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Golf Outing Highlights

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Clear skies and a warm sunny day?  I wondered if I had shown up on the wrong day?  We’ve had so many overcast and rainy golf outings that we were surprised and delighted with the day that God gave us this year.

On Monday, May 21, 2018, 128 men and women came out to generously support Eastern Christian School at Black Bear Golf Club in Franklin, NJ.  It was a glorious day where sunglasses, hats, and suntan lotion were required gear. While the course was still a bit wet from previous consecutive days of rain everyone’s spirits were high and competition was intense.

This year’s outing added multiple Hole in One prizes, including a Harley Davidson Motorcycle provided by  Bergen Harley Davidson. In addition, there was the perennial Beat the Golf Team hole where golf team members Sam Faber ‘20 and Clay Sietsma ‘18 challenged our golfers to best their shots.  

We began the day with a putting contest and a barbecue lunch.  The scramble format began at 1:00 PM and all of us enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner at the end of the day while prize winners were randomly selected by members of the Golf Committee.

This year’s contest winners were:

  • Putting Contest:  Michael Kraai
  • Closest to the Pin on #5 and #7: Mark Kuperus
  • Long Drive #6: Matt Van Grouw
  • Long Drive #13 Noah Hagedoorn
  • Closest to the Line #9: Dan DeVries
  • 3rd Place with -11
    • Scott Sietmsa, Steve Lagerveld, Peter Ten Kate, David Ten Kate
  • 2nd Place with -13
    • Brian Van Grouw, Justin Van Grouw, Ryan Van Grouw, Matt Van Grouw
  • 1st Place with -13
    • Albert Costello, Peter Costello, Dan DeVries, Tom DeVries


Thanks to our Golf Committee Kurt Faber, Chairman, Henry Hagedoorn, Dwayne Leegwater, Scott Martin, and Bill Van Hoff; and to volunteers Sue Leegwater and Laura Steenstra. This group of volunteers solicited sponsors and prizes to help make the event a success and then managed all the details for the day.

Special thanks to Platinum Sponsor Atlantic Stewardship Bank; Golfer Gift Sponsor Visbeen Construction Co.; Beverage Sponsor Jeff Vander Molen and Terrie O’Connor Realtors; Gold Sponsor Bushoven & Company; Silver Sponsors Abbey Carpet and Floors, Kuiken Bros. Co., Leegwater Electric, Martin Orthodontics, Regency Wealth Management, Reiner Group, Search Consultants of North Jersey, and Wayne Tile; Putting Contest Sponsor Ken Steenstra Landscaping; and to many other Hole and Prize Sponsors.

The combined efforts of volunteers, sponsors, and players raised $40,000.00 for Eastern Christian School.  Thanks to everyone for another great golf outing. See you next year!

Transforming the World Through our Make A Difference Program

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What if we got out of our comfort zones and spent two hours of our Saturday afternoons raking leaves in our town? Or donated those unwanted clothes sitting in our closets for the past six months? Would the world suddenly become a perfect place because we collected some cans of food and dropped it at the local food pantry? Probably not. It would certainly be a little better off than it was before.

Four years ago, our current graduating class of seniors created a canvas that still hangs outside of my classroom and reminds me that those small efforts we make to bring healing to a broken world actually do make a difference. The fall that we created this, we challenged our students to put their hands together to “Make a Difference” that year as we tackled the issue of local and global poverty.  This year, the MAD (Make A Difference) program at the middle school made some changes from the past that allowed us to work with 15 various organizations in our area whose missions are to serve those who are broken and struggling in our world; homelessness and hunger due to poverty, trafficking, victims of natural disasters such as Puerto Rico after last fall’s devastating hurricanes, women needing to make decisions about an unplanned pregnancy and the challenges the elderly face from day to day. We can’t solve these problems on our own, but as Christians we are called to step up and serve so we can be light in a world of much hurt and suffering. Together, our hands can be a blessing to others; and in return, we often receive a blessing.

