The Bell - December 2020

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While most days are surprisingly normal, this has been a challenging year. Our families need more emotional and financial support than ever. Our teachers are working at an unsustainable pace. Our students are grateful they can be in-person, but we know they are missing all-school chapels in the gym, Grandparents’ Day, and many moments of physical affirmation or comfort from their teachers. But God is faithful. We know He is with us, and we know every morning we walk into school on the path of prayer you all are laying before us.

If you could walk with me through the school, your heart would be warmed by what you see and hear. Teachers are rising to meet the challenges of this year, loving our students with the love of Christ. Sounds of praise and worship continue to fill the halls. Our children continue to benefit from a community where all children belong. For generations, God has used the work of Zeeland Christian School, in partnership with parents and churches, to help children come to the knowledge of who God made them to be and His perfect plan for their life. While this has been a year of the unexpected, God is faithful, and His work through the ministry of ZCS continues! Fourteen years ago, when my wife and I chose Christian education for our children, we could’ve never imagined the current circumstances in our world today. But that decision then pays dividends now as Christlike teachers have surrounded our children and partnered with us as parents. These teachers are exemplifying Christ through their joyful attitudes in the face of uncertainty. While we are doing everything we can to provide a safe and healthy environment, they are daily facing personal risks with Christ-like humility. I want my children to grow up and be like the teachers I see at ZCS.


Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for the encouraging notes, emails, and passing “thank yous” in the drop-off line. I thank God for Zeeland Christian School and every student, teacher, and staff. What joy there is here at ZCS, even in 2020, because of the faithfulness of God! “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9 Burn Bright! Tim McAboy Head of School


Carla started teaching in California for one year, but she found her fit at Zeeland Christian. Carla has been married to her husband, Scott, for 29 years. Scott runs a family business called Peerless Land and Water. They have two children, Alexi and Cody. Alexi is a fifth year senior at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. She is majoring in Biology and Psychology and is in the process of applying to grad schools to focus on Immunology. Cody is a sophomore at LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. He is in their Mechanical Engineering program.

Written by: Megan Smith, ZCS Parent to Eli & Miles

Being a middle school teacher takes a very special person. Carla Zastrow fits that description perfectly. She has taught at Zeeland Christian for a total of nearly 20 years, and all of them have been in our middle school.



this knowledge every day in the classroom. “Middle schoolers generally don’t have filters and dare to take risks. While many see this as a negative, I think it is so interesting. I love to help them understand why this is and challenge them as well,” Carla shares.

After spending 10 years at Zeeland Christian in the 6th-8th grades (and teaching many of the current ZCS parents), Scott and Carla moved back to California for a few years for Scott’s job. Carla taught 7th grade there, but after a few years they realized that Michigan was a better fit for their family. In 2010, Carla returned to Zeeland Christian and is in her 11th year here. One of Carla’s passions is understanding the human brain. She says that if she wasn’t a middle school teacher, she would have been a surgeon. She is passionate about understanding how people are wired, and this is evident in her research on the adolescent brain. She has studied with the Hope College Midwest Brain and Learning Institute, and she is able to use

In her free time, Carla loves to travel. She and her husband have camped in more than 22 National Parks, and they are hoping to tour Alaska when the borders reopen. Their kids think it’s unfair that after camping in tents and a pop-up for many years, Scott and Carla now have a trailer for “glamping.” Carla also spends time reading, especially adolescent literature. “I love that Zeeland Christian takes a relational approach to learning. It is so important to understand the kids and where they’re coming from, rather than just pushing the curriculum,” Carla says. She loves ZCS because of the people, from the administration, to the 7th grade team that she gets to work with, to the students. It is very important to her that she can share her faith in class and that ZCS is a Christ-centered school. Carla is a gift to Zeeland Christian and is loved by her students for her humor, patience, and understanding.




ZCS TEACHER SPOTLIGHT My name is Marianne Raitz, and I am a First Grade Spanish Immersion and Reading Support Teacher at ZCS.

After I got back home, a few weeks passed, and I received an email from Mr. VanDyk offering me a teaching position in Preschool beginning in January of 2011. I immediately responded with a YES! without any hesitation. It was the first time in my life where I was 100% sure that this is where God wanted me to be. After I said yes I knew for sure that my life was about to change. I was totally scared and excited about all the unknowns and changes ahead of me. At the same time, I was filled with a sense of peace that only God could give, because I knew in my heart that I was following God’s calling for me.

