Brodie Meyer '13

I transferred to CCHS when I was a junior in high school, and it was one of the best
decisions that I have ever made. CCHS is where I worked with some incredible coaches -
helping me to achieve my goal of playing baseball in college. CCHS is where I first learned
calculus and physics - the basis of engineering, computing, and the business that I am involved
with today. CCHS is where I learned about myself, my faith, and how to attempt to find balance
in life. It was a place where I started to become my own person, learning how to roll with the
punches and to keep on moving forward.

Since graduating CCHS in 2013, I moved to Indianapolis in order to attend Butler
University and pursue my dream to play college baseball. I did not receive a full scholarship, so
my parents had to help me out financially, and the only way that they would be willing to do so is
if I studied something rooted in mathematics. I decided to enroll in Butler’s dual degree program
with IUPUI, giving me the opportunity to study economics at Butler and mechanical engineering
at Purdue. I quickly fell in love with engineering, business, and the idea of building companies.
Today, I am the CEO of a software company called FuseMe, Inc., based in Indianapolis. Our
team works with higher-ed institutions and employers in order to help speed up the recruiting
process. We just closed our Series Seed financing round, which included 10 strategic investors
and a valuation of $3 Million.

My time at CCHS was critical to my college and professional lives. In one way or
another, the people around me at CCHS helped to shape me into who I am and who I aspire to
be. My most valued time at CCHS was not the time spent in the classroom - it was the time
spent building relationships with the amazing people in that community. These people have
been there for me through the toughest times that I have ever experienced. I was blessed to
have made some lifelong friends at Chi High - some who I see every time that I come back to
Chicago, some that I need to get back in touch with, and a couple who still inspire me from the
grave. Thank you, CCHS!



Amy Bulthuis Huckstep '05

It's hard to believe that I graduated from CCHS 14 years ago! I look back fondly on my four years there. It certainly doesn't seem that long ago that I was balancing equations in Dr. Kuipers' chemistry class, computing the area beneath a curve in Dr. Roose's calculus class, or playing trumpet in band with Ms. Root. Although each day was full of new challenges, these teachers played a major role in preparing me for my future. They brought excitement to the subjects they were teaching and challenged us how to view each area with a Christian worldview.

Since graduation, I attended Trinity Christian College where I majored in biology and minored in Chemistry. Afterwards, I received my Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2014, I married my husband, Dustin, and we just recently had a son, Oliver. For the past four years, I have worked at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Neuro Day Rehab Center in Homewood, IL (formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). We provide rehab services to patients after neurological injuries or diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's Disease. Each day is spent teaching patients how to regain functions such as standing, walking, and using wheelchairs so they can be as independent as possible in their home and community.

One particularly exciting part of my job is the opportunity to network with local schools to create new equipment to improve our training capabilities as therapists. Two years ago I began a project with five students from Northwestern School of Engineering to address improved wheelchair skills training. Learning wheelies requires significant repetitions and can be dangerous to both the patient and treating therapist. Any mistake could tip a wheelchair and cause injury. Through collaboration with the engineering students, we were able to develop the "Alligator Tail," a harness device that attaches to the back of a wheelchair. It allows the patient to perform a wheelie, but stops the chair from tipping too far back, preventing any possible injury. The device was patented in June of 2019. Engineers from Shirley Ryan AbilityLab are working toward developing an updated model for future use with patients. Pictures and video of the device can be viewed here: https://www.sralab.org/inside-look/december-2018-wheelie-training-tool-featured-big-ten-network or https://www.sralab.org/inside-look/may-2019-lift-mission-moment-homewood-pts-idea-sparks-collaborative-project-wheelchair

Chicago Christian High School provided a strong foundation that set me up for future success not only in my vocation as a physical therapist but also in my personal life as a wife and mom. Sitting in chapel 14 years ago, Pastor Chip told us we should "be like the moon; reflect the sun." He encouraged us to daily reflect Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I remember that message to this day as I strive to show Christ's love to the patients I treat and work to restore mobility.

LiFT Mission Moment: Homewood PT’s Idea Sparks Collaborative Project, Wheelchair Training Tool Design | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab - Formerly RIC
Over her career, Amy Huckstep, a physical therapist at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab DayRehab Center Homewood, has taught dozens of new wheelchair users how to do wheelies. But it was only when she attempted to learn how to do one herself that she realized just how difficult the skill is to master. Out of this idea — and an innovative collaboration between Shirley Ryan AbilityLab clinicians and Northwestern University (NU) McCormick School of Engineering students — came the Alligator Tail. This is the name of the prototype of a detachable metal device that prevents a wheelchair from tipping back too far during wheelie training and actually allows wheelchair users to safely practice wheelies on their own.


Wheelie Training Tool Featured on Big Ten Network | Shirley Ryan AbilityLab - Formerly RIC
The Alligator Tail — the result of an innovative collaboration between a team of Shirley Ryan AbilityLab clinicians and Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering students — was recently highlighted in a Big Ten Network (BTN) article.



Doug Pruim '93

I attended CCHS from 1989 to 1993, but my family had been part of the community, including Southwest Christian, for much longer. My sister was a few years ahead of me; she was a senior when I was a freshman. My parents had also attended Christian High. In fact, we had several of the same teachers (e.g., “Johnny” Meyer, Miss Mary, Miss Louters, Mr. Fransman). The summer before my freshman year, I had surgery, so I was in a full-leg cast; I got the cast off in October and promptly broke that same leg three weeks later. I spent nearly my whole freshman year on crutches. We sat alphabetically, so poor Heather Roozeboom, then Ozinga, had to sit by my unwashed, adolescent-boy, open-toed cast, which after a few months was not smelling too sweet. I’m a father of a teenage boy now, so from the depths of my heart, Heather, I apologize. Many experiences from high school shaped the course of my life: I got into theater, wrote comedy sketches, joined the choir, learned about improv, navigated friendships, changed career interests, the list goes on. My favorite (or most memorable) class at CCHS was “creative writing” with Gary Meyer; he encouraged me to express my feelings in an essay that won an award and brought me closer to my father. During my senior year, Keith McMaster had a vision to pirate the “Channel 1” news that was broadcast in every class with our own episode; a group of us worked together on this epic video, and, I’ll just say, our Dorito commercial parody was the stuff of legend. (Cheers to my friends who pulled off this excellent prank and to all who befriended me during those years).

After graduation in 1993, I attended Trinity Christian College, where I met my wife, Jen. I achieved a BA in Communication Arts. I went on to Calvin Seminary and earned a Master of Divinity. I worked for several years as a pastor at Palos Heights CRC and then Lafayette CRC. During that time, I had three lovely children: Liz (1999), Bryan (2002), and Sarah (2005). After some soul searching, I decided that my heart wasn’t in being a pastor, so I resigned from the ministry in 2010 and sought a new career. I attended the school of Communication at Purdue University and earned an MA (2014) and PhD (2018) in Interpersonal Communication. I have since become a Clinical Assistant Professor of Managerial Communication for the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, and I absolutely love it. In fact, I’ve won three awards for college teaching and published several articles on the subject. In addition to these professional interests, I’ve continued performing improv comedy with several troupes and am still active today. I’ve written five plays, two short plays, and a murder mystery dinner game; I’ve also helped write a communication textbook and created instructional materials for another. I also announce for the local roller derby under the moniker “Diamond Doug,” and I regularly record movie review podcasts with my friend Gary McFall for the group Adventures in Videoland.

In my current position, I teach managerial communication skills to master’s level and undergraduate students. The master’s classes help hone necessary “soft” skills like networking, presentations, persuasion, visual aids, data visualization, and consulting. With my undergraduate students, I help them focus on methods and techniques to improve their strategic thinking and decision-making. Although I do provide some new techniques and insights, the most important part of my job is really just helping people put forth the best version of themselves. Although I am no longer a pastor, my calling remains to help others feel loved and respected, as well as helping people find their voice. This is not the life I expected to have when I graduated from high school (so many years ago); it is so much more. And once again, I apologize for that stinky, stinky foot.


Betsy DeJong Maher '05

Like most, my formative years at CCHS were the years that I decided the person I wanted to be. Thankfully, SCCS has a long legacy of incredible staff and faculty, including my late grandmother Joanne DeJong, to guide students through these important years. My father also attended CCHS, so I have multiple generations of CCHS influence in my life. I am incredibly grateful for the safe, supportive community I was surrounded by before, during, and after my time there. I graduated with the class of 2005, and several teachers we had that stand out in my mind include Mrs. Mary Medema, my soccer coach Mr. Veldboom, and the many faculty who I often still see today at Hope Church. When I wasn’t in class, most of my time in high school was spent playing sports, attending choir activities, and having some peripheral involvement with the theater and musical programs. So many of my life lessons were learned out on CCHS’s soccer field, such as the time I didn’t make the varsity team, but later that year went on to be the team’s high scorer, or being selected as soccer captain senior year, or when Wheaton clobbered us 1-13. I also think back fondly on the opportunities I was afforded to explore my passion for singing with the annual fine arts festival and the many arts and music classes available to us.

After high school, I attended Gordon College in Massachusetts for a few years before finishing my undergrad at DePaul University in Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Communications. I also went on to receive my Master’s in Public Administration from IIT’s Stuart School of Business, and I recently completed my senior certification in Human Resources (SHRM-CSP) earlier this year. I met my husband, James, playing recreational soccer in Chicago, and we now have two boys, Elliott (1) and Cole (4), and we’ve been living on the north side of Chicago. Soon after graduating from DePaul, and after a short stint performing music in Chicago’s night scene, I received a job at the Lincoln Park Zoo and have been there ever since. For the past 6 years I have been their Director of Volunteer Services and oversee a small but mighty team of staff, volunteers, and interns.

Before getting my job at the zoo, I was not sure what career I would have since most of my passions up until that point had been sports, music, and family. It turns out these passions, along with the loving, selfless, and supportive environment I grew up in and was surrounded by at CCHS, equipped me very well for working for a mission-based, non-profit organization. My belief in unconditional love has also taught me to lead with compassion and to search for, to understand, and to respond to the emotional needs of those around me. My hope is to one day run a non-profit organization and to lead an entire organization with this supportive approach. But no matter what I may continue on to achieve, the older I get, the more I believe my most authentic self is still that artsy athlete running around CCHS’s soccer field. I am so grateful for the staff and teachers at CCHS who created the safe and encouraging environment for me to find that inner self.



Stephanie Lang '15

My name is Stephanie Lang, and I’m so excited to be graduating from Hope College this year! During my high school years, I competed in Women’s Volleyball, Varsity track, and Varsity Soccer. Serving on the school’s worship team, Student Council and being a member in the DECA business club were all highlights that truly stretched me. The Fine Arts programs were at the top of the list, as I loved being a part of choirs, band, wonderful musicals, and many art fairs.

Of all my teachers, Mr. Kowallis, my choir director, influenced me the most as a dedicated teacher and director. His devotion to his students went above and beyond traditional teaching, which taught me many lessons about pushing myself to be the absolute best that I could be in all aspects of my life (and to never settle for less). I truly believe that this carried into my photography business and influenced the work ethic that I have today.

I also learned about the strong connection between business and stewardship from Mr. Kreykes, who is one of the most honorable educators I have ever come across to this day. I am thankful to have had so many CCHS teachers who displayed faith and true character as they taught, caring for my growth as both a student and an individual.

It was during my time at CCHS that I started my photography business (Stephanie Lang Photography) my freshmen year, at age 15. It started as a few paid photo senior shoots, but has grown rapidly as I expanded to add wedding photography to my business. And it was in CCHS chapel that I heard IJM (International Justice Mission) put out the challenge to impact our world by fighting for the rights of those oppressed by human slavery. I truly believed I was called to do something.

Following graduation, I attended Olivet Nazarene University for the first year and a half of my college career. I used this time to learn more about the career path I wanted to take, which is partnering with organizations, such as IJM or the A21 Campaign, to do Prevention of Sex Trafficking. However, my photography business really started to take off so I found myself in a predicament trying to choose between those two passions.