Over the past two weeks, each of the 15 groups has taken time to present a short snapshot of what they learned during the past year about their topic and the various ways in which they supported their organizations. Many groups presented eye-opening statistics while others shared about their visits to a local veterans home. It was an encouragement to see our students joyfully share, knowing they were the hands and feet of Jesus through these projects.

Serving others is one of the Core Values we focus on as part of our mission at Eastern Christian Schools. It is our prayer that our students will use their God-given talents to restore His world.

Rain? No problem!

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For the last several years, the elementary school field day has been hosted by the Eastern Christian High School National Honor Society students.  These high school students plan the games and events in which the first through fourth graders will participate.  The elementary students look forward to field day with great anticipation!  They come to school in athletic clothing, armed with their water bottles to keep hydrated as they are active for the majority of the school day.

Sadly, this year’s field day has been surrounded by rainy weather, and the actual field day was no exception.  Rain was predicted for Wednesday, May 16, and it rained… all day.  Fortunately, the students, led by Hans Owuor, were able to adapt to the weather and plan for a fun, active day indoors.

The elementary students rotated through classrooms and the gym to play variety of games led by high school students that kept them moving.  Stations included hula hooping, musical chairs, freeze dance, hot and cold, charades, and more.  While the students may have initially been disappointed by having to participate in field day within the school building, they truly enjoyed themselves and still had a wonderful time!

The theme for the field day was Oceans, so students played games themed around the ocean or ocean creatures.  The high school students came dressed in beach-style clothes, ready to enhance the Ocean theme!  After the high school students left, the elementary students watched a video about the beautiful creatures God created within the oceans and then sang the Baby Shark song before being dismissed to make shark hats.  As the elementary students left for the day, they were gushing over the fun day they had, and did not seem to mind the fact that their original field day was rained out!  Even the following day, the students were still talking about how much fun the field day was.  Thank you Debi Veenstra, Dawn Heerema, and Jim Uitermarkt for coordinating the event, and to the National Honor Society students who put their whole heart into making a fun day for the elementary students!

And the Winner Is…

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Eastern Christian has incredible and talented people within its community! One of those people is Fernando Garcia, proud parent of second and seventh grade girls. He works in television production, and he and his team was recently awarded two Emmy’s for their work.

Fernando began work with Univision 41, a New York Spanish Television Network, at the age of 19, while attending college. He began as a Graphic/Motion designer and Chyron operator for Noticias Univision 41 Newscast in 1998. Shortly after, he began his career as a Live Newscast Camera Director. He directed important local events as well as the September 11, 2001 tragedies. He moved news stations to NBC/Telemundo 47 and joined the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in 2002. He had the opportunity to direct live New York parades such as the Puerto Rico Day Parade, and participate in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Fernando has moved back to where he started at Univision 41, but instead of directing live newscasts, he now supervises the Promotions/Creative Services Department. He and his team work on the company’s station image, newscasts image, all special stories promotions, events promotions, and Univision’s clients’ commercial campaigns. Fernando recognizes that he is very fortunate to work in his field, and is quick to attribute his talents as God-given.

Fernando had the honor of accepting two Emmys on behalf of his team at the 61st annual New York Emmy Awards on Saturday, April 14, 2018. He and his team were awarded the Emmys for two spots: #1 Best Promotion News Promo – Single Spot/Campaign and #2 Best Promotion News Promo – Image. His role in the projects were Senior Producer, Camera Director, & Motion/Graphic Designer.

Fernando recently spoke with the second graders of Eastern Christian Elementary School to share what he does each day, and show them the spots he helped produce and the two Emmys he was awarded. The second graders were very excited to learn about his job, but were especially excited to see the beautiful, shiny Emmy trophies! Fernando humbly allowed the second graders to hold the Emmys and enjoyed watching the second graders get so excited! Fernando’s theme in his conversation with second grade was that God gave him the talents and opportunities to pursue what he loves, and he is only able to do it through God’s grace. Fernando said, “I’ve been very blessed to be able to work in what I love the most and help so many people in the process. My God is my inspiration to always give my best in anything I do. I’m very Thankful for the gifts and talents he’s given me.”

Our school is very blessed with such incredible talent, but even more blessed that the Lord is glorified through it all!