My journey at Zeeland Christian began in September of 2010. I was sitting in the teachers’ lounge of a school I worked at in Costa Rica. I overheard one of the teachers talking about a school in Michigan. Her brother was friends with the principal of that school. From what I could hear, it sounded like a wonderful place, and I will never forget the sense of urgency I felt in my heart to learn more about this school. I hurried back to my office and googled it. As I looked at the webpage, the feeling of excitement and urgency just kept getting bigger and stronger. I immediately emailed Mr. Van Dyk (former principal) and asked him if he would allow me to come visit the school. I received a “yes” from him, and a couple of weeks later I was in Michigan at ZCS. I spent a week sitting in the classrooms, talking with teachers and students, and falling in love with a place that just felt right. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as I walked the halls and just a wonderful sense of belonging there. At the end of that week, I asked Mr. Van Dyk if they would please consider me for a teaching position if one ever opened up. Before I left to go back home to Costa Rica, both Mr. Van Dyk and a board member (Jenn Leenstra) interviewed me.


Being at ZCS has been a blessing for my children and myself. The Lord knew we needed a fresh start surrounded by a community that loved and supported us so well. We have all blossomed here and God has provided for us in all areas of life. I love my job at ZCS, and what I love most is that I get to point my students to Jesus each and every day. We miss our family in Costa Rica and we go back as often as we can, but Zeeland, Michigan is now our home. I am so glad that God nudged me and spoke to my heart, and that I was able to hear His voice telling me to come to Zeeland Christian.



Written by Megan Smith, ZCS Parent

Makenna Hoekstra Makenna Hoekstra chose to teach at Zeeland Christian because of the tremendous impact the school has had on her life. She graduated from ZCS in 2012, went to Holland Christian for high school, and got her education degree at Cornerstone University. She is currently teaching 6th grade Math and Social Studies. Although she had other ideas about the plan for her life, God made it evident that ZCS was where she was called to be. Makenna was one of the many college seniors in 2020 that were forced to end their

college careers early and search for jobs amidst a global pandemic. This was very difficult with so much uncertainty about education, and she had many stressful and intense interviews with other schools. Makenna shared that her interview at ZCS felt so comfortable and like a conversation. Despite being hired only two weeks before the school year began, she felt peace about it all. “I chose to work at ZCS because I knew from my experience the impact ZCS teachers have on their students and the encouragement they give to their students. I love that ZCS works to teach the whole student and that ZCS is a community, not just a school,� Makenna said. She strives to make that type of impact on her students and to help them become active citizens in their communities as Christians. Makenna feels blessed


to have grown up in a loving and supportive home, and she chose education in order to be a stable adult in the lives of her students. It is very rewarding for her to watch students become excited about learning, and she loves when a new topic really excites them. Makenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends in her free time. She also enjoys camping, going out to eat, and gardening. She has traveled to many places, and her dream trip would be to visit Ireland. She likes to read historical fiction and to watch Hallmark movies. Makenna shared that it has been great to see the excitement in the students and staff to be back at school this year! Makenna is a welcome addition to the ZCS community.


# O U R Z C S S T O R Y


Kids Food Basket Bag Decorating 14

ZCS teachers and administrators are finding creative ways to give back to our community. While many service projects and field trips are restricted this year, there is still significant need in our area. One organization that ZCS students were able to help this fall was Kids’ Food Basket. This organization distributes daily supper bags to children throughout the community, and each of these bags is decorated with a cute picture or encouraging words.

They set a goal for the month of October to receive 100,000 decorated brown lunch bags! Sherri Tibbe, our ZCS Elementary Principal, shared, “ZCS was able to contribute 1,500 lunch bags! This project brought pure joy to every classroom!” Students in grades Young 5’s through 8th grade participated, and it was a great way to bless the community.


Each year, families and students at Zeeland Christian sponsor more than 85 students at Grace Christian School in the Philippines. Every grade is responsible for raising $500 to send one student to school for the year. This year, the third graders found a way to bless even more people. They asked their friends and families to donate money as sponsors while they raked lawns for the neighbors around ZCS. The students decorated cards and wrote notes for the neighbors and then set out to rake the lawns. It was a fun and exciting morning for the students! While their goal was $500, they far surpassed that and were able to sponsor their assigned student as well as two additional students that were waiting for sponsors! This will be a huge blessing to the students in the Philippines, and it was a great way for the students to raise the money themselves. Another unexpected blessing was the response that one couple had when they received the cards and notes. Mitch and Sharon VanDerHulst live near ZCS, and Sharon shared that the students did an awesome job and made beautiful cards. It was a fun surprise to hear that Mitch had attended ZCS in the third grade as well! It is amazing to see God working in so many ways through one morning of service by the third graders and their teachers!





