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Ac a d e m i c E xce l l e n ce | B i b l i c a l Va l u e s | Cu l t u ra l I m p a c t

281.469.8829 • K-12

Academic Excellence | Biblical Values | Cultural Impact IN THIS ISSUE STAY CONNECTED page 4

Families and friends are invited to attend upcoming events, engage with CCS through social media, subscribe to receive CCS publications and visit our website and campus.


Prospective families are invited to attend 2016-2017 admissions events to obtain more information and tour the campus.


The Warrior Fund supplements tuition dollars and provides resources for improvements to school programs and facilities. All gifts, no matter the size, are a blessing to our school and are vital to ensuring educational excellence for K-12 students. The 2015-2016 goal is $450,000.


Our working goal has been exceeded! Help us finish strong as we prepare for groundbreaking on December 2, 2015.

K-12 HIGHLIGHTS page 12

Articles from principals and highlights from all grade levels will give you a glimpse into how God is using CCS to impact young lives for Christ.



Read how our Warriors stay active on the field, on the court, on the stage and at the easel.

ALUMNI page 34


Graduates are making a difference all across our nation and throughout the world. Several of our 583 graduates are highlighted in this section.

SPONSORS page 40

Thanks to our CONNECTION sponsors who partner with us to communicate CCS information to more than 5,000 readers.


11123 Cypress N. Houston Rd. • Houston, TX 77065 The CONNECTION is published semi-annually. Correspondence may be directed to Thanks to our graphic artist and to our photographers G. Michael Photography, Jack Potts Photography, Yearbook Editor Rachael Lechman, and CCS employees, students and volunteers. 2



The Measure Of Achievement

The longest Olympic track event is the 10,000-meter (6.2137 miles) race. The record was set during the 2005 Summer Olympics by Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia, with a time of 26 minutes and 17.53 seconds. There is only one American listed in the top 25 all-time records for this race – Galen Rupp from Portland, Oregon – who in the 2014 Summer Olympics ran the race in 26 minutes and 44.36 seconds. It is an incredible feat of athleticism to run over six miles while maintaining a four to five-minute mile pace.

In contrast to the record-setting speeds and distances mentioned above, I remember a conversation I had with a friend who told me about the tremendous effort it took for him to walk just one or two steps after a traumatic car accident. At the time, the thought of running at any speed Mr. Stephen Novotny Executive Director was daunting. He had to push himself and make great exertions to simply walk a few steps each day. My friend is now fully recovered from his accident and can not only walk, but also run … although he would say he does not plan on competing in the Olympics any time soon!

Our achievement is determined by God as He judges how much we did with what we were given under the conditions we were placed.

Which of these individuals – the Olympic athletes or my friend – attained the higher level of achievement? While some efforts and actions can be compared, there are many things in life that cannot be rightfully compared to each other but instead can only be correctly measured in their own context. The Olympic runners should rightfully be credited for their recordbreaking achievements resulting from months of discipline, training and effort. My friend should also be credited for the months of discipline and effort he made with his injured body to achieve the victory of simply walking again.

Many challenges and achievements have components that go beyond the physical. For example, two individuals may speak out on an important issue to the same group of people, but it may take a vastly different amount of personal bravery to do so if one is naturally outgoing and the other is very shy. While we might be able to rank and rate their eloquence or effectiveness, only God can accurately assess the amount of courage required of each. Luke 21 tells the story of Jesus’ observance of the rich and poor leaving gifts at the temple. Jesus pointed out to his disciples that it means more when we give out of our scarcity than when we give out of our abundance. The nobleness and personal sacrifice of the impoverished widow in the story was far greater in ultimate value than the offering of money brought by the wealthy. Each one of us is placed in a different time, family and geographic location, with a unique combination of personal and physical attributes. Each one of us will face a unique set of circumstances, opportunities and difficulties in life. Each will be given different talents (Matt. 25:15). Therefore, the true measure of our achievement cannot and will not be found by comparisons with others. Instead, our achievement is determined by God as He judges how much we did with what we were given under the conditions we were placed. Like the Olympic athlete who is provided health and a field of competition, or like my friend who woke up from an accident to find himself seriously injured and staring at the four walls of a hospital room, each one of us is called to make the most of what we have, the circumstances we are in, and the life we have been given. We can be confident that, in the end, our God will rightly measure and reward our achievements.





Groundbreaking Ceremony December 2, 2015


Join us as we break ground on the new campus life center and gym.

Christmas Concert December 10, 2015

Elementary and secondary choirs will perform in celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day February 19, 2016 Elementary students will host this event filled with fellowship, fun classroom activities and a special chapel service.

Brandon Vick Memorial Run-4-Fun March 11, 2016 Join the fun as students in grades K-5 run the track to raise funds for CCS.

Kindergarten Graduation May 19, 2016 High School Graduation May 27, 2016 Warrior Mission Tour

Held twice monthly on Thursdays from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m.

Athletics and Fine Arts

Cheer on our Warriors whether they are on the court, on the field, on the stage or in front of the easel.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLICATIONS Facebook Warrior Weekly E-newsletter (current families)


Warrior Monthly E-newsletter (friends and families)


CONNECTION Magazine (semi-annual)

CCS Mailing List (information and event invitations)

(articles, scores, pictures, videos, events and more) 4


Achieve 2016-2017 ADMISSIONS EVENTS K-12 Previews Thursday, February 11, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. Kindergarten Preview Thursday, January 21, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. Sixth Grade Preview Tuesday, January 12, 2016 7-8:30 p.m. K-12 Student Visitor Day Tuesday, February 23, 2016 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Academic Excellence | Biblical Values | Cultural Impact | 281.469.7745 CONNECTION


Thank You!

We are grateful for the generosity of our Warrior Fund partners.

Summer 2015 Projects* Improvement to prayer garden in front of the Multi-Use Facility Installation of tile flooring in Elementary Bldg. and Secondary B Bldg. Addition of modular classroom for secondary students Addition of drinking fountain in elementary playground area Enhancements to elementary playground and walkways Addition of shade structures in playground area Addition to softball field netting Repair of existing lockers and installation of new lockers Re-surfacing of track Improvements to sidewalks Conversion to LED lights Installation of ramp for deliveries Addition of permanent bench outside of the Field House Addition of landscaping around the Field House Funding for tuition assistance/benevolence Funding for faculty development Build-out of new office space *Completed projects as of May 31, 2015, are listed on the website and in the summer issue of the CONNECTION magazine.



2015-2016 Goal $450,000

WHERE does the MONEY




• Cash or Online Giving • Matching Gifts • Gifts in Honor/Memoriam • Planned Giving • Gifts-in-Kind • Stocks, Savings Bonds, Real Estate • Sponsorships • Warrior Easy Funds Cypress Christian School is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which operates without financial support from a church or government entity. Donations to CCS are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Academic Programs

Facility Improvements Faculty Development Student Benevolence Technology


To Give

Online: Mail: Cypress Christian School, Advancement Office 11123 Cypress N. Houston Rd., Houston, TX 77065 Email or Call: 281.664.6441 Heritage Circle: Support CCS with a five-year pledge as a member of the Heritage Circle. Scholar ($1,000/year) Educator ($10,000/year) Master ($25,000/year) CONNECTION


On August 14, 2015, more than 1,200 faculty, staff, K-12 students, their families and alumni joined together at Warrior Stadium to kick off the 2015-2016 school year and dedicate it to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Warriors gathered under the tents for dinner and enjoyed taking pictures in the photo booth. Included in the program was the introduction of the Warrior cheerleaders, drumline and fall sports teams; a fun drama skit performed by fine arts students; and an exciting announcement (see page 10) from Executive Director Stephen Novotny. The evening concluded with praise and worship by Grammy nominee Hawk Nelson.