In 2016 I made the decision to transfer to Hope College in Holland, Michigan. This was a great move for me, though it made running my business in Chicago much more challenging. I travel home to Chicago frequently to shoot weddings and meet with clients. Balancing a full-time business and being a full-time student has been a ton of work, but so very rewarding! As I look back at my freshman year of high school, I see all the ways God has blessed my business over these 7 years and am grateful.
The year 2018 was a very exciting year for my photography business. My team expanded to consist of 5 photographers and 2 videographers. With that, I began offering videography services and packages. My team and I shot 41 photography sessions and weddings in 2018. I also signed my business with The Knot Chicago in 2018 as one of their wedding photography vendors, and my business won “The Knot Best of Weddings 2019”, which is a very exciting accomplishment. Lastly, I signed my first destination wedding and can’t wait to shoot the event in Cancun, Mexico!

I am extremely grateful to finish college this semester and work full time on my photography business and pursuing my dream to fight sex trafficking in America (& eventually combining the two). I feel incredibly blessed to be 22 and already have a career that I love, and I can’t wait to see where 2019 takes me and my team. Thank you, CCHS, for the great foundational education you give to prepare your students to achieve their goals.

For inquiries, please feel free to call or text anytime or reach me via one of the platforms listed below. I would love to connect and continue working for so many of you from the CCHS community!

● Email: hello@stephanielangphotography.com
● Phone: 708-937-3845
● Website: stephanielangphotography.com
● Instagram: stephanie_lang_photography_
● Facebook: @Stephanie Lang Photography



Victoria Haan '10

My name is Victoria Haan, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2010. I have many cherished memories from my time at Chicago Christian High School, and it is amazing to look back on how much I have grown since then. Some of my favorite memories will always be the extracurricular activities I participated in. Being a part of cheerleading, volleyball, and track helped me develop how to work with others, be resilient, and manage time. In the classroom, I always enjoyed English with Mr. Siemer and Art with Mrs. Medema. Reading, writing, and presentations in my English classes taught me how to communicate in a clear and effective way in the business world today. Art has always been a passion of mine, so much that I even took classes outside of Chicago Christian on Saturdays. Art class is different than any other class in high school that challenged me to be more creative and develop a different type of skill set.

In addition, Chicago Christian helped me prepare for my next chapter in life when it came to deciding what university I wanted to attend. I applied to a few universities and had the opportunity to tour many campuses. I was immediately attracted to Bradley University because it was a top ranked private university and offered a personalized experience. They focused heavily on strong networks with faculty and classmates, which reminded me of Chicago Christian and the environment and community I felt I would be most successful in.

I attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and graduated in 2014 with a BS in Marketing and Concentration in Professional Selling. After graduating from Bradley University, I moved to Baltimore, Maryland. I met my husband, Andrew Black, and we were married on August 11, 2018. I also started working for McKesson Corporation. McKesson Corporation is currently ranked 5th on the Fortune 500 list. McKesson is an American healthcare company distributing pharmaceuticals and health information technology, medical supplies, and care management tools. My role at McKesson is Retail Sales Manager over Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. I work solely with independently owned Health Mart pharmacies to negotiate pharmaceutical distribution contracts and provide owners with tools and resources to grow their businesses and remain competitive in an ever changing healthcare landscape. In 2018, I was awarded the President’s Club Award – Retail Sales Manager of the Year; ACE Award (Account Closing Expert); and BIG Award Winner (Best in Generics).

I enjoy what I do every day because I know that I am making a difference in the continuum of care for pharmacy owners and their patients.



FEATURED ALUMNA – February 2019

Mrs. Jessica Klein-Foglio '01

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lords’ purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21.

After graduating from Chicago Christian High School in 2001, I attended DePaul University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.  I then moved to New York City to attend Manhattan School of Music for my Master’s Degree.  However, my ultimate goal was to be accepted to The Juilliard School and starting a career in singing.  This came to fruition when I received an invitation to The Juilliard Opera Center.  Upon completing Juilliard Opera Center, I immediately began performing in Lincoln Center with New York City Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra and throughout Germany.  Since the plans for my professional life were in place, my husband and I decided to start a family.  Our son, Michael, was born in 2012.  Mikey and I spent the summer of 2013 in Seattle, as I had a contract to sing in Wagner’s Ring Cycle.  In 2015, we welcomed our second son, Benjamin, into our lives.  This is where my plans began to fade, and God’s plans came into focus.


Ben began to miss his milestones.  He couldn’t chew, swallow, sit up, walk, or talk.  I immediately paused my career to begin to care for his endless needs.  I took him to therapy 21 times a week: Physical, Occupational, Feeding, Speech, Vision, and Special Play Therapy.  Ben was initially misdiagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and it wasn’t until a pediatrician/friend of mine told me to go down the road of genetics that we finally found the correct diagnosis.

Salla Disease:  An extraordinarily rare disease that effects the nervous system.  There are only a handful of known cases in the United States, 130 worldwide.  Ben’s precious body is unable to recycle Sialic Acids, and these acids are literally poisoning him slowly.  Over time, he will deteriorate and begin to have seizures that will ultimately take his life.  The severity of this diagnosis left us devastated.  This devastation was only amplified when we began to research Salla disease for ourselves and found that nothing existed.  There was no research, family networks, treatment options, etc.  There wasn’t even a website for the disease!  It was listed as “Other” on the chart of Orphan Diseases.  My husband and I felt defeated and truly alone in our diagnosis.

Plans . . . . .  “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Through the diagnosis, it was hard to see God’s plans.  We slowly began to realize that He is in charge, and it was up to me to understand why God was giving us this trial.  Little did I know that all of my experiences would transform my life, and the life of other families, for something good.   Suddenly my “stage” was no longer for performing, rather, it was to be used as a platform to bring awareness and hope to others who are suffering from Salla Disease.

Perhaps to best illustrate the perfection of God’s plans; just prior to Ben’s diagnosis, Montefiore Children’s Hospital and Einstein University’s Rose F. Kennedy Center in New York City started a new “IDD Gene Team”. This program connects scientists to rare orphan diseases.  Ben was the first patient to be considered for this program!  Because of my musical background and my connections to the performing world, the doctors encouraged me to start a foundation for Salla!

At first, I felt overwhelmed by the enormous undertaking of starting a foundation.  But it was then that I realized what God had in mind for me all along.  After much contemplation and prayer, my husband and I decided to go forward in starting a rare disease foundation.  We named it “S.T.A.R” Salla Treatment And Research.  Since we began this journey in April of 2018, we have amassed a team of scientists who represent The Mayo Clinic, University of Paris, National Institute of Health, Montefiore Children’s Hospital, Einstein University, Berkeley, Stanford and Yale.  In September, we arranged for these esteemed doctors and families affected by Salla Disease to convene just outside of New York City for an unprecedented “Think Tank/Family Camp” event.  Families came from Sweden, Switzerland, South Dakota, Georgia, and Texas.

While the doctors met, families participated in therapy sessions that they might not otherwise have had access to in their corner of the world.  An immediate bond between families and doctors was made, and the National Institute of Health graciously opened their doors to provide resources for the study of Salla Disease.  As a foundation, we agreed to fund a postdoctoral student to work under the direction of this NIH’s lead genetic scientist, Dr. William Gahl, for 3 years.

Our fundraising efforts have now begun and will continue until our financial goal of $300,000 is reached.  God knew what He was doing in giving me an amazing opportunity to sing and build relationships in the performing world.  These friends are now offering their talents to hold concert events in the New York City area to help us raise our needed research funds. 

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – Peter 4:10

Although my life isn’t what I had planned, I know that I’m living God’s plan.  I am thankful to Chicago Christian High School for instilling in me the steadfast gift of knowing how to focus on God’s grace in all situations.  This spiritual foundation has held me up as I pioneer this journey of rare disease.  I am every thankful for the priceless gift of Christian Education that I can now bring to a bigger platform here in New York City and globally.

“A Star For Ben Foundation, Inc. was started by Jessica Klein-Foglio with the unwavering belief that no disease is too rare for research.  Please visit us at www.sallaresearch.org to see what doctors have learned, how families have been impacted, and possible treatment options for patients.” 


Rev. Ross Bacon '70

Chicago Christian High School was used by the Lord to lay a Biblical foundation that would be an immense help in my seminary training and pastoral ministry. In the classroom, I was shaped by Mr. Gary Meyer. His flair for learning and personal interest in me taught me ways I would later use in my teaching. To this day, I continue to use my iPhone dictionary. Many other teachers challenged and supported me including Paul Assink, Ken Van Dellen, and Roger Griffioen. Mr. Gerald Decker was a source of wisdom in times of struggle.

I was involved in sports including baseball, football, and basketball. As an athlete, I was shaped by all my coaches, especially Coach Will Slager. Coach Slager invested many hours into my life. Other coaches who impacted me were Doug Van Boven and Ken Van Dellen.

After graduating from Chicago Christian High School in 1970, I earned a bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies from the Moody Bible Institute. I went on to earn a doctorate degree in education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield. I met and married my wife, Karen, and we have been married for 45 years, and have two children Jenny (Randy) Kutchek and Kevin (Kirstin) Bacon. We have also been blessed with four grandchildren – Isabella, Jack, Sophia, and Olivia. After college, I began to serve at LaGrange Bible Church as a youth pastor for five years, then served as an assistant pastor for five years, associate pastor for two years, and senior pastor for 30 years, until I just recently retired after serving 42 years at LaGrange Bible Church. I have many fond memories of my time at LaGrange Bible Church. I always tried to make it my mission to bring Jesus Christ to all people, because Jesus loves everyone. Jesus Christ gives love to those who trust Him.

Finally, I thank the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for choosing me to the gospel ministry. Knowing Jesus Christ as Savior I make Him known in many fun and unique ways. God used Chicago Christian High School. Sola Deo Gloria!




Kristin Ipema Hackel '09

I was involved in quite a few sports and activities during my time at Chicago Christian High School. Some of my favorite memories include being involved with sports such as basketball and soccer; being a member of the National Honors Society; and the CCHS vs. Illiana basketball games at the United Center. I had several teachers who impacted my life during my time at Chicago Christian, but some of my favorite teachers included Mrs. Lenters, Mr. Engbers, Mrs. Lavery, and Ceramics class with Mrs. Medema.

Since graduating from Chicago Christian, my life has been very busy. I attended Trinity Christian College and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. I married Jeff Hackel in 2013, and we have a daughter, Audrey, who is 26 months old. After graduating from Trinity Christian College, I started teaching at Southwest Chicago Christian School in Tinley Park.

My time at Chicago Christian gave me a love and appreciation for good education and caring teachers, and many of my teachers guided me in my current career path of education. Chicago Christian High School and my teachers also helped me in my faith walk, which I am very thankful for to this day.




Michael Evers '08

My name is Michael Evers, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2008. I have several good memories from my time at Chicago Christian High School. One of the things that always touched me during my time at CCHS was the support and encouragement I received from my teachers and friends. There were several teachers I enjoyed during my time at CCHS, but my favorite teacher was Mr. Wolterstorff. He was a mentor to me throughout my high school career, and had a huge impact on my time at Chicago Christian.

After graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights. I graduated from Trinity Christian with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. After graduation from Trinity Christian, I worked several full-time jobs until I received a tattoo apprenticeship. I have been a full time artist for the past three years. This has been a great path for me to use my love and passion for art.

Chicago Christian High School prepared me for life in college and helped me find a career path that I enjoy. My time at Chicago Christian also helped me build a strong foundation and developed my faith, and has allowed me to stand firm in my faith when it is tested or questioned.


