NWCS Newsletter - Fall 2021

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“Everyone’s exactly where they are supposed to be.” Chelsea Ginder, principal of the Cedar Elementary Campus, shares how the Lord has faithfully directed her steps.

Read Chelsea’s story, and other stories of belonging, inside.


You Belong Here

Chelsea Ginder Had Her Life Planned Out Until the Lord Moved Her in a New Direction

Chelsea Ginder had her life planned out. As a Washington State University undergrad, she was enrolled in ROTC and studying political science. “My plan was to go into the Air Force,” she says. All that changed at a Wednesday night worship service at her church. “During the service I heard the Lord say, ‘You’re going to be a teacher.’ The next day I switched majors from political science to elementary education.” Little did she know where the Lord would lead her.

Thankfully, He led her to Northwest Christian Schools. Chelsea serves as principal of the 83 student, Cedar Elementary Campus, serving grades K-4. Cedar is also home to an early learning preschool, day care, and literacy center.

In the years since completing her degree, Chelsea directed two Sylvan Learning Centers and taught 1st and 5th grade at a Christian school on the west side of the state. She holds a masters in literacy and is a reading specialist. She taught 1st grade at both the Colbert and Cedar campuses before assuming the role of principal this academic year. “I’d been teaching 1st grade at Colbert for one year when I was asked to meet with my principal and the Head of Schools. I was so nervous. But then they told me they were going to open the Cedar campus and asked if I would be part of it.” The Cedar Campus is located at 5975 N Cedar in Spokane. It’s the original Central Campus and was re-opened in the fall of 2018. “That first year we opened we were so small. We had two preschool classes, and a K-1 combination that I taught.”

By God’s goodness and with His grace, Cedar has grown every year. Today, three years after opening, there are two kindergarten classes, and 1st through 4th grades. There is also an early learning program and day care for ages 6 weeks through 5 years, and a literacy center specializing in reading, writing, and spelling support. Like every aspect of Northwest Christian Schools, the emphasis on the Cedar Campus is relationships. “Our ministry isn’t just to students, but to families and to the community.” To encourage reading and to raise funds for classroom supplies, the school held a read-a-thon earlier this year. The goal was a combined 21,000 minutes of student reading. As their principal, Chelsea promised to dye her hair if this reading goal was met. When the students more than surpassed the goal by reading 38,535 minutes, Chelsea kept her promise. She even allowed students to pick the color and didn’t flinch when they chose blue and purple, telling her she now has “mermaid hair.”

Besides reading, there’s other learning that takes place during the read-a-thon. “As a school, we give away a portion of the money we raise through our read-a-thon,” Chelsea says. “Last year we chose Sally’s House, a ministry to children in emergency foster care. We bought them all Christmas pajamas.” Chelsea loves the close-knit family feel that flows through the campus. “This school is like my family. It’s the most giving community that I’ve ever been part of.” As the school grows, her prayer is that the Lord will continue to keep community and relationships at the center. “We’ve grown so much and so quickly and prayed over every person that we’ve hired. Opening Cedar was God’s plan. It’s His work. Everyone is exactly where they are supposed to be.”

Everyone, including Chelsea.




DID YOU KNOW? Laura West teaches a high school elective where students learn business, marketing, and barista skills. These skills are put into action at CRU Coffee, the student-run coffee station, where espresso drinks are made and sold.

302 students in grades K-6 participated in a read-a-thon on the Colbert Campus reading a combined total of 104,149 minutes in two weeks.

For the first time in school history, all early learning classes at both the Colbert and Cedar Campuses have waiting lists.

NWCS currently has a combined total of more than 1000 students enrolled in early learning through 12th grade at its two campuses and homeschool. Students in the Homeschool newspaper class publish a monthly newspaper called the NWC YOUth Explorer.

As a ministry to the neighborhood, the Cedar Campus is building a food pantry in front of the school.

Students in Mr. Taylor’s JH/ HS theater class presented Craig Sodaro’s Death by Chocolate as their fall production.

For 15 years, NWCS 5th grade students have memorized the entire book of James in song. This year, along with the 6th grade, they performed at Impact on October 23.

