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19 GRCHS Awards and Honors

GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HONOR & CELEBRATE ONE ANOTHER.  

They are thoughtful, compassionate, and considerate towards the needs, values, traditions, and feelings of others; intentionally acting to make a positive difference in one’s own life, the lives of others and their surroundings. They understand and appreciate their own and other’s cultures, personal stories, and accomplishments.

As the year draws to a close we honor and celebrate students who achieved various honors at our Senior Awards Night and Honor Roll Celebrations.

2019 GRCHS Honor Roll Awards

Freshman Honor Roll Recipients

Abigail Afman
Abigail Ames
Ingrid Baker
Ian Bakker
Anthony Betten
Grant Bishop
Ava Block
Bryn Bonnema
Alexander Boville
Katherine Breems
Calista Bremer
Olivia Brunink
Hugh Buitendorp
Sarah Bultema
Alexander Busscher
Charlotte Caldon
Jasper Casamento
Nicholas Cassiday
Faith Chaffer
Juana Chanchavac Lopez
Rutao Chen
Laurel Childress
Noah Chun
Jinha Chung
Alexander Cook
Carmen Day
Ethan DeBlecourt
Abigail Dekker
Alyssa DeVries
Jenna DeVries
Micah DeVries
Ruth Diepstra
Aaron Dorner
Daniel Doyle
Larisa Draaisma
Kendall Durham
Paige Elzinga
Luke Foll
Mary Fradette
Madelyn Frens
Daisy Fynewever
Caleb Glisson
Naomi Grix
Ella Groen
Emmalene Hardouin
Luke Harlow
Claire Hart
Emma Hart
Lauren Hart
Matthew Hartemink
Grant Hassenrik
Nathan Hedlund
Megan Hermen
Elizabeth Hoeksema
Landon Honeywell
Ewan Jolliffe
Maria Jones
Benjamin Klein
Elizabeth Koetje
Grace Kormash
Josiah Kreisman
Benjamin Kuiper
Esther Kuperus
Lidia LaFranca
Julia LaGrand
Jessica Larsen
Feiqi Lin
Josiah Menerey
Catherine Meyer
Gabriella Michael
Ian Miller
Nicole Mohney
Jena Momeyer
Sean Monahan
Sara Muir
Jack Nelson
Lily Nykamp
Jenna Pegman
Brandon Porter
Renee Prins
Hans Pruis
Lucas Rhodes
Gregory Richardson
Paris Rodgers
Benjamin Rusticus
Brandon Schepel
Sawyer Scruggs
Connor Sincerbeaux
Nadia Speulstra
Nico Speulstra
Leah Stransky
Nick Stroobosscher
Xinlei Tang
Ava Tatko
Luke Tellinghuisen
Cecelia Toler
Benjamin Tuit
Joshua VandeGriend
Briana VanderVelde
Megan Vanderwal
Gabriel VanderWoude
Ava VanOtteren
Samuel VanSchepen
Margaret Voetberg
Simon Volkema
Charles Walters
Lauren Warner
Lili Warner
Ainsley Weeber
Ainsley Wells
Kristin Winkle
Anastasia Wittung
Madison Wolters
Xavier Wright
Matthew Ydenberg
Benjamin Zwart
Abigail Zylstra

Sophomore Honor Roll Recipients

Ireoluwa Alarape
Noah Alvesteffer
Grace Anderson
Sophie Apple
Annika Baker
Alex Barnard
Hannah Baker
Malcolm Benedict
Zachary Bierling
Jordyn Billiau
Samantha Bishop
Benjamin Boelens
Pieter Boer
Rebecca Boerma
Samuel Bollman
Peter Bos
Sarah Bour
Joci Bouwman
Aidan Bremer
Ryann Breslin
Claudia Brinks
Ryan Brouwers
Rebecca Burrows
Alice Camy
Jay Carlson
Benjamin Carpenter
Claire Cassiday
Erin Cawley
Benjamin Christians
Audrey Clayton
Daviona Cross
Ella Davis
Lauren Davis
Ellie DeBoer
Lille Dekker
Joseph DeVries
Parker Doornbos
Derrek Dykema
Lindsay Dykema
Kendall Dykstra
Trenton Elzinga
Annika Entingh
Evann Fischer
Lillian Gaastra
Connor Geesin
Samuel Genzink
David Guarizo
Katherine Hanenburg
Caroline Haverkamp
Sydney Hawkins
Ava Heinert
Dafna Heule
Annamarie Heynen
Luke Homans
Andrew Huyser
Owen Jeltema
Michelle Jeppesen
Shiyu Jiang
Hannah King
Chloe Koning
Sylvia Kuitula
Jonathan LaRue
Avery Lewis
Samuel Lisiak
Canxin Liu
Alexander Lowell
Haily McBride
Carter Meyer
Carly Michele
Matthew Molenhouse
Maria Nelson
Dylan Ogdahl
Chloe Padilla
Elizabeth Parker
Henry Peterson
Jack Peterson
Benjamin Plantinga
Katherine Poel
Grace Poortenga
Aidan Quist
Allison Quist
Joseph Rauwerda
Kaylee Rodenhouse
Naomi Ross
Violet Ruiter
Elizabeth Rupp
Xander Schra
Isaac Schultz
Trevor Seth
Samuel Skillen
Annika Smits
Kaitlyn Sterk
Marjorie Styf
Xiaoxue Sun
Erin Sytsma
Bradley Szotko
Clara Tolsma
Olivia Tuit
Margaret VanAntwerp
Jordan VanderKamp
Elizabeth VanderLeek
Addison VanderWeide
Nathan VanDyke
Trevor VanHouten
Anna VanWingerden
Tyler VerMerris
Olivia Waalkes
Annika Watson
Chloe Westhouse
Anthony Williams
Emerson Williams
Katherine Winkle
Emma Winks
Emma Witte
Cara Wunder
Jared Zandee
Yutong Zhu