Brooke Wigboldy Simkins '10

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2010. I have several fond memories from my time at Chicago Christian High School. Some of my favorite teachers included Mr. Altena, Mr. Siemer, Dr. Kuipers, Mrs. Medema, Mrs. Lavery, and Mrs. Vilendrer. The most impactful teacher while I was at Chicago Christian was Mrs. Lenters, because of her role as theater director and drama teacher. She helped me to find my passion in life and provided me with a great deal of encouragement to follow my passion.

Following my graduation from Chicago Christian, I attended Trinity Christian College from 2010-2014. I graduated from Trinity Christian College in 2014, and was hired as an Administrative and Marketing Assistant at Arcadis. On August 15, 2015, I married fellow alum, Steve Simkins. I have been working at Trinity Christian College as the Event Manager since 2015. I have also continued my passion for the theater by performing various acting jobs to this day. I still love to perform!

Chicago Christian was a place where I began to explore my passion for theater more deeply, and I truly feel I got my needed push from Mrs. Lenters to pursue theater in college and beyond. It was with her guidance that I was able to find my passion and pursue God’s plan for my life.


Harold Page '11

My name is Harold Page, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2011. During my time at Chicago Christian High School, I enjoyed being involved in track, basketball, and soccer. I really enjoyed my history class with Mr. Okuley, and I also enjoyed having class with Mrs. Lavery. I developed a passion for learning foreign languages, especially Spanish, while I was at Chicago Christian, and I also developed a passion for missions.

Following my graduation from Chicago Christian High School, I attended and graduated from Southeastern University and my passion for missions led me to Argentina. I was involved in mission trips to Argentina and Central America, and ended up meeting my wife in Argentina. I settled in Dallas, Texas and worked for United Airlines in marketing. After working for United Airlines, I took a position with Southwest Airlines in pricing and marketing, which is my current position today.

I feel like I left Chicago Christian High School well prepared for what God had in store for me. I was well prepared for my career path, and the greatest thing that Chicago Christian High School led me to was my wife, as I met her while on a mission trip in Argentina. I definitely developed a servant’s heart during my time at Chicago Christian High School.


Josh Hoekstra '97

My name is Josh Hoekstra, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 1997. I was very fortunate to attend Southwest Chicago Christian Schools growing up and that is where I was first introduced to great teachers and coaches. The things that inspire me now as an educator are the same things that influenced me to go into education. The passion and work ethic that my teachers showed back then inspired me to become the best educator I could be. I was inspired to become an educator, so I could teach kids and challenge them to reach their full potential through diligent hard work and the relentless pursuit to become their best self. I became a teacher, because I love seeing students be successful, and I enjoy teaching because each day is different. I chose to be a life-long learner and each day I learn something new from my students. It is very rewarding when my former students come back to thank me and to know I made a difference in their life. Students need teachers that have enthusiasm and a passion for teaching. High school students need someone other than their parents who have faith in them to be successful, and that is what inspires me to teach.

I have been a teacher and Head Football Coach at Clay High School (Florida) for the past 7 years. Our football program stands for the 3 A’s – Academics, Athletics, and After graduation. We as a coaching staff believe that every student athlete can strive to reach his potential through a relentless pursuit to achieve greatness. We focus on self-improvement each day and being focused on the process. We preach taking ownership, trusting your teammates, respecting for and loving your teammates. These values are expected to overflow into the classroom and the community. We have placed over 60 student athletes in college in the past 7 years.

God has blessed me with a wonderful family. My wife, Erin, is a wonderful support for me with my teaching and coaching. We have been blessed with three daughters, Rylee, Sloane, and Quinn.

I believe as educators we have a job to make sure that each student has the best chance to be successful during the school day and after. One of the greatest quotes I have ever read was by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. We need to make sure we are enthusiastic about learning and teaching. The teaching profession is the one place where each day is different and you truly get out what you put in. Every day is a chance to make a difference both in and out of the classroom. I’ll never forget the lessons I learned from my seventh grade History Teacher/Basketball Coach, Mr. Dale Hillegonds, and my high school Home Economics teacher, Ms. Mary Van Loh. Mr. Hillegonds was creative, enthusiastic and made sure we had fun learning. He also was a tremendous basketball coach who pushed us to work harder than we ever had to reach our goals. Ms. Van Loh taught me how to have empathy for others and her lessons were always about more than just making sure we measured the ingredients correctly. She was always there with timely advice, and made me understand the importance of being unselfish and inspired us to be great students and great people. Ultimately, what we need to realize as teachers is you never know which student you will have an impact on or how you will impact them.


Jason Gray '86

I can still remember that first day on Mr. Wolterink’s bus #34 in the fall of 1982…I did not know a soul at CCHS and was really nervous. Soon I would experience Mr. VanVossen swinging from the rafters screaming “Geronimo!”, Mr. Kroon’s stuffed mole collection, Mr. Kloosterman’s alleged black belt karate moves, and the Thibeau family from Mrs. VanderWoude’s French class. These are just a few of the many memories which remind me the teachers really cared about their jobs, and us. Mr. Fransman encouraged me in his drafting class to draw the room addition for my parent’s house which we actually built! Recalling some of those track and cross country trips to Grand Rapids and that vile Roaring 20’s pizza causes out-loud laughter to this day. I still joke with Kwas about lying to him regarding my running stamina so that I could get on the cross country team as a pipsqueak freshman. He and I have become lifelong friends.

Since CCHS I worked to obtain a Bachelors degree in Architecture as well as a Masters in Civil Engineering and Masters in Business. My professional career started in Chicago, moved to Saint Louis, then Seattle, and back to Saint Louis. The past ten years have been spent at First Bank as their SVP-Director of Corporate Real Estate. Being a dad, and husband to my spectacular wife Dawn, of twenty years, has been more than fulfilling. My free time has been occupied coaching my two sons (Jack, 16 and Quin, 13) in cross country, baseball, track, and basketball. I am an Assistant Cross Country Coach at Belleville East HS where my oldest attends and runs. Any extra time not volunteer coaching at Zion Lutheran School is spent volunteering as a Deacon at my church, or mentoring high school officials. I am heavily involved with the IHSA and officiate cross country, track and field, football, and volleyball. I have had the honor to work several state finals in football and track and was recently named Official of the Year in Boys Track and Field.

I once thanked my parents for their financial sacrifice to send me to Chicago Christian and told them that the experience saved me, and made me. No joke, my public school junior high years were beyond horrible, and I was desperate for a fresh start. I found many new friends and learned a sport with which I had some really good success. I was encouraged to pursue dreams of art by Mrs. Boonstra and design by Mr. Fransman, and was given a chance to start coaching and officiate by Kwas after graduation. Most importantly, high school offered a foundation for life with Christ as the cornerstone. We attended church my whole life, but as I look back, CCHS was teaching in practical ways how the Lord can remain the center of your life outside of church. It took me a while to fully comprehend it, but now it is clear how important that Christian education was, and how grateful I am for it, and God’s inexplicable grace. The blessings of God which I experience now are certainly because of His faithfulness, but practically they are due to the investment, encouragement, and love I received from the faculty in the great eighties at Chicago Christian. I will always be grateful for my four years in Palos Heights.


Matthew Gallman '12

My name is Matthew Gallman, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2012. I enjoyed my time at Chicago Christian High School, and I really enjoyed taking several art classes during my high school years. Mrs. Medema was a real inspiration for me, and helped me discover my love for art and drawing and helped lay the ground work for what I did in college. Since graduating from Chicago Christian, I was fortunate enough to pursue a creative career by attending the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia. With a weekly spot in the Tinley Park paper for a few years, I felt like drawing comics was a natural fit for me, and SCAD had a program specifically for creating comics. During college not only did I see a major improvement in the work I was creating, but I was able to come up with original ideas for stories, books, and characters. One of those ideas was for a children’s book titled “Invite a Duck to Dinner,” which is about a duck making a total mess of a family dinner. Stylistically I wanted to make a picture book that reflects those from the 90’s that I had as a kid, and also write a story that can make the reader laugh. The book has received a fair amount of positive feedback, and occasionally I’ll be sent a photo of a parent reading it to their kids, which is very fun to see.

Another idea I had during school was for a children’s comic titled “Captain Longbeard,” a pirate captain with an unnecessarily long beard who goes on silly adventures with his crew of bearded bandits. This will be a seven book series for kids around the elementary school age and I’m very happy with it so far. The second book of the series published in September and I’m currently creating the third book while juggling graphic design work at the same time. Both “Invite a Duck to Dinner” and “Captain Longbeard” are published and available to purchase on Amazon. I’ve been greatly blessed to be able to create work that I love that I can then share with other people and I’m looking forward to publish more and more stories for years to come.

Here are some links to my books. Feel free to take a look!


Eddie Damstra III '15

My name is Eddie Damstra III, and I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2015. My time at Chicago Christian High School was spiritually, academically, and socially formative. From putting on illuminating chapels to challenging students in the classroom, Chicago Christian High School excels at ensuring that students are constantly growing and learning more. The success of Chicago Christian can be attributed to the high quality of its faculty and staff. The teachers at Chicago Christian truly care about your development and make classes both engaging and enlightening. In Spanish class with Profè Hills, we would always read the Bible in Spanish and discuss the significance of the passage at the beginning of every class. This served the purpose of fueling both our faith and our knowledge of Spanish. I think this example of Chicago Christian’s approach to learning perfectly demonstrates the incredible character of teachers and the uniquely refreshing ability for the school to serve both the spiritual and academic needs of the students.

I am currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Constitutional Studies. Since my freshman year, I have been a writer for The Observer, the student-run newspaper serving the campuses of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. I started as a news writer which entailed covering events around campus and conducting interviews. Now, I have a column in the Viewpoint section, which allows me to write bi-weekly opinion pieces. I write mainly about relevant political issues, advocating a conservative viewpoint that is often all too underrepresented on college campuses. I have also written pieces criticizing decisions made by the current university president and have called for the university to strengthen its religious commitment. I have greatly enjoyed my time at Notre Dame and The Observer and look forward to continuing to freely voice my opinion for the rest of my college career! If you want to read articles I have written, you can find them all at the following link: http://ndsmcobserver.com/author/edamstra/.


Doreen DeBoer '78

My years at Chicago Christian High School have forever have impacted my life. Attending a Christian school taught me Godly discipline, to respect others and to show the compassion and love of Jesus as exemplified by our teachers. What a blessing to be taught in a Christ-centered classroom where our teachers openly taught the truths about scripture. It helped shape me into the woman I am today. Together with my family, my education instilled strong values and moral convictions and strengthened my relationship with God.

One of the greatest joys that came from Christian High was meeting the love of my life, Kenny DeBoer. We met my freshman year and have now been married for 37 years. Praising Him for a Godly husband, father and best friend. Together, we have been blessed to raise five amazing children, Jamie, Jeremy, Jenna, Jordan and Jorie. We also have five beautiful grandchildren and the sixth on the way! They make my heart smile every single day!

I was blessed with wonderful parents, Sieb and Dee VanderWagen, who raised their five daughters to be servants of God, to give back and to share the love of Jesus. As little girls, we often went to homeless shelters where we would sing and serve food. Even at a young age, my heart was drawn to these dear people. We could not have had better examples of what it means to be His hands and feet.

Several years ago, God placed a purpose on my heart. He called me to be a voice for our brothers and sisters on the streets of Chicago. That calling has evolved into the ministry, All God's People. Each month, we have the honor of serving 500 to 700 of our homeless friends and families in need with a hot meal, clothing, shoes, boots, blankets, toiletries, non-perishable food and haircuts. We also have a wish list where they can write down one specific need and that item comes back the following month with their name on it. It is so much more than supplying physical needs. It is sharing the love of Jesus, an encouraging word, a smile or just listening with a caring heart. For many, this is the closest they have come to having a family in a long time.

It was on a Chicago street corner that I met a sassy little homeless lady who would forevermore change my life. Miss Melinda taught me so much about the life of a homeless person. She would always say, "If you really want to help someone who is homeless, sit down with them and listen to their story. Often times you find out it's not that different than your own. We all want the same thing, to be loved and respected." Sadly, I lost my best friend a year ago, but her legacy lives on because we were able to open The Melinda House, where we are transitioning homeless women into permanent housing. There is no greater joy than making a difference in someone's life! To God be the glory for all He has done!!!

