Testimonials

I come to school each day hoping to model Christ as I teach my students from a Christian perspective. Each day the children inspire and teach me as well. Eastern Christian is a place where education is Christ-centered and God’s love is shown to His children. Everyday is a blessing.

  • Donna Hoogerhyde
  • Grade 4 Teacher

Donna Hoogerhyde

Grade 4 Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
Eastern Christian is a God-centered school where teachers faithfully instruct students from a Christian perspective. Members of my family have attended the school for four generations, and I am honored to share in Eastern Christian’s mission.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I come to school each day hoping to model Christ as I teach my students from a Christian perspective. Each day the children inspire and teach me as well. Eastern Christian is a place where education is Christ-centered and God’s love is shown to His children. Everyday is a blessing.

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC?
I start the day with devotions, reminding the children that God is with us. He is with us as we study his world, the ‘magnificent theatre’ that we are called to learn about, care for, and enjoy. Throughout the day I am able to remind the children that ‘our world belongs to God’ and we study it from that perspective. In social studies, we remember that all people are created in God’s image and we embrace our differences and celebrate what we can learn from each other and other cultures. In science we are awed by the wonder of God’s world.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I like to role play historical characters. The students always enjoy when I step out of the classroom and return with a costume on, portraying someone from the past. The students are engaged and ask thoughtful questions of my historical character.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
Each year the class of students becomes a family, a family of young Christians striving to learn more about God and how He would have us live. The children are compassionate and encouraging to one another. They help each other when they stumble, and applaud the efforts of their classmates.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want my students to fall in love with learning, to be excited about their opportunity to learn about God’s world. I also want my students to see Jesus in me; I want to strengthen their faith.

I love that at Eastern Christian the entire school day is centered around the Word of God, and that students are taught from the earliest age that God loves them, and has a plan for their lives.

  • Sarah Vander Wall
  • Preschool Teacher

Sarah Vander Wall

Preschool Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I love that at Eastern Christian the entire school day is centered around the Word of God, and that students are taught from the earliest age that God loves them, and has a plan for their lives.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I love teaching at Eastern Christian because I can use my gifts as a teacher to fulfill Christ’s command in the Great Commission to “make disciples.” It is a great privilege to play a part in leading young students to Christ.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
By the time students graduate from Eastern Christian school, they have been taught not just math, science, Bible, spelling and social studies, but how to be a follower of Christ in a broken world. EC students are prepared to take what they have learned and use it for the glory of God, and the advance of His kingdom.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want my students to see that I strive in every way to be an imitator of God. I want my kids to see Christ’s love through me.
 

We have an awesome responsibility to teach our students 'in the way they should go', revealing God's wonderful world in all we teach. I want to be a part of that.

  • Rob Flim
  • Middle & High School Band Director

Rob Flim

Middle & High School Band Director

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I really appreciate the environment I work in. The administration and staff are very supportive of the music department. I especially appreciate working with the students in all the grade levels.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
We have an awesome responsibility to teach our students ‘in the way they should go’, revealing God’s wonderful world in all we teach. I want to be a part of that. Students and parents are generally supportive and encouraging towards the music department.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
Enthusiasm, energy, and excitement, is contagious and I try to present myself that way to my students. I try to be encouraging to my students, pushing them to keep going and to give their best.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
In general, EC students are aware that they are part of a caring community that desires to look at the interests and well-being of others. EC students are polite and respectful towards each other and to the faculty.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want my students to discover and appreciate God’s amazing gift of music. I want them to enjoy music and to appreciate its role in their lives and in the world they live in.

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I’m Canadian and love winter!

We encourage students to identify and take hold of their unique GOD given gifts so that they can use them towards a positive transformation both locally and globally.

  • Jesse Wright
  • High School Art Teacher

Jesse Wright

High School Art Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
It is an extremely gifted, giving, and well-disciplined faith-based environment where you can focus on dynamic and exciting projects.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
Each year while running a web and graphic design business (along with pursuing an art career) I was offered a job teaching the things that I love yet I always said, ‘NO THANKS.’  Following an intense spiritual re-awakening while working in the mission’s field I realized that the teaching offer was more than ‘summers off, salary and a dental plan.’ The call to teach was a charge to pass on to others the skills that others had blessed me with. Skills that have allowed me to travel the world, raise a family and, hopefully, contribute to society. I made a promise that if GOD re-offered a teaching opportunity for 30 seconds, 3 weeks, 30 years, whatever, I would take it. So far so good.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I strive to maintain a footprint in the fields that I teach on a professional level outside of my teaching commitments. As teachers, it’s important for us to continue to learn if we are to be effective teachers.  I hope my interest, growth, and enthusiasm will spill over to the students. I hope to equip students with industry standard market ready skills…with a little extra edge!

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
We have an amazing Mission program where students can travel and serve in places like Uganda, Puerto Rico, Tanzania, Guatemala and Boston.

