My name is Annalee Hoekstra, and I am a graduate of the class of 2011. I was one of those ultra-involved students during my time at CCHS. I was the band geek, theater kid, AP student, athlete, girl-who-tried-to-be-on-as-many-committees-as-her-schedule-would-allow type of student. If I had the choice to re-do my high school education, I don’t think I would change a thing. I loved how Chicago Christian really prepared me for my higher education, too. I loved taking AP classes, especially AP biology. It was this class that actually helped solidify my choice to become a nurse. I found it all fascinating and my teacher, Mrs. Vilendrer, made it so intriguing and fun. My favorite part had to be the dissections we got to do.
As much as I wanted to go away and travel for college, I ended up going to Trinity Christian College and graduating with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. While still in school, I had taken a job as a perioperative assistant on the labor and delivery floor at Christ Hospital. After graduation, I began floating to all different floors in the hospital as a telemetry nurse until I decided to settle down after about 2 years on the short stay unit which sees all sorts of different cases, including emergency room overflow. In between all of that, I also had the opportunity to do a medical mission trip to Honduras with a wonderful group called One World Surgery. This was such an eye-opening experience for me as a medical professional.
While going through all the work changes, I was set up on a blind date with an Illiana Christian graduate who is now my fiancé. We bought a fixer-upper and now are dealing with the added stress of re-scheduling a wedding due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
People always ask me how I am handling the pandemic. In short, it is very difficult. It’s draining both physically and emotionally. My unit was the first Covid-19 unit created at Christ Hospital. Since the time it began, there have been numerous changes, and it’s very hard to keep up with all of them. All of us nurses have been tested, but I couldn’t be more proud of my coworkers through all of this. I pray every day to have the strength, knowledge, patience, and compassion to deal with the things we see coming in.
Chicago Christian really helped build the foundation of my life. I did not realize or appreciate it at the moment, but the more I look back, the more grateful I am. My high school experience allowed me many educational and personal growth opportunities that were all backed by strong, God-fearing individuals. I thank all of my former teachers and all of the other staff that took the time to help mold me into the individual I am today, and I can only hope that I share the love of Christ to every individual I come into contact with as well.