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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
Whether it's email, social media, or online reviews, there are numerous avenues along which folks can provide feedback to Northwest Christian School.  As our parents know, with the 2017 Online Parent Partnership Survey just finished, I love fielding feedback and sifting through the nuggets of truth that we receive--constantly striving to improve our half of the vital partnership that we enjoy with our parent community.   Every once in a while, however, whether its social media or email or whatever, there seems to be a particular piece of feedback, whether positive or negative, that momentarily galvanizes everyone's attention.  One of these came in last week after one of our campus visitors posted the following online:  "I am from Tucson and my son played a State volleyball game at this school. They were tough!!  We ended up winning and in the end your boys were so respectful. My son even said 'Man, they were so nice I wish we would've lost'.  We have played many Christian schools who have not represented their school well. As a Christian myself it was wonderful to see this happen. Thank you for growing strong, well educated Christian children."  

As folks have called this to my attention, I have been thrilled to enjoy with them one of those "Go Crusader Nation! Hooraa!" moments of school pride.  Such a note produces gratitude for Coach Hunter and the strong group of young men that make up that team.  I'm so thankful to them for keeping their team a Jesus-first program.   But, these are not the only types of emails, social media posts, and online reviews we receive.  There are " others " and this " other type" sometimes doesn't produce the same feeling of pride and accomplishment (if you follow my meaning).  Sometimes, they produce acute embarrassment and painful chagrin.  But, if I may be transparent, it is this other type that I have come to love most during my years at Northwest Christian.

Last Friday, I had breakfast with Michael Ramey.  Ramey graduated from Northwest Christian in 2016 after coming to the school as a freshman.  He'll freely tell you now what became painfully apparent to all of us during his first three years of high school:  he was not a Christ-follower and in absolutely no danger of being mistaken for one.  He was running hard in the other direction and if you were to hit the "pause button" at any point in those years, any email, social media post, or online review that resulted from folks observing this kid would have fallen firmly in the category of "other type".  But, once you take your finger off that proverbial pause button, Michael's story continued and culminated when he realized that along every point in his journey, Jesus had been in hard pursuit of him.  Ultimately, Jesus got hold of Michael at some point in his senior year and we're now looking at a life transformed in such a way as to realize that there is no mistaking that this was the work of a loving Savior.  (Below, please take a moment to watch Michael's story in the video.  When Michael invited a bunch of us to his church to see him get baptized, the church that he'd started attending, Mountain Ridge Baptist, played this video.)

This morning, as this edition of the Spotlight hits your inbox, Michael is on his way to serve as a missionary intern in Detroit.  He will be working throughout the summer in a neighborhood in Detroit where 90% of residents adhere to Islam and there are 16 mosques in two square miles.  In the name of his newfound Savior, Michael will be serving refugees and struggling families in this area, pointing them towards the same faith in Christ that now energizes his life.  Then, in the fall, he will return to GCU where his major is Biblical Studies.

I tell you this story for two reasons.  First, I want you to consider supporting Michael's missionary journey.   At this LINK, you can visit a website that will connect you to info you need to do that.  Please, prayerfully consider this.

Second, I also want you to hit the pause button within your family's story.  You may very well have a Michael-Ramey-in-process in your home--a kid who isn't yet connecting with the heart of this school:  Jesus.  Your student may be currently producing more embarrassing "online reviews" for your family than positive ones.  If that's your story, please know this:  Jesus is in pursuit of your student just as hard as He has been in pursuit of Michael.  Please, do not give up.  I promise you, as your partner who doesn't really read the online reviews too closely, preferring to see our students the way Jesus sees them, we will not give up either.

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

Michael's Story
Michael's Story


Northwest Christian Wins State Championships in Baseball and Golf

A busy, busy weekend finds Crusaders capturing two Div. III titles 

After going 22-9 in the regular baseball season and entering the state tournament at #8, the Crusaders dug deep and literally clawed their way up the ranks, surprising a number of big schools with their single-minded focus and from-the-heart play.  In the state final against Safford (who had blown out their previous opponent in the tourney by 13 runs), the game turned into a pitching brawl, going seven innings tied at 1-1.  Behind six solid innings of pitching by junior Maverick Veres and a closing inning with senior Tyler Worrell on the mound, the Crusaders finally broke the game open bringing the final score to 6-2.