LIKE NOWHERE ELSE For four years, I have driven 86 miles a day to be a part of what God is doing at Zeeland Christian School. That’s 86,688 miles and 2,016 hours of commuting. As of this month, however, that’s no longer the case! My wife and I have purchased a house in Graafschap and are thrilled to be official members of the Zeeland/Holland community. Why now? Yes, we love this area, but the reason we uprooted from what we know is for our oldest daughter to fully embark on her ZCS journey. Evie is four-years-old and attends Maestra Lambers’ class four days a week. Evie loves learning Spanish and has even started beginning her prayers in her new language. Whether she continues in Spanish or transitions to English or Mandarin someday, we want to give Evie and her sister June the gift of an education at Zeeland Christian. As their dad, I want our girls to start every day in devotions and worship with their peers. I want them to learn about God when they study rocks, trees, and leaves. I want Evie and June to find it normal that everyone is valued and included regardless of their ability. I don’t want it to stand out

or feel uncomfortable when they hear a language spoken that’s not their own. I want our children to feel known and cared for by their teachers. I want generations and generations covering their school day in prayer! I want them to experience the lives of those from other cultures. I want them to share experiences and struggles with those across the socioeconomic spectrum. I want our girls to have voices outside of our home, helping them to find their place in the Body of Christ and rooting their identity as HIS children. I have the privilege of knowing ZCS legends like Jim Heeres, Bill Van Dyke, Steve Bouman, Mark Sneller, Mary Borgman, Geroge Heerema, Gertrude Van Haitsma, and Lisa Timmer. I’ve heard stories of Henry Teune and I am forever changed by the life and work of my friend (and probably yours too) Barb Newman. The faith and legacy of these lives are why I want Evie and June to learn and grow at ZCS. This place is like nowhere else. I believe there is no better place to invest your time, talent and treasure. “Be a part of what God is doing,” is


what my best friend, Will, told me recently. It’s such sound advice, and it applies here at ZCS as much as anywhere. You can be a part of what God is doing in students’ lives. Be a part of a teacher affirming the love of Christ being taught at home. Take part in a student learning about the creativity and imagination of God through a science experiment. Participate in empowering a single mom to “be able to give my child what is first in my heart for them -a Christian environment.” Would you consider a year-end gift for a ZCS family? We need to raise $200,000 for tuition assistance this year-end. A gift of $100 or $250 goes a long way towards providing Christian education at ZCS for a families in need. Learn more and give easily at Please continue to keep Zeeland Christian School in your prayers. Every day our teachers and students walk into school with your prayers echoing through the halls. Burn Bright! Peter Jenkins Dir. of Advancement


THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR DONORS FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT TO ZEELAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL! [MARCH-OCTOBER] Jason and Laurie Adams Betty Alia Jeremy and Rachael Allen Dan Alling Peter and Nancy Antkoviak Tim and Dena Apotheker Del and Muriel Arendsen Earl and Lou Arendsen Gene and Mariann Arendsen Mike and Krista Arendsen Maxine Arens Jose and Erin Armas Doug and Joan Aukeman Eduardo Ayala Doug and Shelly Baas Bob and Brenda Baker Leonard and Linda Bareman Dan and Sheryl Beerens Lloyd and Dianne Bierma Marie Blauwkamp Randy and Bev Blauwkamp Robert and Gracile Boehm Lyle and Ruth Boerman Ryan and Sara Boerman Corwin and Kathy Boeskool William and Wilma Bogertman David and Laurel Bonnema John and Brenda Boonstra Delbert and Rosemarie Bos Ken and Lois Bosch Kevin and Deb Bosch Laverne and Mary Bosch Ken and Linda Bosma David and Heidi Bostrom Steve and Vicki Bouman Tom and Teresa Bouwens Judson and Catharine Bradford Rob and Gwen Brandt Geoff and Erin Bremer Rudy and Diane Broekhuis Jim and Cheryl Buist Jack and Luanne Busscher John and Barb Buteyn David and Ruth Capestany Chuck and Michelle Commeret Al and Barb Dannenberg Joyce Dark Robb and Jodi Dawson Rick and Jan De Boer

Ryan and Kim De Boer Gary and Connie De Haan John and Jan De Jonge Carol De Korte Paul and Krissy De Kruyter Bruce and Elaine De Pree Herp and Loie De Roo Corey and Heather De Vries Dave and Barb De Vries Schuyler and Julie De Vries Scott and Sara De Vries Jason and Martha De Witt Steve and Melissa De Witt Marge De Witt John and Rachel De Young John and Linda Den Bleyker Dorothy Deters Jeff and Kathy Disher Del and Vicki Dornbos Jamie and Susan Downing Dean and Jessica Dozeman Robert and Cindy Dozeman Howard and Evonne Driesenga Bill and Sharon Dryfhout David and Barbara Dykhouse Arlene Dykstra Benjamin Edewaard Jim and Stacy Edewaard Doug and Gail Elenbaas David and Mary Jane Ellens Rev. Randall and Kathryn Engle Bob and Monica Fenton Robert and Stacey Fenton Rod and Hazel Folkert Paul and Brenda Formsma Andrew and Darcy Frank Greg and Lisa Fredricks Chuck and Julie Geenen Russ and Retha Genzink Steve and Lois Gerritsma Ed and Mary Geskus Aric and Dana Geurink Derel and Cori Glashower Wally Gosaynie John and Lavonne Gras Bob and Alma Grassmid Brent and Monica Gravenhof Norm and Bev Gravenhof Carl and Sandra Gronsman 20