Junior Honor Roll Recipients

Curtis Alvesteffer
Rachel Arndt
Anna Aupperlee
Clara Bakker
Maya Barbee
Lucas Barton
Kiya Benckhuysen
Isabella Blakely
Ava BooydeGraaff
Marguerite Bouwsma
Ashley Bowman
Aerin Braunohler
Emmy Braunohler
Louis Breems
Benjamin Bultema
Corey Campbell
Kaley Champion
Carole Chee
Hope Chun
 Christians, Nicholas
Aiyannah Cody
Rebekah Couturier
Alexander DeBoer
Annika DeGraaf
Ethan denDulk
Miriam DeVries
Matea Diekema
Annabelle Dorner
Courtney Dykhouse
Case Dykstra
Tyler Eekhoff
Bradon Enders
Kristyn Erffmeyer
Alexandra Fedrigo
Danielle Fedrigo
Hannah Feng
Jacob Fischer
Jordyn Gates
Will Gelderloos
Vera Grix
Emily Groenenboom
Samantha Groenwold
Aaron Gronsman
Anna Hart
Luc Hascall
Benjamin Hermen
Isabela Hernandez-Corretjer
John Holmes
Cole Horman
Robert Houskamp
Khaja Hudgins
Elspeth Jansen
Claire Jorgensen
Kathryn Klaver
Rachel Kooienga
Graham Kort
Anna Kreisman
Mason Kuitula
Katherine Lamer
Amanda Lehmann
Yuyao Li
Jack Long
Riana Mallick
Grace Maurer
Evan May
Ryan Medema
Devin Meeuwsen
Sierra Mennega
Audrey Monahan
Ellen Nicholson
Jacob Noordewier
Jasmine Nykamp
Lucas Oezer
Leah Ondersma
Benjamin Peterson
Kandace Pewee
Michele Powell
Abigail Preston
Anneke Pruis
Madison Quist
Marielle Raterink
Eric Ries
Elena Roberts
Jared Roberts
Gabrielle Rowland
Camdyn Rushlau
Rylie Schrotenboer
Benjamin Scofield
Hyeonsu Shin
Katie Smith
Aaron Spengler
Emma Staggs
Lindsey Stinton
Vivian Stutzman
Lucia Swedberg
Owen Tellinghuisen
Lauren Timmer
Andrew Triezenberg
Zoe Turner
Kendall Tyson
Josephine VanderLei
Reed VanderLugt
Naomi Vandervelde
Margaret VanderWoude
Paul VanderWoude
Zachary Veenstra
John Vellenga
Michael Watkins
Annika Weeber
Cole Weeber
Ashley Wierenga
Elizabeth Williams
Nathan Williams
Ethan Wilstermann
Rachel Wolfe
Josiah Woltjer
Lexiao Wu
Ou Xi
Grace Ydenberg
Xinmeng Zhou
Lilia Zylstra

Senior Honor Roll Recipients

Catharina Abolt
Tyreece Banks
Caleb Bauman
Zachary Bemben
Caleb Betten
Kathleen Blanker
Vanesa Blas Yujra
Connor Boerma
Nathaniel Bollman
George Bolt
Maria Bos
Aubrey Bour
Christopher Boyd
Ella Brandt
Kathleen Brouwer
Claire Bylsma
Mackenzie Campbell
Julien Camy
Sarah Carpenter
Michael Chaffer
Suha Chung
Ezra Craker
Trevor Dalrymple
Dana Day
Annika Dekker
Amber DeMaat
Katrina DeVries
Nyla Dobbins
Annaka Draaisma
Austin Duimstra
Blake Falk
Samuel Fynewever
Shiyuan Gong
Leah Gortsema
Liesl Groenenboom
Yingjie Guo
Anna Haaksma
Mark Haga
David Harris
Sara Harris
Marcus Haveman
Olivia Haverkamp
Noah Holkeboer
Erin Hubka
Samuel Ivory
Molly Jackson
Molly Jacobs
Tyler Koeman
Robin Kollar
Sadie Kornoelje
Eliza Kremers
Jaidyn Kuiken
Courtney Kuipers
Clay Kuperus
Tate LaFrenier
Coleen Leja
Sawyer Masselink
Connor McKnight
Alyssa Meekhof
Lauren Merritt
Elizabeth Meyer
Ana Mucci
Bianca Muir
Charles Mulder
Cole Muller
Olivia Nedd
Emily Nelson
Megan Overvoorde
Isabella Parolini
Jessica Penning
Lydia Phelps
Micaela Plantinga
Carolyn Prince
Claire Prins
Lillian Rohs
Abigail Roossien
Hannah Rusticus
Christopher Schau
Sydney Sigler
Payton Speulstra
Anna Sprik
Tyler Stafford
Cade Stransky
Phoebe Stroobosscher
Caleb Styf
Abigail Swartzentruber
Benjamin Swedberg
Isaiah TenHuisen
Rachel Tuit
James VanAntwerp
Micah VanDeBurg
Pieter VanderBrug
Claire VanderWall
Nathan VanHarn
James VanHekken
Leah VanOrman
Jack Vedders
Thomas Visser
Christian Voetberg
Tianxi Wang
Ana Li Warners
Carson Warners
Anastasia Watson
Dayne Weldy
Gracen Williams
Leah Wynbeek
Enchong Xie
Ziyi Xue
Samuel Zondag
Ashley Zwiers
Dirk Zylstra