FEATURED ALUMNUS – December 2017

Troy Grevengoed '94

I graduated from Chicago Christian in 1994. I have lots of great memories from my time there. Some of my favorite memories were being on sports teams and participating in PE classes. I also, really enjoyed my architecture and wood shop classes and feel that the skills I learned there have translated into a love for carpentry which I put to use every summer. Mrs. Alderden and Mr. Fransman were two of the teachers there who left an impression on me. Their love of their career was obvious and their passion to help kids learn and grow was evident in their everyday teaching.

After graduating from Christian High I attended Trinity Christian College and received my B.A. in Physical Education and a Masters of Education in School Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University. I taught Physical Education for four years in the Chicago Ridge school district and have been teaching at Richards High School for the last fifteen years. At Richards we offer a variety of PE classes but most of my schedule the last ten years has been teaching an outdoor/adventure class where I instruct students in rock climbing, team building, camping, kayaking, in-line skating, archery, and cycling. I love challenging my students to try new things. Through these activities I help them to go outside their comfort zone and push through things that don’t come easy to them. It is a very challenging but rewarding environment to teach in.

My main passion is both playing volleyball and coaching it. I spent all four years at Trinity on the court and since graduating have been passing on my love of the game to my players.

I married my wife, Hillary, two weeks after graduating from Trinity and we have six kids and almost 20 years of marriage under our belts (Logan-14, Delanie-12, Chase-10, Quinn-8, Cole-6, Reese-6). Our kids currently attend Calvin Christian School and we are excited to have our first daughter start at Christian High as a freshman next year.

Chicago Christian has had a positive impact on me that I am excited to see pass on to my own children. I can’t wait to watch my own kids experience a Christ centered high school education in the same halls I did!

FEATURED ALUMNA – November 2017

Jill Meyer Ingelse '91

I have many fond memories of my time at Chicago Christian High School. My father, John Meyer, was an inspiration to me, teaching biology at CCHS with such enthusiasm and a reverent love for the intricate design of our awesome Creator for almost 40 years. I used to think....is this really my dad teaching? He is such a good teacher! Even though things like the Kreb's cycle and photosynthesis were difficult to learn, they were amazing to me, as well as the anatomy and physiology of the entire human body.

God led me to Trinity Christian College where I further developed my passion for science and learned even more from Dr. Sytsma and Dr. Boomsma... awesome professors!! While there, I also met my husband, Cory Ingelse, a grad of Sheboygan Christian High School in Wisconsin and also a grad of Trinity Christian College, Midwestern University, and University of Indianapolis with a doctorate in physical therapy.

After Trinity Christian College, I attended the Illinois College of Optometry where I completed a four year program and then pursued a pediatric residency. I realized the visual system is a true reflection of God's best creation.

I opened a private practice, Meyer Eyecare, in Blue Island in 1999 and developed a medical model of practice, treating and managing disease as well as prescribing glasses and contacts. God has blessed the practice with a young Christian associate, Dr. Daniel Ahrens who is a CCHS and Calvin grad. He has also blessed me with an amazing staff that works hard to serve our patients and recently gave me a passion for the brain's relationship to vision.

Neurosensory vision integration is my newest love and I am excited to use the Cogniviision protocol (developed by Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana) in my new clinic to help those with various disorders of vision; eye turns, learning disorders, and injuries such as stroke, concussion and vertigo. CCHS encouraged my love to learn and apply that knowledge to improve people's lives.

The joys of my life are my husband and my two beautiful children, Justin and Olivia. Justin will be a sophomore at CCHS and Olivia will be in eighth grade at the Oak Lawn Southwest campus. In my limited spare time, I enjoy traveling, playing volleyball, and being outdoors.

FEATURED ALUMNA – October 2017

Sandy Frieling Washington '89

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 1989. I have several great memories from my time at Chicago Christian. My favorite teacher was Mr. Kwasteniet. He is the reason I became a teacher. He realized that I was struggling with test taking and had me work with him before school to pass American History. He encouraged me that I could do it, and convinced me that I understood the material and just needed to relax, because test taking was stressful for me. I also enjoyed Mrs. Boonstra, because of my love for art.

After graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan. I graduated from Hope in 1993, and moved back home to teach art at the elementary school I attended, Southwest Chicago Christian School. I taught at the two campuses in Oak Lawn and Tinley Park. I taught there from 1993-2001, and then we had our first daughter, Samantha. After Samantha was born, I taught part-time at Chicago Christian High School until our daughter, Isabella, was born in 2004. After Isabella was born, I told my husband that I wanted to stay home with the girls and pursue my art. I had created ABSee Chicago in 1997 when my husband, Eric, and I were married. I was waiting for a cab and noticed letters in the architecture around me. I was inspired by the book Alphabet City. I took photos of letters and created WASHINGTON for Eric for a wedding gift. Since this first creation, I have had orders for hundreds of framed pieces spelling names and words. I only create pieces using photos found in the city of Chicago. Some clients request I write the neighborhood where the letter was found on the mat. After I stopped teaching to stay home with our girls, I received a call from a company who requested my art to create their employee Christmas gifts. It was an amazing gift to stay home and then kick start my career as a stay at home mom artist! I created over 300 framed names that Christmas!

For the next seven years, I stayed at home and created art and was fortunate to stay home with Sam and Bella. On a fall morning in 2010, while having coffee with some friends, I learned that our parish school, Christ the King School’s Art teacher passed away. Ms. Kelly was well loved and had recently become ill. Her death was a shock to the school. My friend, Ann Marie Riordan, who then worked in the Orland Schools suggested to the Christ the King Principal that I interview for the position. I interviewed in November and along with the principal decided it would be best to start teaching at Christ the King after Christmas Break. It gave the students time to grieve and the New Year would be a fresh start. Over the next few years, I became more involved at Christ the King School. Besides teaching, I became involved in the yearbook, website, and social media. It was amazing to work three blocks from home and have my kids at my school! I now work with Dr. Ann Marie Riordan who helped me get the position at Christ the King. She is now my boss. It is amazing to see God’s hand at work in the entire Christ the King situation. The fact that Eric and I had just talked that morning about me going back to work because Bella was in 1st grade, and then going out with friends for coffee and receiving the call about the opening at Christ the King to coming full circle with the friend who recommended me for the job how being my boss. God is amazing!

I continue to create artwork of my own. I paint windows around the neighborhood for holidays and special events. I paint on canvas, wood, and faces – pretty much anything! I have a website www.sandywashington.com and Facebook. I am thankful for the education and experiences I received during my time at Chicago Christian High School. God’s plan definitely steered me in a path that allowed me to do what I love – art!

FEATURED ALUMNA – September 2017

Amy Wenerski Heitman '04

What stands out to me the most about my time at Chicago Christian High School was how passionate and enthusiastic many of my teachers were about the subjects they taught and their faith. Throughout my time at Chicago Christian High School, I was encouraged over and over again by the idea that I could use the unique talents and passions I had been given as part of God’s plan for restoration.

After graduating from Chicago Christian in 2004, I attended Trinity Christian College. I graduated with a degree in Art Education and taught Art to first through fifth graders for several years before my daughter was born in 2010. I loved my teaching job and each and every one of my students but felt God calling me to be home with my daughter. After she was born, I started designing wedding invitations and stationery for friends and family as a hobby, and one of my husband’s coworkers at the time suggested I open an Etsy shop. At her advice, I opened my Etsy shop just a few weeks before being put on bed rest while pregnant with my second child, and it became such a huge blessing to me during that time. I began to get more and more requests for custom work and it gave me something to fill my long days on bed rest, reignited my passion for illustration and design, and gave me an opportunity to find my own creative voice and aesthetic. I am so grateful looking back to see how God re-purposed that time in my life. Eventually I began to get more requests for custom work than I could take on my own and launched my wholesale stationery line of greeting cards and gift wrap at the beginning of 2015. Our cards are currently sold in about 400 independent stores and boutiques across the United States and internationally as well as Paper Source and Anthropologie.

I left Chicago Christian High School feeling so encouraged to let my light shine in whatever arena God was calling me to, and I try to live that out every day. It is my goal that my cards spread love and light in the world in their own small way by helping others share joy and love, and connect and reach out to others.


Tracy Smith Deakins '05

Chicago Christian High School had a wonderful impact on my life. I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2005. Dr. Kuipers was definitely one of my favorite teachers in high school. He taught most of my favorite classes. I remember really enjoying AP Environmental Science my senior year. That class really solidified my choice of Biology as a major in college. The teachers at Chicago Christian were also great at providing me recommendations for the High School Marine Biology course at the aquarium. This course allowed me to go to the Bahamas for a week, where I learned to do field research and observations on wild animals. I remember Dr. Kuipers even gave me his underwater camera for the summer, so I could take photos while snorkeling. Chicago Christian High School gave me a great foundation to start making my way through college towards my dream job of working with the marine mammals at the Shedd Aquarium.

After Chicago Christian High School, I attended Seattle Pacific University, where I earned a BS in Biology. I chose Seattle Pacific, because it was one of only a couple of religious schools with gymnastics as a collegiate sport. I competed on the gymnastics team all four years, specializing in vault. I also chose Seattle Pacific, because it had a great field station in the San Juan Islands, where I was able to take some hands-on science courses.

After graduating from Seattle Pacific University, the Lord led me to the Shedd Aquarium. My title at the aquarium is Marine Mammal Trainer. I work mostly with the sea lions, birds of prey, and domestic dogs (I know -- an odd assortment for an aquarium!). I work with the penguins, whales, and dolphins as well. I am involved in all aspects of animal care, such as food preparation, cleaning, training, and shows. I love it! We train animals for many reasons, including mental stimulation, exercise, and having them help participate in their own health care. Getting to know the personalities of each individual animal is my favorite part of my job! I am very grateful for the wonderful education I received at Chicago Christian High School, and how God used Chicago Christian High School to prepare me for my current career. It is so great to be able to work at a job that I love so much!


Mandy Guth '09

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2009. Some of my favorite memories from my time at Chicago Christian include Spirit Week before homecoming, decorating the halls for these special occasions, and gym glass with Mr. Kwasteniet and his CD mixes. I really enjoyed my science classes and learned a great deal from both Dr. Kuipers and Mrs. Vilendrer. These classes provided a good foundation for me and helped greatly during my undergraduate courses.

After graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Seattle Pacific University and studied nursing. After graduating from SPU, I moved back to the Chicagoland area. I have been a labor and delivery nurse here for the last three years now, and am currently working at Christ Hospital. I really enjoy my career, and am very happy that the Lord led me to this career path. I feel so blessed and humbled to be with my patients and their families at the high and low points in their lives.

Not only did Chicago Christian prepare me academically for the future, but it emphasized the importance of faith in my life. My experiences at Chicago Christian urged me to stay in a community of faith by attending a Christian college. My time at Chicago Christian helped me live my life as a Christian example, because I was able to see my teachers do the same.


Scott Staal '10

Chicago Christian High School had a big impact on my life. I graduated from Chicago Christian in 2010. I have several great memories from Chicago Christian and many people that influenced my life. I would say the teacher that impacted me the most during my time at Chicago Christian High School was Pastor Chip. Pastor Chip was my advisor ended up performing my wedding ceremony. He had a huge influence on my life.

After graduating from Chicago Christian, I went to Joliet Junior College and earned an associate’s degree in Fire Science. I married Julie Iwema, who I dated since high school. I am now a firefighter/paramedic. Julie and I are members of Orland Park Christian Reformed Church.

Chicago Christian really prepared me for my life. Now that I am older and can reflect a little, I see the importance of a Christian education and I have a whole new appreciation for the education and the opportunity I received. God has continued to provide for Julie and me, and He has opened up doors that we did not know He would open.