CHRISTIAN BAND HAWK NELSON K-12 students gathered in front of the stage for the 50-minute set by Grammy nominee Hawk Nelson who rounded out the evening with an unforgettable performance from their album “Diamonds.” Their song “Drops in the Ocean” was a crowd favorite. Fans sang along to the lyrics: “If you want to know how far my love can go, just how deep, just how wide, if you want to see how much you mean to me, look at my hands, look at my side, if you could count the times I say you are forgiven, it’s more than the drops in the ocean.” 8


Thank You to Event Sponsor and Volunteers

This event could not have been possible without our generous sponsor, Amerisource, as well as a host of faculty, staff, Ambassador Council members, photographers and volunteers. Thank you for the gift of resources, time, effort and compassion to make Blue & White Night a very memorable evening.



Phase I Rendering | RWS Architects

Working goal of

$3.3 Million Exceeded

During the recent Blue & White Night back-to-school event, CCS Executive Director Stephen Novotny and Board President Chad Braun made the exciting announcement that generous donors have given $3,325,000 in cash and pledges to build our new campus life center and gym. Our working goal of $3.3 million has been exceeded! Braun, who is also co-chairman of the capital campaign, said, “On behalf of the Board, we cannot thank you enough for your generosity, and [we are thankful] for God’s provision upon our school to allow us to achieve that in such a short period of time.”

You can help us finish


As we move toward the end of our capital campaign, we’re excited to invite our students and school families to reach out to their personal networks to help us raise money for the future campus life center and gym. Student online giving pages provide an easy and convenient way to allow friends and family to join them to

Executive Director Stephen Novotny support Christian education in our community, to multiply the impact of limited resources, and to grow awareness of our school and our mission to new audiences. Now that we have reached our working goal, every dollar raised will reduce potential debt incurred as we move forward with phase one of our building project.

Please donate online at 10


A Capital Campaign for Cypress Christian School


Board President and Campaign Co-Chair

I am so thankful for all the donors who chose to join together and make this dream a reality.

We are Warriors! Our family has been a part of Cypress Christian for the past twelve years, and we have seen firsthand how God has continued to bless CCS over the years. Last year, as we launched the Advancing Excellence capital campaign, Kathy and I were excited at the opportunity to give toward our campus life center and gym project. We viewed this project as a way to advance the school’s mission for current families and for CCS families in the next generation.

It is exciting to see how the families of CCS have come together to achieve and exceed our working goal of $3.3 million. We are humbled and honored to be a part of this milestone and legacy in our school’s history. When we launched this capital campaign and building project, we knew that God was calling CCS to do something big and something that would have a lasting impact on our community. As we look ahead to the start of construction later this year, I pray for God’s continued hand of protection and blessing on CCS.



Be Imitators of God O

ur theme this year is “Be Imitators of God” and is taken from Ephesians 5:1. Students are challenged to make decisions based upon what they believe God would want them to do in every situation. God has given us the perfect example through the life of Jesus Christ, and we want to follow in His steps. Since our God does all things with excellence, we imitate our Creator when we pursue academic excellence and biblical values. At Cypress Christian School we also recognize the value and necessity of impacting our culture. At the beginning of the school year, one of our fourth grade students awoke one morning with a swollen mouth and tongue and painful abnormalities on her skin. She was taken to the hospital where her health rapidly declined. She was then transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital via ambulance. The doctors gave an initial diagnosis of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare and often fatal condition. Her prognosis was grim. If she survived, the doctors predicted that she would live with serious disabilities. She was kept in the isolation unit of the ICU with little hope of recovery. In the midst of these heart-wrenching circumstances, our CCS students, employees and families joined together in earnest prayer for this young girl. The CCS community poured out love to this family through cards, visits, gifts, meals and other acts of kindness. Much to the amazement of the medical community, her health began to rapidly improve. What looked to be a hopeless case now became an example to the physicians and the staff at the medical center of God’s miraculous power and healing. The doctors then predicted a long recovery time; however, she was released from the hospital within a week. Her mother said: “There are not enough words to share what it meant to see God’s face at every turn through this [ordeal]. The worst of the worst was always met with God’s presence and evidenced through the generous, kind and selfless actions of so many. Where does one begin to describe the level of gratitude to God and all those at CCS?”

MR. ROBERT WHITE | Elementary Principal Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 12


God is at work at Cypress Christian School. Achievement is taking place not only in the classroom (academic excellence) and in the hearts of our students (biblical values), but also in the culture of our school and in our community as we live out our faith and direct the glory to God.


First Day of School

The elementary halls were filled with laughter and hugs on the first day of the 2015-2016 school year as close to 300 K-5th grade students made their way to their homeroom.

You’re Invited! Christmas Program December 10, 2015 Elementary choirs will perform as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior on this special evening together.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day February 19, 2016 Elementary students will host this event filled with fellowship, fun classroom activities, a special chapel service and professional photos by G. Michael Photography.

Brandon Vick Memorial Run-4-Fun March 11, 2016 Join the fun as students in grades K-5 run the track to raise funds for CCS.

Kindergarten Graduation May 19, 2016 Kindergarteners will entertain the audience with song and dance before crossing the stage to accept their diplomas.




Pledge to the Bible Each day, students pledge to the American,

Christian and Texas flags. They also say the pledge to the Bible which says, “I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God’s Holy Word. I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path, and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.”

Scripture Memorization Memorizing Bible verses is an important part of the

curriculum for elementary students. Each week they learn a new verse and recite it to their teacher.

Princess the Turtle Inspires Young Authors

After being introduced to the writing process and Princess the Turtle, Mrs. McKnight’s second graders planned, drafted, revised, edited and published their stories about Mrs. Jansson’s famous class pet. Upon publishing, the students visited the kindergarten classrooms and proudly shared their projects with their younger Warrior buddies.

Young Scientists

Fourth graders recently visited an off-campus science lab built just for kids. After putting on their lab coats and goggles, the students completed several experiments. They learned about solutions and polymers using mostly ordinary household items to create fake “snow” and “slime” that would glow under ultraviolet light. The students also learned about acid-base reactions when they created a “Foam Fight.” The big finale in the lab involved learning how carbon dioxide can work to make small bottles explode.

Music Students Earn Belts

Recorder Karate has been a fun part of learning music for the fourth and fifth grade classes. In order to earn their karate belts, students must individually play a familiar song, each song becoming progressively more difficult moving from white belt to black belt. When students pass a test, they earn a belt of yarn that is tied around their own personal recorders.



Author and Illustrator Visits Elementary Library

Elementary students in grades K-2 were blessed by a visit from author and illustrator Katie Hopmann. Miss Hopmann’s book, “The King’s Invitation,” is a wonderful story about how we, as Christians, can easily get distracted and take our focus off the Lord and our relationship with Him. The students and teachers loved hearing Miss Hopmann’s story of how God was instrumental in using her to spread the message of truth to children. We are excited to welcome her back later in the school year to speak to our students in grades three through five.

“U” is for Umbrella Kindergarteners started the year by learning short vowel sounds. They

enjoyed learning through hands-on activities and special projects to complement their curriculum. They also enjoyed a very special Umbrella Parade to celebrate the letter “u.” All four kindergarten classes paraded through the elementary hallways and out onto the playground with their umbrellas high in the air. As they marched, they made the short “u” sound. Learning phonics is fun!

