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GRCHS Home Bulletin News — October 4, 2022

Keeping You Connected

Details from the Dean

It is our goal to create an effective and positive learning environment for all of our students in each of their classes. One key to student academic success is student engagement. We know that access to phones and even the temptation to look at or listen to phones can be a distraction for our students (and for us adults). In order to ensure that all of our students are engaged in class, it is our policy that all students will place their phones in the phone pockets at the start of class, remove their AirPods, and remove their hoods. Research tells us that removing these distractions helps students to increase their academic scores, build more positive relationships in the classroom, and it can improve their mental health. We continue to share these important reminders with students at school, and we would love for you to have these important conversations at home as well. Thanks for your continued partnership as we help students learn these important lessons, 

—Elizabeth Hoving

Preparing Students

Did you know that we launched an Engineering Pathway with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) this fall? PLTW is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a hands-on, interdisciplinary STEM-based curriculum that uniquely prepares students for life beyond the classroom. Through PLTW Engineering, GRCHS students step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and engage in compelling, real-world challenges that help them become better collaborators and thinkers.

Our goal with our Engineering Pathway, and other pathways throughout our elective program, is to provide students with an introductory course to explore their interests, followed by courses for students to deepen their skills, and capstone opportunities to practice and apply their learning through real-world applications, internships, microcredentials, or independent projects.

This year, we have added two introductory Engineering courses--Engineering Essentials and Introduction to Engineering Design. You can learn more about these courses through our Curriculum Guide or the PLTW website. Over the next two years, we plan to add additional PLTW courses for students to deepen their engagement in various engineering domains. For more information about PLTW, visit

—Nick DeKoster

Stronger Together

Hospitality and Inclusion, a Student Congress branch, has continued to host their Cookies and Conversation Focus Time. Cookies and Conversation is a way for new students to get to know current GRC students through fun ice breakers and Kahoot over ice cream sandwiches. Having a Focus Time is a great way for students to connect because the group is smaller and more intimate. Similarly, Global Ambassadors, which connects international students to domestic students, hosted its launch today. They provided snacks and played music from around the world. The festive atmosphere also included a popcorn machine and a fun trivia Kahoot. Both groups will continue to offer events for students to spend time together outside of the classroom. 

—Rona Das

Rooted in Christ

Many of us remember our children’s toddler days of persistent questioning: “Why? Why? Why?” As our toddlers have grown to become teenagers, their persistent questions often evolve into more perplexing questions like, “How do we know the Bible is true?” or “If God is love and all-powerful, why is there so much suffering and injustice in the world?” These are big and important questions and it’s quite normal for teens to explore these questions. According to one recent study, 70% of Christian teenagers experienced significant questions about faith during high school. But here’s the good news: the same study found that when those teenagers had opportunities to honestly express and discuss those questions, they demonstrated significant spiritual growth. The study concluded that “it’s not doubt that is toxic to faith - it’s silence.” 

This past week’s chapel explored the topic of religious questions and doubt. Mr. Borst and Mr. Diekema reflected on the story in Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with God. The text says Jacob’s name was changed to Israel because he “struggled with God and with humans.” How striking that the very name for God’s people - Israel - suggests that God’s people grapple with the big questions of God and faith. But how do we talk to our own kids who might be struggling with doubt or religious questions? The Fuller Youth Institute, which studies the faith development of teens, suggests these four practices as a place to start if your child is grappling with religious doubts: 

  1. Memorize this phrase: “Great question. I don’t know, but …”
  2. “Preserve the relationship at all costs.”
  3. Connect with others who may have other resources; we are not in this alone.
  4. “Pay attention to your own doubt” and, when appropriate, consider talking about it. 

One of the great gifts of Christian education is that we are in this together. If you want resources or ideas on how to talk about religious questions or doubts, you are always welcome to reach out for conversation.

—Mark VanderWerf

High School News


We are looking forward to celebrating homecoming from October 3 - 8! We will have activities and themes each day for students to have fun and celebrate as a class. Everyone is welcome to attend our homecoming game at Eagles Stadium on Friday, October 7 which will feature our homecoming court.