FEATURED ALUMNA – February 2017

Ruth Kamp Baas '75

Chicago Christian High School provided me with several wonderful memories and experiences during my time in high school. I enjoyed being involved with the homecoming committee, school newspaper, choir, student council, and was named homecoming queen. My favorite classes including sewing and home economics. There were several faculty members that had a positive influence on me during my time at Chicago Christian High School, but the person who influenced me the most was Connie (Reiner) Brott.

After graduating from Chicago Christian High School in 1975, I attended Calvin College, where I earned a degree in Elementary Music Education, and I also earned 12 credit hours from Moraine Valley Community College in Early Childhood Education. I married my husband, Richard Baas, and raised four children, all of whom are Chicago Christian graduates – Sara Baas Knippa (Class of 1999), Renee Baas Sieplinga (Class of 2001), Amy Baas Cogswell (Class of 2004), and Ryan Baas (Class of 2008). I began a teaching career as a 5th grade teacher at Southwest Chicago Christian School in Oak Lawn from 1979-1981, and then after taking a few years off to raise my family, I returned to education as a teacher and director of the Orland Park Christian Reformed Church preschool, where I have served since 1996. I have served as a Southwest Chicago Christian School board member, and have served as a story hour teacher and musician at church.

Chicago Christian High School provided me a strong academic foundation that provided an easy transition to a four year liberal arts college. Some of the skills I acquired during my time at Chicago Christian I still use on a regular basis today like sewing and typing. Chicago Christian also helped me develop general leadership skills from my involvement in various extracurricular activities, and these leadership qualities have been very important in my position as a preschool director.

FEATURED ALUMNA – January 2017

Kelly Kamp Voss '05

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2005. While at Chicago Christian, I developed a love for Spanish while taking Spanish classes with Senora VanDommelen and Senora Veldboom. I believe my experiences in these classes helped mold my interest in the Spanish language and culture, and helped me develop a passion for them. These experiences at Chicago Christian led me to pursue a major in Spanish and travel abroad in Spain, as well as teach Spanish after graduating from college. I have so many wonderful memories from my time at Chicago Christian. I remember the school dances, pep rallies, football games, spirit weeks, and hanging out in the hallways during “LITE” time. There were many opportunities to use my gifts for school committees, and I am very thankful for these experiences.

Since graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Trinity Christian College, and graduated from Trinity Christian in 2010, and started my first job as an elementary Spanish teacher. I married Jason Voss, a classmate of mine at Chicago Christian, in 2012. After three years of teaching for the Elmhurst Public Schools, I started a new job as the second grade teacher at Southwest Chicago Christian School’s Oak Lawn campus. I have also served as a youth group leader at my church as well as a member of the hospitality committee.

Chicago Christian High School prepared me academically to be ready for college. It gave me opportunities as a high school senior to do some internship work that helped me decide what major I wanted to pursue after high school. The classes and teachers at Chicago Christian High School sparked interest in certain subjects that has given me the passion to continue to learn about them. It provided a place of worship and prayer with my friends and teachers, and helped grow my faith. I was surrounded with Christian friends, who are still part of my life today.


George Tsourdinis '13

Four Fundamental Years at CCHS

My parents made one of the best and most pivotal decisions of my life when they enrolled me at Southwest Chicago Christian School at Oak Lawn in the 7th grade. Since then, my middle school years provided an ideal segue into the Chicago Christian High School system, where I spent the most formative four years of my life before attending university. Our small Class of 2013 size was the foundation of my educational and social life there, allowing me to feel comfortable asking tough questions in a more intimate classroom environment, while forging meaningful friendships with my peers. During my Freshman and Sophomore years, I dabbled in golf and played with the CCHS team. Progressing through my four years, I served our student body on Student Council as Head of Spiritual Life for two years and as Secretary in my Senior year; played guitar for the CCHS Jazz Band led by Mr. Chris Denman (the only musician I’ve witnessed to play two saxophones simultaneously); and represented CCHS in Chemistry and Biology in the annual WYSE Academic Competitions at the local & state levels. Two of my favorite memories during my four years at CCHS were when I (1) Set a historical precedent in Mr. Christian Altena’s U.S. History course by leading a team representing George W. Bush to the final round of “Presidential March Madness”—a candidate who was usually eliminated in the first round of prior years & (2) DJ’d during between class periods for our Class of 2017’s Homecoming dance-club-themed hallway (I’m still an advocate for playing music over the school’s PA speakers while students go to their next class!). Overall, I couldn’t have made it through CCHS successfully if it hadn’t been for my close mentors, especially Dr. Jim Kuipers and Mrs. Kim Vilendrer, who inspired my love for biology and chemistry that would ultimately underpin my academic motivations for going into medicine later on. If it weren’t for CCHS, I wouldn’t have had the honor to be the student of such stellar mentors.

Post-Graduation at UChicago

During my Senior year at CCHS, I was accepted to my dream school (a.k.a. the American Hogwarts), The University of Chicago, where I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate aspiring to become a doctor. At UChicago, I’m pursuing a B.A. in Biology with a Minor in the History & Philosophy of Medicine. I’ve had the pleasure to deepen my connection with pediatric patients and their families as a tutor at Comer Children’s Hospital, where I help hospitalized children with their homework by their bedsides. My involvement in my Greek heritage also strengthened as I co-founded UChicago’s first Hellenic Student Association (HSA) to bring together our Hellenic community on campus and foster connections with other university HSAs in the Chicagoland area. Miraculously, I found time in between my pre-medical studies to also co-found a chapter of Be The Match on my campus, a national organization that registers healthy donors to the National Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Registry. These donors could potentially “match” genetically with blood cancer patients awaiting life-saving stem cell transplants; since starting and leading the organization almost two years ago, we’ve signed-up over 300 students and faculty to the Registry, and even found one match for a patient!

Throughout these past three years, I’ve realigned my academic interests in medicine from the basic sciences to bioethics & humanities in medicine. I spent most of my summers conducting bench research—from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX all the way to Athens, Greece—managed to publish a few abstracts in the journal, Blood, and presented my lab team’s research at a national conference in San Francisco, CA. Gradually, my passion for philosophy emerged, and I’m currently working with a former professor to write and publish a paper on moral psychology’s role in medicine. Lastly, I have been applying to medical schools this year and am now in the interview process, awaiting to hear where I will hopefully be attending as a medical student next year!

My experiences at UChicago continually contribute to my worldview in a positive way by exposing me to diverse, intellectually-challenging opinions and people that allow me to question my presuppositions and refine my outlook in life and medicine. CCHS was arguably the springboard that led me to where I am today: At a university which I know is the singular fit for me.

CCHS’s Lasting Influence

While CCHS was indeed the springboard, reaching it was a long way up, and I had to first make a great effort to climb the ladder to reach it and take a dive into my future. One distinctive feature of CCHS was its ability to urge me beyond my introverted comfort zone and to engage with its community through service and developing my talents. This is a virtue that I believe was not only vital to my own character formation, but also my development as a physician in the future, since a certain level of extroversion and ambition is necessary to succeed as a humanistic doctor, to connect with the patients that we will be healing. As I finish my final year at UChicago, I constantly reflect on a quote spoken at Chapel by CCHS’s former Principal, Mr. Robert Payne: “Hard work ethic trumps lazy talent.” I never forgot that quote, and I think it—paired with the CCHS experience—has led me to where I am today.

FEATURED ALUMNNA – November 2016

Emily Ward Parr '05

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2005. When I look back and reflect about my time at Chicago Christian, some of my favorite memories include participating in the band and theater. I really enjoyed the hard work we put into learning music, and the fun we had on tours. Music continues to be a part of my life as a result of my band experiences at Chicago Christian. My involvement in the theater department at Chicago Christian gave me the chance to open up and try new things, and I will always remember being in musicals like “Annie” and plays like “12 Angry Jurors”.

Since graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Trinity Christian College and then began working as a media producer at the Field Museum. I have worked at the Field Museum and lived in Chicago ever since graduating from Trinity, and have really enjoyed it. I am close to completing my Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Chicago Christian High School provided me the academic and faith grounding to prepare me for what God had in store for me. It is an adventure that is still unfolding, and I am excited to see the plans God holds for me in the future.


Jess Koster '09

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 2009, and I have many fond memories of my time in the Theater Department at CCHS. I met some of my best friends while participating in theater. They were so encouraging and were some of the best people.

Theater provided a great deal of excitement for me, and it was an amazing stress relief for me. It was a beautiful experience as being a part of theater gave me the courage to be more than I was.

After graduating from Chicago Christian, I attended Calvin College, and continued being involved with theater all four years in one capacity or another. My passion for the theater continued after college, as I graduated from Calvin and moved to Chicago. I have been working with Three Cat Productions as their resident Stage Manager.

Chicago Christian High School provided me opportunities to grow and learn about “who I am” with a safe community. I was able to find my passion by participating in the Theater Department, and it enabled me to find myself in a new way. God has granted me a great job and an amazing opportunity to work with new playwrights and get new voices out into the world.

FEATURED ALUMNA – September 2016

Marcia Ooms '97

I graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 1997, and have many fond memories of my time at Chicago Christian High School. Some of my best memories include the social events like sporting events and dances. I enjoyed spending time with my friends and being a part of the National Honors Society. My favorite class was AP English with Mrs. VandenBosch.

During my time at Chicago Christian, I felt called to be an adoption social worker. With the encouragement of Miss Louters, I was able to do a career visit at an adoption agency while I was in high school. This made an impact on my future career.

After Chicago Christian, I went to college at Trinity Christian College. I graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology. I worked for several years as a case worker for children in foster care before going to graduate school at Dominican University. In 2009, I earned a Master’s degree in social work, and I started working for Bethany Christian Services in Palos Heights. I continue to work there today as a social worker in the domestic adoption program.

I see God working every day through Bethany. Families are being created, and I marvel every day that God has chosen me to be a small part of that. I love my work and feel so blessed to be doing what I have felt called to do since I was in high school.


Dwayne Kuiper '86

I had the privilege to attend CCHS for all four years of high school. I graduated in 1986 with 125 other students. Many great friendships were formed in high school and many of those continue today. The best friendship continues with my wife Deb (DeRuiter) with whom I graduated.

I remember fondly, teacher John VanVossen giving me his 1974 Opal car just because he knew I needed one. The bonus was having that car featured in the “Magnificent Machines” section of the Crusader. Michael Katterjohn was a great band teacher, because he took time to make sure I understood the music. Coach Mike Laneve was my favorite football coach, because he cared about much more than just winning the games. Although winning a few more would have been nice. Under the direction of Mr. Gary Meyer, I was a part of the CCHS Improv team “The Generics”. I enjoyed being a part of that team, and we also performed some children’s theatre. It’s my great honor to watch my oldest daughter grace the same stage for CCHS’s Theatre and Improv performances. Bible teacher, Mr. Assink, said “Every area of life is involved in our commitment to Christ; therefore, every subject should be taught with that commitment in view.” This statement was true for how our teachers taught us at CCHS.

During my junior and senior years I started a small business doing lawn care. I am still a business owner in the same field today, it has grown into a full service lawn care and landscaping business. God has blessed us in so many ways.

Deb and I have been blessed with 3 kids. Shannon, age 17 attends CCHS. Austin, 14 and Jadyn, 7 attend SCCS in Tinley Park. We recently celebrated 26 years of marriage and look forward to many more years of blessing and faithfulness. We attend Immanuel Christian Reformed Church where I currently hold the office of Elder.

Four years of high school at CCHS helped prepared me for a lifelong service to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I had the privilege to serve on the SCCS school board for a term. While serving, I witnessed the commitment and servant hearts of the teachers and staff at SCCS.

I am proud to be called an alumni.


