December 2016
In This Issue
  • A Note from the Director
  • Developing a New Middle School  
  • Spiritual Life Initiatives
  • Up-close with Art and Nature
  • Get to Know Your School Board
Sharpening Minds. Shepherding Hearts.
By Bryan Walker, Executive Director 
God has blessed those of us who work at Calvary Schoo ls with the great responsibility of le ading this powerful ministry that can help impact a life--and prayerfully , generations. Each of us--as board members, faculty, staff and administration--recognize the opportunity and responsibility parents have given us to steward the gifts God has given us each day.

In the roughly-180 days per year that we are given to sharpen the minds and shepherd the hearts of our students, we are continually seeking how best to do this--in classrooms, during chapels, at the playground and lunchroom, and within our athle tic teams. As you'll read in this newsletter, each part of us has a daily focus of pouring into your child with the very best we have. We also recognize the partnership we have with you and your church in this effort to build prepared and passionate Christ-followers for life. We understand our limitations (we're not a youth group, and we aren't a home), and we are continually seeking how we can be a great partner to "carry our weight" in this process.

What an awesome privilege it is to serve Christ by helping grow young people who can be a bright light for Him in a world that desperately needs it. Thank you for the work you do each day and for allowing us to join in the partnership!

And speaking of being a bright light in the world, did you see that our kindergarten class was featured in a recent video by the City of Holland? Bonnie Looman has been leading her students in supporting our local police department with prayers and gifts for over ten years, and the City created a special (and fun) video to highlight their efforts.

Calvary Kindergartners Say Thanks to Police
Calvary Kindergartners Say Thanks to Police
A Middle School in the Making
By Zach Ward, 7th Grade & Megan Goossen, 6th Grade

The establishment of a middle school is well underway here on our Plasman campus. We've had a wonderful fall semester thus far--one in which we are growin g in our relationships with the Lord and His Word, with each other, and with our inspiring curricu lum. We've also had some wonderful opportunities to step out o f the day-to-day routines of which life is so often made.

Our first off-campus opportunity was led by staff from the Outdoor Discovery Center. In spite of the cold and dreary weather, we had a great time out on the water in kayaks, exploring and learning about the history and ecological importance of the drowned river mouth of the Macatawa watershed. Following an excursion on the water, we hiked along the shore, learning about various native and invasive species of plants in the area. It was wonderful to see middle school students enjoying the outdoors (in spite of the cold) with the incorporation of plant projectiles in the form of explosive jewelweed seed pods and velcro-like burrs.

Our second trip to Beechpoint Camp was taken to begin establishing a middle school culture of togetherness, selflessness and camaraderie. The 6th and 7th graders were divided into two groups and then led through a series of team building and leadership development activities. Activities were followed by debriefing sessions in which students were invited to discuss their individual roles, strengths and weaknesses, and attitudes, through each of which the Beechpoint staff drew comparisons to the roles of individuals and the corporate body of Christ. It was a simultaneously enjoyable and challenging time together.

An integral part of our middle school culture is providing students with opportunities to discuss and implement the idea of "others first". Each Wednesday, we gather together as a middle school and converse over our chapel readings of C.S. Lewis' The Weight of Glory . As our hearts are growing in a posture towards the needs of others, we are beginning a new, wonderful friendship with the residents at Vista Springs Holland Meadows Assisted Living. Our middle school students have been preparing handmade origami and Scherenschnitte gifts to bring to the 19 residents and have been practicing to share the gift of song. If you walk down the middle school hallway on Wednesday and Friday mornings, you'll be blessed to hear the beautiful voices of 24 students singing, while Mr. Ward strums his guitar.

What a delight to see 7th graders inviting 5th graders into a game of gaga ball or soccer, 6th graders admiring the beautiful veining in fall foliage on a nature walk, or sprawled out on the floor completing a dinosaur puzzle with kindergartners. These are the moments when Christ is working on our hearts to love and serve those we are with everyday; to bend low and listen to the little ones who so admire us.
Walking Out a Faith of Their Own
By Beaux Williams, Spiritual Life Director--Laketown

What I love most a bout Calvary Schools is the emphasis placed on the development of Christian character in its students. While we strive for academic excellence, we also desire to equip young men an d women for useful service in God's kingdom.   

The theme verse for chapel this year is, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another" ( 2 Cor. 3:18, ESV). We have an amazing lineup of chapel speakers who are urging our students to connect with God and grow in relationship with Him. They have been chal lenged in the areas of obedience, pursuing spiritual growth, speaking the truth in love and understanding the grand story of the Bible. After the chapel service, students break out into CREW groups (Christians Ready, Equipped, and Willing) to work through a custom cu rriculum designed to make practical application of the concepts presented in chapel. It has been great to see many of the students step up to lead discussion in their groups. As the year progresses, we hope to see lives being transformed "from one degree of glory to another".

PowerPlus, our high school discipleship program, c ontinues to emphasize the development of servant leadership. Our goal is to represent Christ well (to be "salt and light") as we selflessly serve in the community. My desire is not just to see the students serve, but to have the heart of Christ as they do so. I am very proud of how our students have served this year at Compassionate Heart Ministry, Calvary Baptist Church and Plasman campus. It has been a joy to see students step up, set the example and lead in their groups.   