Seniors Chloe Noller, Claire Evans, and Maggie Pfening organized the 2nd annual “Boundless” Women’s Conference. The eventhad over 30 NWCS high school girls in attendance.

The NWCS Homeschool is bursting at the seams with 158 students in PreK-grade 12 who meet every Thursday at Crossover Church.

NWCS is excited to welcome Beth Wing back as Athletic Director and Assistant Dean of Students. During her college years at Gonzaga, where she played on the women’s basketball team, Beth also coached the NWCS girls’ basketball team. Beth has coached girls’ basketball for more than 20 years, most recently at Tacoma Baptist where she was Director of Athletics and Assistant Dean of Students. “I’m grateful to be back in Spokane where I’m closer to family,” she says. “It’s a blessing to work in a Christian school where we glorify God and partner with families and coaches to help kids reach their goals.” Beth and her husband, Tracy, have two sons. Luke, a junior at Whitworth, and Zach, a sophomore at NWCS.

Fall Sports Highlights FOOTBALL: 4th in League Made it to Districts and a crossover game with District 6 3.163 Overall Team GPA Jonny Lester: 1st Team Defensive Line Aidan Tibbetts: 1st Team Receiver Zack Patrick: 2nd Team Offensive Line Ryan Waters: 2nd Team Offensive Flex Jonny Lester: Nominated for All-State Team

VOLLEYBALL: Finished 7th in League with 5-5 record Made it to Districts Sarah Neighbors made 1st Team All-League Captains: Abby Veenstra & Sarah Neighbors 3.746 Overall Team GPA

GIRL’S SOCCER: 1st place Co-League Championship 6-2 record in League Made District play-offs 3.551 Overall Team GPA Addy Fazio and Clarisa Brown: 1st Team All-League

CROSS COUNTRY: Nate Pranter and Ben Graham qualified for State

Maddie Chaney: 1st Team All-League, Goalkeeper Kyla Riddle, Gracelyn Roth, and Makenzie Ritchie: Honorable Mention All-League

Ben Graham and Nate Pranter made the 1st Team All-Opponent Team Ben Graham won 1st place at King’s Cross Invitational. This is Northwest Christian School’s first individual win at this invitational. 3.0 Overall Team GPA



for all athletics information, schedules, awards, streaming, photos, and more!

“They literally helped keep her alive” Read how Northwest Christian staff and administration changed the story for Chloe Stelly and her family.

Sophomore Chloe Stelly has attended Northwest Christian since she was in kindergarten.

Chloe was 5 years old and in kindergarten when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “She was very sick,” Melissa says. “The school sent a teddy bear. They came to visit and prayed with us.”

When asked what she remembers about her early years as an NWCS student, she says it is her teachers. “I remember sitting on the rug with my teacher reading to us,” she says.

But that wasn’t all. So that Chloe could continue to go to school, and Josh and Melissa wouldn’t have to worry, Northwest Christian provided an aide who checked her blood sugar every two hours and gave her shots. They made sure to count the carbs in her lunch. The entire school rallied around her, with teachers attending training at Sacred Heart on their days off.

“I loved listening to stories.” Chloe’s parents, Josh and Melissa Stelly, remember her teachers during those early years too. But not because of the stories they read to Chloe. They remember her teachers because of the ways they involved themselves in Chloe’s story.

“The way the administration, faculty, and staff cared for Chloe was such a comfort to this mother’s heart,” Melissa says. “Their care allowed Chloe to thrive and me to stay home and care for our other two daughters.”

Today, Chloe continues to thrive. She is an active and involved student who still loves stories. “The Book Thief” is one of my favorite books,” she says. “When I read it, it really opened my eyes to what people went through in WWII.” Another thing that opened Chloe’s eyes was middle school science with Mr. Hansen. “He liked to light things on fire and make them explode. We also dissected sea cucumbers, squid, and frogs. It was kind of gross but very fun!” As a 10th grader, Chloe loves her classes. “I have so many options in what I can take. And I love that my teachers have a passion for Jesus.

Not just in Bible, we talk about Him in every class. Everything we learn connects to God.” For Josh and Melissa, they couldn’t be more grateful. “Chloe’s teachers have always invested in her. They care about her academic, spiritual, and physical well-being. She walks in this confidence every day.” “All three of our daughters go to Northwest Christian,” Melissa says.