Technology Instruction Elementary students at Cypress Christian School are instructed in technology

applications beginning in kindergarten. Computer curriculum at the elementary level is based on developmental readiness, skill levels and expected learner outcomes. Students learn to use technology as a tool to help them better express themselves and to effectively communicate in today’s technology-driven world. They are also taught how to make decisions concerning technology that will be pleasing to God. Students use real-life application of their skills by completing projects in computer class or by using their computers at home through the school’s Office 365 initiative (read more on the CCS website: Technology Update Summer 2015). Skills introduced and reinforced at each level in elementary include: basic computer knowledge, word processing, keyboarding, presentations, spreadsheets, database, internet safety and etiquette, social and ethical behavior, gathering and communicating information, directed and independent project learning, publishing, research, file management, technology in daily life and careers in technology.

Learning Math and Science the Fun Way

Third grade students learned how to use a triple beam scale. During the lab, the students worked together in groups with each student selecting one item of their choice to weigh on the scale. The students examined the item being weighed and coached each other on how to use the scale. As a conclusion to their study of vertebrates in science, second graders created a model of their favorite vertebrate and researched its unique characteristics. They learned fascinating facts about why vertebrates are classified as mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds or fish. CONNECTION


Achieving God’s Best H

ow can a middle school student achieve the best that God has for him or her? At Cypress Christian School, our mission to honor the Lord Jesus Christ promotes two prongs of achievement: academic excellence and biblical values. The pre-teen and early teen years are a critical time for children to take ownership of these traits. In middle school, the goals of reaching academic excellence and living out biblical values are unpacked differently than they might be for a kindergartener or high school senior. In both academics and faith, we want our students to look beyond the opinion of popular culture to grasp hold of the truthfulness, reliability and usefulness of the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NASB) proclaims, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Our middle school students are taught to develop habits that produce academic excellence. As visitors walk through the halls, they hear teachers say, “Students, take out your planner and write down these details …” or “Place your notes in the vocabulary section of your expandable so you can locate them tomorrow.” Enforcing the habit of writing down assignments and organizing work will pay dividends down the academic path. For middle school students, learning how to plan and organize is just as important as the right answer to a question. Achieving God’s best also means living out biblical values. We want every student to confidently live in the truth that God is reliable, the Bible comes from God, and, therefore, the Bible is reliable. There is pressure in current culture to dilute the Bible’s authority by saying that while the Bible is fine for dealing with “spiritual” problems, it cannot adequately address the modern problems of the 21st century. Not true! God’s Word has the answers. Our teachers show students how to apply biblical truths to everyday issues like how to be a friend or how to be obedient when no one else seems to be. This foundation also opens the door to conversations about life’s “big issues” as students struggle with the death or illness of a family member or friend.

In both academics and faith, we want our students to look beyond the opinion of popular culture to grasp hold of the truthfulness, reliability and usefulness of the Bible.



On a broader level, middle school students learn that the reliability of the Bible is demonstrated in history, science, math and language. They also explore God’s wisdom concerning the great questions of human existence: Is there a God? Why are we on this planet? Why is there death and suffering? What does the future hold? How do I know right from wrong? In Bible classes, students grapple with these questions and learn about differing worldviews and the grid through which these issues are examined. The middle school team confidently imparts biblical truth as they instruct students at Cypress Christian School in academics and Christian values. Equipping students to achieve based on the truth, reliability and usefulness of God’s Word teaches them to honor the Lord with excellence and to focus their achievement in a manner that pleases Him. MRS. IVA NELL RHEA | Middle School Principal


Eighth Grade Students Jump Start High School Career

Eighth graders at CCS have the opportunity to get a head start on their high school credits by taking classes such as Algebra I, Spanish I and Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC). This year about half of our students are taking Algebra I and Spanish I. All eighth graders are enrolled in IPC. Becky Fredrickson, CCS academic advisor, describes the benefit of these classes: “Taking any of these classes in eighth grade has the effect of freeing a student during his or her junior and senior year to take classes that deepen or broaden a student’s transcript. Universities like to see transcripts that demonstrate rigor at the upper level of class offerings.” Algebra I, taught by Karen McGrath, is a fast-paced class that prepares students to take Honors Geometry in ninth grade, followed by Honors Algebra II and Pre-Calculus, with AP Calculus and AP Statistics as the capstone offerings. Elvira Hall teaches eighth grade Spanish I. This energetic and interactive class challenges students to read, write and speak Spanish. These students will be ready for Honors Spanish II and III, plus AP Spanish in high school. IPC is the foundation class of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) high school diploma endorsement. Robyn Cloutier challenges students to move beyond memorization and basic questions to higher-level thinking in the areas of scientific method, chemistry and physics. Students who successfully complete this class are ready to move into their high school sciences, culminating with AP Chemistry, AP Physics and Introduction to Engineering.

What is a Biblical Worldview? As part of the Bible class taught by Marilyn York in sixth grade,

students are introduced to the concept of worldview. They learn about the key elements that comprise any worldview and the specific keys to a Christian worldview. Most of the lessons begin with a life-application story that involves the conflict of Christian versus secular worldviews. The stories involve different cultures and belief systems. The lessons include scripture that supports the topic covered in the story. In eighth grade, students spend the year under the leadership of Lubega Frankio. They build upon the foundation set in sixth grade and expand to learn about the three major worldviews: atheism, pantheism and theism. This middle school Bible class helps students realize that every song, movie and story that has ever been written has a worldview behind it. The class gives students a scheme through which they can categorize worldviews. By understanding what is going on around them and reading God’s Word, students will have discernment to choose truth and apply it to their lives (Romans 12:1-2).




Give It a Try! Middle school is a wonderful time to try new

activities. One goal of the middle school curriculum at CCS is to provide a varied selection of electives from which a student can choose. Frequently a student will discover a talent or interest in a new field as a result of these semester electives. This year students in grades seven and eight have several fun classes to explore. Below are just a few. Introduction to Journalism: Rachael Lechman introduces students to journalistic writing. Students take on a variety of assignments and enjoy sharing their finished products. Eighth graders can move from this elective to Introduction to Yearbook in the spring semester. Lechman says that her hard-working students bring a fresh perspective to the process of creating our school yearbook. Science Rocks: Robyn Cloutier leads her students to explore God’s wonderful creation in this new addition to middle school electives. Students delve into biology, chemistry, physics and geology with a hands-on approach. Computer Skills Lab: Daniela Lazar leads students toward greater proficiency in software that will aid in academic pursuits. Typing skills are sharpened, MLA formatting is practiced, and Word, Excel and PowerPoint are used in various classroom applications. Students build confidence in their abilities to use these products skillfully. Destination Imagination: Greg Bretz encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, and focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM concepts. Students learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics and collaborative problem solving. Introduction to Drumline: Luke Kirkwood introduces eighth graders to the fundamentals of drumline. This class allows students to read rhythms and use sticks in an informal, lowpressure environment and prepares those with interest and talent to take their place on the CCS high school drumline in ninth grade.



American Ninja Warrior Speaks in Chapel

American Ninja Warrior competitor Daniel Gil made a special appearance at a middle school chapel service thrilling his young audience. Daniel describes himself on his Twitter account as a Christ follower, Ninja Warrior Athlete (Season 7 Competitor), worship leader, and staff/trainer at Iron Sports Gym. The students in grades six through eight were excited to hear what this talented 22-year-old had to say about his life and his experiences on the television show “American Ninja Warrior.” Daniel shared with the students from Jeremiah 29:11 and Proverbs 3:5-6. He told them about his decision at an early age to accept Jesus as his personal Savior. He also shared about his amazing journey of discovering his gifts and talents and watching as God provided work and opportunities to use those gifts and talents for God’s glory. Everyone was impressed by Daniel’s humility and his ability to communicate with students.