2019 Senior Awards

The Senior Awards Night is unique because we don’t just celebrate our top GPAs or students who took the most difficult classes or the MVPs of our athletic teams. Our mission is to prepare students to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society. Our awards recipients tonight are being celebrated with what I might call our “mission accomplished awards!” Our Portrait of a Graduate is what “the product of our mission” could look like.  Students who are culturally competent, lifelong explorers, creative solution finders, thoughtful neighbors, communicators and collaborators, justice seekers, and most importantly, disciples of Christ.

Senior Award recipients are chosen by faculty and staff for the way they have discovered their gifts and started to live them out. So we are excited to celebrate and we are thankful to God for his faithfulness over the last four years. 

ART

Presented by Krista Krygsman

Outstanding Student in Art

Dana Day

Dana was chosen for this award because of her dedication to artistic excellence, her ambition for growth, her plans to pursue an art-related career, and her Servanthood in gifting the school community with her artistic works - in a plethora of ways.  Dana has modeled our mission with pizzazz, abundant grace, and fantastic hair colors. We are proud of her and look forward to watching her as she continues to serve and grow beyond these walls.

ATHLETICS

Presented by Jason Heerema

Eagle Athletes

Presented by the coaching staff to a graduating senior, the Eagle Award honors one male and one female athlete who has excelled in their chosen athletic activity and who have contributed positively to the total program at Grand Rapids Christian High School. This we had a tie in our voting for male Eagle Athlete of the Year. We voted again with those two candidates and had a tie again. So it is with great pleasure that we award two male Eagle Athlete of the Year recipients.

George Bolt

Our first 2019 male Eagle Awards goes to George Bolt! Football, 4 yrs, 3 yrs varsity (Senior- All-Conference, Captain, MVP.). He will be attending Bethel University in the fall to play on the football team as a quarterback.  Additionally, at GRCHS, he was on the baseball team for 4 years, 2 years on varsity, captain of both JR/SR years.  George also played on the basketball team for his freshman and sophomore years.  He holds a 4.07 overall GPA. George has been a leader in our building and out, as well as a blessing to our teachers, students, and staff.

Chris Boyd

Also finishing first in the vote for the 2019 male Eagle Athlete of the Year, Chris Boyd! Chris has played Lacrosse for 4 years on varsity (Junior- Captain, All-Conference, Senior- Captain).  He played Hockey for 4 years as well, 3 years on varsity, and as a senior, he was the assistant captain.  He is the Lady Byng Award winner and National Hobey Baker Character Award winner.  He played football for 3 yrs with 1 year on the varsity team.  Chris holds a 3.75 GPA.  Chris is always the first person to come and say hi to you. He is one of the rare students who looks at you and says- “How are you doing” and he really means it. 

Kate DeYoung

Lacrosse — 4 years varsity (Senior- Captain, Junior- Captain, All-Conference, 1st Team All-State, All-American, Sophomore- All-Conference, 1st Team All-State). She has signed to play Lacrosse with GVSU.  Also a member of the basketball team for 4 years, 2 years on varsity and 2 years as the Varsity Captain.  Academics, she has a 3.55 overall GPA.  It has been a joy watching Kate grow up with that lacrosse stick in her hand and see her develop into a strong, Christian leader at Grand Rapids Christian.

Scholar Athletes

This award is earned by the senior student-athletes (one male and one female) who have the highest GPA in their class while participating in at least two varsity- level sports. You will all be shocked to discover that both of our award winners are Cross Country and Track athletes.

Sadie Kornoelje

Sadie runs Cross Country and Track for the Eagles. Her coaches report that last year, Sadie was scheduled to run the 4x400 3 times, and all 3 times it rained and the meet was delayed/postponed.  Sadie and Maggie Vander Woude have the Grand Rapids Elite Challenge record in the 2x200, which is not a real event, but they still have the record.

