half-internship/halfclass route. Students appreciate this experience because it can give real-world experience in a field of interest, and can often confirm passions or help direct future career goals in down another path.
TRIPS One of Covenantâ€™s premier programs is getting to travel during a J-Term as a junior or senior. Teachers and parents/friends of Covenant create trips and facilitate the entire experience for groups of students. Trips have gone all over the US and across the world. Recent domestic trips have gone to California to study John Steinbeck, Atlanta to attend the Passion Conference, and the Grand Canyon for immersive hiking. International trips have taken students to Israel, Spain, England, France, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, and Nicaragua. Trips can consider history, art, and culture, or can sometimes have missionary aspects to them. Each trip is different, and new trips are continually being offered.
The Painting Lives & Foods of Great Authors class celebrating the end of their two week J-Term course.
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covenant calendar AUGUST
GREAT CLOUD Start the new school year with a great cloud of witnesses as alumni.
5-7 12 ANGRY JURORS
Covenant Theatre presents Reginald Rose’s classic drama Twelve Angry Men in theatre-in-the-round on The Commons Stage. A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. “He doesn’t stand a chance,” mutters the guard as the 12 jurors are taken into the bleak jury room. It looks like an open-and-shut case—until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts.
25 NACCAP COLLEGE FAIR The North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals (NACCAP) Christian College Fair returns to Covenant on Wednesday, September 25, from 11am - 1pm. There will be over 30 colleges visiting us from all over the country.
HOMECOMING Join us for a great night of football, the crowning of our King and Queen, and family as our Warriors play Tindley at our “Home” field.
We love staying connected with our alumni! If you have a story you’d like to share with us, contact our Alumni Coordinator at email@example.com. 9
Follow us on social media @cchsindy
26 FALL MUSIC CONCERT Join us at Chapel Rock Christian Church on Thursday, September 26, at 7pm as Covenant Fine Arts presents our Fall Concert: Folk & World Music.
We want to connect with you! come join the conversation and see for yourself who we are, what we do and how we do it for the glory of Christ!
COVENANT CELEBRATES Covenant Celebrates 2019 will be held this year at the Biltwell Event Center and celebrates the wonderful things God is doing at Covenant and in our community. This event is a fundraiser to provide scholarships for deserving current and future Covenant students.
20 COVENANT CHRISTMAS
CHRISTMAS CONCERT Join Covenant Fine Arts as we celebrate Christmas together in music and dance on Friday, December 13, at Kingsway Christian Church.
From infants to grandparents, everyone is invited to celebrate at Covenant Christmas! There are games, food, and so much more with something for everyone and plenty of holiday cheer!
The lasting impact of Jim Spencer
Every year, Covenant starts the new school year with some stories. During the short two-day week, two assemblies occur mid-morning. The assembly on day two is typically a reminder of some rules for the year. Day one, though, always carries on a tradition called “The Great Cloud of Witnesses”, in which alumni from various graduating classes sit in front of students and talk about the impact the CCHS experience had on their lives. These stories are funny, serious, revealing, and always about growth. The hope is that current students can be invigorated to make the most of their time. This cultural moment for CCHS can trace its roots back to the first Covenant principal, Jim Spencer.
Ramsey Williams (‘99) with Mr. Spencer at a 2015 Assembly
“He’d always say, ‘Tell the story. Don’t forget to tell the story,’” says long-time CCHS educator Amy Atteberry. Jim Spencer, the original principal and CEO of Covenant Christian High School, was always invested in stories. Smaller stories, the dayto-day, little interaction sort, and the big, grand narrative that God is weaving in and out of time—the impact of little and big stories
always affected the way he helped lead the school. His leadership and culture-creating initiatives still affect the way the school runs to this day. Dr. Andy Goodwin remembers when he sat down to interview with Mr. Spencer 21 years ago. “I came in with a binder of my curriculum and accomplishments and slid it across the table. [Jim] said, ‘That’s great, but you’re not going to use it. Tell me about Andy.’” With that simple and disarming request, Goodwin knew he was in the presence of a leader who would do things differently, focusing on people, rather than production. He was about to learn about a visionary’s attempt to tell a new story about how Christian education can operate. Spencer found himself in new, exciting territory as a leader of a blossoming school. “Having never worked in a Christian school before, I didn’t come with many fixed ideas. Thirty-five years in public schools had taught me that you had to make some effort to love all of your students,” said Spencer. His previous experience in education but lack of traditional administration experience put Spencer in a special situation to bring in a new culture to a school, perhaps differentiating CCHS from other schools in what gets emphasized in the student experience. To Spencer, academics mattered, but the families choosing to join the young school and the students in attendance each day were always the focus. Physical education teacher Amy Atteberry has been with Covenant from the formation of the school, and she described Spencer’s initial approach to leading the school as “simplicity—which was so important in the beginning.” Using classroom space in the basement of Chapel Rock Christian Church, Atteberry said that Spencer kept the staff focused on the daily work in front of them and the Lord’s provision to help supply and sustain the school. “It was never about the subject. Of course, we taught everything: English, Math, History, Bible, but it was always about the student. We taught students first,” said Atteberry. “It was about relationship, about a story and how we
Mr. Spencer was a guest teacher with Mrs. Atteberry and Mr. Brad Spencer for their 2019 J-Term woodworking class.