God’s Creation Through The Microscope

Seventh grade Life Science classes began their study of the cell by learning about the invention of the microscope. The class had the opportunity to see how God’s creation is beautifully and wonderfully made at the microscopic level. Students viewed different plant and animal slides at eight microscope stations and sketched what they saw. The diverse set of slides they viewed included those of a fruit fly, which is used extensively in scientific research; “striated” skeletal muscle tissue; onion skin cells that clearly showed cell nuclei; beautiful skeletons of radiolarian (plankton-type organisms); and a bird feather, a bitterweed stem, various colored mold and the little claws at the end of a butterfly leg.

Edible Cell Seventh grade students were given the opportunity to use their creativity

and knowledge of plant and animal cells to build an edible cell. Student teams were provided with a large sugar cookie to use as the base, upon which they added items such as frosting, Jell-O, fruit, candy, gumballs, crackers and many other confections to represent cell parts. Students reviewed their cells with Mrs. Hinn and were graded based on their creativity, how well they used different foods to represent the cell‘s organelles (the tiny cell parts), and their understanding of each organelle’s function in the cell. Of course, the best part was getting to sample the candy and enjoy the finished product!

Largest Duke University Talent Group in School History

The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) recognizes outstanding performance (95th percentile or above) in at least one specified area on a standardized test such as the Terra Nova. Thirty students qualified to participate in this highly-selective seventh grade honors program representing 63.8 percent of our sixth grade class last spring. This is the largest group of qualifiers in CCS history.



Embracing God-Given Talents H

igh schoolers are embracing their God-given talents in a variety of ways. It’s gratifying to observe a senior who decides to play football for the first time and earns his place in the starting lineup. It’s inspiring to see a student who chooses to challenge herself by trying out for the all-state choir despite the nervousness she feels when performing a solo. It’s motivating to see a student who pushes himself to take an honors-level course.

Advanced Placement (AP) exams have a well-earned reputation for being challenging and difficult. In May 2015, high school students enrolled in AP classes took the end-of-course exams. Overall, CCS students achieved higher averages on these tests than they had in any prior year. One student achieved a score of five out of five on the AP Calculus exam. Worldwide the average score on the AP World History exam fell slightly while the average CCS score rose to a new all-time high. I am proud of these academic accomplishments by our students.

Colossians 3:17 says, ‘Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.’



Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” When students seek to honor the Lord in all that they do, high school becomes more about achieving all that God has set before them and less about earning earthly awards and notoriety. Keeping this focus enables our drumline to participate in the TAPPS competition for the first time and be proud, no matter what scores are awarded. Our fine arts department can apply for the Tommy Tune Awards, and participants can know they gave it their all no matter the results. A student can enroll in a challenging math class and focus more on what she is learning than on the grade which will appear on her transcript. It is inspiring to watch teachers and coaches push students toward continual growth while supporting and aiding them in this process. I find great joy in all the ways our students are growing in their spiritual walk and embracing the talents with which God has gifted them. CCS is a place that enables high school students to develop into the young men and women that God intends them to be.



Warrior Discipleship Program At CCS, we recognize the importance of studying God’s Word.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Our students spend many hours each week memorizing scripture, learning about godly heroes of the faith, and discovering biblical truths. However, we also recognize that head knowledge is only one facet of a Christian education. Our students must be given opportunities to take that knowledge and apply it in their daily lives. This year, CCS launched a new small group discipleship program for our high school students. Each student is assigned to a “Warrior Group” which is led by our faculty and staff members. These groups meet regularly to pray together and encourage one another, but a primary focus is on Christian community service. Dr. Steve Maraboli, bestselling author and motivational speaker, said, “Don’t tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions.” With the implementation of our new Warrior Groups, the students of Cypress Christian School will not only have the knowledge to tell others about God with their words, they will now also have a fresh, new opportunity through their Warrior Groups to share God’s love with their actions.

Praying Continually

Prayer is a part of the daily routine at CCS. From morning to night, Warriors are praying together in the classroom and in the midst of athletic, fine arts and cocurricular activities. Recently, many CCS students, employees and families joined with others across the country to pray around the flagpole at this year’s “See You at the Pole” event organized by members of the CCS National Honor Society. After a short opening prayer, the participants broke into smaller groups, giving everyone an opportunity to pray and lift up their school, their city, their country and the world. “They all met together and were constantly united in prayer.” Acts 1:14

National Merit Commended Students Seniors Emily Mahan, Jordon Coates and Amber Dingman each received the

Commended Student designation in the 2016 National Merit® Scholarship, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit® program by taking the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) – a test which serves as an initial screen of more than 1.5 million entrants each year – and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

Yearbook Staff Creating Interactive Edition

A group of students from the yearbook staff, led by journalism teachers Rachael Lechman (’99) and Matt Moore (’04), attended the Jostens Summer Yearbook Workshop. Students focused on how to improve the school’s yearbook which will include links to videos in this year’s edition. Breakout sessions provided information about how to choose a captivating theme, write strong headlines and create descriptive captions. Students in the photography track were taught by award-winning photojournalists who provided encouraging feedback about their photos and videos. Students ended the workshop by completing the design for the 2015-2016 yearbook cover which highlights the yearbook theme - “Building Our Story.” CONNECTION



Preparing Students for College English

The English department strives to prepare each student for college by strengthening thinking and writing skills. Truly, this is the greatest goal for each of our students, empowering their writing as we challenge them to critically think about an author’s purpose, style and effect. Exposing students to a variety of reading genres is the first step. While reading fiction is often a favorite choice, students also need experience with reading and interpreting speeches, news articles, satire, essays and persuasive writings. Next, students are taught to discover how an author creates meaning through word choice, figurative language, tone, etc. Moving from what the author says and why to how he conveys and establishes meaning is a high-level critical thinking skill that we hope each student masters while at CCS. Finally, we coach students to articulate their observations and analysis into formal, effective writing with an emphasis on grammar, usage, vocabulary and sentence variety. Last year, CCS made the decision to enroll all of our seniors in an AP English course: either AP Literature or AP Language and Composition. These courses prepare students for college-level writing, and many of our students earn college credit through their AP test scores. In fact, on the AP Language and Composition test, CCS students had an average score of 2.77 out of a potential 5. This is a strong score in comparison to the Texas average of 2.43 and world average of 2.79. For the AP Literature test, students achieved a CCS record average score of 2.95 out of a potential 5, with two students earning a 5 for the first time at CCS. These were also strong scores, as it was higher than the 2.54 Texas average and even the 2.78 world average. It is always refreshing to hear directly from our graduates as they apply the tools and strategies learned at CCS during their first year of college. Invariably, they tell us they feel more prepared than their college peers and find their grades to be higher. Their individual success is our utmost priority.

AP Spanish Students Earn College Credit

Spanish II Honors students recently wrote and conducted interviews with a “celebrity” of their choice. The presentations were entertaining and informative. Learning to use Spanish in real-life situations is a useful skill, and our students are growing in their proficiency every day. Spanish III Honors students recently completed their first early-advanced level Spanish novel, “Un verano misterio” by Alice Mohrman Kosnik. Students illustrated scenes from each chapter and presented them to the class (in Spanish, of course). Spanish III Honors is conducted entirely in Spanish, enabling students to reach full classroom proficiency in the language. Reading various styles and levels of novels and short stories as well as writing, speaking, listening and completing grammar and vocabulary activities give students the preparation needed to take AP Spanish next year. Last year every student in AP Spanish passed the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam with a 3 or higher. Taking AP Spanish is a great way to earn college credit as well as get an early start on a major or minor in Spanish. Several CCS graduates in the past have used the strong foundation provided by CCS to jump-start Spanish degrees. 22


Forensic Science Students Visit Crime Lab

Students visited the Crime Laboratory at the Regional Headquarters of the Texas Department of Public Safety. They enjoyed an interactive tour of the facility and were able to see how evidence is processed and analyzed. This open house event was part of National Forensic Science Week, open to the public in recognition of the important role that forensic science plays in criminal investigations.