Christian Voetberg

Christian runs Cross Country and Track for the Eagles. His coaches report that Christian asked Sadie to the senior banquet, and then she avoided him for the next week and a half because he had her name in the senior assassination ( a non-school sanctioned or supported activity… that occurs far away from school). Congratulations Christian on balancing academics and athletics so well!

Baarman Award

The Baarman Award is designated for a student-athlete who has to overcome significant challenges to participate in athletics. 

Drew Vandlen

Drew played on the middle school team in 7th grade and on the JV team for the past 3 seasons before making the varsity team his senior year. He played as an alternate but earned his Varsity letter for starting in over 25% of matches for a team that was Regional Champions and finished 4th at the Division 3 State Finals. Tim Morey says, “I have known Drew and his family since 7th grade and if there is a young person who has a love for a sport, it is Drew and Tennis.” 

Drew has overcome massive challenges to play tennis as an Eagle. He has cerebral palsy which limits the use of his right side including his arm, hand, and leg. He also underwent surgery in the winter of 2018 to reconstruct his foot as a result of nerve damage from his stroke. Open-heart surgery and stroke before the age of one.  A life of seizures, brain injury due to the stroke, leg surgery to even out his leg length and an arm tendon transfer surgery. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and Drew overcomes obstacles daily many of us would consider debilitating--- and does so with a smile and no excuses. 
 
His Father, Tim, tells the story of how one day in 6th grade when he and Drew were practicing groundstrokes at the courts: Drew saw another kid serving. Drew asked his Dad if he could teach him but his Dad thought he needed to wait for that complex skill. When they got home Drew went outside and began playing against the garage. He taught himself how to toss the ball with the same arm he served. You should try it at home. To no surprise, the garage and siding on the house are full of dents and cracks which somehow manage to look it look more beautiful.
 
Drew competes with a tenacity and ferocity that comes from within and is not a product of coaching but a gift from Christ. He is a disciple of Christ and honors Him with his work ethic, attitude, and exemplary life. Grand Rapids Christian Schools, the Tennis Program and all of Drew's peers are blessed to have him during their time at Christian. 

Drew removes excuses for not giving your best. Drew is a witness for Christ through his effort and perseverance. 

BIBLE & THEOLOGY

Presented by Frank Padilla

Brother Lawrence Award

Students who receive this award exemplify the qualities of Micah 6:8 — to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.  Brother Lawrence, a 17th century French Monk wrote: "Lord of all pots and pans and things, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.” As a Christian school community, we desire to encourage our students in their faith and are incredibly proud of them as they live their faith out in our school and in the wider community. The following students demonstrated Christ-like living that emulates these qualities.

Tyreece Banks

Tyreece is a humble young man who has a winsome personality. He extends hospitality to his school community, encourages diverse groups to collaborate, and follows God’s Word as he stands up for what is just and true. As he shared recently in chapel: “We are all given a moral compass, and are guided by God to stay focussed on His will and His truth." Tyreece understands what it means to walk humbly in God’s truth.

Vanesa Blas

Vanesa is a humble leader who seeks to serve and to stand up for truth. She not only engages conversations about faith in the classroom, but has also courageously stepped into a new culture as a 10th grader, coming from Bolivia to study here at GRCHS. On a recent Winterim trip to the Dominican Republic, she exemplified a servants heart, teaching young children, translating for the team, and being a valuable collaborator with her peers. Vanesa desires to be a Kingdom-builder through a career in the field of nursing.

Ezra Craker

Ezra is a compassionate justice-seeker. He is approachable within our school community as a Peer Listener, and yet extends hospitality to those of diverse backgrounds outside our school and well.  It is no surprise that Ezra sought out an opportunity last summer to study in Guatemala, desiring to understand the culture, gain greater fluency in the language, and to extend Christian hospitality to all he met.

ENGLISH

Presented by Brian Karsten

Outstanding Students in English

Ezra Craker

I’ve never had Ezra as a student in a class, so I don’t feel entirely qualified to speak on his behalf. Actually, I’m kind of happy I’ve never had Ezra as a student in my class, since no English teacher likes to feel like his student can write far better than he does, and from what I’m told, Ezra may be that student. 

Ezra also student-interned in an English class his senior year, while also taking AP Literature, so his passion for the subject is clear. Most importantly, however, Ezra is a communicator. When I asked teachers about what I should say about him, in addition to positive comments about his involvement in class and his enthusiasm about discussing literature, they sent me writing samples.  

Like this introduction to his AP Language Research paper: “English is a patchwork quilt, stitched together by stories of migration, colonialism, class, and oddities. From the very beginning, the welding together of vocabulary and grammar from different influences--Germanic, Latin, Scandinavian--have defined English.”

Similarly, Ezra has defined what it means to be an English student at GRCHS. Oh, and he also finally, after years of cajoling, joined the Forensics team. His Informational speech topic: Fonts. If that doesn’t scream English Student Award, I’m not sure what does! 

Abby Swartzentruber

I first got to know Abby when she was a student in my Speech and Composition class. For their first major speech in that class, students are allowed to sell any product or service they would like. Often students sell their favorite restaurants or electronics they own or wish they owned or exotic trips around the world. Abby sold a book. If I remember correctly, it was Love Does by Bob Goff.  