However, baseball wasn't the only team of Crusaders to earn a state trophy this past weekend.  After a number of years of solid post-season tournament play under long-time Crusader coach and Arizona golfing community mainstay Brian Cornelius, the pieces finally all came together, allowing the team to capture the Division III state title.

The team was led by Frankie Capan who finished five strokes ahead of his nearest rival from Phoenix Country Day School.  The two-day tournament was held at Tucson's Randolph Golf Course.  After two days of compeitions,
Northwest Christian's team score was 599, five shots better than Valley Christian (604). Sedona Red Rock finished third with 616, Lakeside Blue Ridge finished fourth at 620, and Yuma Catholic finished fifth with 624..

NCS Launches Annual Summer 2017 Reading:  "The Cure"

This traditional invitation to the Crusader community is annually the basis for the coming year's spiritual emphasis theme  

Each summer, for the past seven summers, the Northwest Christian community--students, parents, faculty, and staff--has been invited to participate in a summer reading.  In past summers, we've read through the four gospels, one chapter at a time, read Platt's "Radical", Idleman's "Not a Fan", and even spent last summer studying elements of creation with author Russ Miller.  This summer, Northwest Christian is inviting families to experience "The Cure", a book by John Lynch, Bill Thrall, and Bruce McNicol, that offers a chance to rediscover who Jesus is and how He desires to see grace fully realized in our families and school.  We will be challenged to consider how grace, fully understood, impacts so many of the variables that drive us as a school:  learning, outreach, artistic expression, and even discipline.

As an extension of this tradition, Northwest Christian's student leaders use the summer reading as the "springboard" for choosing the spiritual emphasis theme for the coming year.  "Today, I met with our newly elected student government," says superintendent Geoff Brown, "and gave them each a copy of 'The Cure'.  They are committed to prayerfully exploring the themes within this book and determining our course for spiritual emphasis.  This will impact next year's high school camp, much!  I love that this is determined by student leaders learning to listen for God's leading for the school."

Through the summer of 2017, families will be encouraged to read through the book, one chapter each week.  Each Monday, the entire community will receive an email pointing to the chapter, offering resources to support the chapter, and including a video which will feature the authors and Northwest Christian teachers engaging the chapter from a uniquely NCS-perspective.  "I'm excited for the opportunity to enjoy this book with two different small groups this summer," explains Geoff, "and I'm praying that's what happens throughout the Crusader community--families, students, coming together to pour through this."  "The Cure" is available for $10 in the school office and includes a DVD.  Or, families can order it online through at this LINK.

ONe of the resources springing from the summer reading will be "Love and Logic" parenting classes that will be offered free to Crusader families throughout the summer.  "These Love and Logic classes align with the themes presented in the reading and also align with how discipline looks within the school," says elementary principal Dawna Underwood.  "I am excited for families who want to continue growing in their understanding of how to help their kids become the young adults they desire them to ultimately become.  The parenting classes will be presented by Pastor Brad Small.  Brad is a dad and a pastor who knows how to speak to the hearts of men, which helps entire families come together around the idea of having kids take responsibility for their behavior and learn from natural consequences."  These classes will include free childcare, free books which support the teaching, and a complementary, catered dinner.