“We wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Performing for an “Music is a Audience Gift From God.” of One Director of Bands, Quindrey

Davis, shares how his family’s love of God and music inspired him to pursue the same.

Quindrey Davis has been passionate about music for as long as he can remember. “When I was a kid my mom and aunt took me to church. I grew up on gospel music and started playing drums when I was four years old.” This love of music led him to participate in band from the time he was in 5th grade through college. “I was a percussionist. In college I learned to play piano too.”

As the newly hired band director at Northwest Christian, Mr. Davis teaches students in grades 5-12, from beginning to advanced levels.

“Music is a gift from God,” he says. “He created it. It is a means to glorify Him.” He uses Psalm 150:3-6 in his classroom: Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! “The instruments you’re playing were designed to glorify God,” he tells his students. “He has given you a gift.”


Mr. Davis started a drum line to bring energy and excitement to athletic events. The co-ed line, comprised of jr. high and high school students, rehearses at 7:00am. They debuted at the varsity homecoming football game on October 22. After school, Mr. Davis can be found teaching at the Bartell Music Academy. He’s also a new member of the Spokane Jazz Orchestra. Quindrey credits his grandmother as the inspiration behind his becoming a band director. “She taught music at church,” he says. “She inspired me.” As a school, we couldn’t be more grateful for the influence and inspiration of Quindrey’s family and how the Lord has gifted and blessed him, eventually leading him to teach at Northwest Christian Schools. “I’m living my dream right now,” he says. And for his students, this feeling is mutual.


March 11-19, 2022 | nwcs.org/newsies

A Few of Our Favorite Christmas Things We asked members of the Northwest Christian community to tell us their favorite Christmas tradition. “Stopping to get cocoa and then going to look at Christmas lights wearing our pajamas.” Ashlee Brewington, Administrative Assistant, Cedar Campus “I like to look at all the presents, open my presents, play with the rope you use to hang the stockings, and hang out with my family. Just those four things.” Isaiah Gorman, 1st Grade “In Korea, all families in the church prepared something to perform on Christmas day, such as singing, dancing, memory verses. In my family, it was always me singing with my dad’s guitar, and my little brother memorized the Bible verse. I loved singing on Christmas day even though I did not like to be in front of people. Because my dad was with me, I could actually enjoy the performance a lot.

“Eating Christmas cookies….and Jesus’ birthday cake!” Tennley Towell, Kindergarten “Decorating our Christmas tree while rockin’ the Christmas music.” Tessa Towell, 2nd Grade “Going to the cousins’ house in our Christmas jammies.” Elliot Towell, 5th Grade

My favorite U.S. Christmas tradition that I love is to watch the Christmas tree with fuzzy blanket and hot cocoa. The Christmas tree with the presents underneath makes everything so warm and happy.” Sarang Ju, 12th Grade

“My mom and a family friend each gave me a Christmas ornament every year from the time I was a young child. By the time I was an adult I had enough to fill a tree of my own. Each ornament was unique and special. That family friend has carried on this tradition with my children, and I have given ornaments to family and friends over the years as a tradition for them.” Malinda Nelson, Admissions

“We always put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. All of us get Christmas stockings on Christmas morning. The best part though, is remembering the birth of Jesus and spending time together as family.”

“My favorite Christmas tradition is our Christmas cabin weekend. Each year, just before Christmas, we rent a small cabin and our immediate family sleds, bakes, makes Christmas crafts/gifts, addresses cards, reads, and plays games. It’s a wonderful time to just enjoy being family.” Kara LaVoie, Homeschool Administrative Assistant and parent

Tim Hansen, Junior High Teacher

Being with family and all the festivities.” Caleb Towell, 8th Grade

“On Christmas Eve we go to church, then come home and play a new board game while drinking a hot mug of our family’s recipe of wassail (we are English, and this recipe has been passed down through generations)! Last year we played Exploding Kittens and we laughed so hard we cried!” Becky Wilson, 3rd Grade Teacher

“My family’s favorite tradition is eating breakfast all together the morning of Christmas!”

