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​​WERNER VAVKEN By Clifford E. Daugherty, Ed.D.

I met Werner Vavken in 1993 when he began attending weekly Valley Christian prayer intercession meetings with his wife, Sheri. As we shared many years of fellowship, Werner started serving full-time at our school in August 2002, and he stayed for fifteen years. He became — and, in memory, remains — one of my dearest friends. Werner masterfully integrated science and faith with full regard for our Creator. In 2010, he launched the AMSE program at Valley Christian Schools. In addition to being an engineer, Werner was an ordained minister who believed that sharing his faith was the core of his life’s work. One evening, Werner announced during intercessory prayer that God had led him to build a cross between the football field and the Conservatory on the Skyway Campus. Placement of that cross was the first of many bold and often extraordinary God-inspired initiatives Werner achieved at Valley Christian.

Valley Christian Schools’ founding Director of the Applied Math, Science, and Engineering Institute (AMSE)

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One of the common themes that emerged from my conversations with Werner’s former colleagues was his signature style of going BIG — if he were going to do something, he would go all out. Under Werner’s watch, and thanks in large part to the breadth of his vision, Valley Christian experienced a flourishing of many of its unique AMSE programs: an experiment launched by rocket to the International Space Station; the development of the Skyway Campus Observatory in cooperation with NASA; and the cultivation of the school’s first Robotics program, among many other accomplishments. Werner and Sheri were a fantastic team! As culinary artists, they often welcomed students, staff, and friends to their home for Christian hospitality, meetings, and workspace. Over time, though, their retirement became