Getting the Angle

Students in Mr. Albers’ on-level and honors geometry classes spent a week laying out a city according to precise specifications, which largely involved angles. The city project provided students with the opportunity to translate what they have learned conceptually about corresponding angles, vertical angles, etc., into a detailed representation of their own city. In addition, each group of students was responsible for completing a worksheet that accurately reflected the relations between the various angles in that city.

Ready, Set, Launch!

High school physics classes enjoyed time on the football field to experience projectile motion in action. The goal of the exercise was to see the application of the concepts they have learned regarding the vertical and horizontal components of launched projectile objects.

Geology Students Simulate Mount Keim-a-Towa Eruption CCS offers a semester-long course in geology as a science elective for juniors and seniors. Taught by Kami Keim, who holds a degree in geology, students examine the formation of rocks and mineral resources and the volcanic and tectonic activity that accompany release of Earth’s internal heat. Students recently constructed their own volcano and invited the sixth grade class to observe the eruption. Geology students used several different chemical reactions to simulate Mount Keim-a-towa’s eruption, which even included the formation of a few volcanic fissures. The geology students plan to simulate another eruption so they can create an educational film for elementary students.

Evolution is a Lie Secondary science teacher Lori Teague is passionate when it comes

to the subject of creation versus evolution. A portion of her class time is spent rebutting textbooks which hold evolution out as fact. Her goal is to show students the Bible’s account of creation all while discussing scientific evidence. The evidence is fact. Conflict arises in the assumptions made while interpreting the evidence. Her hope is that students will read materials critically (such as the book shown here – “The Evolution of a Creationist” by Dr. Jobe Martin) to distinguish between fact and conjecture. Mrs. Teague says, “I pray that my students will grow in faith and boldness so that they will not accept the lies of the world that conspire to lead them away from Christ.”





Homecoming Day 2015 CONNECTION






Spiritual Game Face

Have you ever had a coach tell you to get your game face on? As an athlete, whenever I heard this phrase I worked to become totally focused on the goal in front of me. When athletes have their game face on, they are ready to give maximum effort for their coach and their team. Several years ago a conference speaker challenged me to consider a spiritual game face. As athletes or coaches, most of us have at one point in time put on our game face as we prepared for our sport. Can this term also be ascribed to our spiritual lives? Athletes spend countless hours in the classroom, the weight room and on the practice field in order to better develop their strength and skill. The same must be true with our relationship with Jesus. We must work on it. Fans recognize a basketball player by seeing a demonstration of a particular set of skills. The same can be said about a cheerleader or a volleyball player. Christians should also be

recognizable by the demonstration of a “skill set” identified in the Bible as fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Matthew 7:20 tells us that “by their fruit you will recognize them.” History tells us that members of the early church did not refer to themselves as Christians. It was a name given to them by those who observed them and recognized them as followers of Christ. Those early believers knew about spiritual game faces! Coaches at Cypress Christian School instruct athletes in how to play a sport, but more importantly they teach them about our Savior. The coaches and athletes spend time reading God’s Word, praying together and encouraging each other in the faith. This requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, but achieving a Christ-follower spiritual game face is well worth it. JEFF MUDROW | Managing Athletic Director



High School Volleyball Leaving Legacy

Both the JV and the varsity teams enjoyed sweet victories at their final home game of the season. Three senior players, Elyssa Ray, Samantha Longridge and Kallie Rhea, were honored during the senior recognition ceremony prior to their matches. We are thankful for the legacy of commitment, leadership and perseverance that they leave behind for our team and program. The varsity team advanced to the district playoffs and wrapped up their season in the final round. This year, they were able to advance further into post season, and now they look forward to stepping it up again next season. volleyball








Early in each season, head football coach Jacob Spenn and his staff conduct what they call the hand shake drill. The players refer to it as the “one more” drill. While it only accounts for 20 minutes of the entire season, it has become a symbol of Warrior football and is the toughest conditioning of the year. The drill also serves as an example of how the football program is in the business of building men. In the “one more” drill, players run between 20 and 30, 40-yard sprints with Coach Spenn asking players if they can do one more. The goal is to push them to the limit and then get them on the line one last time. At this point the coaches go down the line shaking the hand of every player and encouraging them. The idea that we can do “one more,” no matter the circumstances, is something that can impact all of life. It certainly shows on the field. Since moving up to Division II football, the Warriors play some schools that are twice the size of CCS. This year, the Warriors dominated their non-district schedule entering district play with a perfect 5-0 record. The Warriors faced a 5-0 team to start district play, and despite trailing 12-0, the Warriors battled to the end through injuries to a heart-stopping finish. Unfortunately, it was Fort Bend that had the ball last and scored with five seconds remaining to give the Warriors their first loss at 35-28. The game against Second Baptist was all about defense and once again came down to the last play, but the Warriors fell 10-7. A trip to Westbury resulted in the most improbable of comebacks as the Warriors trailed 20-6 with five minutes to

play. CCS had already turned the ball over five times, but this team would not give up and continued to play with an “I can do one more” attitude. The Warriors scored three times in the last five minutes, including twice in the last 40 seconds, to complete the comeback for a 27-21 victory. Graduates of the football program will tell you that the ability to do “one more” carries with them long after they turn in their equipment. As of November 1, 2015, the Warriors were 6-3 with one game to play. Throughout the season of wins and losses, the team learned valuable lessons that will help them in the true success of life.

Athletes Honored by Houston TD Club

The TD Club of Houston selected a pre-season, all-area, private school team. Warrior football players Timothy Odeyomi and Conner Orrick were selected as members of the team. Odeyomi (left) is a fouryear starter for the Warrior football program and is being actively recruited by a number of Division I college programs as an offensive lineman. Orrick (right) was the Warriors leading rusher last season as he compiled over 1,000 yards and 13 TDs.

CyChristian Football Hosts Camp for Faith Center

The Warrior football team traveled to Houston’s First Baptist Faith Center to host a football camp. CCS parent Willie Cyr grilled hot dogs so that every camper received a meal along with their camp shirt, football training and a gospel presentation. Coach Spenn said: “I was very proud of our players. The impact they had could be readily seen on the faces of the kids who attended the camp.”



TRY IOR N R U R CO WA S S CRO Cross Country

High school cross country athletes competed in nine meets including district and state events. With 19 members this year, the boys were led by senior Chris Geyer and freshman Garrett Velez, while the girls were led by junior Sydney Crofton and freshman Sophia Slabic. The athletes worked hard - training at 6 a.m. several days a week which paid off as they consistently set personal records. Coach Matt Moore said, “I’m proud of how our guys and girls trained and competed, and proud of the way they genuinely cheered for and encouraged each other.”


Varsity Cheerleaders

The varsity cheer team worked hard throughout the fall to support Warrior teams by participating in the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders camp, Blue & White Night, homecoming, football and volleyball games, pep rallies and the junior pep squad. In addition, the girls took time to support local children in our area by packing 2,200 lunches at Kids’ Meals Houston for little ones who normally would not have a lunch. The squad recently competed in the TAPPS Cheer Championship to prepare for their regular competition season which begins in early 2016. It’s never a dull moment being a Warrior cheerleader! Go, Warriors!