Marshall Hart, PE and Health Teacher, Head Football Coach “On Christmas morning we host a big family breakfast with my husband’s brother and his family. There are about 40 of us with all the kids and grandkids and everyone comes in their Christmas pajamas. My husband and his brother do all the cooking.” Maralee Greer, CFO and NWCS grandparent

“Opening presents and playing with them.” Liam Johnson, Pre-School

From the Heart


The school theme this year is faith, hope, love. Tell us more about that?

Your son Brady graduated last year. How was his experience as a Crusader?

Faith, hope, and love are often viewed as Christian platitudes we can find on everything from Pinterest posts to charm bracelets. However, because of our familiarity with these things, we may be tempted to underestimate the value and power they have for us.

One of our biggest challenges in accepting this role and moving to Spokane was the fact that our youngest son, Brady, would have to start a new school for his senior year.

In this nation and world, the enemy is doing his best to stir up fear, despair, and hatred. We find it everywhere – fear of what is happening or what could happen to us. Despair about what the future holds, and a hatred towards anything or anyone who thinks or acts differently than we do. But how do we respond to these things happening all around us? This past summer, the Lord challenged me to think differently about faith, hope and love. As a school and Christian community, we need to think of these not as sweet and trite sayings, but rather as powerful weapons we can use in response to the world around us. Faith is a powerful antidote to fear. We have faith because we have seen God move on our behalf. We have faith in God’s provision, protection, and providence over our lives that counteracts the fear of these perilous times. Likewise, we have a hope, an anchor for our souls, that overcomes the despair of uncertainty for God has promised us a hope and a great future. Finally, we have love that dispels and neutralizes the hate. When we are confronted with hatred towards us, we choose to respond in love that disrupts the cycle of hate and neutralizes its power. As Christians, we have the opportunity not to react to the fear, despair, and hatred all around us, but rather to respond with the powerful weapons of faith, hope, and love. We don’t come against the world, but we come to the world communicating and demonstrating a faith and confidence in our God, a hope that He has great plans and a good future for us, and a love that disarms the hate and demonstrates God’s great love for all those around us.

The students at NWCS reached out to him and welcomed him with open arms and understanding hearts. In just a year, he developed great relationships and God met him in a big way! At the end of the year, he exclaimed that this “was his best year ever!”

How can we pray for NWCS? My biggest prayer requests for NWCS are protection, unity, and mission. The enemy hates Christian education. I ask for prayers of protection that any plan of the enemy to disrupt or derail NWCS would be destroyed. As a community, our strength lies in our unity. As Jesus says, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” I ask for prayer that there would be a perpetual spirit of unity within NWCS and that even though there may be things we have different perspectives on, we would remain united in our love for Christ and the partnership we share to raise our children in the truth of God’s word. God has a big mission and purpose for NWCS. Pray that His mission will be fulfilled at NWCS and that our actions and efforts will glorify God. Pray too, that He will receive the credit and glory for the great things He accomplishes through us.

How will the Gerstenbergers celebrate Christmas? We’ll all be together as a family enjoying each other’s company, celebrating the birth of our Savior, eating way too much food, and enjoying the beauty of the world around us through hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. One of our favorite Christmas traditions is that on Christmas Eve, we sit around a fire as a family and read the Christmas story. We open up one gift per person and express gratitude for each member of our family and celebrate the great things God has done for us over the last year.

Praising God for His Faithfulness! We were humbled by all who gathered in support of Northwest Christian Schools at Impact on October 23. During this casual, fun evening, hearts were stirred by stories of faith, hope, and love from alumni Noah Raver and LaRelle Catherman, and senior Chloe Noller. We’re grateful that more than


is going directly to the students, programs, and services of Northwest Christian Schools. These gifts reflect the generosity of 168 donors, overage from record-breaking sponsorships, and the amazing kindness of a matching gift donor. Our hearts are overwhelmed by God’s goodness, and we praise and thank Him for all who helped make this possible.

Head to nwcs.org/impact to learn more, and be sure to check out recap videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube!

1 Thessalonians 1:3

“remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” NWCS School Verse, 2021-2022

None of this would be possible without YOU. Thank you for all you do to support Northwest Christian Schools. For all NWCS information or to make an online gift, please visit


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