Bill and Sally Gruppen Matthew and Jill Hamm George and Mary Heerema Brad and Sara Heeres Jim and Linda Heeres Jon and Kim Hekman Ed and Elaine Helder Domingo and Ashley Hernandez John and Gret Heuvelman Bob and Glady Heyboer Laurel Hoekman Falvo David and Elaine Holstege John and Sara Holwerda Frank and Deb Hoogland Les Hoogland Jason and Jeri Howe Keith and Deb Huizenga Ross and Laura Hunderman Jack Ippel David and Stephanie Irizarry Brad and Lindsey Iverson Doug and Mary-Jo Iverson Peter and Beth Jenkins Richard and Karen Jipping Brendon and Rachel Johnson Howard and Marian Johnson Thelma Johnson Paul and Linda Kalkman Scott and Sally Kiekintveld Jeff and Pam King Wilma Klamer Shirley Klingenberg Randy and Jane Klingenberg Dan and Maria Klompmaker Tim and Vicki Klynstra Bill and Pam Knott Brad and Jill Koning Harold and Barbara Koning Stanley and Jayne Konynenbelt Steve and Joanne Kooi Brian and Cathy Koop Dan and Michelle Koop Jonathan and Betsy Koop Karen Kraal Steve and Rebecca Kraal Bryan and Wendy Kragt David Kragt Matt Krawczak Ryan and Allison Kruithof


Brad and Rebecca Kuipers Doug and Sheila Kuipers Doug and Pat Laarman Sherwyn and Melanie Lamer Steve and Kathy Langeland David and Dianne Langworthy Mike and Cara Larsen Josh and Toni Larson Teresa Leenstra Rich and Marcia Lievense Gene and Shirl Los Howard and Judy Lubbers Matt and Shelly Lubbers Curtis and Jamie Lucas Nancy Lutke Dave and Jan Machiela Don and Mary Mannes Kurt and Carla Mast Tara Mauro Tim and April McAboy Leroy and Christie Mellema Bruce Meyer Chad and Sally Meyer Mindy Miller John and Ann Moore Bob and Sheryl Mulder Dave and Leanne Muma Preston and Shirley Nagelkirk Mariah Nelesen John and Robin Nicely Mark and Amanda Nyhof Phil and Kim Nykamp Jared and Rhonda Ortiz Doug and Carrie Papay Gloria Pelon Larry and Betty Petroelje Ron and Katha Petroelje Mark and Kathy Pyle Paul and Nancy Pyle Joel and Joy Pyper Gordon Raterink Brian and Keri Rees James and Bonnie Roskam Lutin and Joann Ross Allen and Jeanne Rotman Scott and Anne Rush Philip and Tasha Saladin Joe and Krista Sall Loren and Sandy Sall Winona Schaap Pat and Jen Schafer Robert and Sheila Schippers Paul and Marilyn Scholten Kevin and Sharon Schonewill Tim and Lisa Schoonveld

Travis and Corah Senik Bryan and Betsy Shafer Dave and Shirley Shafer Carolyn Sharda Doug and Lori Slenk Eric and Emily Sloterbeek Brianne Smith Mary Smith Mark and Ann Sneller Erwin and Linda South Elizabeth Spaans Andy and Jenna Spears Gary and Shanda Sprick Bob and Jane Steenwyk Hank and Judi Steenwyk James and Nancy Steenwyk Doug and Melissa Stob Rick and Sandy Stob Cathy Stoel Anne Struyk Harriet Ten Broeke Mark and Kelli Ten Haken Al and Mary Ter Haar Brenda Ter Horst Michael and Meribeth Ter Horst Nick and Sarah Terpstra Pete and Ruth Terpstra Ryan Texer Ron and Sherri Tibbe Arlene Timmer Gerard and Donna Timmer Jim and Sue Timmer Lou and Lisa Timmer Mike and Donna Timmer Mike and Carrie Traver Joe Treffers Karl and Von Tubergan Dave and Carol Van Andel Kenneth and Lucille Van Dam Bill and Mary Ellen Van Dyk Jeremy and Kate Van Eyk John and Rose Van Haitsma Bob and Denise Van Heukelem Kenton and Selena Van Klompenberg Nancy Van Rhee Theron and Janice Van Rhee Norm and Luanne Van Solkema Frederick and Carol Vanden Bosch Mark and Sara Vanden Bosch Brian and Tammy Vanden Brink Don and Joy Vanden Brink Steve and Stephanie Vanden Brink Ray and Esther Vander Laan Rod and Margy Vander Ploeg Rose Vander Vliet 21