Junior Pep Squad

Middle school and varsity cheerleaders hosted the annual week-long Junior Pep Squad for more than 100 elementary girls. Each day after school, the cheerleaders played games with the young girls, taught them cheers and a dance, and on one of the days, they made a craft together. On Friday night of that same week, the pep squad participants took the field during halftime of the football game and performed all they had learned in front of adoring fans. This event is always the highlight of the cheerleaders’ year as they get an opportunity to pour into the lives of our youngest Warriors.



OL O H TS E SC R L O D SP MID Middle School Cheerleaders

The cheer squad kicked off the new cheer season with an in-house summer camp led by Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders. The group of 16 girls learned the basics of stunting, proper technique for jumps, and participated in numerous team-building activities. They walked away with a halftime routine and a few cheers ready to perfect. In addition to participating in Blue & White Night, homecoming, a pep rally and junior pep squad, the girls performed at every middle school football home game. They welcomed the boys onto the football field, cheered from the sidelines, executed strong routines during halftime, and prayed with both teams at the conclusion of each game. Looking ahead, the girls will cheer for middle school basketball teams and lead a pep rally in early 2016. “The girls are talented and hard-working,” says coach Tania Overton, “and our eighth graders are stellar leaders.”

Cross Country Ends in True Victory

The season ended well with both teams winning top honors (girls second place and boys - third place) at the district meet with one athlete giving up the opportunity for a medal to stop and show kindness to an injured competitor. Maddi Kendall was running in 11th place at the quarter mile mark and on her way to finishing in the top ten when she came across an injured runner from another school. Maddi stopped to help her by staying by her side and comforting her until a race official was able to help. She knew this meant she was not going to finish where she had hoped, but she cared more about helping this girl than what place she came in. Maddi said, “I saw runners just passing her and not willing to help so I had to stop and do something.” Maddi showed great character and willingness to put others first and that makes her a true winner!

Football A Team is South Division Champion

The middle school A football team finished the regular season in district as the south division champion with a perfect 4-0 record and 7-2 overall. The team played for the district championship, and while they lost (65-54), they were part of the highest combined scoring game in CCS history.

Volleyball Ends at HAPS District Tournament

The middle school volleyball A and B teams had a great season as they worked hard and saw great improvement. The girls ended their season at the HAPS (Houston Area Private School) district tournament with some tough games. Coach Hays said, “We are so proud of how the girls finished strong and the character displayed while playing through adversity.”

Elementary Sports

Athletes in grades K-5 participated in fall soccer through the West Houston Christian Sports Association. The philosophy of the league is to promote understanding of the game, as well as sportsmanship and Christian fellowship. The teams practiced one time per week, usually on the CCS campus, and played one game on Saturdays. Thanks to our volunteer coaches and parents who made this season another successful one for our “Little Warriors.”




Drumline Places Second in State and Best in Cymbals Under the direction of Mr. Steve Allison and Mr. Luke Kirkwood, the Warrior drumline has been hard at work since the end of July, preparing for a busy year. Throughout the fall, the group of 15 high school students performed at Blue & White Night, homecoming, varsity football games and pep rallies. They enjoyed “drumming up” school spirit whenever and wherever possible.



In October, the musicians competed in the statewide TAPPS drumline competition. This was the first time a drumline group from CCS has competed, and the Warriors did very well. Competing directly against 10 other schools, the Warriors placed second and also earned a plaque for the best cymbal section. “God has blessed these students with great musical talent and a desire to do their best at everything they do,” said drumline director Luke Kirkwood.






The Warrior choirs performed hymns and spiritual songs during their first choir concert of the year. “God has blessed these students with wonderful voices and they are using their talents to lift praises to their Creator,” said choir director Luke Kirkwood. The high school choir sang “How Great Thou Art,” “Festival Alleluia” and a powerful spiritual titled “Ticket to the Kingdom.” The middle school choir sang “Coram Deo,” “A Prayer for Peace” and “Glory Bound.”

2015-2016 Choir Officers President Abbie Wynans Vice President Caitlyn McCreary Secretary Emily Mahan Co-Publicist Ashley Ponicsan Co-Publicist Rachel Salazar Historian Mira Fereg Chaplain Ashley Anderson

Future Performances Christmas Program - December 10, 2015 The MET Church, 13000 Jones Rd. from 7-8:30 p.m. Spring Musical Performances - March 4-6, 2016 Time and location to be announced






National Art Honor Society

The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) participated in the CCS Fall Talent Show and the Fine Arts Night by exhibiting student artwork. Many of the pieces displayed were works of art from members of NAHS. Also included was a section representing and their fundraising products which benefit NAHS and the secondary art program at CCS. NAHS officer Adam Thompson (shown with fellow artists Gracie Garza and Joelle Rodriguez) said: “The exhibits were well-attended. We are thankful for everyone who attended to show their support for our CCS artists.” The 2015-2016 NAHS officers are President Lina Parodi, Vice President Chris McKnight, Secretary/Treasurer Emily Fredrickson, PR/Historian Adam Thompson and Chaplain Hannah Hurst.

Art Classes

Art students in grades 6-12 were very productive throughout the first quarter, creating a variety of works in many different mediums. More than 650 student works from major projects and sketchbooks have been published to the online museum since the start of the school year. Students began the school year by creating original works of art by writing their names in cursive and then in different font designs using many different kinds of materials. Some were abstract in design, some realistic, and some used their own specific style all from their imagination. Line, color, texture and emphasis were some of the main principles and elements of design used by the students. All of the classes are making western art for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Art competition in early 2016. AP Studio Art students are working on the breadth section of their portfolios and producing some amazing work. Middle school art and Bible art students are working on illustrating the Lord’s Prayer and working on scratch art projects. Sixth grade students also learned to use watercolors and the pointillism method.


Students enrolled in the high school cartooning class worked on character development and constructing short comic strips. The students started the year by understanding how to use guidelines to build basic shapes and how to place important details such as facial features. In addition, they learned how to build basic comic book pages made from panels and tiers. Tools are also a very important component to cartooning and the students have done a great job implementing them. Using a ruler, triangle and Micron pens enhance the overall quality and look of the artist’s work.

Secondary art students will enter local, state, national and international competitions throughout the 2015-2016 school year. Watch for news on their accomplishments. 32






Fall Talent Show & Fine Arts Night

Drama students are once again delighting audiences this year. After a successful Fall Talent Show and the presentation of the high school One-Act Play “You Can’t Take It With You” at Fine Arts Night, they are in preparation for future performances and competition. They invite you to continue to support the drama department at Cypress Christian by attending upcoming performances and by praying for them as they compete.

Future Performances “Seussical” the Musical

On March 4-6, the fine arts department will present “Seussical” the musical at Playhouse 1960. Tickets will be on sale in early February - $35 for VIP seating and $15 for general admission.

Drama and Desserts

In late March, the drama department will host their annual “Drama & Desserts” event. Come and enjoy pieces prepared for the TAPPS competition with desserts and coffee at intermission. What a delicious evening for artists and guests.




Homecoming 2015

Alumni Fellowship Area

CCS welcomed graduates, alumni parents, former teachers and coaches back to CCS for homecoming this year. They were treated to drinks, snacks and gift cards in the alumni fellowship area hosted by the CCS Alumni Association.

Before the Game

Former football players joined head football coach Jacob Spenn and the 2015 Warrior football team in the locker room for prayer before the game.


In conjunction with the Class of 2005 Ten-Year Reunion, Lindsay Ehrhardt (Homecoming Queen ’05) enjoyed the privilege of helping last year’s queen, Rebecca Cecil (’14), crown the 2015 Homecoming King and Queen. Alumni also gathered on the field for the annual alumni picture.