In 8th grade Bible class, we are walking through a survey of the Bible. We have looked at how the Old Testament promises find their ultimate fulfillment in the coming of a King. We are now exploring what the New Testament writers tell us about this King and how we should live as part of His kingdom. In 9th grade Bible, we are learning how to study the Bible deeply for ourselves. Students are learning the steps of good observation, interpretation and application. The 10th grade class is gaining an understanding of how the tenets of the Christian worldview compare with five major competing worldviews of our day: Islam, Secularism, Marxism, New Spirituality and Postmodernism. The 11th and 12th grade classes are learning to respond to a world that declares the absence of objective truth. Students are gaining tools to deepen and defend their faith.

I cannot overemphasize how excited and humbled I am by the opportunity to be part of what is happening in the spiritual life of your students. I would ask that you continue to lift up our students in prayer as we continue to look to God's working in their lives.
Art and Nature Studies at Meijer Gardens
By Kimberly Bos, 2nd Grade & Laura Nagelkirk, 3rd Grade

The  weather prediction was thunderstorms. The clouds in the sky were gray and f il led with rain. Did that stop the 2nd and 3rd graders from going to Frederik Meijer Gardens? Absolutely not! Did they get wet? Yes, a little. 

We met our docents under the concrete trees in the lobby.  Here, we learned that the floor and supports were made by an artist to depict a Michigan forest, our first sculpture. The ground was made to look like the floor of the forest, every bronze leaf unique. With over 50 sculptures by major artists throughout the gardens, the docent narrowed our viewing to seven.

Our students learned that the placement of a sculpture is sometimes as important as what is sculpted. Deborah Butterfield felt this way about her bronze horse, Cabin Creek , which she chose to display in a prairie setting. We observed the different patinas an artist can employ to enhance their sculpture, like silver or driftwood.

The 2nd graders enjoyed being up close to the American Horse and were particularly impressed by its hooves with huge horseshoes. They had recently learned about horseshoeing when Plasman mom Cara Williams, a local ferrier, brought a horse to school to demonstrate the horseshoeing process.

Julia, by Keith Hering, brought out much discussion from both groups. Some students saw a cheerful girl who was dancing, while others thought she was in the middle of a tantrum or very sad. Our docent explained that this was an abstract sculpture rather than realistic and therefore could have many interpretations depending on who was viewing it. The 3rd grade was very excited to see Aria , a large sculpture inspired by music. In Composer Study, they have recently learned about the role of an aria in opera.

We heard about the inspiration for each of the seven sculptures we observed, though we saw many more as we walked through the beautiful gardens. The heavy rain held off until we were finished viewing the final sculpture, Grand Rapids Arch . As we made our way back to the main building the first drops began to fall.

Once inside, we explored the Rainforest Garden where we smelled the orchids, saw bananas growing, felt water from the waterfall and sought out the many birds flying overhead. We visited the Carnivorous Garden and learned about insect-eating plants. Then we investigated the desert garden and learned about the desert plants of Africa and America. Finally, we watched a short video about the making of the Japanese Garden, and some students and chaperones braved the rain to go out and see it up close.
Getting to Know You
Jim Hill, Chairman of the Board

Jim and his wife Stacey both grew up in the Holland area and have been part of CSH for ten years. Jim is a financial advisor at Vision Financial Group in Zeeland, and Stacey is actively involved in Africa's Child non-profit thrift store. Their oldest daughter, Jordyn, graduated from Calvary in 2014, and Connor, Mallory, Corbin and Micah are CSH students in the 5th through 12th grades. Jim and Stacey decided early on in their marriage to intentionally steer their family toward an active partnership with church and school and wanted to purposefully invest in their children's spiritual growth. Their involvement with Calvary Schools over the years has been a major part of that plan. With five children, their family interests are diverse and they enjoy (many!) different activities together throughout the year, like time outdoors at the lake and cheering each other on at CSH volleyball games, cross country meets, plays and music concerts.

Jeff Kruithof, Vice-Chairman of the Board

Jeff Kruithof has served on the Calvary School Board for the past three years and is currently serving as the Vice-Chairman. He and his wife Lisa have three daughters and have been a part of Calvary Schools for 13 years. Katelyn graduated in 2016, Emily is in 10th grade and Lindsey is in 7th grade. The Kruithof family loves the Michigan summers. They spend a lot of time on the water and hanging out with good friends.

Did you mark your calendar?

December 19
Cookies & Christmas Stories | 7pm at Plasman

December 21 - January 8
Christmas Break (Dec. 21 is 1/2 day only)

January 9
School resumes and re-enrollment begins

January 9-20
Winterim at Laketown

January 26 & 27

Community Open Houses at Plasman & Laketown
Have you liked Calvary Schools of Holland on Facebook yet? Follow us to see even more news and pictures of our CSH family. Watch our Plasman students begin their day with singing, prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance here.
Calvary Cinch Saks

Calvary Wear Cinch Saks are on sale while supplies last! Support Calvary Schools of Holland with your purchase.
While supplies last. Purchase at Calvary Spirit Store.