Andy and Elizabeth Vander Zwaag Melvin and Loie Vander Zwaag Robert and Linda Velderman Marv and Von Visser Mark and Christina Vizithum Marv and Ruth Vos Adrian and Corrine Vredeveld Jerry Vroegh Travis and Anna Vruggink Joan Walcott John and Diane Walters Tamara Walz Mark and Susan Waterman Jake and Linda Weeda Howard Weener Wendi Whitaker Betty Wiersema Jake Wiersema M Lon Youngblood Thomas and Ruth Ysseldyke Chris and Alicia Zandstra Scott and Carla Zastrow Jeffrey and Joy Zook David and Judy Zwiep James and Marty Zylstra


Bauer Christian Reformed Church Beaverdam Christian Reformed Church Carpet Bonanza Custer De Bruyn Seeds Festida Foods GDK Construction GE Foundation Graafschap Church Holland Christian Schools Holland Special Delivery Integrity Landscaping Macatawa Radiant Inc McKesson Foundation Nancy Van Andel Trust Noordeloos Christian Reformed Church North Street Christian Reformed Church Ottawa Smiles Dental Request Foods, Inc. Third Christian Reformed Church Walters Gardens Inc. Winding Creek Golf Club Geenen Family Foundation Steelcase Foundation


Anna Boschma

Nancy Elzinga

Calvin Kreuze

Gladys Brummel

Almira Huizenga

Karen Meyer

Judson and Catharine Bradford Don and Mary Mannes

Del and Muriel Arendsen Marie Blauwkamp Ken De Bruyn Bruce and Elaine De Pree John and Ann Moore Tamara Walz Mark and Susan Waterman M Lon Youngblood Jeffrey and Joy Zook

Betsy Wiersma

Keith & Deb Huizenga

Rudy and Diane Broekhuis

Del and Muriel Arendsen Lyle and Ruth Boerman David and Laurel Bonnema Carl and Sandra Gronsman Jim and Linda Heeres Bruce Meyer Mary Smith Doug and Melissa Stob

John Klingenberg Shirley Klingenberg

Gord Nagelkirk

Preston and Shirley Nagelkirk Winona Schaap

Greg Diekema

Judson and Catharine Bradford Don and Mary Mannes

Donald Koop

Dan & Michelle Koop


Jose and Erin Armas Lyle and Ruth Boerman Marguerite De Witt Jim and Stacy Edewaard Rev. Randall and Kathryn Engle Steve and Lois Gerritsma Jim and Linda Heeres Robert and Glady Heyboer Laurel Hoekman Falvo Frank and Deb Hoogland Jason and Jeri Howe Jack Ippel Stanley and Jayne Konynenbelt Phil & Kim Nykamp Robert and Sheila Schippers Paul and Marilyn Scholten Doug and Lori Slenk Anne Struyk Bob and Denise Van Heukelem Marv and Ruth Vos Jerry Vroegh John and Diane Walters Scott and Carla Zastrow

Harriet Spek

Robert & Gracile Boehm Robert & Gracile Boehm Nancy Lutke Chad and Sally Meyer Frederick and Carol Vanden Bosch

Joan Treffers Joe Treffers

Earl Van Klompenberg

Phyllis Schrotenboer

Maxine Arens David and Elaine Holstege Howard Weener

Holland Christian Schools Corey and Heather De Vries Steve and Lois Gerritsma Karen Kraal Leroy and Christie Mellema Harriet Ten Broeke Karl and Von Tubergan Kenton & Selena Van Klompenberg Brian & Tammy Vanden Brink Don and Joy Vanden Brink



Barb Newman



LOCAL INCLUSIVE EDUCATION PIONEER, BARBARA J. NEWMAN PASSES AWAY Barbara J. Newman, author, Henry J. Nouwen Award winner, and former Zeeland Christian School Director of Inclusion passed away on Friday, September 18. Mrs. Newman has been battling cancer for the last four months. Mrs. Newman was instrumental in establishing the first inclusive education program in the United States at Zeeland Christian in 1989. While the conversations and decisions to begin this work were had before she came, Barb quickly became its champion as one of the first two teachers who supported classrooms and trained teachers on how to make sure every student was included. The beautiful aspect of this model which Barb (and others) quickly realized is that when everyone belongs, the puzzle is complete. In her article celebrating the 30 year anniversary of Inclusive Education at ZCS Barb remarked,

We became one giant I Corinthians 12 team – and there was no way the eye would ever say to the hand “I don’t need you.” There was a desire to be able to say to parents who chose Christian education for all of their children, “we are the ‘body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’” ZCS Head of School, Tim McAboy, has seen his leadership grow thanks to Barb’s influence. “For years I served in Christian schools that made little attempt to meet the needs of all children. I knew little of inclusion when I met Barb at my first interview for ZCS in the winter of 2017. She told me, “If you’re willing to learn, I’m willing to teach you.” When I visited during her final days, I took her your notes and a note I wrote on one of the puzzle pieces. I wrote, “Thanks for showing me how my piece fits in the puzzle.” We were all students of Barb.”