Bob Kamp 

If high school is painful, it’s because it involves growth. The question is how much, and in what direction? I am very glad of my four years at CCHS, which offered plenty of growth opportunities within a Christ-centered learning environment. I was never the best athlete, nor the best student, but somehow Christian High managed to pull and push and prod me to become my best self. Freshman year I wrestled (to use the term loosely) at 126 lbs. I won only one match, and that was because my opponent didn’t show up (true story!). However, after hitting my growth spurt, I played football senior year at 205 lbs. My first three seasons were fairly awful, but that last season I started every game and found the experience truly satisfying. I recall a daunting history project junior year, but with focus and direction, my project, along with some classmates’ as well, advanced to regionals and were later displayed at the Chicago Public Library downtown. Favorite memories are the senior class trip, senior lounge, assembly, intramurals (if memory serves, Coach Slager offered pinochle), Midnight Madness, basketball and football games, participating in school plays, banquets/prom, and lunch. Favorite teachers include Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Gary Meyer, Mr. Kloosterman, and Mr. Griffeon (thanks to whom I can’t forget: “In 732, at the Battle of Tours, Charles Martel defeated the Moors”).

Following high school, I attended Calvin College, where I met my wife, Jill Helder Kamp. Married 27 years now, we have two children, Delaney (b. 1997) and Quinn (b. 2000). After Calvin, I earned my law degree at DePaul University. I am a senior attorney with Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing, MI, where I’ve worked for nearly 20 years. My job involves evaluating bodily injury claims in hopes of settling them short of trial. I commute from Grand Rapids to Lansing every day, but the commute provides plenty of time to organize my thoughts.

I invented the game Choice Words, (a/k/a the “fast-paced phrase race”). On the market since late 2014, Choice Words has won several industry awards and was nominated for Game Of The Year, by the Toy Industry Association. Choice Words features two kinds of play. In Scratch Play, players write all the words, terms, titles, etc. that contain the root word (jackhammer, jack rabbit, jack of all trades, Jack Frost, lumberjack, Cracker Jack, the Union Jack, etc. ) Answers in common are scratched; you score for answers no one else has. In Match Play, you score to the extent you match other players. ( ___CUT: short cut? haircut? cold cut? pay cut? - - what will most players write?) The game began as a fleeting observation in 1997 that a contact lens, a contact sport, and contact paper are unrelated items, despite sharing a common root word. After paging through the dictionary (pot holder . . . potluck . . . pot roast) and much thinking (crock pot, crackpot, jackpot), I found there were enough words to make a game. Although the game was a hit with relatives Thanksgiving 1997, I failed to land a deal and shelved the project for 15 years. In 2013 I took the game to an industry event on Navy Pier; met with MindWare; and signed a contract a few months later. Choice Words is now sold in the U.S., Canada, New Zeeland, Australia, and England (where they speak our language despite being terrible spellers).

Growth happens most anywhere, but for maturing minds and cultivating character, Christian education is the greenhouse of highest yields.


Phil Leo '84

I have many fond memories of my time at Chicago Christian High School. There are many stories I could share, but one particularly comes to mind. During study hall with Coach Slager, some spectacularly bad behavior on the part of some students resulted in the entire group of students being held in after the period bell had run. A fellow classmate, who had chosen to be in the library instead of study hall (and who shall not be named here), realized what was happening and decided to open the auditorium doors and cry, "Let my people go!" A cry for liberation if there ever was one and it's resonated with me ever since!

Upon graduation from CCHS, I went to Trinity Christian College where I received a BA in education. After a brief stint in teaching, I enrolled at Calvin Theological Seminary to become a pastor. I served at a church in Wisconsin for five years and for the last 16 years have been at Calvin CRC in Oak Lawn. I have centered my ministry and preaching on the objective of helping people grow in their understanding of their connection to God and His people through Jesus Christ.

I've been blessed to marry my high school sweetheart Barb (Workman) Leo (Class of 1987), and we have three children -- Jacob, Nathan, and Abby who will be graduating from CCHS this spring. Barb is a first grade teacher at Harnew Public School in Oak Lawn.

Southwest Chicago Christian Schools has played a major role in my life and the lives of my family members. I am very thankful for the Christ-centered learning the schools provided to Barb and me and our children.

FEATURED ALUMNUS - February 2016

Jim Sluis '87

I graduated Chicago Christian High School in 1987. Mr. Michael Hughes (band director), Mr. Kroon (chemistry), and Mr. Persenaire (Bible) were three instructors that I recall had the biggest influence on me. Mr. Hughes passionately talked about how you can do whatever you want with your life and absolutely no one can stop you! He was always telling us to think “Why can’t you do something? Why can’t you be the best? Challenge the rules.” Many times in college and early in my career I thought about those words and they helped instill confidence. Mr. Persenaire made Bible class interesting. I recall how he used to lecture us saying…”Brother Sluis, if you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Mr. Kroon just loved teaching his chemistry class and tried to make it fun. Our class had the first “Mole Bowl” a football game between the two chemistry classes that I am proud to say we won 7-0 thanks to a great catch by Karl Hoekstra.

It was in the halls of CCHS that I stumbled upon a flyer that stated “Pharmacy: The Career of the 90’s”. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but when I read the flyer, learning about medications, being in the medical field and using knowledge to help people seemed interesting. I dove right in and six years later I graduated with a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1993.

Presently I am a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Ambulatory Care at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Crown Point, Indiana. I have been blessed to work with our veterans! I do not work behind a counter, but see patients like your traditional doctor. I manage many patient’s diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood thinning medications.

I met my wife Carolyn in pharmacy school. We have been married for 20 years. We have three children: Cassy, Tory, and Josh who also attend CCHS and the Tinley Park Campus. We have been very pleased with the academics and spiritual development the school is providing our children.

Looking back, I feel Chicago Christian prepared me very well academically to succeed, but more importantly, CCHS helped teach me to show the love of Christ to many people over the years. The Bible verse “Whatever you do for the least of these”…often has come to me when a person has been overwhelmed by or having a side effect to a medication. At times I felt I was placed right in that moment to have a positive impact in their life. I am thankful for my experience at CCHS, and I hope many others continue to benefit from this institution.


Geoffrey Goodfellow '93

I look back very fondly on my graduation from CCHS in 1993.  It was truly a time where my adult life started.  CCHS gave me the gift of a spouse as it is where I met my wife Beth.  I also feel that I owe my continued love of the sciences and my gift of a rewarding career to CCHS.

After graduating from CCHS, I attended Benedictine University where I graduated with a degree in biochemistry in 1997.  From there, I attended the Illinois College of Optometry where I graduated in 2001 and then pursued a residency in Pediatrics/Binocular Vision.  Upon completion of my residency, I accepted a teaching position at the Illinois College of Optometry and have been there ever since.  Optometry has been a calling for me and blends together teaching, learning, patient care, and my administrative work.  Every day is very different, and I know that this exactly what I'm supposed to be doing in life.

Beth and I have been blessed with four great children - Gabrielle, Grace, Graham, and Gregory who are all currently SCCS students at the Tinley Park campus.  Christian education has been such a natural pathway for us, and I am thankful each day for what Southwest does in the life of my kids.  Not only are they being well prepared for academic excellence, but they are sincerely experiencing a united message about what it means to be a follower of Christ at home, church, and school.

FEATURED ALUMNA - December 2015

Becky Huisenga Vande Kamp '92

Since graduating from CCHS, I attended Trinity Christian College and received a degree in Psychology and Sociology. I married my husband Joel in 1996, and we have five children – Trent, 18, Cassidy, 16, Blake, 15, Drew, 13, and Macie, 7. Our four youngest children attend SCCS, and our oldest is a freshman at Trinity Christian College. Upon graduating from Trinity, I began working at Bethshan Association as a case worker. After taking some time off to start our family, I took a position at Orland Park Church as the Director of Youth Ministries in 2001.

My job is so incredibly rewarding. It has been a privilege to be able to serve in the church and to get to spend time with some amazing young people. Many of our students attend CCHS, and it’s a blessing to be able to retain my connection to the school. I love the sense of community at CCHS, and am impressed by the way they encourage their students to be involved in the community that exists beyond their walls. The teachers there are so positive and engaged in the student’s lives, and truly care for them as a whole.

My time at CCHS helped shape me into who I am today, and I am so thankful for a Christian education with teachers who truly cared about helping me develop not only as a student, but also in my faith. This legacy is carried on today, and I consider it a privilege to be able to send my kids to CCHS, where they can grow academically as well as spiritually. Thank you for preparing our children to be servants in God’s kingdom!

FEATURED ALUMNUS - November 2015

Paul Bootsma '90

I graduated from CCHS in 1990 and headed to college. After graduating from Trinity Christian College, I started my career in Christian education as a middle and high school English teacher at Terra Ceia Christian School in North Carolina. I met my wife Rachel there where she was also a teacher. We then moved to Edgerton, Minnesota, where I was a high school principal at Southwest MN Christian High School. My family and I recently moved to Lynden, Washington, where I am the superintendent of Lynden Christian Schools. We have 5 children – our daughter is a freshman in college, 2 sons are in 7th grade, a son is in 6th grade, and a son is in 1st grade. We are certainly blessed and challenged in our lives together.

High school was a time of questioning and searching as well as growth and fun for me. As I reflect on high school, I can’t believe God’s blessings and providence during that time. I see clearly how God was working his plan in my years at Chicago Christian. Specifically, Mr. Jeff Carpenter in student council and Coach Mike Laneve in football were encouraging and instrumental in teaching about leadership and providing leadership opportunities for me. My friends and I were formative for each other in learning how to mature while supporting one another. Chicago Christian provided a great opportunity for me to learn more about who I was as a child of God.

Since I really haven’t left high school because I continued teaching and leading in Christian schools, I am grateful for the foundational opportunities that Chicago Christian provided me as I live a life of service to God.


Jake Boss Sr. '61

Jake Boss Sr. was born on the south side of Chicago and grew up with a passion for baseball. He attended Chicago Christian High School and graduated in 1961. After graduating from Chicago Christian High School, he was invited to spring training by the Anaheim Angels (an expansion team at the time) in Newton, North Carolina. It was always a dream of Coach Boss Sr. to play professional baseball, but God had other plans. During his time at Chicago Christian, the late legendary coach, Will Slager, had a strong influence on him. Jake played basketball and baseball at Chicago Christian and had the opportunity to be a part of some very good teams. God would use these experiences and the influence of Coach Slager to guide Jake Sr. to a career as a teacher and a coach. This is a picture of the 1961 Chicago Christian baseball team. The team went undefeated and won the Private School League (Jake is third from the right in the back row).

Jake Sr. enrolled at Wilson Junior College in Chicago and attended school there for one year, and then finished his undergraduate work at Western Michigan University. While he attended Western Michigan University, God carried out the next phase of His plan for Jake’s life – he met his wife of 47 years, Joanne. After graduating from Western Michigan University, Jake received his Master’s Degree from Michigan State University, and accepted a teaching position at Everett High School in Lansing. Oddly enough, even though Coach Boss’s first love was baseball, his first coaching positions were coaching football, basketball, and wrestling at the Junior High level. Eventually, he would coach baseball at Everett where he also taught Physical Education, Health, and Swimming. One story Coach Boss Sr. likes to share is for three years he taught Hall of Fame basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and how Coach Boss Sr. tried very hard to persuade Magic to that baseball should be his sport of choice, but as Coach Boss Sr. says, “in the end I think Magic made the right choice with basketball’. After 23 years at Lansing Everett High School, Coach Boss Sr. went to Eastern Michigan University and served as baseball coach there for three years. He also served as the baseball coach at Alma College for three years, before returning to the high school level for seven years, where he served as the head baseball coach at Lansing Catholic High School. After serving as baseball coach at Lansing Catholic for seven years, Coach Boss Sr. joined his son, Jake Boss Jr. at Michigan State University, where Coach Boss Jr. continues to serve as the head baseball coach. One of the highlights of Coach Boss Sr’s time with his son at Michigan State was winning the Big Ten Championship. Coach Boss Sr. served on the Michigan State staff for four years. Coach Boss Sr. is retired from coaching, but continues to be involved with the baseball program and Michigan State University. He teaches a baseball theory class at Michigan State and does the color TV broadcasting for the Michigan State baseball team. Coach Boss Sr. has been inducted into two Halls of Fame. He is a member of the Michigan Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, and a member of the Lansing Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame.