are all significant—the Covenant story and the eternal story. That still rings true, and Jim helped establish that legacy.” Every year at teacher orientation before school starts, teachers are reminded of Spencer’s important aphorism: Teach the student, then teach your subject. It’s a subtle, but important distinction. While still maintaining high standards for students, teachers are encouraged to make their classrooms places where students feel known and loved first. From that relationship, then love and knowledge for a subject can grow. Beyond his administrative leadership, Spencer’s most lasting academic contribution could be establishing the Christian Worldview class, then called Advanced Christian Thought, as a capstone for most seniors at CCHS. Establishing a course for students that necessitated asking meaningful questions was essential for Spencer. “I came to Covenant convinced that helping students learn how to ask good questions was [one of] the single most important things we could do.” Out of those efforts to synthesize a Christian worldview with the whole educational experience came the ability for all Covenant teachers to be equipped to fully integrate their classroom activities and goals into a common Christian perspective. To this day, teachers at Covenant aim to align their subjects, discussions, and assignments with God’s truth.
It was never about the subject...it was about relationship, about a story, and how we are all significant.
Spencer remained in leadership at Covenant until 2005, when Brian Hudson, then dean of students, took over as principal/CEO. Dr. Andy Goodwin has been the current principal/CEO since 2013 and said that Spencer’s example as the foundational leader at CCHS doesn’t simply echo as some sort of history— his example rings loud and still affects practices and approaches still used today.
According to Goodwin, Spencer’s love of reading, love of questions, appreciation of story, and people-centered approach still affect how he leads today, and it still affects the kind of educator that is attracted to Covenant. “I began most all conversations with staff members by asking them what they were reading,” said Spencer. Teachers and staff at Covenant are voracious readers still today. Placards outside each employee’s room or office list the books that they are currently enjoying. This is no effort to brag, but to give a little window into a life of a lifelong learner, hopefully instilling an appreciation and curiosity in students to dive into books and great stories. As a carpenter, Spencer understood the slow, careful planning it takes to complete a creation, and then the necessity of hard work to complete it. From the original meeting place in the basement of Chapel Rock Christian Church to the current building, Spencer helped establish a vision and culture for a school that wanted to tell God’s story in a special way. Spencer cared about people and relationships, little stories and God’s grand, redemptive narrative, which combined to make the everyday stories that have happened and are happening in this little school on the west side of Indianapolis.
2019 November 7, 2019 at the Biltwell Center
Featuring keynote speaker Gary Varvel.
Covenant graduates embark on new adventures.
Scholarship. Leadership. Service. A life of scholarship, leadership, and service: this is Covenant’s mission. These three words provide the framework for how we teach our students, reach out to the community, and make Christ the center of everything that we do. All three are woven together to create the rich tapestry of faith, education, and relationship that makes up the Covenant community. Covenant alumni are now over 1400 in number, and we realize many are living out our mission in ways we may never know. With each issue of this magazine, it’s our desire to share some of the stories that have been shared with us.