Barb spent her entire career advocating for students with varied abilities. She authored 14 books, spoke around the world to churches and schools, and was the recipient of multiple awards including: Henry J. Nouwen Award, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2015; Christian Service Award, “Our building now had students that showed the Bethesda Lutheran Communities, 2012; Barbara most amazing diversity. Classrooms would include Lipinski Award of Merit, 2007; Great-West children who may have more typical learning Michigan Teacher, Grand Rapids Press, 2006; profiles as well as children with Down syndrome National Leadership Award, National Council on or autism. … And we were learning about living in the Handicapped, 1988. this kind of a community every single day. Stacy Deters, ZCS’s current Dir. of Student The teacher’s lounge was our best place of Support Services (position formerly titled Dir. discovery. “My student decided to crawl out the of Inclusion), had been mentored by Barb for 10 window.” “My student got locked in the bathroom years. Mrs. Deters stated that, “Barb provided stall.” “My student had the most amazing answer something many parents had not experienced to the Bible study question.” “My student seems to before - hope. A hope that their child could create the best classroom community I have ever be included, celebrated, loved, appreciated, experienced in my years of teaching.” We would challenged, and honored for who God created brainstorm and then try ideas. Sometimes it was him/her to be. Barb never turned down an the classmates who had the best ideas. opportunity to listen to one’s story. She dedicated


her life to creating inclusive and welcoming communities that embodied 1 Corinthians 12. Barb’s mission will continue to live on as those touched by her passion water the seeds she has planted across the world.“

the ZCS community. Barb pioneered innovative inclusive education at ZCS, which strives for students of varied abilities to experience true belonging, and as a result, to bring glory to God and experience his love as a community.

Bill Van Dyk, former ZCS Principal remarked, “In 1989 I had the privilege of supporting Barb Newman as she and the Christian Learning Center began inclusive education at Zeeland Christian School. For the next 28 years I had a front row seat watching Barb diagnose children with special needs and figure out the best educational plan for them. Parents would come into these meetings in tears of desperation and frustration and leave in tears of hope. In the early years Barb shared her gifts freely with other schools and in recent years has shared the gift with many churches in this country and around the world. Barb has truly impacted hundreds if not thousands of students and her legacy will continue for many years to come.”

Many of my most vivid memories as a kindergartener include my friend, Keith, who was born with Down Syndrome: desperately wanting to be his “special buddy” at recess, joining him at the Special Olympics, and hearing his boisterous laugh. I clearly recall Barb (then called “Mrs. B”), inviting us to name the diverse gifts each of us brought to our classroom community, and highlighting those we saw in Keith. As a student, I had no idea inclusive education was innovative or novel; I simply couldn’t have imagined learning, playing sports, or going to camps without my many friends with diverse abilities.

Brian VandenBrink, ZCS Board President from 2012-2017, said, “For those who had the delight of knowing and sharing life with Barb Newman it is not a stretch to say that in her we had the clear and rare opportunity to experience relationship and friendship with a dear person who in countless outward ways was a tangible expression of our Lord and Savior. The love which flowed through her was the love of God. The gentleness, the security, the warmth, the confidence, the boldness, are all attributes of the Lord she distinctly embodied.

Her legacy will live on through the transformative experience of inclusive education at ZCS and around the world. Our prayer is that all students will experience God’s love through a community of belonging, and that the transformative impact of this love and community will extend from the youngest preschool classes to beyond the walls of ZCS, just as Barb’s work has done.” In Barb’s final days, the phrase she kept repeating was, “Go and use your gifts.” If you have been impacted by Barb’s work, in her mind, there’s no better way to honor her than to “Go, and use your gifts.”

Barb, your mark on inclusive education which sprang from your foundation in our corner of the world at Zeeland Christian was something only the Lord could have done, and we watched and joined in as His purposes flourished. Well done, good and faithful servant.” Current ZCS Board President and alumna(‘98), Betsy Koop experienced Barb’s impact from a very young age. “From my earliest days as a kindergartener to my current tenure as Board President, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of Barb Newman’s life on


Student Spotlight If there was a “Nice Guy Award,� Sam Downing would be the winner. Sam is an 8th grader at Zeeland Christian this year. When asked for students to be spotlighted in the Bell, 8th grade teacher Jackie Roskamp recommended him because of his strong character. She shared that he is a very hard worker and that she can count on Sam to always be following instructions. He is respectful to teachers and kind to other students. Sam loves running and had a great season on the cross-country team this fall. He likes to spend time outdoors, either camping with his family or hiking and exploring new trails. His dog, Wrigley, is a favorite playmate as well.