Alumni Making a Difference

Our talented graduates are making a difference in the world in their careers and personal lives. Among the graduates pictured here are parents, teachers, coaches, engineers, a children’s minister, a member of the armed forces, senior accountants, an actress, college students, business owners, a designer, business men and women, managers, an electrician, a police officer, a roughneck, and a web master. Please read more about our alumni (583 graduates since 1998) in the monthly online Alumni Newsletter via the school website.



alumni Class of 2005


year reunion

Graduates of the CCCS* Class of 2005, along with their family members and friends, enjoyed a fun night of renewing friendships and touring the campus. Their evening started with a welcome from Admissions & Advancement Director Angie Ramirez and Alumni Liaison Lynnette Anderson. Angie gave the grads an update on CCS including the news about the groundbreaking ceremony for another gym. Afterward, the group enjoyed a tour of the campus to see new and updated facilities. Class President Nathan Gertson said, “It was great to reminisce about our years at CCCS and laugh about the times we had together in the hallways.” Fun Fact: Scott Ellisor asked Kellie Reeves out on their first date in front of the lockers twelve years ago. They were later married and now have a beautiful daughter named Camdyn. The group enjoyed a delicious meal from their favorite Mexican food restaurant – Del Pueblo – owned by CCS alumni parent Sylvia Rincon. They also enjoyed a scrumptious dessert prepared by CCS alumna Michelle Van Rieg Stanton (‘08) who owns her own baking company. To highlight some of their fun high school experiences, Braeden Borkovich created a slide show for the group and Mrs. Anderson provided yearbooks and photo albums. Oh, the memories! As a special part of their evening, the group welcomed the parents and wife of fallen alumnus Andrew Gladney. Lee and Sally Gladney and Melissa Gladney were honored to represent Andrew and spend time with his former classmates. The group set up a table in honor of Andrew and two alumni parents who also have gone home to be with the Lord - Lindsay Ehrhardt’s dad, Mark, and Ashley Jenkins’ mom, Traci. The group was thankful to spend time together to catch up on everyone’s lives after graduation. Before they left the grounds of their alma mater, they gathered together, along with their spouses and friends, to take a picture to make sure everyone knows they graduated from CCCS - notice the extra C in the picture at top left. On behalf of the Alumni Association, Mrs. Anderson gave each graduate a goody bag filled with Cypress Christian School (CCS) items, but the alumni t-shirt they received says “Warrior Alumni” because no matter which year students graduate, they are all “Warriors for Christ.”

2005 Graduation

*In the fall of the 2006-2007 school year, Cypress Community Christian School (CCCS) shortened its name to Cypress Christian School (CCS). CONNECTION


ALUMNI NEWS CCS Appoints Susan Mayes (’01) Director of Huff Learning Center

Susan recently took the reins as Director of the CCS Huff Learning Center. A professionally certified NILD Educational Therapist, Susan has more than seven years of teaching experience and has served at CCS for the past three years. She received her B.S. in interdisciplinary studies and M.Ed. in educational psychology from Texas A&M University. She also holds a Texas Education Certification as a classroom teacher in special education and as an educational diagnostician. Susan says: “I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to continue working with the amazing team of teachers, the students we enjoy so much, and the supportive parents with whom we join in partnership every day. Our team consists of highly qualified and godly women who love making a difference in the lives of students. We have had the blessed opportunity to serve under great mentors and teachers including Mrs. Bonnie Huff and Mrs. Bridget Hughes. I look forward to the things that our mighty God will do through the Huff Learning Center and in the lives of our students this year.” CCS is thankful Susan chose to use her God-given talents, education and experience to serve students at her alma mater. Fun fact: Her mother, Cheryl Mayes, and her sister, Lisa Mitcham, were also previous Learning Center teachers serving as Educational Therapists and Search and Teach Specialists for the Huff Learning Center while Susan was in high school at CCS and away at college. Photo by G. Michael Photography

Daniel Gertson (‘99) Speaks to High School Journalism Class Daniel majored in journalism at Texas A&M University and recently spoke to CCS high school journalism students. After many years of working in TV news and as the current Production Arts Director for Oak Hills Church (Max Lucado’s church in San Antonio), he enjoyed sharing with the students what he’s learned about what makes a story great. He showed students a video he produced – shot from the perspective of a box – for an outreach project similar to Operation Christmas Child. View video: http:// Also, while on campus, Daniel used his photography skills to help the CCS communications team take pictures for upcoming CCS publications. His pictures are featured in print and online. Daniel and his wife, Kim, live and work in San Antonio.

Evan Weppler (‘07) Speaks in Elementary Chapel at CCS Evan recently moved from Illinois back to the Houston area and joined the staff of Cypress Bible Church as the Elementary Kids Life Director. He serves the leaders, volunteers and families of CBC’s Kids Life ministry and is excited to be back in the area especially since he was once again able to speak in CCS elementary chapel. Evan first spoke in elementary chapel at CCS in 2005 as a CCS sophomore and has loved it ever since. Evan earned a B.A. University Scholars degree with a concentration in religion and communications from Baylor University, and will soon complete his master’s degree in Christian formation and ministry with a concentration in ministry with children and families from Wheaton College. Evan attended CBC while in high school at CCS and interned at the church in the summer of 2009. Before returning to Houston, Evan was the Director of Children’s Ministries at Poplar Creek Church in Bartlett, IL.

Send Alumni News to 36


ALUMNI NEWS Daija Coleman (‘15) Accepts Full-Tuition Athletic Scholarship with Room & Board

Over the summer, Daija signed with the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley to compete in track and field. She received a full-tuition scholarship along with room and board. Her college coach believes she will be a great addition to the team and said she will definitely make an impact in triple jump and on the track. In the classroom, Daija will study nursing in the university’s new medical program. CCS Coach Marsha Martin said: “Daija is such a gifted athlete and a hard worker. With her talents, determination and desire, she will do well at the collegiate level. The CCS coaching staff is excited to see her move to the next level and be able to compete in NCAA Division I athletics.”

Blaise Fontenot (‘14) Accepts Full-Tuition Marine ROTC Scholarship Blaise transferred from Louisiana Tech to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he received a full-tuition Marine ROTC scholarship. He is majoring in political science and minoring in history. He is also on the track team. Before transferring, Blaise was a member of the Louisiana Tech Men’s Indoor/ Outdoor Track and Field Team running the 60m dash and 400m dash. He also helped lead a Bible study at Living Word Ministries. Before heading to Washington, Blaise attended Blue & White Night with his dad, Deric, and sister (CCS 8th grader), Anna Kharisma.

Alyssa Beach (‘13) Puts CCS Spanish to Use

Alyssa is a senior at Texas A&M University studying Biomedical Science (BIMS). Using the foundation she received by taking five years of Spanish at CCS, Alyssa will add a Spanish certificate to her degree plan, entering medical school qualified as bilingual. Currently Alyssa volunteers at St. Joseph Hospital in the information booth where she is able to practice her Spanish skills.

Alayna Matranga Goodson (‘07) Decorates Zambia Orphanage with CCS Student Artwork “God exceeded our wildest expectations this year,” said Alayna. “I married the love of my life and became Mrs. Brandon Goodson. Our Heavenly Father also completed our Messiah House orphanage project in Zambia. Our family, CCS friends and sweet neighbors worked on the project for three years. Then we traveled to Zambia in July 2015 to the Tree of Life Children’s Village to open the house where we welcomed 12 precious orphan girls into their new home. Thank you to CCS art students for the awesome paintings that we hung in the house. The artwork really added color, warmth and beautiful design to the home. Please pray for the Messiah House girls - that the Lord will heal them from the loss of their parents and terrible circumstances they were rescued out of as He gives them a new home and fresh start.” Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now 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, for ever and ever! Amen.”



