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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
One of the many, many benefits that my job enjoys is near-immediate stress relief.  If the pressures of the day seem to be mounting in the superintendent's office, I have the opportunity to vacate it for a few minutes, step outside my door, head in any direction, and within minutes I can  find myself in any number of classrooms where I can be refreshed by eager faces that serve as a constant reminder of the joy of serving in Christian education.  And, of all the classrooms visits that I enjoy across the grade levels of the school, it is my visits to the Early Education building that are what I will term the most "eventful".  Allow me to provide an example by way of a Christmas revelation that I recently enjoyed, stemming from an Early Ed classroom.

One of our Early Education teachers, Mrs. East, was sharing with her students a bit about all of the things that God's gift of Jesus means to the world.  One of her students, a colorful little character who we shall anonymously (for the purposes of our newsletter) refer to as 'Johnny', was at the back of the room washing his hands with my wife who works as an aide in the class.  The question came up: "Who is this Jesus that everyone keeps talking about?"  She explained that Jesus is God's Son, that He came to earth, and died so that our sins could be forgiven.  As he dried his hands, little Johnny innocently exclaimed, "Wow, that sure was nice of Him!"
After hearing that story and laughing so hard that I had to dry tears from eyes, I was struck by a revelation as I realized that maybe, just possibly, all my tears weren't entirely from laughter.  God used Johnny's simple exclamation of appreciation to reveal to me that sometimes it takes the simple expressions of a child to truly capture the beauty of the miracle of Christmas.  While it can be tempting to get lost in doctrines of divine incarnation and all of the theological terminology, the truest majesty of the season of advent is found in the simplicity that even a child can understand.  The beauty of what Christ did is apparent even in the most elementary of understandings--that of a preschooler wrapping his mind around the gift of Jesus.

As we head into this time of advent celebrations, that is my prayer for your family and mine:  that we all realize afresh the beautiful simplicity of this season.

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)

Northwest Christian's Christmas Blessings Realized in the Isaac School District 

Santa, looking curiously similar to Mr. G, delivered nearly 2,000 gifts last Thursday with Student Council  

After a feverish effort by the Northwest Christian High School and Middle School Student Councils, Christmas was "delivered" to several schools in the Isaac School District on Thursday, December 15th.  As part of an effort now in its seventh year, student council led a school-wide effort throughout the holidays--incorporating Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts.  The Northwest Christian Christmas effort has grown to include five schools that are widely considered to serve the neediest communities in the state:  J.B. Sutton Elementary, Alta Butler Elementary, Moya Elementary, P.T. Coe Elementary, and Esperanza Elementary.  (Scottsdale Christian has joined the effort, adopting Esperanza this past year.)  Within these schools, every kindergarten through 4th grade student gets a Christmas gift (toy) and new shoes are provided for every fifth grade student.  "Our students are often stunned to learn," says superintendent Geoff Brown, "that for many of these students, this is the first pair of new shoes that they've ever owned.  I love this project because although it does material good in Isaac schools, it allows our students to grow in ways that often surprise even them."

Seven years ago, the Student Council-driven project began as an effort to provide 125 Thanksgiving meals for needy families at J.B. Sutton Elementary.  Since then, the project has grown to include over 1,300 Thanksgiving meals and hundreds of Christmas gifts at six schools in the Isaac School District and partnerships with neighborhood church Calvario, Scottsdale Christian Academy, and a unique funding relationship with the BHHS Legacy Foundation.  Legacy permits Crusader families to contribute to the project via the Qualifying Charitable Organization Tax Credit and then the Legacy Foundation generously matches funds.  

The relationship with Calvario Church has been a vital piece of the whole initiative.  A bilingual church that resides in near the geographic center of Isaac District, Calvario includes invitations within the meal boxes to services where families have the opportunity to hear the gospel and plug into a local church community.  The church is pastored by Greg and Emilie Johannes--Emilie is part of the teaching faculty at Northwest Christian.