Scholarship “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” Proverbs 9:9
Laura Werezak Class of 2001
Laura (Davis) Werezak was the CCHS class of 2001 valedictorian. She lives in New York with her husband and children where she is a 1st grade teacher at The Geneva School of Manhattan, a classical Christian pre-k8th grade school. She has multiple degrees from Cedarville University, Regents College in Vancouver, and Lehman College in New York and is the author of Attend: Forty Soul Stretches Toward God. Based on that pedigree, it may seem unbelievable that Mrs. Werezak looks back on her Covenant education and considers the times that teachers told her to “do less” some of the most valuable advice that she carries with her as a professional.
“One of the biggest struggles I encountered was my tendency toward perfectionism,” says Werezak. “A few great teachers pastorally came along side me and said ‘You don’t have to do as much as you’re doing, and you need to be more gentle with yourself.’” She said that teachers often would emphasize the need to simply exist and believe that she was enough by abiding. She said a particularly powerful educational experience was in the old BTS course Advance Christian Thought, wherein she was asked to fully prepare a sermon, going step-by-step. “I am still using [that class] today—that experience crystalized that I have a gift for speaking and gave me very practical tools for that gift.” Werezak said that her exposure to the Worldview paper process as well as difficult, beautiful language and ideas from authors like Shakespeare and Huxley’s Brave New World helped her on her path as a writer. “I developed as a writer because of the excellent emphasis on reading great books and developing a love for reading. That contributed to me continuing to want to excel and follow my dream of being a writer.”
Leadership “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 Luke Fields (2005) is a senior associate with King & Spalding, a Washington D.C.-based law firm. He believes that his time at CCHS helped prepare him for the demanding world of white-collar litigation and other complex legal matters for which he provides counsel. “Covenant challenged me (academically, spiritually, interpersonally), sent me to far flung places beyond my comfort zone, and made me accountable for my own decisions and actions. Covenant also gave me—and many other students—a seat at the table of shared governance. Public speaking, juggling demands of time for things academic and social, and scheduling remain disciplines that affect my daily experience even now.” Fields says that the “awkward newness” he experienced as a freshman at Covenant “directed me to invest in, give to, and seek out new friendships, and later in life, to reflect differently about how I include new people to a group or an organization.” Fields credits his mother, Mrs. Becky Fields, former CCHS English department head, and Dr. Andy Goodwin as teachers who were pivotal in providing him the transformative, holistic experience he had at Covenant. “Covenant is forever bound up in the significant and generous work of my mother,” said Fields. “Goodwin was instrumental in shaping me as a thinker and as a reader. Very few things will happen on their own, including language acquisition, and Andy was right to make sure we knew that coming into his classroom.”
Luke Fields Class of 2005
Service “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 Jordan (Fisher) Fears-Neal (2008) says that her experience at Covenant helped instill in her a love for reading and writing, and now she says, “my job is 90 percent writing, and without that background, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do with my life.” Fears-Neal spent her early professional career working for a non-profit grant-writing company in Los Angeles, but saw an opportunity to branch out and start her own company to help even more companies.
Jordan Fears-Neal Class of 2008
“When I decided to start my business, I was working for this one organization, and it was great, but I thought, ‘God has given me this talent, it feels selfish if I keep it serving this one place.’ I started my business to give my gifts to other people.” Her grant-writing consulting business is called Megaluno Consulting, which means “To make great, increase in vision, to give God glory and praise,” which she said mainly focuses on helping organizations grow, promote sustainability in practices, and develop strong foundations. “It’s not about Jordan, it’s all about how does this point back to what God gave me.” Jordan and her husband, Gzurjuan, now live in Cape Coral Florida.
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ATHLETICS HIGHLIGHTS #BEUNCOMMON 2
1. Faith Egenolf: State Qualifier in Girls Golf | 2. Boys Soccer reached State Runner-Up | Girls Soccer were Sectional Champs 3. Ashlyn Hastings: Semi-State Qualifier in Cross Country | 4. Football held an undefeated regular season | 5. Boys Tennis were Sectional Champs
6. In Swimming, Dawson Fink - 50 Freestyle 1st Place (Covenantâ€™s first Conference title) and broke several program records 7. Girls Basketball were Sectional Champs
8. Justin Foster won Circle City Conference in 400m in Track and Field | 9. Baseball City Tournament Runner-Up at Victory Field 10. Boys 4x400 broke the school record and competed at Regionals | 11. Girls Softball were Regional Champs 12. Girls Tennis were back-to-back Sectional Champs
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