The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How do you accomplish this in your role at EC?
We encourage students to identify and take hold of their unique GOD given gifts so that they can use them towards a positive transformation both locally and globally.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I hope students would gain the skills of observation and discernment regardless of their chosen field so that they will invest their talents in worthwhile questions and efforts.

Please provide any additional information about you:
I don’t know if there’s enough coffee out there to help keep up with all of the exciting activities!

My desire is to encourage our students, not only to develop their artistic potential, but to open their eyes to the artistry of God's creation and to see their lives as works of art. God has given them the ability to create because He created them.

  • Donna Aceino
  • High School Art Teacher

Donna Aceino

High School Art Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
At Eastern Christian our students receive a Christ-centered education in a caring, nurturing community.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I consider it a privilege to assist our students in developing the God given creative spirit within them. I cannot imagine sharing the aesthetic experience without giving honor to our Creator.

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC?
The artist’s eye sees what can be created out of the raw material with which he has to work with. Each life can be viewed as an empty canvas, continuously being crafted into the masterpiece God has always intended for it to be. Isaiah 64:8 encourages us to see ourselves as clay and our Heavenly Father as the potter who molds us and works within us. Our lives should be dedicated to bringing honor and glory to our God.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
Eastern Christian students demonstrate a willingness to share the gifts they have been blessed with as they strive to make a positive difference.

The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How do you accomplish this in your role at EC?
My aim is to empower our students to develop and use their creative gifts to make a difference in the world around them.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
My desire is to encourage our students, not only to develop their artistic potential, but to open their eyes to the artistry of God’s creation and to see their lives as works of art. God has given them the ability to create because He created them.

Everything we do in math and science connects to the amazing, intricate world God created. In math we uncover the amazing patterns God implanted in His creation. In science, every aspect of God's creation makes us step back and say WOW! We marvel daily at how incredibly the world is made, how filled it is with just amazing creations, and then how we fit in it, as part of that creation, and how we are to care for that creation.

  • Deb Vandenberg
  • Middle School Math & Science Teacher

Deb Vandenberg

Middle School Math & Science Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
The kids’ love for God’s world and connecting their learning to it.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I knew nothing but Eastern Christian in my education life. I attended Eastern Christian from K-12th grade, went away to college to become a teacher, came back my senior year to student teach at all 3 campuses of EC, and then began teaching here immediately following college graduation.

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC?
Everything we do in math and science connects to the amazing, intricate world God created. In math we uncover the amazing patterns God implanted in His creation. In science, every aspect of God’s creation makes us step back and say WOW! We marvel daily at how incredibly the world is made, how filled it is with just amazing creations, and then how we fit in it, as part of that creation, and how we are to care for that creation.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
A love of math, a love of children, a love of learning new things.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
I have not had experience in other schools, so I guess I cannot honestly answer this. However, I will say that our students are very accepting, very tolerant, very caring kids. They care for each other and for new students who enter their “family.” They have good hearts, searching for God’s will in their young lives.

The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How do you accomplish this in your role at EC?
Engaging—active learning in math and science, practical application of learning, challenging to stretch and grow in knowledge and insight of God’s world, becoming responsible, organized students.

Nurturing—my 5th graders become my life! We share interests, prayers, cares, joys. We gain respect for each other each year! I always tell my homeroom they are the best ever! We get to know each other personally. We hold each other accountable, we challenge each other, we care about each other.

Transforming—We are out to make a difference. Entering middle school in 5th grade is a transformation in and of itself. We work to become serious middle school students. We also work to be servers. We serve each other as we learn to be group learners. We serve our communities as we learn about and perform service hours. We partner with 4th graders, teaching them their business projects. We partner with preschool students, teaching bicycle safety as part of St. Jude Children’s Hospital’s Trike-a-Thon. We run the Trike-a-Thon to benefit the children at St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
A sense of awe and wonder for the incredible God who created this world and allowed us to be a part of it.

I want my students to see God more than anything. If they cannot learn compassion from their role models who they are with more than any other adult in their life right now, then I am not doing my job. Of course, I want them to stay out of debt and in literature of course! I want them to love challenges and learning.

  • Dawn Heerema
  • High School Finance and English Teacher

Dawn Heerema

High School Finance and English Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I love that the adults’ role models are extensions of the home. Their personal attention and love goes beyond the classroom. Academics are still varied, and the schools offer a mixture of ability and options. It is small enough that no child is lost in the mix.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I was a parent first, and I saw the care and nurturing offered by the staff to each child. I appreciated the strides to maintain academic rigor as well.

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC? 
With literature, there are many opportunities to present a Christian Worldview from character standpoints such as Atticus Finch, and analyzing him in a context of a Godly father or professional lawyer. In my finance class, we always take biblical perspectives in our studies. My essential question for the class is “What are you doing with the Father’s resources while He is away?”