POSSIBLE: We said it from the start, and YOU made it happen. In the spring of 2019, we set out to

update/renovate six key areas of our aging building. Through the generosity of our community through financial and in-kind donations of labor, materials, and expertise all of the projects are complete and 100% paid-in-full! Thank you. There was also a large surprise donation at the end of the project, which allowed us to not only pay off the remainder of the projects but also lower our current COVID-related deficit for the year.

STATS ON MISSION:POSSIBLE Projected Cost: $1,300,000 Total Donation Amount: $1,356,528 Total Cost: $1,162,920 Total Donors: 226

Any money remaining from donations to Mission:Possible will be used on other capital improvement projects.


A LETTER FROM OUR BOARD PRESIDENT Dear Zeeland Christian School Society Members, It is an incredible honor to serve God and our community as members of the ZCS Board of Trustees through these unique and unprecedented times. We are deeply inspired by the ZCS community which puts into practice its motto by loving God, kids, and learning. For the last several months, we have opened our Board meetings by reading the association mission statement of ZCS. It reminds us of our partnership with parents and our responsibility to create an environment in which ZCS graduates demonstrate a love of obedience, service, and Christian duty. When we consider the partnership between ZCS and parents, it also causes us, as parents, to ask ourselves if WE are modeling these traits in our own lives. These have been lofty goals for the school since its inception, but it seems even more challenging, and yet more critical, at a time such as this. We are grateful for those who have gone before us to guide the school to this point through governance, teaching, and diligent work. The Board is a cross-section of the Society, with each of the 13 members bringing different perspectives, opinions, and interpretations to each situation. While coming to a consensus among 13 individuals can be challenging, we recognize that it is essential and leads to positive outcomes when making governing decisions. We are so thankful that the Lord has led us to unity in so many critical areas of decision making that we have faced. Each member takes very seriously his or her responsibility to fulfill the Duty of Care, as required by Michigan law, to ensure the school is financially sound, and to ensure the educational principles are consistent with the mission. As we continue to make decisions that lay the groundwork for the future of ZCS, we trust that the Lord will continue to use us, and you, to further define and protect the mission-critical aspects of the school. While the Board works on higher-level governance of the overall mission of ZCS, the Head of School

and Leadership Team make the day-to-day decisions that allow the school to smoothly operate. We are so very thankful for each member of that team. They continue to sacrifice their time and energy to make sure the school operates in the most normal fashion possible, going above and beyond what is expected and required. The real unsung heroes of this year are the teachers and assistants in each classroom. We cannot express enough appreciation for the hard work each one of them performs, in addition to the encouragement and instruction they provide to our children. Several of them are facing significant personal challenges this year and yet continue to persevere at school. Thank you to each of you as parents for finding ways to partner with the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents to encourage each teacher in a myriad of unique ways. We know that you are all carrying additional stresses in your lives, and we appreciate your support of the students, staff, and teachers at ZCS. Since the spring, feedback to the Board has been frequent and representative of varying opinions. We value and welcome thoughts and questions from each of you as a Society member. Some of our best Board level discussions generate from questions posed by Society members. We would like to encourage you to reach out to the Board for answers to questions and discussion of concerns. Thank you to those of you who have held us accountable, encouraged, and guided us this year. In our social media-driven culture, we have repeatedly observed the importance of going to the source of concern to seek truth, answers, and affirmation. Most concerns were resolved by a simple correction of misinformation or rumors. If we, as a Board, are not the most appropriate source of answers we will direct you to the correct individual. Please feel free to email the board at In anticipation of the weeks and months ahead, our desire and prayer is that we, along with all members of the ZCS society, will stay unified by our mission, encourage one another, celebrate God’s faithfulness, and ultimately, BURN BRIGHT in our community and beyond. May we model the traits of loving obedience to God’s will, service, and responsibility towards our world that we desire to instill in each of our graduates. Burn Bright, Betsy Koop ‘98 Board President


The mission of Zeeland Christian School is to provide a high-quality Christian education based on the Reformed understanding of the Christian faith. We do so as an extension of the Christian family, assisting parents in carrying out their responsibility to instruct their children in the Christian faith. Our goal is to enable students to function to their fullest potential in contemporary society as Christian citizens who personally respond in loving obedience to God’s revealed will, who recognize the significance of serving others with their lives, and who accept their responsibility toward the world in which they live.


CREATION RIDGE Written by: Molly Kehrer

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” - Isaiah 55.12

This was followed by worship time together and a lesson on how pumpkins grow before the class set out to hunt for their own pumpkins in the forest.

