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Throughout the decades, EC teachers have worked tirelessly to educate and nurture thousands of students, preparing them to be people of faith, vision and influence for God’s glory.

This Teacher Appreciation Week, we say a special thank you to all of them.

In a recent letter, the foundation asked some of our alumni and parents to share their words of encouragement or their fondest memories from their time at EC so that we could honor and remember our faculty, past and present.

Here is just a sample of what you shared with us:

During my sophomore year of high school, I came down with pneumonia and missed a lot of school. I was already not a very strong math student, and this put me even further behind in Mrs. Andrews’ notoriously rigorous geometry class. Knowing my struggle, she helped me every single lunch period until I was all caught up with the work and the concepts I had missed. The day after the final she came excitedly hustling down the hall to tell me that I had gotten a B on it and that she was so proud. To have a teacher care that much was an incredible feeling. Thank you Mrs. Andrews!  –Alyssa VandenBerg Johnston, Class of 2007

We were looking at a very long, hard summer ahead as Isaac had just broken his leg before school got out in early June 2022. A few weeks into the summer, his PE teacher, Adam Culp, asked to bring Isaac to the movies with his family. Isaac has muscular dystrophy, so between the disease and the broken leg, this act of kindness was no small feat. Mr. and Mrs. Culp definitely made a difficult time a little easier. –Krista Hennessy, Current Parent (Grade 9)

EC teachers are the school’s BEST asset. The number of teachers that have made lasting marks of meaningful difference on my children’s lives are almost too many to count. Each teacher my kids have had has been a valuable part of their learning, growth, upbringing, and spiritual formation. I’d love to specifically name their home room teachers as THE BEST OF THE BEST & TOP notch, but cannot leave out the special education teachers for their efforts to push beyond expectations and to stretch the potential of all their learning levels. Each campus has them and they’re ALL exceptional, an especially fantastic accomplishment for a private Christian school. I’m also incredibly thankful for the administration at each campus as well. Each campus has incredible leadership, and I cannot stress enough what heartwarming mission work is happening each year from all the time, effort, and love they put in. Jesus is at work. I daily and yearly see the hard effort and fruitfulness overflowing from each campus. When I see EC, I see Jesus. I feel and see Him at work in this school. –Jana Sly, Current Parent (Grades 2, 7, and 12)

My time at Eastern Academy (1944-1948) shaped the trajectory of my life. I’d like to pay tribute to the following teachers whose impact was especially memorable: Sidney Bangma (Chemistry), Cornelius Bontekoe (History and Basketball Coach), and H. Evan Runner (English and Latin) –Wibert “Bill” Van Dyk, Class of 1948

Paul Beverly molded my life and many others–a man who looked at our country’s laws and the history that shaped it all, putting it into perspective for us as Christians, [teaching us to be] truly empathetic.” -Luis G., Class of 2017

Mrs. Gertrude Huizenga, third and fourth grade teacher. She went the extra mile in every way for a bashful kid like me. She was special. I really loved her and will never forget her. –Alumnus, Class of 1955

Mrs. Cruz loves her students and cares for their whole selves—the spiritual, the emotional, the physical, and of course their academic success. Early on, together with her amazing assistant, they were so attentive to help our son adjust to a new way of learning and interacting with the world when he began his journey with hearing aids. We are forever grateful for her concern for our little one and encouragement to provide what was best for him in his formative years. The decision to move our son to a temporary setting that could help him accelerate was very weighty, and we are thankful for the time spent together praying and seeking God’s will for our son’s early education. We miss her deeply, but know that Mrs.Cruz and the EC staff are alongside us for the journey as we look to build and strengthen our son in the faith. Our hearts overflow with thankfulness for Mrs.Cruz and all the EC teachers! –Ana Gosliga, Current Parent (Grades PK, 1, and 3)

Having Mrs. Truran as our son’s kindergarten teacher has been a blessing. Her radiance, warmth, and compassion comes through and has left a lasting impression on our child. –Jeanette Kong, Current Parent (Grade K)

Mrs. Lindemulder was one of my favorite teachers at EC, and I have the fondest memories of her. I was in Spanish class and I had a slight cold. When Mrs. Lindemulder saw me sniffling at my desk, she went over to her desk and made a cup of tea. I didn’t even notice what she was doing because she kept teaching the whole time. Then she walked over to my desk and put the cup of tea right on my desk! She was just the sweetest, most thoughtful teacher. –Alumnus, Class of 2018

We are both grateful for many of our teachers, all of whom taught us not only subject matter but also how to understand that subject in light of God’s word. But we would like to mention a few by name who particularly blessed each of us with their commitment to Christ, not only through their teaching but also through their words and deeds. They not only told us about Christ, they showed him to us by their caring and actions. These great teachers include Sidney Bangma, James Warden, Ken La Fleur, Steve Myer, Milo Okma, Roger Veenstra and Ms. Chilton. Since they all gave us grades we thought we would do likewise. They all earned A’s in our book, but we give an A+ to Gordon Shultze, not only for his coaching and teaching, but for the dime he gave to Dave so he could call Bev and ask her out. That dime is still paying out almost 60 years later. We have been blessed.  –David and Beverly Vandergoot, Class of 1965 and 1966

We don’t have just one encouraging memory about Cathy Clark, we have 10 years of amazing memories with her! Since second grade she has fostered a love of music in Rebecca and a desire to excel at violin. Ms. Clark may be known for being one of the toughest music teachers, but the students know she’s that way because she truly cares, and she openly expresses her pride in their accomplishments. If we could take Ms. Clark on to post-high school education we really would! She is a blessing and a huge asset to Eastern Christian! –The Ross Family, Current Parents (Grade 11)

The list [of great teachers] goes on and on, from Miss Van Mel in Kindergarten to the kindness of Mr. Pettinga in Jr High, Tom Ver Stratde in band, Mr. Bangma, Miss Eiten, Gordon Schultze, “Herr Lehrer”, Roger Veenstra, Henry Schuurman, Fred Ritsema, Mike Alsum… What a blessing and heritage the EC Christian community has been and meant to all the minds and lives shaped by Christian education over the centuries. God is Great for sure! –Alumnus, Class of 1969

Harvey Brasser was principal of Eastern Academy and taught Business Arithmetic, Bookkeeping, etc which helped me greatly in my Commercial Course. He was my favorite teacher. He and the other teachers were fitting us for tasks that lay ahead so we would perform them well as Christians. I’m proud to have been a student at Eastern Academy. –Muriel R. Van Lenten Prins, Class of 1945

Milo Okkema was my best teacher. He challenged us in social studies, asked us to think deeply about issues and perspectives. He made a radical change in how I think about politics to this day. However, I’d also like to mention Nelvin Jaager, my English teacher. It was his first year teaching – young, energetic, and gave me the best parts of Lady Macbeth’s speeches when reading aloud Macbeth! –Bernice Anne Houseward, Class of 1964

Thank you EC teachers for all you do every day!


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