The Cure - Intro
The Cure - Intro

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Northwest Christian is First School to Join Ottawa University's Partner School Program 

The partnership means significant scholarship money is available for Northwest Christian grads    

Long associated with continuing education for adults, Ottawa University is about to surprise folks on a number of fronts.  First, as billboards around town and recent press releases ("The Spirit is Coming!") have signified, as part of a partnership with the city of Surprise, Ottawa is building a state-of-the-art residential university campus in Arizona.  Second, within that expansion, the university is working to reinvigorate its Christian heritage and distinctive in the understanding of its new community.  Founded in 1865 in Kansas, the school grew out of the missionary efforts of Rev. Jotham Meeker and his wife, Eleanor.  Serving as ministers, nurse and doctor, business agents, marriage counselors, teachers, and, of course, as spiritual counselors for the Ottawa tribe, the university began as a vehicle to educate members of that tribal community.  Today, staying true to its Christian heritage, the university has expanded to 5,000 students on eight campuses.  This fall, the school projects to open in Surprise, Arizona with over 400 students and working closely with west valley leaders, they have outlined an aggressive growth strategy which includes a full range of academic programs and athletic opportunities.

This past week, Northwest Christian was the first Arizona school to sign on to OUAZ's "Alliance program for a Quality Christian Education".  Within this partnership, graduating NCS seniors can enjoy scholarships which range from $7,000 to $15,000 per year based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores.  Additionally, NCS parents enjoy a 20% discount off tuition in the event they plan to pursue continuing ed opportunities.  "I enjoyed attending the OUAZ campus dedication," says superintendent Geoff Brown, "and both seeing and hearing about the direction that this new campus is headed.  I truly believe that these next few years will find this school a force in the valley to be reckoned with as well as a meaningful opportunity for our students."

One such student who is already benefiting from the Ottawa opportunity is senior McKenna Richards who, in addition to enjoying the scholarship benefits of the OUAZ Alliance partnership, has signed on to play soccer at the school.  The signing represents a real moment of synergy for long time Northwest Christian soccer coach Jeff Penzone who is also now part of the admissions team at the school.

The partnership is the fourth such arrangement that Northwest Christian has formed with regional Christian universities which also include Arizona Christian University, Colorado Christian University, and Grand Canyon University.  "We were also the very first Christian high school to sign to GCU's Canyon Christian Schools Consortium," says Geoff, "and this year almost half of our seniors included GCU as one of the universities to which they are applying.  I believe that we will ultimately see OUAZ come to present the same sort of affordable, private, Christian education option for our students.  That excites me a great deal.  I'm also grateful to Ottawa for sponsoring our 'Dads and Donuts' program this next year.  We experimented with it twice this past year and had a phenomenal turnout.  There is a real appetite for this within the Crusader community.  To see Ottawa desire to sponsor this tells me that they understand what this community is all about."

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Northwest Christian Sponsors 2nd Annual NXNW 48-Hour Film Challenge  

Ten student films will compete in the 4th annual NXNW Film Festival at the Harkins Norterra this fall 

After a very successful run of 2017's spring musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie", the Northwest Christian Fine Arts department is already in high gear both finishing out the spring and preparing for fall.  In late April, NCS hosted the 2nd annual NXNW 48-Hour Film Challenge, an effort coordinated and facilitated through partnerships with PureFlix and Cabin Fever Films.  The 48-Hour Film Challenge found multiple teams of high schoolers coming together on a Friday night at Elevate Coffee in north Phoenix.  The students were given a prop, a character, and a line of dialog and, once these were announced, they had 48 hours to write an original short film, capture it on camera, edit it, and then submit it.  In all, on Sunday night, there were ten submissions that came in.  These ten will make up one of the multiple categories of competition at the 4th annual PureFlix NXNW Film Festival this fall.  For the past three years, the fall fest has grown in scope, selling out each time.  Hosted within four theaters at Harkins Norterra theater, attendees have the opportunity to view each of the student films in the various categories and then use their smart phones to vote from within the theaters and in the moment.  At the end of the evening, cash prizes are awarded based on the audience's selections and those chosen by a panel of film-industry professionals.

The 2017 NXNW Fest will also represent the premier of the Fall 2017 school film, "Wreckage".  Writer and director Damon Evans has already held informational meetings on the campus for aspiring participants in the film as that Wreckage will represent the most ambitious school film to date.  The cast and crew of high schoolers will be filming on location in Winslow, Arizona.  The film is set in a post-apocalyptic setting, will feature plenty of action sequences, and will include one of the larger casts to date.  Officials from the city of Winslow have already met with Northwest Christian admin and are rolling out the red carpet for the production with particpation from area businesses and even the city's police department.  More info on auditions will be coming your way early this summer.