Coach Boss Sr. is truly humbled by the opportunities the Lord has provided him over the years through the game of baseball. He has traveled the world through a baseball organization called “Unlimited Potential”, which has provided him the opportunity to share the gospel around the world. Coach Boss Sr. also continues to make several public appearances each year, and these also provide him a wonderful opportunity to share God’s word with many different people and organizations. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and their two children and families. His son Jake Jr. continues to serve as the head coach of the Michigan State baseball program, and his daughter Kelly (who just happened to marry a former professional baseball player that Coach Boss Sr. recommended drafting while he was a scout with the Toronto Blue Jays) who is a teacher at Hudsonville High School. Coach Boss Sr. has six grandchildren, and he enjoys spending time with them as well.

Chicago Christian High School is very proud of Coach Boss Sr., and thanks him for sharing his story. It is just another great example of how God has used one of our alumni and a passion for baseball to further His Kingdom around the world.

FEATURED ALUMNUS - September 2015

Erik Hoekstra '85

Since graduating from CCHS in 1985, I received a degree in history and philosophy from Trinity Christian College in 1989.  Barb (Bootsma—CCHS ’85) and I married in 1988.  I had initially intended to attend seminary after college—but I felt that getting some life experience first might be good.  Thus, I worked for several years for Vans Wholesale Floral in Alsip and then Grand Rapids, MI until 1992.  At that time, I sensed that seminary was no longer God’s call for me and decided on an MBA instead.  Barb and I moved to the Netherlands where I studied International Business at the Rotterdam School of Management and Barb taught at the American School in The Hague.

We returned to the US in 1993, and I helped run Eastern Floral in Grand Rapids, MI for several years.  Our first two kids (Arie b. 1995 & Karl b. 1997) were born in Michigan.  We then moved to Sioux Center, IA for me to teach business at Dordt College which I did from 1997 – 2000.  I then moved back into industry as a partner with The Interstates Companies, an industrial group of construction & engineering service firms in Iowa from 2000 – 2008.  During those years, I also completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Human Resources from Iowa State University.  Our family was also blessed to adopt two children during those years (Max b. 1996 in China & Zoe b. 1999 in Korea).


In 2008, I sold my interest in the companies and returned to Dordt College—first as the Chief Academic Officer from 2008 – 2012 and now I serve as President since 2012.  I’ve enjoyed having several CCHS graduates as students at Dordt College and we’ve also sent several teachers to CCHS from Dordt.  We’d love to have more students from CCHS here at Dordt, as well!  Just come on a campus visit---you’ll love it!

I’ll be forever grateful to the CCHS board, faculty, and community for the great education that I received there.  I fell in love with geography in Mr. Griffieon’s class and I can still sew on a button which I learned in Bachelor living with Ms. Van Loh.  Further, I’m also thankful for the opportunities to be involved in athletics and student government to teach me leadership skills, as well.

Barb & I are strong supporters of Christian education—from kindergarten through college—and we encourage the CCHS community to continue to be a part of growing up the next generation of young Christians for service in God’s Kingdom.


Nancy J. Cavanaugh '84

My connection to Chicago Christian High School began with an Irish Catholic grandfather and a Baptist grandmother who taught Child Evangelism and attended classes at Moody Bible Institute.  This unlikely couple wanted a Christian education for their boys.  Those boys were my father and my uncle, Larry and Ron Cavanaugh.  It was then that the Cavanaugh family began its history with Chicago Christian High School.  I’m thankful for many things in my life, and my Christian heritage (from both of my parents) and the opportunity to have enjoyed a Christian education are two of the most important.

Growing up, I enjoyed five years at the Evergreen Park campus of Chicago Southwest Christian School.  As a child my favorite memories are the merry-go-round:  man, did we ever make that thing fly, the monkey bars:  boy, did I ever know how to do a lot of cool tricks, the swings:  you wouldn’t even believe how high my cousin and I used to go, and the park across the street where we used to play at recess and even ice skated during the winter months.  Those were definitely the good old days.

As an adult, I realize the good times on the playground are wonderful memories, but it was what happened in the classroom every day that was what really made Chicago Southwest Christian School the kind of place that built a foundation for my future.  Academically I was prepared to reach my potential and follow my dreams; but even more importantly, spiritually, I was “instructed in the way a child should go,” and those lessons were taught in such a way that they were imprinted on my heart.

After leaving the Evergreen Park campus, I spent three years at the Oak Lawn campus in junior high continuing my academic and spiritual preparation for life.  From there I headed to Chicago Christian High School to spend four years learning even more and beginning to find out just which direction my life was headed.

Several high school classes stand out in my memory as ones that helped me realize the path I should take in life.  Childcare with Mary VanLoh helped me realize my own gift for working with children, which ultimately led me to pursue a career in elementary education.  English, Literature, and Creative writing classes with Gary Meyer and Mark Hiskes gave me the opportunity to develop my passion for writing which ultimately led to my endeavor to become a published children’s author.

After my twelve years at Chicago Southwest Christian School and Chicago Christian High School, I headed to Minnesota to attend Northwestern Bible College (now University of Northwestern).  I received my degree in education and then returned to the Chicago area where I taught at Timothy Christian School for fifteen years.  It was a blessing to continue being part of Christian education – this time as a teacher “instructing children in the way they should go.”

A few years after getting married, my husband and I adopted our daughter from China, and a few years later, we moved to Florida.  In Florida, I had the opportunity to continue my relationship with Christian education by returning to work as a school librarian in a small Christian school in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Eventually, I retired from that job to pursue my dream of becoming a children’s author which I had been working toward for almost twenty years.  My first book, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, was published in April of 2013 and my second book, Always, Abigail, came out in August of 2014.  My third book, Just Like Me, is due out in spring of 2016.



I am so thankful for my years at Chicago Southwest Christian School and Chicago Christian High School.  It’s this foundation of Christian education that has been such a blessing in my own life and has also allowed me to be a blessing in the lives of so many others. 


Amy Retsema Eyler '92

I graduated from CCHS in 1992.   Thinking back on my high school years, I’m grateful for the many ways that I was encouraged to develop as a whole person through a broad set of experiences—academic, social, spiritual, musical, and athletic.  I have particularly fond memories of the athletic teams I had the fun of participating on—including advancing to the state finals in tennis and the super-sectionals in basketball during my senior year.  One exceptionally memorable basketball game involved a six-overtime win (which was an Illinois state record at the time).  Those basketball teams in particular were a special mix of great teammates who were talented athletes and great humans.  We also had the opportunity to play for an incredible coach, Bill Hoffman, who taught us a lot about basketball and even more about life.

After CCHS, I went to Calvin College.  I wasn’t a person who entered college thinking that I knew what I wanted to “be”, but God gave me continual nudges to become an English major. I realize now looking back the important foundation that an English degree laid for future work experiences.   While at Calvin, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to continue participating in athletics – playing basketball my freshman year before switching to tennis, receiving all-conference honors my junior and senior year.  My athletic experiences at CCHS were extremely formative in instilling the sense of discipline and commitment necessary to compete at the college level. 

Following graduation, I took a job with Microsoft in Chicago, later transferring to Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.  In my 14 years at Microsoft, God opened doors for me to pursue a variety of marketing and communications roles.  My most recent position was an international role where I worked with the in-country marketing organizations from Microsoft subsidiaries (countries) around the world.  This afforded me the wonderful opportunity to travel extensively to many varied places – ranging from Europe, to Asia, to South America.    Through the complexities of engaging with different cultures, I gained both additional perspective as to how big and diverse the world is along with a deepened sense of business as a calling and the importance of Christian engagement in the business sector.  While working, I also completed a program in Public Relations at the University of Washington.

I’ve now transitioned to working in a free-lance capacity as it affords me greater flexibility and time with my family—including my husband Matt, my son Jack (5), and my daughter Cate (3).  We live in Seattle where we enjoy exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.   I still enjoy returning to Chicago to visit family and friends and have a particular love for the Chicago Marathon (having recently completed it for the 15th time.)

Reflecting on my time at CCHS, I have renewed appreciation for the breadth of experiences I was able to have there and how they contributed to my development as a student, athlete, and person.  I feel deeply grateful for the great community of teachers, coaches, teammates, and classmates that influenced my life during my years at CCHS.  Having kids now myself, I have an even greater appreciation for the concept that “it takes a village”—I am grateful for all of those at CCHS who were such an influential part of mine.


Nadia Howse '14

Both my mom and I are graduates of Chicago Christian High School.  My mom (Iris Price) graduated in 1979, and I graduated class of 2014.  Unfortunately, neither of us began our high school career at Chicago Christian High School.  We were both transfer students due to severe bullying that we dealt with at the beginning of our freshmen year at previous schools. (I guess bullying has been going on for a long time). CCHS  served as a refuge as well as a great learning institution.  The sense of security and love of God that was demonstrated from students and faculty will never be forgotten.  Of course no place is perfect, but my mom and I both feel that CCHS was the perfect place for us!     
      CCHS was a great school for me to attend, especially since I was only 12 years old when I came there. I was only 15 years old when I graduated, so being in a very positive environment was quite crucial.  CCHS also helped me deal with the death of my father.  The grief group with Mrs. Lenters was helpful to me on so many different levels. Sometimes the discussions would be exactly what I needed to hear on that particular day! Mrs. Lenters also lead the Mosaic Club, one that promotes diversity.  I’ll never forget the day my grandmother brought “Soul Food” to the school.  It was funny to see how God used food to bring people together.  Many of the students had never eaten collard greens.  Some thought sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie were the same.  All of taste testing opened up dialog and offered me the opportunity to talk to people who I probably never would have talked to before. Not only did I meet new people, relationships were forged from this food event. It also gave people insight about me and my culture. This simple food experience taught me that it’s a lot easier to tolerate and accept people when you know or understand a little more about them.  God used a pan of greens, sweet potato pie and banana pudding to create a little miracle called friendship for me and others as well.
My parents gave me the name Nadia and it is not ironic that it means hopeful.  I believe that the various experiences throughout my life, has given me desire to bring hope to others.  I believe they were the catalyst for me deciding to create my own foundation. A foundation that raises money to purchase educational tools for children in the hospital for an extended period of time. Please visit my website at nadiashowseofhope.org.     


CCHS has taught me many valuable lessons, but one that constantly sticks with me is to let nothing separate me from God’s love.  Now that I’m a college student, that memorable lesson makes handling peer-pressure a lot better.  It makes working hard and not-giving up, so much easier.  It makes wanting to stay pure before marriage a lot more desirable.  It makes surrendering my will to do God’s will possible.  Thank you CCHS for all that you have done to help me become the person that I am today.  To God be the Glory for the things He has done and yet doing through you guys. My future is bright because of CCHS!

FEATURED ALUMNUS - February 2015

Derrick Sanders '83

Our featured alumnus for the month of February is Derrick Sanders.  Derrick graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 1983.  Derrick played basketball for the Knights during his time at Chicago Christian and led the Knights to a 75-29 overall record during his four years.  He was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State Team in 1982 and 1983, and finished his career third on the Chicago Christian High School all-time scoring list with 1,261 career points.

Derrick received a full ride basketball scholarship to Illinois State University.  Derrick played basketball for the Redbirds and studied Economics.  While playing basketball for Illinois State, Derrick was named to the Missouri Valley All-Conference team twice.  He played in 120 games during his career at Illinois State University and scored 1,088 points, which currently places him 32nd on the Illinois State University career scoring list. He is also among the career record holders for Illinois State in Field Goals Made (27th overall with 462 field goals); Field Goal Percentage (19th overall with 49% field goal percentage); Rebounding (42nd overall with an average of 5.1 rebounds per game); and Blocked Shots (40th overall with an average of 0.9 blocks per game).  During his tenure at Illinois State, his teams participated in two NCAA tournaments and one NIT tournament.  He scored 73 points in a three game span during the 1987 NIT tournament.