That sums Abby up: both her love for reading and discussing literature, and her desire to be a lifelong learner, and her enthusiasm for living out her faith and calling to love others with every opportunity. 

Further proof: Sophomore year, in Media Studies, she wrote a film review for Miss Zwart on a film titled Suffragette. Miss Zwart still uses it as an example in class. Junior year, she began a War Lit paper for Mrs. Rozema on Women’s Rights in the French Revolution with a quote by Jane Austen. And for two semesters in her senior year, while also taking AP Literature, Abby has elected to student aide alongside Lisa Rozema and Jen Gunnink. 

Her passion for the subject area, her willingness to use her English Language skills to defend and serve others--including her willingness to work with many students that struggle with writing and organization--make her the perfect fit for the English Department Award. 

FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCES

Presented by Amy Petracek

Outstanding Student in Family & Consumer Sciences

Adrianna Bolt

The recipient of the Outstanding Student in Family and Consumer Sciences award is Adrianna Bolt. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Adrianna over the past four years as she has taken every class that my department offers, and have watched her grow and lead along the way.  

She exemplifies the mission of FCS and our portrait of a graduate, especially in the areas of cultural competency and being a thoughtful neighbor.  She has been instrumental in the planning and implementation of our MLK Day activities and has had a significant role in making the Youth Culture Club successful.  She has planned fundraisers for local charities and is passionate about standing up for social justice issues and willing to talk with those with different perspectives.  She is welcoming and hospitable to new students and makes connections with transfer students and underclassmen.  

Her leadership, service, and compassion towards others will be greatly missed as she moves on, but she had definitely left her mark.  Congratulations, Adrianna!

Abby Swartzentruber

I first got to know Abby when she was a student in my Speech and Composition class. For their first major speech in that class, students are allowed to sell any product or service they would like. Often students sell their favorite restaurants or electronics they own or wish they owned or exotic trips around the world. Abby sold a book. If I remember correctly, it was Love Does by Bob Goff.  

That sums Abby up: both her love for reading and discussing literature, and her desire to be a lifelong learner, and her enthusiasm for living out her faith and calling to love others with every opportunity. 

Further proof: Sophomore year, in Media Studies, she wrote a film review for Miss Zwart on a film titled Suffragette. Miss Zwart still uses it as an example in class. Junior year, she began a War Lit paper for Mrs. Rozema on Women’s Rights in the French Revolution with a quote by Jane Austen. And for two semesters in her senior year, while also taking AP Literature, Abby has elected to student aide alongside Lisa Rozema and Jen Gunnink. 

Her passion for the subject area, her willingness to use her English Language skills to defend and serve others--including her willingness to work with many students that struggle with writing and organization--make her the perfect fit for the English Department Award. 

MATHEMATICS

Presented by Eve Ricketts

Outstanding Students in Mathematics

We wish to honor students Steven Gong and Sam Fynweaver as the outstanding mathematics seniors for this school year.  Both these students use their giftedness in mathematics to be the very best that they can be.  Both students use their skills in service to encourage, teach and lead other students through mathematics.

Sam Fynewever

Sam is a creative, critical thinker who works effectively with other students. Sam takes advantage of every opportunity to acquire new skills to grow as an independent learner.

Shiyuan (Steven) Gong

Steven has such a passion for mathematics that he wrote his Forensics speech about Calculus.  Steven's love for, and understanding of the subject is so evident, as are his humorous and jovial responses to the challenges that mathematics presents. 

MUSIC

Presented by Candice Sytsma, John Blakemore, and Cyndi Betts

Arion Music Award

Sam Ivory

The Arion Award is given to the student we deem the most outstanding musician in the senior class.
This year’s recipient is Samuel Ivory.  His musical resume is long and impossible to recite in our allotted 60 seconds.  Here are some:

  • 4 years first division ratings at District and State S/E
  • Selected for Michigan Youth Arts Festival as a soloist nominee 2018 and as a member of the honors band this year.
  • Section leader of our Symphonic Band, Full Orchestra, and member of the Chamber Chorale.
  • Played in most if not all of our pit orchestras.
  • Is a member of Grand Rapids Youth Symphony
  • Mrs. Sytsma our choir director asked me to say that he is a “charismatic leader, and an asset to our whole department. 
  • If you would like to see and hear more tangible evidence of the talent of this young man, next Tuesday he will conduct the premiere of an original composition that he wrote for our orchestra and choir. 

While his musical accomplishments are indeed impressive, what is even more important to me is the young man he has always been. He has shaken my hand and thanked me after every rehearsal since 8th grade…even if he has to wait in line.

Sam will be attending St. Olaf College, pursuing a BA in Music. 

John Philip Sousa Band Award

Lydia Phelps

John Philip Sousa was the founder of the modern concert band as an artistic ensemble. Each year we give an award to a deserving senior student named after Sousa.

