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Sharing My Story - Katelyn Banks

May 28, 2016
By Laura Eisenga

Today we're sharing the Sunnyside Christian School story of Katelyn Banks, a senior at Sunnyside Christian High School. 

SCS: Hi Katelyn, what do you like most about the education you have received at SCS?

Katelyn: It has well prepared me to attend the college of my choice, make wise decisions, and live a happy, faithful life.

SCS: Tell us about a teacher or two who has impacted you at SCS.

Katelyn: Mr. Wierenga – Although I only had him for one year, Mr. Wierenga left a lasting impression on my life. In the 5th grade, I can vividly remember him encouraging me in my school work to persevere and work hard. Because of his encouragement, I really started putting my fullest effort into my academics. He took myself and a few other classmates to a “Math is Cool” competition, and I remember us having a blast together. He also was a great encourager and supporter of my athletics. Even in high school, he came to some of my basketball games and congratulated me on my efforts. He was an “above and beyond” teacher, and I will never forget his lasting, positive actions toward me.

Mr. Smeenk – not only did I have Mr. Smeenk as a teacher for a couple years, but he has also been my high school basketball coach for over the last four years. Ever since being his student in junior high, he has actively cared and supported me in all my endeavors. From academics, to athletics, to being a dairy ambassador, he has been to a lot of events supporting me that were not even always school related. Mr. Smeenk genuinely cares about each and every one of his students and players. We have spent MANY hours in the classroom and gym together. It has been an amazing journey with him as my basketball coach, and I would not change the memories I have with him or my teammates for anything.

SCS: If someone was thinking about sending their child to SCS, what would you tell them?

Katelyn: When students left SCS, it was usually do to them wanting more opportunities at a larger high school. I was always discouraged and wondered if I was missing out on something by attending a smaller school.

However, I am so grateful I stayed at SCS. When you are a student at SCS, every teacher and faculty member knows you by more than a name. You are part of a family. I often took this simple thing for granted. At bigger schools and universities, students are typically known by their first name or number. This is definitely not the case at SCS.

I love the relationships that I was able to build with my teachers. They really do care about each student. Whenever I had to miss class, the teachers would be willing to meet before or after school to help me catch up. Theirs is not an eight hour job. I have met teachers at 6 a.m. for help on my homework, seen them cheering me on at a game after school, and even met up with them on weekends for homework help. Their care is very genuine for the students.

SCS: How are you involved at SCS?

Katelyn: I have been attending SCS since Kindergarten with Mrs. Bos. As I grew older, I became more involved with different activities and clubs SCS had to offer.

I was on the student council in junior high for two years, played AAU and middle school volleyball, basketball and softball, participated in the geography bee, and Math Is Cool.

In high school I participated in student council, FFA, yearbook, varsity volleyball, basketball, and softball, and honor society. Whether it is being the student council president or captain on a sports team, there are many opportunities for me at SCS to participate in an array of activities, as well as hold leadership positions within all. I developed valuable skills and built my self-esteem through being so involved.

Because of my academic achievements and extracurricular activities through SCS, I have been awarded with $83,000 in scholarships to continue my education thus far. Athletics are also a big part of my life. Through participating in sports at SCS and improving as an athlete by my SCS coaches, I was offered Division 1, 2, 3, NAIA, and community college scholarships to continue my passion for basketball.

SCS: Wow, congratulations! What is next for you after graduation?

Katelyn: After graduation, I will be attending Seattle Pacific University. I will be double majoring in human physiology and biology. I was also accepted into SPU’s BioCORE program. My ultimate goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon.


L&M Cleveringa says:
June 01, 2016 10:24 PM CST

 Way to go Katelyn

 . So proud of you!!

Joe Bales says:
September 28, 2018 04:40 PM CST
Such an impressive career at SCS, so impressed that you took so many lessons from your coaches and used those lessons to prepare you for life after SCS.