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
When studying literature, worldview is a key component in developing Christ-like compassion. I really enjoy teaching this and applying it to the class setting. I do not feel our job is done until the child is transformed even a little bit after being in my classroom.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
Oh, the list is endless. They have hope. They are more content with who they are and what they have. They see the world as a limitless place that exists outside of their own world due to mission opportunities and life-learning. “It isn’t about them.” Of course, these are blanket statements, but I do promise that the climate of the halls compared with that of my previous teaching assignments in public schools is very different. Appearances are more streamlined and not glaringly inappropriate. The children have a warmness that comes from God and it transcends those awkward years of adolescence. At the younger schools, they are accepting of their faith and are so vocal about it, which is a joy to hear! Even the music that I hear on iPads or the little ones singing on the playground is not offensive, which is a telling sign of the success EC has with transforming this generation and not forcing them to conform to the ways of the world. Many of the parents have said, EC is worth every penny. I would agree.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want my students to see God more than anything. If they cannot learn compassion from their role models who they are with more than any other adult in their life right now, then I am not doing my job. Of course, I want them to stay out of debt and in literature of course! I want them to love challenges and learning.

I love that I don't have to hide my faith. Rather, I can let them know that God created an amazing world and that math is everywhere in His wonderful creation! I love that all of the teachers are committed Christians and we can hold each other up in prayer during good times and hard times.

  • Cindy Flim
  • Middle School Math Teacher

Cindy Flim

Middle School Math Teacher

What do you teach at Eastern Christian School?
7th grade math, 8th grade pre-algebra, and 8th grade algebra

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I love that I don’t have to hide my faith. Rather, I can let them know that God created an amazing world and that math is everywhere in His wonderful creation! I love that all of the teachers are committed Christians and we can hold each other up in prayer during good times and hard times.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
God brought me here. I was in a transitional time in my life, going back to college for my second degree in math. Since I eventually wanted to be a math teacher, I came to ECMS looking for part-time work as a substitute teacher while I finished my degree. Instead of being hired as a substitute, after a few interviews, I walked out with a full-time position teaching middle school math. God is good!

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC?
I emphasize that God made an orderly world and math can be seen in everything. There are patterns everywhere in creation. For example, Fibonacci’s sequence can be seen in the pattern on a pineapple, the spiral arrangement on a pine cone, the pattern of seeds in a sunflower, etc.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I love math and I love to play games. So, I want students to have fun while we learn about math. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, so I am always looking for creative ways for students to see and touch math.

What sets EC students apart from students in other schools?
EC students have teachers who are not only committed to the students’ academic growth, but they are concerned for the well-being of each student. We care about our students.

The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How do you accomplish this in your role at EC?
I hope that students continue to grow in their mathematical ability while they are in my classroom. However, many students say they “can’t do math” or “they will never be good at it.” I want to give them the confidence they need to be successful. Everyone has ability and everyone can learn, even if it is at a different pace than others. Also, I don’t want to see my students just as math students, but as a unique person who has many gifts. I want my classroom environment to be a safe place – that it is okay to make mistakes and it is a place to ask as many questions as needed to understand.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want them to know that I love math and that I love to teach. I want them to see that learning math can be fun.

I want my students to walk away loving and knowing God better, and by knowing that the Bible is a powerful and engaging lifeline for all of life!

  • Betsy Tyvoll
  • Middle School Bible Teacher

Betsy Tyvoll

Middle School Bible Teacher

What do you love about Eastern Christian School?
I love being able to teach the Bible and I love being able to teach young people about the Bible.

Why do you like teaching at Eastern Christian? What motivated you to become a teacher at Eastern Christian?
I like teaching at Eastern Christian because I have the opportunity to teach the Bible with a variety of methods and creative ideas.

How do you teach a Christian Worldview in your classes at EC?
We talk a lot about what it means to regard every human being as being made in the image of God – and we see how Jesus did this in His earthly ministry. He made friends with beggars, tax collectors, social outcasts, people with “unclean” diseases… Then we talk about how we are to carry out this same perspective in our own lives.

What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I have some experience in drama, so frequently I will have students write contemporary role plays which model an episode from scripture.

The Eastern Christian tagline is “Engaging. Nurturing. Transforming.” How do you accomplish this in your role at EC?
I don’t know if/when I ever “accomplish” this tagline. I try to engage my students in the Bible, by showing my own love for scripture, by attempting to be as creative as I possibly can in class, and with constant class discussion. The nurturing part has to come about by the relationships we form/develop with students individually: through casual conversations, observing a troubled student and gentling asking them what is going on, and by praying with them. The transforming challenge comes most days, in and out of class, by presenting a variety of ways we can live out the Sermon on the Mount, adopting the repentant heart of King David, and by developing a closer walk with God.

What do you want your students to gain from having known you?
I want my students to walk away loving and knowing God better, and by knowing that the Bible is a powerful and engaging lifeline for all of life!

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