This year’s recipient is Lydia Phelps.  She is the section principal of our percussion section and also plays in Full Orchestra.  Her contribution these past years cannot be understated. She is often early to rehearsal setting up the equipment and stays after rehearsal clearing the timpani heads or anything else that will benefit our ensemble.   She plays in her church or anywhere else her expertise is required.  She will be attending Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa where she will be majoring in Kinesiology and continuing serving others through Physical Therapy.

National School Orchestra Award

Sam Fynewever

he National Orchestra award for our High School this year goes to Sam Fynewever. Sam is one of the most humble, yet talented people I know and I know he is not going to love all the attention.

I have had the privilege of being Sam’s orchestra teacher for 8 years. Sam has been a true servant leader in our music program all 4 years of high school.  He leads with both his playing and his character. He is a very gifted musician and plays both cello and piano at a high level.  He has participated in MSBOA Solo and Ensemble at the District and State levels.  He has done a terrific job this year, being a strong section leader in class and leading his cello sectionals. He helped create a positive community and a desire for excellence in a pretty large and sometimes rowdy group of cellists. 

Also, this year, he arranged a piece for the orchestra to play at our Fall Concert and Thanksgiving Chapel as well as a piece we are working on right now for the Spring Concert.  He also composed an original work for orchestra and piano that we performed with him at Senior Solo night this year. Sam is always willing to step in;  for chapels, musical orchestra pit, helping students at office hours, arranging parts for class-Sam is the kind of person who sees what needs to be done and quietly does it. 

My prayer for you as you continue your academic and musical endeavors is from Zachariah, “Not by my might, not by my power, but by my Spirit says the Lord. “Sam, I really appreciate your dedication to our orchestra program and music department and we will all miss you next year but wish you the best!  

National School Choral Award

Christian Voetberg

Christian Voetberg is receiving this award for 2019.  He has participated for 3 years in choir at GRCHS. He took his abilities to the highest level at the State Honors Choir.  He is an excellent servant leader within his section and an eager learner and skilled technician.  He sings with heart, creativity, and expression, as well as leads others with positivity, humility, and humor.  We hope that music will always remain a part of who Christian is.  May he continue to use music as a way to communicate and collaborate with others. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Presented by Sarah VanderVeen 

SCIENCE

Presented by Cheri Swets 

Outstanding Student in Science

Shiyuan (Steven) Gong

This year’s Outstanding Student in the Sciences is Shiyuan (Steven), Gong!

Throughout his time at Grand Rapids Christian High School, Steven has taken nearly every science class we offer - including all of our AP Science classes. In addition, he has been a significant part of Science Olympiad all four years. Steven displays a contagious positivity about life, learning, and other people.  Each day, he eagerly asks, “What do we get to learn about today?”  

He is a part of every discussion, has an opinion about every laboratory problem, and celebrates the achievements of others as much or more than his own. Steven’s way of learning includes both diligent hard work as well as making intuitive connections between content. He is adept at finding patterns in content and data which helps him make sense of the world.

As a person, Steven is a delightful addition to any group. He eagerly gets involved, consistently encourages others, adds to discussions, works hard, and he does it all with an enthusiasm for people that brings everyone else along with him. It is hard to recall any other student who, without much overt trying, brings so much energy and encouragement to a class or a team. 

When we reflect on the fact that he achieves all of this while living with a host family, learning in a second language, and finding places to fit in culturally, he is an amazing person! Congratulations Steven, on being our Outstanding Student in the Sciences this year!
 

Josh Gray

Tray McBride

SOCIAL STUDIES

Presented by Rebecca Polet

Outstanding Student in Social Studies

The Most Outstanding Student in Social Studies is awarded The Howard J. Wiarda Scholarship, initiated by Dr. Wiarda, a graduate of Grand Rapids Christian High School.

Beloved professor, accomplished author, and, over the course of his career, expert advisor to various think tanks, the State Department, and several US Presidents, Dr. Wiarda’s accomplishments are too many to list.  Though Dr. Wiarda passed away in September of 2015, his endowed scholarship maintains his legacy of encouraging and supporting aspiring scholars.

The intent of the Wiarda Scholarship is to recognize a graduating senior who meets three criteria:  The student must excel in courses related to the Social Sciences…  They must illustrate leadership and community involvement…  And they must express a sincere interest in pursuing a career in the field.

Christian Voetberg

Our recipient this year excelled in all of these criteria. Taking nearly all of the classes that we offer in our department, including 5 of our AP classes, this student explores God’s world and culture, excels in critical thinking, and engages with a diverse range of people and ideologies. This student is also planning to pursue a career in Social Studies. It is my great pleasure to announce that Christian Voetberg is the recipient of The Howard J. Wiarda Scholarship.

SUPPORT SERVICES

Presented by Amy Crow and Linda Greenfield

Anna Stegink Memorial Scholarship

The Anna Stegink Memorial Scholarship was created several years ago in remembrance of the young daughter of Phil and Jill Stegink who passed away.  Their friends and colleagues decided an appropriate memorial to Anna would be a scholarship in her name which honors students who learn differently and utilize support services.