"Read Across NCS 2017" Produces Hundreds of Reading Sleuths Across the Campus
Students explored the genre of mystery literature and accumulated 108,000 minutes of reading within a single week     

The NCS version of "Read Across America" is a big deal!  Every year, students enjoy an "over the top" campaign designed to produce a memorable week of learning and foster a love for reading.  The 2017 version of the week centered around the mystery genre as that the beloved campus cleaning mascot for the elementary,"Cleo the Cleaning Crusader", was 'kidnapped' by an unknown culprit.  Throughout the week, every time a class collectively accumulated 1,000 reading minutes, they earned another clue.  As the classes collected and read these clues, each successive clue took classes one step closer to identifying the culprit.  In the final assembly, each class identified their top suspect and, at last, the culprit was revealed.  In this video, we see the culprit run from the assembly, chased by the NCS-version of Sherlock Holmes.  Mr. Nelson told the students that he'd capture the chase on Facetime and show it to them on the big screen in the assembly.  (What the students thought was happening "live" on Facetime was actually filmed weeks in advance!)  After the video played, and the hero faces a rather dire end, the culprit raced back into the assembly only to be apprehended by...surprise!...Sherlock who returned to the raucous applause of the students.

The week represented a momentous amount of effort by the school's librarian, Mrs. Becky Roman.  She and her library team calculated reading minutes and worked overtime to keep voracious readers stocked with age-appropriate mystery books.  Throughout the week, students tore through the campus looking for clues while having a ton of fun reading.  In sum, elementary students accumulated 108,000 total reading minutes within their reading logs.  At the final assembly, it was Mrs. Lusher's fifth grade class and Mrs. Nielsen's Kindergarten class that successfully identified elementary principal Dawna Underwood as the Cleo culprit.

If you would like to enjoy the clues and the mystery story that the students enjoyed, click on the following link:

If you would like to see the final confrontation between Sherlock and the culprit, watch the video below:

Read Across NCS 2017
Read Across NCS 2017

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Spotlight on Students:
Despite Challenges, Junior Emily Wingo Pursues Her Passion for Children's Ministry
In the face of a debilitating kidney illness, Emily remains committed to God's call on her life to minister to kids     

As you watch junior Emily Wingo traverse the Northwest Christian campus, you will see a wonderfully confident young lady, surrounded by friends, and in possession of an indomitable smile. Like most juniors, she has already started making plans for college, excited to pursue what she considers God's call upon her life: a career in children's ministry. For college, she's presently considering different ministry study paths at either Grand Canyon University or Hope International University. "At church," she explains, "whenever I work with kids, I have felt an urge...this is what I am supposed to do!" Since eighth grade she has taught Sunday school with preschoolers and the experience has resonated deeply with her.

Emily's journey took an unexpected turn in January 2017 when, on her way to class, she suddenly felt a severe weakness, to the point where she couldn't climb the stairs. "I called my folks because I thought I might have strep--that was going around. I felt weak and a pain in my side which I thought might be a pulled muscle." What Emily learned from the doctors in the emergency room that day was that she was in kidney failure. The doctors ultimately discovered the reason for Emily's kidney failure was a rare genetic disorder called nephronopthisis. She also learned that the only remedy available would be a kidney transplant. A healthy donor with matching blood type would need to be found so that she could continue towards what she feels is God's plan for her life. As she looks towards the possibility of that surgery this summer, she explains, "I feel pretty good about it but I want to get it over. I'm anxious about the surgery but at the same time there are times that I am ready to go. I'm mostly good but, to be honest, there are times that I do feel overwhelmed."

As Emily reflects on the path that the Lord has her on, she is realizing that God is using this moment in her story to shape her heart and her future. "Now, as I think about God's call," Emily reflects, "because of this experience, I feel more equipped to minister to children with health challenges. Maybe I can help them through this type of an experience." Emily goes on to explain that she is now prayerfully considering a career path that might include becoming a children's chaplain in a hospital or becoming a certified Child Life specialist--an individual equipped to encourage children struggling with serious illnesses.