The Homecoming Dance will be on Saturday, October 8 from 8:00 - 11:00 pm. We are pleased to offer this dance for juniors and seniors at the Grand Rapids Children's Museum. Tickets will be sold Tuesday-Friday for $20.

We still need parent volunteers for this dance! If you are able to chaperone, please email Dean of Student Life Eric Taylor (

Important State/National Testing Info

For the past several years GRCHS has used a one-day testing schedule in the Fall and in the Spring in order to be the least intrusive to classroom instruction. All School Day testing (State/National tests given at school during a scheduled school day) is free for students and parents. Each test/program on these two dates (October 12 and March 8) is required of all students. Notes:

  • Attendance will be taken for grades 9—11.  
  • Busing will be provided, with no classes held on either testing date. 

Below are the details for our 2022 Fall event.

FALL TESTING and MIXER on Wednesday, October 12 (all beginning at 8:30 am):  

9th: Freshman Mixer (required)  

  • Freshmen will participate in a variety of activities throughout the day to break away from their school routines and spend time having fun and building relationships with their peers.
  • Freshmen will be bussed to and from the mixer and will return to school by 2:45 pm.
  • Please watch your email for more details.

10th:  Pre-ACT 

  • The test given will be identical in format and have similar content to the ACTs offered on Saturdays. This is valuable preparation for the ACT and SAT testing.
  • Extended time is available for students who qualify as determined by our ESS department. Contact Mrs. Amy Crow ( for more information.

11th: PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)

  • Accommodated testing is available for qualifying students.

12th: Seniors are strongly encouraged to participate in college visits. 

Please note: 

  • On Monday, October 10, all 10th and 11th-grade students will receive a school email with their room assignments for the Wednesday testing and instructions about what to bring/not bring with them that day.
  • On Wednesday, October 12:
    • Testing and mixer begin promptly at 8:30 am
    • 10th and 11th-grade testing will conclude by 12:15 pm (except for students who qualify for extended time) and students will be dismissed for the day. 
    • 9th-grade students will participate in their mixer and will be transported back to school by 2:45 pm.

High School Can Drive

The Environmental Club at the High School will be having a returnable can drive starting Thursday, October 6 until Tuesday, October 18. The dimes collected will be used to start a fund for solar panels at the High School. Recycling cans saves smelting energy and putting that money toward solar panels is a win-win-win. Look for white barrels outside the front and rear entrances to the High School marked "E-Club Returnable Drive".

Band and Orchestra Concert

Consider joining us for our first GRCHS Band and Orchestra Concert of the year. The event is being held Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the GRCHS CAW. Our student performers are amazing and we have a really great evening of music planned. Come hear our Percussion Ensemble, Sinfonia and Symphony Strings Orchestras and Symphonic Band play the music of Bach, Beethoven, Piazolla, Ticheli, Vaughn Williams to name a few.

Hope to see you there!

Winterimfest and Winterim Registration

The Winterim catalog will be released to students this month, and we're extremely excited about all the amazing opportunities available—from courses to college visits to Cornerstone dual-enrollment, all students should find something interesting. All students will also have an opportunity to meet instructors and ask questions about courses and internships at our annual Winterimfest on October 26. Each course will have tables set up with information and all instructors will be available to answer questions and share information about their offerings. Registration for Winterim will happen the following week. 

Important Dates: 

Winterimfest: October 26, Office Hours

12th Grade Registration: Monday, October 31, lunch hour 

11th Grade Registration: Tuesday, November 1, lunch hour

10th Grade Registration: Wednesday, November 2, lunch hour

9th Grade Registration: Friday, November 4, lunch hour

Internship Applications Due: November 1

Senior Pictures

Senior pictures must be emailed to Ms. Das by Friday, November 4. Please use these guidelines to ensure that the photo is of high quality. 

Senior Recognition Ad

If you're interested in highlighting your senior, consider purchasing a yearbook recognition ad, starting at $50. You can personalize and add baby photos to celebrate your senior's high school graduation. 