"The whole is this effort," explains Geoff, "is greater than the sum of its parts.  It's more than Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts.  These are the things that open doors and allow these schools--their students, families, and students--to understand that they are uniquely loved.  This is the jumping off point for relationships between our school and these schools that have grown to include so many different opportunities for our students to serve within these communities--all the while sharing the love of Christ."

To understand the scope of the J.B. Sutton Elementary/Isaac School District project over the last few years, take a moment to view the following video:

JB Sutton Project description
JB Sutton Project description

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First Grade Teacher Mrs. Joanne Wohlgemuth Wins KNIX Teacher of the Week  

Nominated by one of her students, Mrs. Wohlgemuth was surprised by the radio crew in her classroom    

Though just in her first year at Northwest Christian, Mrs. Joanne Wohlgemuth is having a profound effect in her classroom and within the school community. So much so that she was nominated by one of her students for the KNIX Teacher of Week honor (sponsored by Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Avondale), an honor that she then won for last week.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 13th, Mrs. Wohlgemuth visited LifeStreams Retirement Center so that her first grade students could spend time celebrating Christmas with the elderly residents.  Shortly after returning to campus that morning, just as the class was resuming the classroom routine of a traditional school day, elementary principal Dawna Underwood presented a welcome surprise as she escorted two members of the KNIX radio team into her class.  The radio personalities interviewed the stunned teacher, brought numerous pizzas to share with the class, and then presented Mrs. Wohlgemuth with a commemorative plaque and a cash prize.

"I am so thrilled," said elementary principal Dawna Underwood of Mrs. Wohlgemuth, "that after years in other schools, Joanne joined our team at NCS.  She been well received by all of our families and such a strong contributor to the first grade team."

Northwest Christian Elementary Students Win the Opportunity to Enjoy NFL Experience  

Twenty-five of our most active students spend the day at University of Phoenix stadium   

Under the direction of elementary physical education teacher Mrs. Courtney Anderson and as part of the National Football League's "Play 60" program, Northwest Christian's fourth and fifth graders were selected to participate in the Play 60 Challenge.  

The challenge is part of a four week national program with the purpose of encouraging students to get at least sixty minutes of physical activity each day.  After applying, the inclusion is an honor because schools are only eligible to be considered for selection once every five years.  

Over the course of four weeks, in addition to their activity at school, students are encouraged to log their minutes of exercise and activity while away from school.  Then, at the end of the designated month, the twenty-five students with the greatest number of logged minutes were eligible to participate in a NFL-sponsored field day at University of Phoenix Stadium on Tuesday, December 13th.  While there, the students enjoyed meeting players from the Cardinals and participating in different activity stations.

Kids Kingdom Orphanage is Annual Labor of Love for NCS Second Graders and School Missions Teams

After six years, these trips are starting to look less like "missions" trips and more like family reunions     
Gifts from NCS 2nd graders wait for Christmas morning under the KK Christmas tree

To say that over the course of the past six years the relationship between the Kids Kingdom orphanage and community church in Imuris, Sonora and Northwest Christian School has blossomed would be an epic understatement.  At this point, the students at Northwest Christian and Kids Kingdom have literally "grown up" together.  In that Kids Kingdom serves as the "missions learning" partner for our 2nd graders and 8th grade represents the first opportunity for Crusaders to visit the orphanage on a multi-day trip, six years into the partnership we're starting to see 8th graders who were 2nd graders six years ago when it all began.  Further, it's now not uncommon for Northwest Christian seniors to graduate with over twenty visits to their friends in Imuris.