Tyrelle Allen

Our first recipient is Tyrelle Allen.   If you would have asked me to describe Tyrelle during his freshman year, I probably would have said he was a little lazy and had an attitude.  However, over these 4 years Tyrelle has developed into an impressive young man. He values the right things, is a dedicated student, and has matured beautifully. I believe Tyrelle exemplifies the portrait of a graduate characteristic of being a thoughtful neighbor. He respects others, shares kindness and enthusiasm abundantly and seeks out opportunities to be inclusive.  Next year, Tyrelle plans to begin his studies at GRCC in some business-related field.

Clay Kuperus

Our second recipient is Clay Kuperus.  As a person with autism, Clay has not always found it easy to navigate school, but he has persevered with an admirable spirit and outlook.  The portrait of a graduate trait he most represents is being a creative problem solver. Clay’s sharp mind and curious spirit drive him to figure things out.  He is polite, loveable and has been a gift to our school. Next year Clay plans to attend GRCC and take courses that would prepare him for a career in possibly mathematics, computer science or working with animals.

Inclusion Services Award

Lydia Phelps

I am happy to be able to give the senior award from the Inclusive Education Department.  It is designated for someone who recognizes the positive impact that equity and inclusion have on our entire community.  The person chosen for this award has both the heart for those who experience challenges in their lives and the commitment to making safe places for everyone.  I’d like to ask LYDIA PHELPS to join me to receive this award.

I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with Lydia many times and in many ways over her high school career and have come to appreciate her natural and authentic pursuit of a better world.

Lydia and I shared time together in our small-group meetings – where she did a wonderful job of providing leadership and joyful stories for all of us.   I was also privileged to be Lydia’s internship supervisor during this past Winterim as she investigated further her interest in a career in physical therapy.  Closer to home, over the course of her high school career, Lydia has provided support in and out of classes for students receiving inclusion services – making sure their experience was positive and meaningful.  Lydia provided natural support in places like Concert Band and Drumline and provided a consistent model for her peers to do the same.   In her heart and in her daily activities, Lydia has consistently and quietly practiced the philosophy of inclusion at Grand Rapids Christian High and has modeled for all what it means to be a justice seeker and a thoughtful neighbor.      

Christian High is proud of the students in the graduating class of 2019.  I am proud to have shared in Lydia’s journey and am confident she will continue to impact others in a very meaningful way.  Her heart and soul are tuned in to the challenges and needs of those around her, and without expecting any recognition, she responds.   Lydia is a difference-maker.  

Congratulations on completing this chapter and blessings on the next! You are a gift.

WORLD LANGUAGES

Presented by Robyn Potts, Donna Kamerman-Houskamp, Gezi Cox, and Melissa Allen 

French

Julian Camy

I am especially excited to the Outstanding Student in French award this year. For the first time in as long as I know of, it is being awarded to a young man. Why is this such a big deal? For the past several decades, the ladies have dominated the World Language awards, and it sincerely does my heart good to see Christian young men who are passionate about language and who want to share that with others. This year’s recipient is Julien Camy.

You may think that Julien may have a bit of an advantage where French is concerned. Although French is spoken in his home, I think we can all acknowledge that a parent’s loves for and encouragement of something does not guarantee a child’s interest or ability in it.

Julien came to me as a wee Freshman and was placed in 3rd Year French, a class entirely made-up entirely of Juniors and Seniors – a challenging situation for anyone! He flourished in it and quickly became a beloved member of that class (and every class after that!) His superior speaking and comprehension ability are things that he has never once taken for granted or used to make anyone else feel “less”. Julien has already shown himself to be a lifelong learner and explorer.

After moving beyond what our school offers for French, Julien decided to take classes at Calvin. He is currently in his second year of college French (and recently told me that he is a mere 2 semesters from receiving a minor in French). Despite all of this, he has always found time to seek me out and connect with me.

Félicitations, Julien! Please accept this award and gift on behalf of the World Language department. We know you use your language ability and desire to use it will carry you far.

German

Annika Dekker

Beyond just doing well in the material, Annika has been a wonderful host and guest on the GAPP exchange program.  In class discussions as well as on the exchange, she is able to discern what is important and true and is concerned about the feelings and interests of others.

Mandarin Chinese

Anna Sprik

I have picked Anna Sprik for this award because of her high work ethic and diligence. Anna never missed even one assignment I gave to the class. She even went above and beyond what I asked for in assignments. 

Her work was always very organized and of high quality. You could tell she did her very best. Her Chinese calligraphy is beautiful to behold: almost a work of art. Anna is the best partner, every student wished to have her in their group in class. She is friendly and helpful.

Her high achievement paid off with her high marks. She had the best grade in the class by far. Anna's demeanor is always so pleasant and cheerful. She may be small in stature, but she is a giant when it comes to her personality traits comprised of diligence, perseverance, and robust positivity.
 

Spanish

One of our goals here at GRCHS is for students to experience language as a way to communicate with more of God’s people, learn from them and enter into their stories.  Each year our Spanish Department selects a student who has studied the language and has the desire to take it out of the classroom for fruitful interaction in God’s world. This year, we have chosen two outstanding students.