On any given morning at Creation Ridge, the outdoor playscape is dotted with preschoolers in brightlycolored rain suits, geared up to begin their day as fellow adventurers arrive through the gate. Some friends balance on logs, pile sand into trucks or make creations out of water and dirt in the outdoor kitchen, while others paint with branches and leaves or draw with chalk on the sidewalk nearby. In a little while, the class will head out to spend another day in nature--hiking, exploring, discovering, singing, praying, reading and learning together--with passionate, enthusiastic teachers leading the way. At Creation Ridge, students experience learning with eyes, ears, hearts, minds, and bodies tuned to the natural world around them. A hike into the forest isn’t just a walk, but an opportunity to celebrate God and to worship Him amidst all He has created. On a particular day not long ago, students were worshipping in the woods during chapel when the trees began to move in the wind. Having just read Isaiah 55:12, the class talked about the way that the branches clapped together as the wind blew them, and how even the trees brought their hands together in praise of God. The ability to bring lessons full circle through outdoor play and discovery is unique to the outdoor school setting, but it’s quickly becoming the norm for the growing number of students who attend. After a few short months, the discovery of a new favorite hiking spot is familiar to everyone at Creation Ridge. On their daily hikes together, classes explore hills and forest areas, dried up pond beds and water sources buzzing with life. They cross bridges and streams, and tackle problem solving together. A favorite example of this is when Creaton Ridge Site Director and Threeschool Teacher, Mrs. DenBleyker’s three-year-olds headed out to the forest one morning. While sitting in a circle “like the sun,” they began their morning routine: a hello song and good morning prayer, then celebrating a friend for star of the week. They stood up together to practice their Bible memory verse, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,” (Phil 4:13) and Mrs. D shared that sometimes we have to do hard things, but that no matter what, God is always with us and promises His help.


At the end of structured class time, students had a few extra minutes to explore the forest freely--something they’ve quickly grown to love. The forest has a fairly steep ditch, a rocky path and some challenging trees to climb, and as students headed down the steep hill into the ditch, they decided that climbing back up looked just as fun. As Mrs. D shared, “Most of my friends were struggling a bit, and I and our teaching team began to repeat our Bible memory verse from earlier. ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.’ We continued to say this verse over and over, and soon the students were climbing out all by themselves! Some of our friends wanted to try to cross over the rocky path, and as we kept reciting our Bible verse, the kids were all smiles. They knew in their hearts and minds that they could do it. We saw this verse carry through our entire day.” As the morning carried on with a hike, snacktime, a read aloud, and free play time on the Playscape (designed in conjunction with the Outdoor Discovery Center), students repeatedly put scripture into practice. On a large log or boulder to jump from, “I can do all things…” Spelling out names on the sidewalk in chalk, “I can do all things…” One step at a time, students at Creation Ridge are learning to overcome new challenges and achieve milestones while claiming God’s promises, outside and amongst His incredible and ever-changing creation. We are so grateful to witness all that God has done in a short time at Creation Ridge, and the opportunities already accumulating are just the beginning. Our partnership with Ridge Point Community Church, allowing us to make outdoor learning more accessible to families and students in our community, is a gift we don’t take for granted. This thriving extension of Zeeland Christian is the fruit of countless hours of dreaming, planning, and building, championed by generous support, enthusiastic leadership, and God’s faithfulness to us as we seek to expand His light and hope to our surrounding community and beyond.


Q+A with Jim and Stacy Edewaard ZCS Standing Stone Society Member

Q. Why is growing the ZCS endowment important to you? Our experience is that anyone that knows ZCS has a special place for it in their heart. Our concern is the sustainability of ZCS for families of any income and that it would not become a school for wealthy families. As tuition costs annually inch above what the typical wages increase, the concern is as time goes on the gap would put ZCS out of reach for more families over time. Q. What would you say to someone who has never thought about adding ZCS to their will? We all have the obligation to do estate planning and what better way to communicate to our kids, finally and permanently, that there are certain organizations important enough for us to plan for their continuance past ours. Everyone that has kids should have a will and any family that holds ZCS dear to their heart, should want to remember them in estate planning. The Zeeland Christian School Endowment Fund is a collection of charitable donations that have been combined and invested. The primary source of funding is through wills, trusts, and adding ZCS as a beneficiary to retirement accounts. The current fund balance is over $6 million. A portion of the income from the invested fund is paid back to Zeeland Christian to offset the cost of tuition. Over time, the Endowment Fund will continue to grow, providing more money for the school to use to keep tuition costs down. For more info about the Standing Stone Society, please email Peter Jenkins at

The Zeeland Christian Endowment Fund was established in 1984 and has already paid over $3 million to ZCS! Please consider adding ZCS to your estate plan to leave a legacy of generosity and make a forever impact on students’ lives.


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