The relationship kicks off in second grade where students are annually given their "missions learning" budget from the school in the form of cash which they in turn use to buy Christmas gifts and winter clothing for the residents of Kids Kingdom.  This year, the NCS second graders had the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries of their generosity when, during one of the 8th grade trips in November, the two groups "skyped" back in forth with each other--the second graders literally met the KK kids on the screen in their classroom.  Those Christmas gifts then made their way south of the border on Saturday, December 17th when nearly 100 Crusaders went down for the annual "day trip".  It's a full day--leaving at 5:30am, returning after 9:00pm--but the Northwest Christian visitors bring Christmas with them.  Gifts were delivered by a Santa who bore a strange similarity to 8th grade Bible teacher/Spiritual Formation Director Chris "Mr. G" Gardiner.  This year, the Kids Kingdom residents enjoyed another special surprise when, on Friday, the Crusader varsity chearleaders came down a day early to participate with the Kids Kingdom kids in a Christmas parade through the town of Imuris that drew thousands.  On Saturday, the Northwest Christian visitors participated in a community Christmas celebration, handed out gifts, and hosted a lunch, serving nearly 500 hot dog meals.

Crusaders served lunch to the church community as part of their visit

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NCS Seventh Graders Work to Make a Dent in World Hunger through Feed My Starving Children
As part of the NCS "Missions Learning" program, every grade level at the school is linked to a Christ-serving non-profit which affords our students with an opportunity to frequently serve in a hands-on fashion while also connecting classroom learning to the mission of the organization.  For seventh graders, working to learn about world hunger with Bible teacher Tyler Collins, the non-profit partner has been Feed My Starving Children.  
In the fall of each year, students take a week and sacrifice something from their daily lives and take the money that may have been saved through that sacrifice and give it to FMSC.  The students then take those funds to the FMSC food-packing center and pack meals that are then sent across the globe to help stem the tide of hunger.  In the spring of each year, as part of a project that recently served as the inspiration for the NCS fall film "The Big Score", Mr. Collins gives every student in the 7th grade a $10 cash "microloan".  Collins challenges his students to take their $10, invest it in some form using their time and talents, and see if they can grow that investment to the benefit of FMSC.  (Over the last three years, NCS 7th graders have done just that--with a yield well over $30,000!)  In addition, this year, the 7th graders sold FMSC Christmas ornaments to benefit the organization.

This past month, as part of the culmination of their fall efforts, the 7th graders traveled to the FMSC packing site to assemble the meals that they had purchased.  Upon his return, Mr. Collins was excited to report the results of the trip:  "In addition to packing the food today, I want to let you in on how much money in total was brought in for this organization.  The students raised over $3,500 from their sacrifice and giving.  Over $2,100 came in from the ornament sales.  Half of the ornament sales money would go toward the partners who are making the ornaments so I see that as they raised another $1,050 or so from the ornaments.  When it was all said and done, I was pretty excited about the $4,500 or so that they raised.  Then, as we were wrapping up, I got stopped by an anonymous, generous donor that desired to match the money that students brought in.  Wow!  Over $9,000 to help stop world hunger.  God is good!"

7th graders pray over the meals once they have been packed

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NCS Alumni Planning 1Mission Trip over Christmas Break  

Nearly 20 alumni from '15 and '16 organize trip to build a home for a needy family  

It's not uncommon:  after graduating, well-intended high school alumni aspire to 'stay in touch', reticent to give up the relationships they have built over the previous years.  For Northwest Christian alumni from '15 and '16, those intentions took a noble twist as the group worked to put together a four-day 1Mission trip to Puerto Penasco over their Christmas 2016 break.  More than just "staying connected", the group has enjoyed mission-driven fellowship over the past semester as they have fund-raised and planned the trip.  (On the left, members of the group are pictured at a car wash where a Phoenix Fire truck stopped to help support the cause.)  The trip had originally been a brainstorm of '16 grad Jake Huey (playing baseball at GCC) who initially pulled the trip's pieces together.  
The trip will also be joined by the family of Paul Wilson.  Paul served the school as senior Bible teacher through May of 2016 at which point he took over the admissions department at Manhattan Christian College.  "I was thrilled to hear about this trip," enthused superintendent Geoff Brown.  "We are always so encouraged to see alumni serving the Lord but this was cool because it was NCS alumni serving together and serving despite the 'busy-ness' of college.  And, I love that Paul and his family are going.  All said, it's an expression of what we all want for our kids:  lifelong, Christ-centered relationships."
If you are interested in learning more or supporting the efforts of this group, consider visiting the following link:
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Spotlight on Students:
December is a time for performances, performances, performances!  The pictures below are drawn from just a few of the many festive Christmas-themed, Christ-honoring performances Northwest Christian families enjoyed this month.

