Sunnyside Christian School Blog

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Archives - May 2015

Sharing Our Story - The Haak Family

May 20, 2015
By Lissa Haak

My husband and I were both privileged to attend SCS for all of our primary and high school years. Jordan graduated in 2005 and I did in 2003. Looking back, it is easy to see how important the various Christian influences were to our formative years.

A main point that really sticks out in my memory is the close relationships that I was able to form with my fellow classmates and the teachers I had. I graduated in a class of 20, and 13 of us had gone to kindergarten together. Growing up like this makes your classmates like family. Our teachers genuinely cared for us, and I have many memories of various teachers really spending time getting to know me, and not just trying to educate me.

While I was in high school, my class lost a few members who transferred to various public school systems so that they could take advantage extra educational and social “opportunities” that were available. At the time, I remember thinking that that wasn’t a bad idea, get some college credits, AP classes and whatnot. I graduated from SCHS and headed off the next fall to Seattle Pacific University. In my first few weeks there I took several placement tests in math, English, and foreign language. I tested out of math (thanks, Mr. Gorter); tested out of English (yep, Mr. Wagenaar, that one goes to you); and placed in year 4 of Spanish despite only taking 2 years in high school (Mr. Cain). Goes to say that I got an excellent education, and was well prepared for my start to college.

Jordan also attended SPU after his graduation from SCHS and was actually able to complete a 4 year degree in 3 years, also showing an excellent educational background to starting college. Overall, we both feel that the high standards we were held to at SCHS were hugely impactful on our success in college. We were married in 2007, and we both graduated from SPU in 2008, Jordan with a bachelor of arts in business administration and myself with a bachelor of science in nursing.

Upon entering the work force we both became quickly aware of how “sheltered” we had been going to Christian schools for our entire lives. We were now more than ever exposed to the “real” world. At this point is where I really became thankful for the strong Christian education I had in my background. I was so glad that the issues I was being exposed to, I was exposed to them at a mature age and when my faith was strong enough to deal with it.

Jordan and I now have 2 girls, Claire (3 12) and Reagan (2), and we plan to send them to SCS starting this fall when Claire will join preschool. We have never considered anything other than a Christian education for our children. Our main job as parents is to educate our children about Christ, and we are excited that we can supplement what happens at home with an amazing Christian education. I love that I can have confidence that the teachers at SCS really care about my children.

As a child attending SCS, I didn’t give much thought to the cost of education. As we anticipate beginning the school years with our kids, we now realize the financial planning involved. To us, Christian education is an investment in the future of our children, and in all honesty, I cannot think of anything better to invest in. I would love my girls to receive an education in which they can have the opportunity to become grounded in their faith. I want them to be surrounded by other Christians so they can see that choosing Christ is a blessing. In the crazy world we live in, I want my girls to be able to look back and see shining examples of living the faith, and gain the courage needed to do so themselves.

I am so happy to share briefly our story. I truly believe SCS has played a major role in shaping who I am today and am truly excited to rejoin the community as a parent.

Sharing Our Story - Renae Visser

May 13, 2015
By Renae Visser

My name is Renae Visser, daughter of Greg and Connie Visser. I was born and raised in the beautiful valley of Sunnyside. I went to Sunnyside Christian School from Kindergarten with Mrs. Bos all the way to my senior year, where I was taking a class on Christian adult living with Mr. Wagenaar, eager to see what was ahead for me in life.

Sunnyside Christian School is not just a place that taught me how to solve an algebraic equation, or the ways to use APA format in writing an essay, but was a place that prepared me for the many challenges and adventures that life has given me since I left the halls of Sunnyside Christian. 

During my time as a student at Sunnyside Christian, I was a typical case of the social butterfly. I remember in third grade asking my parents why they weren’t going to parent teacher conferences, and their response was: “Why would we go? We know the teacher is going to say that Renae loves school, but she just talks too much!” This is something that got me in trouble all through school, but has been a part of shaping who I am today.

Something that helped me in who I am today was the incredible challenge that each teacher put into every part of my education. Sunnyside Christian is a place that values hard work, and this was evident though the amount of faith that my teachers had in each of us as learners, to make us into the best students we could be. Teachers are special people! ( I say this as I begin my career as a teacher!) They mold students in the ways they choose, and I can say with complete confidence that they molded me into someone who refuses to accept a passing grade, and rather strives to be better.

With this being said, I have always struggled through school. I had teachers who never looked down on me for not understanding a concept right away; rather they looked at it as an opportunity to show me new ways of learning. With this, I went to Dordt College feeling confident that Sunnyside Christian High School had given me all of the possible tools to succeed in my life to come. 

Faith was a huge part of the decision that my parents made in sending me to a Christian school. It required a lot of prayer, sacrifice, and love to decide to give me the best education they could. However, I know with full confidence that my parents, having watched me and my journey through Sunnyside Christian would see the amount of love that I have found in my friendships to be something that is invaluable. Now, as I am a college graduate of Dordt College, four years from my graduation from Sunnyside Christian School, I still remain close with many of my classmates, knowing that they will be relationships that will continue for the rest of my life.

I am, however, a unique example of life after Sunnyside Christian. During my junior year as a college student, I lost my mom in her battle to cancer. This was not the only hardship in my life; two other people from my high school lost a parent in the same year. Though we were no longer high school students, we were able to band together in the faith and love that we had for each other and our families to fight through the hardships that were in our lives. This life experience opened my eyes even more to the importance of the relationships I formed in the community of Sunnyside Christian School.

Now, a year after my mom’s passing, a college diploma in my hand, a fiancé, and a classroom full of energetic third graders, I am excited to see what God has in store for me in the years to come. With my graduation from Dordt College, I am looking forward to marrying Trey Hugen on July 11. After our wedding day, we are excited to announce that we have both accepted teaching positions in Modesto California. I will be teaching third grade, and Trey will be teaching fifth grade.

This is an exciting time in our lives, and I would like to thank every person at Sunnyside Christian School who has helped me in becoming the daughter in Christ that I am. To God be the glory for the many things He has done! 

Sharing Our Story - The Alseth Family

May 06, 2015
By Tyler and Stacy Alseth

Sunnyside Christian School has not only helped our children grow in their relationship with God, it has helped us. When we decided to send our first child to Sunnyside Christian, we felt an urge to start living our lives more for God than ourselves. We wanted our children to learn to know and love God not only from us but from school. 

Since that day we made the decision and have changed the focus of our family. We are a God-focused family, and I believe the Christian school has helped us maintain that focus. 

Our children love going to Sunnyside Christian! They feel supported and loved just like they do at home. We as parents feel like school is their second home. The whole staff knows each child and parent by name and makes them feel welcome each and every day.

Not only have our children grown in their Christian lives but they have been successful in the classroom due to the academic standards at Sunnyside Christian School.

Ella, our ten-year-old, says, "Everyone is nice to you, the teachers talk about God and we get closer to God."

Sadie, our eight-year-old, says, "We get to learn about God, the teachers teach us to make good choices, and to help others.  We also learn God's Word from the Bible and sing songs about God. Instead of sitting inside all day we get to go outside and move around."

Gunnar, our six-year-old, says he loves everything about the school! When asked to be more specific, he says, "Science, PE, math and music. I like my teacher. She is nice, I also learned that God is our King."

Tyler and Stacy Alseth and their three children attend First Baptist Church.

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