Featured Alumnus - February 2020

Joseph Slawinski '07
The four years which I spent at Chicago Christian High School were some of the best of my life. I know that this is a pretty cliché thing to say. I know that our parents always warned us that we should treasure the moments we had in high school because they would be our best years, but in my case, I think that the cliché holds up. Not only was high school great because of the time spent with friends who remain my closest friends to this day, but it was also great because of the quality, Christian education which we all received. I had so many teachers who made a lasting impact on my life, who impacted my faith, and who helped me to grow as a person. I remember the life lessons taught in freshman English with Mrs. Lavery, the sense of fun in learning taught in French with Madame VanderWoude, the passion for Christ taught in sophomore Bible class with Mrs. Sprick, and the understanding that history had an important purpose in our lives in US History with Mr. Altena. All of these teachers, and many more, made a huge impact on my life, but none as important as my science teachers, Dr. Roose, Dr. Kuipers, and Mrs. Vilendrer.

The three aforementioned teachers taught me what was truly important in life, to make a difference. The passion they had for science and the passion they had for helping students to grow in knowledge and in understanding of the world drove me into the career that I now hold. Since graduating from Chi-High I have gone on to get my bachelor’s degree in Biology Education from Trinity Christian College and my master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Olivet Nazarene University. I have been teaching Biology now for 9 years, first at Kankakee High School and now at Bloom Trail High School in Chicago Heights. My goal when I started teaching to now has remained the same, to make a difference. I know the impact that my teachers had on me, and I strive to make that same impact on my students. I’ve learned over the years in education that things in this world of teaching are not always easy. There are many late nights and early mornings spent grading, lesson planning and just worrying about your students. The rewards from this job are few, but they are great. Seeing a student understand a new concept for the first time or observing students grow from adolescents into young adults in maturity can be one of the most thrilling things in the world.

Being educated at Chicago Christian truly prepared me for the real world that I face every day. As I went to college I looked around in amazement as I saw students who did not have the computer training from Mrs. Potter or the close eye of Mrs. VandenBosch to catch every minute mistake in their written work. In my education classes, I noticed students who did not have a Mrs. Lenters in their life to teach them how to project their voice to the back of a crowded room or a Mr. Kwasteniet to inspire them to never ever give up. There is no way to be truly prepared for the world after high school, but I know that the high standards of my teachers gave me a leg up over others who did not have the same opportunity. The quality education that I received from my teachers inspired me to take on the mantle and to do my best to provide a quality education for my students as my teachers did for me. I am proud to join their ranks and to call myself “Educator.”