From within the High School Choir, directed by Kate Estes, the December High School Choir Concert featured a rousing performance by the Treble Elite.

The MS drama class, taught by Joel Reiss, did an adapted version of The Canterbury Tales with plenty of humor built in for all to enjoy.

At the conclusion of the December Middle School Choir Christmas concert, under the direction of Melissa McGuire, all members of the MS choir students in grades six through eight came together for an epic finale.

Though the screen shot is a bit blurry, the Northwest Christian marching band, led by Scott Williams and wrapped up in Christmas lights, was featured on ABC15 as they participated in the APS Light Parade.

The annual, all-school Christmas chapel is rich with festive traditions!  Amidst the carols, Christmas-themed worship, and student-led scripture readings, there are two traditions that students enjoy tremendously.  The first (above, left) finds the twelve grades of Northwest Christian sing "The 12 Days of Christmas".  The second (above, right) might be the one students love most:  high school Spanish teacher Rafael Garcia leads the school in a rousing rendition of "Feliz Navidad".

Mark your calendar!


Capture NCS

Did you know there are more than 50 tax credit organizations in Arizona that provide tuition assistance to students in private, Christian schools? If you would like to know more about these and other financial tuition assistance programs for K-12th grade students, plan on attending this workshop scheduled for Thursday, January 12th from 5pm-6:15pm on the first floor of the Cook Center. Pizza will be provided.
The "How To Afford A Christian Education Workshop" is being offered as a pre-workshop opportunity in advance of the "Future Freshman/High School Information", "Kindergarten Information" and "Sixth Grade Orientation" events the same evening. Current and prospective NCS parents of preschool thru 12th grade students are encouraged to attend. Workshop registration is required. Please send your RSVP to

Future freshman and high school information night is an exceptional opportunity for our current 8th graders and their parents as well as prospective, new 9th-12th graders and their families to learn about the NCS high school experience. The event will held in the gymnasium from 6:30pm-7:45pm on Thursday, January 12th.

The evening will include information and representatives from academic departments as well as band, chorale, clubs and athletics. The Principal, Admissions Director and Guidance Counselor will be available to meet your family and answer questions. Campus tours will provided by our NCS Student Ambassadors.

Current and prospective new NCS families interested in finding out more about kindergarten at NCS, should plan on attending our kindergarten informational meeting on Thursday, January 12th from 6:30pm-7:45pm on the first floor of the Cook Center. The evening will include an opportunity to meet the kindergarten teachers as well as a detailed presentation by Dawna Underwood, Elementary Principal, about kindergarten readiness. Guided tours by our student ambassadors will be available after the workshop.

Sixth Grade Orientation is scheduled for Thursday, January 12th from 6:30-7:30pm on the second floor of the Cook Center in "The Bunker". Parents are invited to come learn about all the great things that Middle School has to offer. It will be an overview filled with general departmental information and developmental milestones of middle school children. All future 6th grade families are welcome!

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December 19, 2016
Vol. 7, Issue 4   
Galatians 4:4-5
" But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."

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Northwest Christian's Prayer Group for Men 
Colorado Christian University

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You are invited!

Valley West Women's Bible Study

Moms in Prayer
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Built on the Rock Foundation


a NCS service learning partner

The Place 

is a generous NCS Fine Arts Sponsor

State Tuition Tax Credit Opportunity
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Free NCS Bumper Sticker!

Show your school spirit!
Please present this coupon in the school office to receive a complimentary NCS bumper sticker. 
Limit one per family.
Offer Expires: Offer available while current supplies last.
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