The Midwest Messenger
Midwest Society for Protestant Reformed Secondary Education
Greetings from the board of trustees!
Report on the annual society meeting held July 21, 2004:
1.Board chairman Perry Van Egdom read Isaiah 12 and opened the meeting with prayer.
2. Audible roll call was taken. 60 members were present.
3. Minutes of the annual society meeting held July 14, 2003 were read and received for information.
4. Letters of resignation were received from Rev. R. Smit and Richard Moore. These resignations were accepted by motion.
5. The formula of subscription was read and the floor was opened to receive new members. There were no new members this year.
6. The annual secretary’s and treasurer’s reports were rendered.
7. Voting took place to elect new board members. Elroy Altena and David King were elected to replace Alvin Bleyenburg and Dennis Burgers, who retire from the board after serving three year terms.
8. After discussion, Proposal 1, to adopt the preliminary phase one building plan was adopted.
9. After more discussion, Proposal 2, to secure an engineering/architectural firm was not adopted.
10. Script minutes were read and adopted.
11. After the motion to adjourn, Rev. D. Kleyn closed the meeting with prayer.
The board thanks all who attended for their candid discussion and brotherly conduct. We covet your prayers and financial support as we continue to strive for Protestant Reformed secondary education in this area.
At the board meeting held July 29, 2004 the board officers and committees was reconstructed to the following:
President: Perry Van Egdom
Vice-President: Gene Van Bemmel
Secretary: Herm Boonstra
Treasurer: Chad Andringa
Building Committee: Elroy Altena(chair), Ed Westra, Jeff Andringa, Dennis Burgers, Ike Uittenbogaard
Education Committee: Gene Van Bemmel(chair), Peter Brummel, Chester Hunter, Jr., Roy Slice
Finance Committee: Chad Andringa, Brian Gritters, David Kooiker
Promotion Committee: Perry Van Egdom, Jeff Baker, Chad Uittenbogaard
The following article is reprinted from the Fall 2002 Perspectives in Covenant Education. It is entitled “In the Hands of the Lord”, written by Dan Van Uffelen. It contains his reflections upon his first year of teaching, which happened also to be the first year of existence for Heritage Protestant Reformed High School in Chicagoland. Some of his comments pertain to his particular circumstances alone, but many belong to Protestant Reformed education and a small Protestant Reformed high school. These thoughts can be easily applied to our situation and provide food for thought for us as we endeavor to proceed with our own high school.
“Is it worth the move? Who will be our new friends? A brand new high school? Is it going to be big enough? Only fifteen students? With whom will I be working? What will the students be like? What classes will I teach? Where will we worship? Where will I work in the summer? Can we find a house? Should we find an apartment? Is this the best thing for us?
My mind was swirling with questions as I approached my first year of teaching. When the news reached me that there was going to be a new Heritage Christian High School in Chicagoland, I was both thrilled and cautious. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sure, I knew it would be a grand adventure, but moving to another state, making new friends, finding a new church home, and wandering into the wide open field of teaching all in one year made me think twice. I wondered if this was the right thing for my wife and I.
It most certainly was. To a certain extent, while I was fretting over all of these questions, I had forgotten about the hands that hold me. My first year as a teacher was a long lesson about the providence of God. To summarize the events of our first year at Heritage, I could turn to so many things: my first day as a “real teacher”, class trips to Cognis, the Chicago Tribune, the Field Museum, and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel; the interesting and unexpected bundle of classes I ended up teaching; basketball; volleyball; chapels; interim; the list goes on and on. What I am going to focus on, however, are a handful of things that I believe God used to mold me the most as a teacher: September 11, fifteen students, Christian enthusiasm, and a life-threatening disease.
I was with my students on Tuesday, September 11, the day the twin towers of the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground along with thousands of American lives. Thinking back to that day, I’m not really sure what I said first or how I first reacted. I had only been teaching for a couple of weeks. We led the students to a large room to watch the news, grasp what had happened, research the topic, and reflect on the day’s events from a Christian perspective.
This day left a strong impression on me. I learned that teaching is much more than planning lessons and plodding through papers. Teaching involves handling the unexpected in a Christian way. Our actions speak louder than our words. How we, as teachers, react to tragedy and loss does not go unnoticed by the students. Students look to us for guidance especially in times like these. September 11 helped me realize this. I became more aware of my Christian behavior by reading God’s Word on a regular basis. Only when one is spiritually strong can one react to a September 11 in a Godly way. I began to read the Bible more diligently and concentrate on what teaching is really all about – helping students to see the fingerprints of God in every area of life, even an appalling terrorist attack. In a time when some might have questions about the providence of God, I was comforted by the fact that our God is a sovereign God. The Lord works in mysterious ways. September 11 helped me immensely as a teacher, making me more aware of my Christian behavior and example in front of students and leading me to the understanding that true teachers are true students of the Scriptures.
One of the tallest hurdles for me to jump when considering the teaching position at Heritage Christian High School was the fact that it was so small. Student teaching at West Ottawa Public High School in Holland prepared me to interact with 150 students a day. Heritage had fifteen. Through my narrow vision, I saw this as a disadvantage, but I soon learned that a small school is a blessing in disguise. A small school with three teachers and fifteen students was the best thing for me.
Being small, Heritage provided me with the wonderful opportunity to spend more time with each student, allowing me to get to know them on a personal level and develop strong friendships. The students, in turn, bottled up with each other every day, developed strong and lasting friendships amongst themselves. The small number of students also enabled me to focus on my teaching style, subject content, and lesson plans, rather than spending my time grading 150 papers each night. Although my initial concern was that Heritage was much too small, I came to learn that this was indeed not the case at all. My outlook was much too small and my concern was in the wrong place. One student and one teacher would not make too small a school. How could it? The only Christian school too small is no school at all, which brings me to the next influence on me as a teacher.
To be continued next time……….
Our next meeting will be August 26, 2004 in the Hull Protestant Reformed School.
Our treasurer reports income of $877.90 making total funds available as of July 29, 2004 to be $232,818.62.