Until a donor is found, Emily faces three-hour dialysis sessions twice each week. As a school, we're helping to put the word out to the community and inviting folks to consider the possibility of helping Emily by becoming a kidney donor. If the reader senses God prompting their heart to consider this option, Emily's family is looking for healthy individuals between 18 and 55 who are not experiencing high blood pressure or diabetes. The donor's blood type needs to be A or O--it makes no difference whether the blood type is positive or negative. If you are interested in learning more about Emily's story or considering your suitability as a potential donor, please email Emily's parents, Mark and Kelley Wingo at or
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Spotlight on Students:
The end of the school year is always a busy, busy time!  This year is certainly no exception.  Take a glance at some of the highlights within the pictures below.

Arizona Central chose Northwest Christian golfer Frankie Capan as "High School Athlete of the Month" for April.  Check out what they said about Frankie:  " Has a 3.8 GPA ... At the White Mountain Invitational, he won by 15 strokes ... Shot 18-under-par in a 2-day, 36-hole tournament at the Desert Christian Invitational on April 7-8 ... "Whenever I'm having a down day, I think of golf," he said ... Won the AJGA Ping Heather Farr Classic with a 5-under-par 208, carding four birdies during the last round ... Selected for the 2017 Junior World Cup Event in Japan during the summer ... National Honor Society and Leadership Links member ... Committed to play golf at Alabama ... "My expectations of him have been exceeded," coach Brian Cornelius said."

The Northwest Christian Fire Science class participated in their 2nd annual hoseline battle.  On each side, fire science students had to handle the fire hose in such a way as to propel a ball across their opponent's end line.  This year's competitions also included battles between Mr. Brown and senior Jacob Lytle (Brown got blown out and sopping wet!) and 8th grade Bible teacher Chris Gardiner and his son, R.J.

Congrats to 2016 grads Ray Kindred and Easton Hunt.  The two are the first from the relatively new Northwest Christian Fire Science Program to be hired on to the Phoenix Fire Department.  The two 19-year-olds are two of the three youngest applicants (out of a pool of over 3,000) to be hired as part of this latest Phoenix Fire cohort.


As part of their Missions Learning effort, each spring 7th graders are given a $10 micro-loan and challenged to develop a plan that will allow them to "multiply" that investment to the benefit of the 7th grade Missions Learning partner, Feed My Starving Children.  7th grader Lexi Carver took her micro-loan and used it to develop "Intentional Kindness" bracelets, with Ephesians 4:32 printed on them, to sale in-person and online.  The effort has gone "viral" with over 300 bracelets sold in states as far away as Alabama, Texas, California, Colorado, and Alaska.  In this fashion, over the last three years, 7th graders have raised over $50,000 for Feed My Starving Children.

This spring, Northwest Christian senior Jacob Lytle and Ezra Nelson signed to play football at the University of Wisconsin--River Falls.  "Tough as nails," is how Athletic Director David Inness described the two young men.  "Jacob once played a whole half before telling us that his rib had been displaced.  And, Ezra is a threat from whistle to whistle.  Unstoppable."

Members of the team of Crusaders headed to Cambodia for the summer 2017 missions trip just held a successful rummage sale and are pictured above.  The team is led by junior Bible teacher, Matt Diaz, and will be joined by several Northwest Christian alumni.  This includes Lauren Waymire, the daughter of Northwest Christian's history teacher, Deb Waymire.  Lauren is presently teaching in Hong Kong and will be joining the team in Cambodia.

The Don Sanderson Gymnasium was converted into a Feed My Starving Children packing site as part of the culmination of Jog-a-thon 2017.  Over the course of four packing sessions, the goal of 100,000 meals was met and exceeded by nearly 10%.

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May 15, 2017
Vol. 7, Issue 6  
II Chron. 7:14
"... if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. "

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is a generous NCS Fine Arts Sponsor

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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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