Sara Harris

Sara has learned quickly that great joy can be found in relating to others through this learned language.  She combines her abilities in Spanish with teaching and serving in an internship that she pursued with Bethany Christian Services school for refugee students.  Each week she spends hours working with students who are new to the United States as she helps them learn to maneuver school subjects and a new culture.

Sara demonstrates her compassion and faith in Christ by showing up week after week to be with students that lack routine and consistent relationships.  She’s chosen to stay on throughout the summer in her position at the school. Sara, I am confident that God will continue to speak boldly through you in both languages.

Sara, thank you for sharing your gifts.

Isaia TenHuisen

Isaiah has a passion for language.  His gracious attitude in the classroom while learning and using Spanish is something I wish I could box up and bestow upon others at will.  He had an amazing introduction to Spanish by living abroad various times in his youth with his parents, also fluent in Spanish.  And yet he is not one to parade around with his successes in the language, he jumps at volunteer opportunities in which he can employ his language skills and humbly engages in our classroom discussion with a beautiful Castellano accent — encouraging others to strive to such fluidity of speech.  He genuinely enjoys and explores the nuance of language and for that reason he also in his 4th year of French studies. I’m convinced that he’ll continue to explore God’s great earth with faith and humility in the coming years.  Isaiah, thank you for your leadership.

NATIONAL MERIT

Presented by Renee Hartman

Commended Students

There's only one way to become a competitor in the National Merit Scholarship Program and that is by scoring high enough on the PSAT. In October 2017, when these students were juniors, more than 1.5 million high school juniors worldwide took the PSAT.  This group of students represents various levels of accomplishment in that competition.  Two students at Grand Rapids Christian achieved the Commended status; their score was in the top 5% of the 1.5 million juniors who took the PSAT.  

Please help me in congratulating Ben Swedberg and James VanAntwerp.

National Merit Finalists

From the group of students who scored in the top few percent of test takers, approximately 16,000 students are chosen from the Semifinalist designation. To continue in the competition, these students took the SAT, submitted a lengthy application, an essay, and a counselor recommendation. Then both colleges and corporations choose scholarship winners from the Semifinalist pool in order to reduce the group. These students are then given the prestigious rank of National Merit Finalist.

Please help me to honor the two Finalists this year: Sarah Carpenter and Sam Fynewever.

EAGLE WAY

Presented by Eric Taylor and Brad Mockabee

Ben Swedberg

What I really appreciate about Ben, is his heart and kindness that he extends to his peers.  He seeks to listen to students and cares for them if they are in need of support. In addition, he's often the voice to advocate for the people in our community that may be overlooked.  I also appreciate his empathy and compassion within and outside of the classroom.  To add:

  • Ben was one of three captains on or Forensics team this year and a State Champion in Impromptu speaking.
  • He has been in two plays and five musicals here at GRCHS during his time
  • He on our Improv Team
  • He is part of our Peer Listening

Ben has been a portrait of a graduate by being a: thoughtful neighbor, life long learner, creative solution finder, justice seeker, communicator & collaborator.  Ben will be missed as he will take his talents to Northwestern University where we hope he continues to be a servant leader and put his faith in action.  

So, Ben, I leave you with this "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity."  1Timothy 4:12
 

Olivia Haverkamp

It’s my pleasure to present our final award, the Eagle Way Award to Olivia Haverkamp.  Olivia, you can join me up front.  Tonight we’ve talked a lot about the characteristics up on the screen over there, the portrait of a graduate.  This Eagle Way award is given to someone who has lived out the Eagle Way and now embodies these traits.

Olivia is a thoughtful neighbor.  When she stepped foot on campus four years ago as a 9th grader, I admired her ability to connect with a variety of students.  Students looked up to her because she was hospitable, compassionate and served those around her.  Her heart for service showed as she joined NHS and was eventually elected Vice President.  She is also a peer listener and loves being able to strengthen our GRCHS community as she supports those who need a listening ear.  Olivia is an Eagle.  She loves our school.  Because of this, she joined Eagle Nation.  I have a memory of a Friday night where I did not expect to see Olivia.  It was 40’s and rain and I looked up, and there she was with her friends, cheering on the Eagles.

Olivia is a lifelong explorer.  First of all, she literally, loves to explore.  Olivia has traveled to many different places on the globe, where she has fulfilled her desire to learn more about God’s world. Olivia is also an explorer in the classroom.  Teachers have commented multiple times about how she is driven in school, not because she desires a grade, but more because she desires to learn.  This desire to learn has paid off with a GPA of 4.17!   

It isn’t surprising that Olivia wants to pursue a career in medicine where she can continue to be a Creative Solution Finder.  She desires to dive into the constant innovation that is medicine, and maybe one day find a cure for cancer.  She says that equally as important as the medicine that she would prescribe, would be the smiles that she could bring to her patients’ faces.

Most importantly, Olivia is a Disciple of Christ.  Olivia, you have spent four years at GRCHS embodying our theme verse, 1 Timothy 4:12.  You have set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.   Olivia, this example hasn’t only been for your classmates, but for the adults in the school as well.  You have reminded us of God’s call to live life with joy and hope.  Thanks for leaving your mark on Grand Rapids Christian High!  We are so proud of you!