ALUMNI NEWS Michael Gamble (‘11) Michael graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in sports management, and he is currently employed as a manager-in-training at The Peddler, a high-end custom bike shop in Austin.

Kat Barnett Lopez (‘07)

Kat recently began the Family Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston with a concentration in Emergency/ Trauma. She is an RN and charge nurse at North Cypress Medical Center in the emergency room. In addition, she and her husband bought a home in Tomball, TX, and she completed her certification as a Jazzercise fitness instructor.

Andrew Galloway (‘12)

U.S. Army SPC Andrew Galloway (recently promoted from PFC) is stationed at the military base in Fort Hood, TX. He is scheduled to deploy overseas in November 2015.

Matt Turner (‘05)

Matt and his wife, Bekah, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Caleb, who was born on August 17, 2015. Matt is a lead engineer at OneSubsea, designing subsea oil and gas production equipment. He and Bekah are members of Cypress Bible Church.

Leigh-Ann Walston Ashby (‘02)

Leigh-Ann and her husband, Chris, are pleased to announce the birth of the newest addition to their family. Their daughter, Rose, was born June 16, 2015. Leigh-Ann, who lives in Canada with her family, says, “Rose is beautiful and a wonderful addition. Her older brother and twin sisters have been great helpers.”



Christie Gamble (‘09)

Christie graduated in May 2015 from the Texas A&M Pharmacy School with a pharmacy degree and is currently working at The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Julian Logan (‘15)

Julian’s engineering project team received first place honors at the closing awards program of the AT&T Summer Bridge Program at the University of Oklahoma. The event was sponsored by the Gallogly College of Engineering and the Diversity and Inclusion Program.

Robert Geyer (‘14)

USMC PFC Robert Geyer graduated on June 19, 2015, from Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and is continuing his training at 29 Palms Marine Corp Base in California.

Joseph Ramsey (‘13)

Joseph is the drummer in the band for up-and-coming Christian artist Micah Tyler. The band has opened for established Christian artists Colton Dixon (in picture with Joseph), Phil Wickham, Hawk Nelson, Sidewalk Prophets and The Afters. Micah recently signed a record label with Fairtrade labels as a singer/songwriter, so the band is excited about new opportunities to spread the Good News through music.

Elyce Hornor (‘11)

Elyce lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada just minutes from Natalie Moore Hill (‘11) and husband Mason. Recently the threesome, along with Elyce’s brother Andrew Hornor (‘07), enjoyed a hike in the mountains together.

ALUMNI NEWS Tim Hallila (‘02)

Tim and his wife, Rachel, just celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary and finalized the adoption of their daughter Lucy. Tim is the Web Marketing Director at Worldwide Photography in Cypress, TX. They have been attending Bayou City Fellowship for two years and were part of the launch group for BCF’s Cypress campus in 2013. They are involved in community groups and BCF’s chapter of The Orphan Care Network, which provides support, community and resources for families involved in adoption and foster care.

Kyle Hinn (‘10)

Kyle Hinn and Ashley Peterson were married on September 5, 2015, in a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony at Ashley’s home in Gunnison, CO. After honeymooning in the Virgin Islands, Kyle and Ashley are enjoying married life in Houston. Kyle is employed as a business analyst with NOV (National Oilwell Varco) and Ashley is a tax consultant for Deloitte. CCS alumni in the wedding party were Kyle’s sister Kristan Hinn Ratcliff (‘07) and Josh Rodriguez (‘10).

Kristan Hinn Ratcliff (‘07)

On June 6, 2015, Kristan married Jason Ratcliff in Magnolia, TX. CCS alumni in the wedding included Kyle Hinn (groomsman), Katherine Barnett Lopez (‘07) (matron of honor) and Belkis Medendorp Kollo (‘06) (bridesmaid). CCS alumni in attendance included: Courtney Higgs (‘06), Lindsay Ehrhardt (‘05), Allie Borkovich Bloodworth (‘08), Michelle Montalvo (‘07), Kelsey Salmon Moore (‘07), Caroline Carthey (‘07), Jessica Van Rieg Gates (06), and Michelle Van Rieg Stanton (‘08). Kristan is employed at KPMG LLP in their Accounting Advisory Services practice in downtown Houston. Jason works for Nexeo Solutions LLC in a health safety role in the Woodlands. Kristan said, “We absolutely love married life and are having fun getting settled into our new lives together as husband and wife in downtown Houston. We look forward to all of the adventures ahead in the months and years to come.” Photos by: Sarah McKenzie Photography.

Ashley Friedrich Penney (‘06)

Jackson Edward Penney, named after his great grandfathers, was born on May 5, 2015, to Ashley and her husband, Cameron. He weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 20 ½ inches. Ashley says, “We couldn’t feel more blessed for such a happy and healthy little boy. He brings us so much joy. We are so excited that he gets to grow up with his cousin Peyton Seidel (shown below) who was born just four days before him.” Cameron and Ashley live in Houston and attend Houston’s First Baptist. They are involved in a young married adult Sunday school class where Cameron teaches a Bible study. Ashley is a nurse and Cameron works in the financial services industry.

Tiffany Friedrich Seidel (’05)

Peyton Ella Seidel was born on May 1, 2015, to Tiffany and her husband, former CCS student Tyler Seidel. She weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and measured 19 inches. Tiffany and Tyler report that she is healthy and happy and they couldn’t be more thankful. Tiffany said, “She has certainly changed our lives for the better; she is such a joy.” In June 2015, the couple moved back to their hometown of Cypress, TX, after living in Austin for five years. Tiffany and Tyler attend Bayou City Fellowship and are the owners of Southwest Ventilation Solutions, a company that provides cleaning services for commercial kitchen systems. Tiffany said, “We are blessed to live close to Peyton’s little cousin, Jackson Penney (shown above), who was born just four days after her.”

Natalie Moore Hill (‘11)

Natalie married Mason Hill on August 15, 2015, in Houston, TX. They currently reside in Burnaby, near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where Mason is working on an engineering project for his company. Natalie’s wedding party included many lifelong CCS friends. Pictured: Sisters Lauren Moore (‘09) and Katie Moore (‘14) served as Natalie’s maids of honor, and Alyssa Boyd, Sarah Longridge, Martha Miller and Amanda Wilhite Stamper (all from the class of 2011) served as bridesmaids. Gabi Bourn, Allison Mayo Williamson and Ann Yalamanchili (also ‘11) served in her house party. Photos by: Bobby Diba Photography.



A long-time friend of CCS graduated to heaven on September 9, 2015. Beginning in the early 1990s, Sherwood Beckley became a well-known figure on campus. His self-proclaimed nickname was “Wood Whacker,” and throughout the years he offered wise construction advice for many of the school’s building projects. In fact, all of the closets on our campus were built by Sherwood. We often joked that the building could fall down, but Sherwood’s shelves would still be standing. He loved fine arts, and he worked closely with our secondary choir, drama and art teachers to build stage platforms,

props and background scenes. He was extremely safety conscious and made sure that everything he made was sturdy enough to hold students. He also provided wooden cutouts for art projects for elementary students such as hearts, handprints and Christmas trees. If you have a 3D wooden handprint of your child when he or she attended kindergarten, this is courtesy of Sherwood Beckley. We are thankful for Sherwood’s commitment to Christian education at CCS. He will be missed, but we know he is rejoicing in heaven and is quite possibly helping the Lord build our mansions!

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Cypress Christian School CONNECTION Magazine Fall 2015  
Cypress Christian School CONNECTION Magazine Fall 2015