In 1987, Derrick was the #1 overall draft pick in the CBA Draft.  He was selected by the Quad City Thunder.  Derrick was selected for the 12-member NIKE-NIT All-Star Team which toured Spain and France in the summer of 1987, and he played professionally in Australia for eight years before retiring in 1996.   Derrick currently lives in Melbourne Australia.

Derrick was inducted into the Chicago Christian High School’s inaugural “Wall of Honor” on February 5, 2011.  Derrick recently contacted Chicago Christian and shared what he has been up to lately.  He wrote the following:

“I recently received my FIBA International Sports Agents License, so I am currently starting my own Sports Management Company helping players achieve their aspirations of playing professional basketball here and abroad.”  The Lord has continued to use Derrick’s love for the game of basketball to now help other players use their talents.


Wisconsin State Representative Dale Kooyenga '97

It is our privilege to feature Chicago Christian alumnus, Dale Kooyenga, as our featured alumnus this month.  Dale graduated from Chicago Christian High School in 1997.  While at Chicago Christian, he participated in Cross Country and Basketball.  After graduating from Chicago Christian, Dale attended Moraine Valley Community College, where he played basketball and received an Associate’s Degree.  Following his time at Moraine Valley, Dale attended Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on a basketball scholarship and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lakeland College.  After graduating from Lakeland, Dale moved to the Milwaukee area and worked to pass the CPA exam.  He passed the CPA exam and worked for an international accounting firm, which allowed him the opportunity to work with some of Wisconsin’s biggest financial and non-profit organizations.  In 2005, Dale felt called to serve his country, so he decided to attend the United States Army’s basic training.  He completed his basic training and moved back to his accounting career and earned an MBA degree from Marquette University in 2007.  In 2008, Dale was called up to serve in Iraq and served there for nine months, and was eventually awarded the Bronze Star for his service.  He remains a member of the United States Army Reserves to this day.

Dale was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2010 and was reelected in 2012.  While serving as a State Representative, Dale has been recognized on a national level for his work with school reform, lowering taxes, and jobs creation.  Dale also introduced legislation to allow the non-profit organization, Safe Families, to continue to operate and provide stable home lives for the children of parents who were struggling with various issues.  Dale’s hard work with this legislation culminated in the passing of AB30, which was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in November of 2011.

Dale currently resides with his wife, Jennifer, in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The couple has four children, and they attend Brookfield Christian Reformed Church.

Chicago Christian High School is very proud of Dale, and the important work he performs on the behalf of the citizens of the state of Wisconsin.  We give thanks for the way the Lord is using him as a man of Christian faith and morals in the public eye.  May the Lord continue to use Dale to not only represent the state of Wisconsin, but to represent Him as well.

FEATURED ALUMNA - December 2014

Katie VanderLaan Byington '07

Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Before I was born, God knew the works He wanted me to do on this earth, and knew the experiences and people I would need in order to complete those. Throughout my time at SCCS, the Lord allowed me to meet wonderful teachers and principals. He exposed me to Christian education and provided me with multiple opportunities to serve and develop my leadership skills. Looking back, I can see how God used a variety of my experiences at SCCS to prepare me for the work He had planned for me to do.

After graduating from CCHS in 2007, I attended Moody Bible Institute where I graduated with my Bachelors in Bible and Elementary education. While there, I met and married my husband, Zach. I loved my experience at Moody and the opportunity I had to grow in my faith and my understanding of the Bible. Thanks to my degree, I was able to teach at a Christian-International school in Uganda and later at an inner-city Christian elementary school in Chicago.

Through a series of events, the Lord opened up the door for us to be missionaries in a village in Liberia, West Africa. In 2012, we moved to Liberia where the Lord allowed us to start a Christian Primary School and a clinic (Zach is a paramedic, which basically meant he was a doctor over there). It was very challenging to move into a new culture, but also very rewarding. There were few stable churches and the poverty in our community was heartbreaking. With the support and encouragement from the Lord and from other Christians, including many from the SCCS community, the Lord equipped us to be a light in our community and to establish the school and clinic. On the first day of school we had 12 students. By the time we left, there were 108! The Lord brought some amazing local people that we were able to train so that the work the Lord allowed us to start would continue in our absence.

During our time there we were reminded constantly that we could not fix the poverty, illness, lack of education, or suffering around us. However, central to our work at the school and the clinic was the Gospel, as Christ truly is the only hope for all. Since we left, this reminder continues as Ebola has been ravaging the country and affecting the people we love in Liberia. Currently, the government has shut down all schools and clinics in hopes of trying to contain the spread of Ebola. We remain in contact with our friends and coworkers in Liberia and we pray the Ebola will stop soon and that they will be able to continue the work the Lord began.

This summer we moved to the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. I am now a stay at home mom to our son, James, and Zach works as a paramedic. We both enjoy being a part of the Roger’s Park Community Church.

FEATURED ALUMNA - November 2014

Rebecca Kamp Zylstra '08

4-Time Volleyball College All-American  (Calvin College)
2011 Division III National Player of the Year
2009 and 2011 Academic All-American

My name is Rebecca Zylstra, and I graduated from CCHS in 2008.  I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to attend CCHS and know that the sacrifices my parents made to send me there were well worth it.  While at CCHS I played volleyball and softball, was a part of the yearbook and was a member of NHS.  I was able to make a lot of great friends, some of whom I would still consider my closest friends today.  I felt loved and cared for by the teachers, staff, and coaches I had while at CCHS.  The feelings of nervousness I had as a freshman were quickly replaced by a sense of belonging and community that make my memories of high school so special.  Whether it was sitting in Dr. Kuipers’ Chemistry class or singing songs to remember Bible verses with Pastor Chip, I knew that the content of what we were learning was second to who I was and how I was doing.

After graduating from CCHS I went to Calvin College.  I studied Special Education there and played volleyball for four years.  Many of the things I loved and appreciated about CCHS I also found at Calvin.  In my senior year I met and fell in love with my husband, Mark Zylstra.  Thankfully he is also from Chicago, even though he went to Timothy and still cheers for them!

We currently live in St. Louis, MO.  We are both teachers, and I teach at Westminster Christian Academy.  I teach in our Special Services Department as the case manager for the junior class.  My daily activities include teaching lessons about time management and self-advocacy, helping students write papers and study for tests, and team-teaching an American Literature class.  I am also able to coach the Freshmen Volleyball team here and am going to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education starting this spring.

Although I do not live in Chicago anymore, I know that the lessons I learned in high school and the way I was loved and cared for have traveled with me.  The four years a person spends in high school are formative, and I know that mine helped to point me in the right direction.  Along with my parents and my church leaders, CCHS prepared me well for what was to come.  I want to extend a sincere thank you to all of my teachers who spent hours planning lessons and grading my papers.  I want to thank my coaches who spent hours of their free time riding the bus to and from games, planning practices, and giving up Saturdays for our tournaments.  Thank you to everyone who doesn’t get thanked enough.  You are doing great work at CCHS, and I am just one of the products of that!












FEATURED ALUMNI - October 2014

The Hoekstra Brothers Take on the Chicago Marathon!

On October 12, 2014, three Chicago Christian graduates, Dale Hoekstra (class of 1973), Tim Hoekstra (class of 1977), and Dan Hoekstra (class of 1981) will run the Chicago Marathon.  None of them are new to running.  In fact, if you go back a few years to their high school days, all three were involved in track or cross country during their high school years. In those days, there was no track to train on, so track athletes had to train on the local roads near the school’s campus.  Despite the lack of good training facilities, each brother fondly remembers moments of success.  Dale’s cross country teams were division champions and went on to compete in the state sectionals during the years when little private schools like Chicago Christian competed against much larger
schools.  Tim qualified for state in the 300 meter hurdles, while one of the teams Dan competed on went to state ranked number one in Illinois.

Now let’s fast forward to the present.  Dan is living in Southern California working full time as a 7th grade teacher.  Tim is the mentoring leader at Suburban Life Community Church, which he planted in the Chicago area more than 20 years ago.  He is also a leadership coach for the Christian Reformed Church and part time recruiter for Team World Vision.  Dale is a director of operations for Waste Management Corporation.

All three have kept up their running over the years and have run other marathons, but they have never all run together.  That will change this year!  Tim will be running in his 10th Chicago Marathon.  He has run nine Chicago Marathons consecutively, raising thousands of dollars for World Vision’s water projects in Africa.  To celebrate his fiftieth birthday, Tim ran fifty miles and raised fifty thousand dollars for clean water projects in Kenya.  On the day of the Chicago Marathon, he ran 24.8 miles prior to the beginning of the marathon and joined the rest of the competitors running their 26.2 miles of the marathon!  Since this will be Tim’s tenth year participating in the Chicago Marathon, he put out the challenge to his two brothers to join him in not only running the marathon together, but in raising money for clean water in Africa.

At the time of this writing, all three brothers are in the midst of their training.  They are working hard and trying to stay healthy for the marathon.  A blog has been created where they post their current running experiences and or challenges and keep in touch with each other.  Most importantly, they are raising money for clean water in Africa.  Tim helped the brothers form “Team Hoekstra” for Team World Vision.  Please consider donating to the team and helping them raise money for this project.  One fifty dollar donation will bring clean water to a person in Africa for the rest of their lives!

It is amazing how the Lord has taken a love for running that the Hoekstra brothers discovered during their days at Chicago Christian High School and used it to help so many people in a country thousands of miles away!  We, at Chicago Christian High School, are very proud of the Hoekstra brothers and the work they are doing to raise money for Team World Vision.  Please keep them
in your prayers as the big day approaches!

View Pictures of the Hoekstra Brothers from High School

FEATURED ALUMNUS - September 2014

Jason VanderLaan '11

Former Chicago Christian Quarterback Jason VanderLaan doing Good Work On and Off the Field!

Former Chicago Christian quarterback, Jason VanderLaan, did not waste any time translating the success he had in high school to the college gridiron at Ferris State University.  Jason was named the starting quarterback of the Ferris State Bulldogs during his freshman year and has never looked back.  Now about to enter his junior year at the school, Jason has already been selected as a USA Football Preseason All-America selection.  In just two seasons, Jason has already become the school’s all-time career leader in rushing yardage by a quarterback and ranks ninth in school history in passing yards.  Last year, Jason ranked eighth in the entire country in scoring accounting for 11.5 points per game.

While his numbers on the field are staggering, Jason has also been a leader off the field.  Last season, Jason was the recipient of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Award for his work on and off the field.  Jason was recently announced as one of the national nominees for the 2014 All-State American Football Coaches Association
Good Works Team award.  This very prestigious award recognizes the off-the-field work of players throughout the country.  The award focuses on the charitable work and community service of players.  This year, there were 182 nominees from across the country for the award, and Jason is one of only seven to be chosen as a nominee from the entire state of Michigan.  In order to be nominated for the award, a player must be actively involved with charitable work or some type of service group, while performing exceptionally well in the classroom (Jason has been named to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Academic team each of the past two seasons as well).  Some of Jason’s work off-the-field has included a mission trip to Florida as part of the “Hammers and Hearts” program where student-athletes help rebuild homes destroyed by tropical storms, and actively participating in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Ferris State University head football coach Tony Annese had this to say about Jason, “Jason is an outstanding person on and off the field and a highly-regarded competitor who’s been a tremendous leader for our football team.  He is a tremendous and highly-regarded individual who excels at everything he does and is humble while doing it”.

Congratulations Jason and keep up the great work!  Chicago Christian is extremely proud of you and your accomplishments! May the Lord continue to bless you as He uses you to help others.