Buy a Yearbook

For a limited time, yearbooks will be $60. Order your yearbook now before prices increase.

Choral Events

We are proud to present the first choral music concert of the year on Tuesday, October 4! As we are building momentum for our choral groups, come out and support us by listening to some beautiful music of several genres. The concert begins at 7:30 pm, student singers must arrive by 7:00 pm.

A unique and incredible event is being hosted by GRCHS! The Men's Choral Workshop, directed by MSU's Dr. Jonathan Reed will feature the Great Lakes Singers, several guest artists, and over 100 high school guys from our West Michigan region for an unforgettable music experience. It's so important to keep men singing! Please join us for this free event and invite others! Wednesday, October 5, 7:00 pm at the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship. 


Coming to the DeVos Center for Arts and Worship

Harmony High: A Celebration of Barbershop

Join us for a celebration of Barbershop Harmony Wednesday evening, October 5 at 7:00 pm. High school students from all around West Michigan (under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Reed from MSU) will present a special concert event, featuring the Great Lakes Chorus and other guest barbershop quartets. This is a FREE event; no tickets are required.  

GRCHS presents Into the Woods

Join us for Stephen Sondheim’s modern twist on the beloved fairy tales you thought you knew! Into the Woods is a darkly comedic fusion of fairy tale characters (including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk) and serves as a cautionary tale of what happens after the characters receive what they believed would be their "happily ever after." Parents of younger children should note that this production contains some dark material, adult themes, and scenes and characters that may disturb younger children.

Performances are at 7:00 pm on November 10, 11, and 12. Reserved tickets are $10 and go on sale Monday, October 10 at 9:00 am. Tickets will be available by phone Monday through Friday (574-5600), or online 24/7 at THERE WILL BE NO IN-PERSON TICKET SALES.

From the Counseling Department

Please visit the Counseling Department website for the latest information from the GRCHS Counseling Department, including curriculum and class information, ACT and SAT testing information and prep classes, college planning guides, and much more.

Senior Parents

You are invited to our Paying for College & Filing in the FAFSA Night TONIGHT Tuesday, October 4th at 6:00 PM in the Garage. We will have the associate director of financial aid from a local college to help you understand the best way to access all the opportunities to help you and your student pay for college. 

Here's what you need to know about these forms and their deadlines:

All institutions require submission of the FAFSA for financial aid consideration. For current high school seniors expecting to attend college next year, the 2021-2022 FAFSA can be accessed and submitted at  beginning October 1, 2022.

About 250 colleges and universities also require submission of the CSS/PROFILE. This can be accessed and submitted at beginning October 1, 2022.

Junior Parents

We want to invite you to Junior Parent Night on Monday, October 17th at 5:30 PM before conferences in the Garage. Junior Parent night is an opportunity for parents of junior students to meet with the GRCHS counselors to discuss college planning, the application process and how SCOIR will be used to help with both. This event will be tailored to parents so students do not need to attend. 

It will also feature breakout sessions on two-year colleges/trade schools, selective college admissions, Gap Years and NCAA eligibility. 

Get Registered on SCOIR

We are pleased to introduce you to SCOIR, a service designed especially for students and families. SCOIR is a comprehensive website that you and your child can use to help in making plans about colleges and careers. SCOIR will allow you to get involved in the planning of post-high school years, research careers and colleges, request transcripts/teacher recommendations, and track college applications. 

All parents, we ask you to register for an account on SCOIR  because it's the only avenue in which we communicate with you and send our emails. Please contact Jill Anderson at in order to sign up for an account and download the Parent App. 

Upcoming Saturday ACT dates: 

  • December 10, 2022. The registration deadline is November 4. See to register. 

Upcoming Saturday SAT dates: 

From the Athletics Department

Senior Eagle Student Athletes

The most prestigious award given by the MHSAA is the MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award. Only 32 of the best student-athletes from across the state will be awarded the $2,000 scholarship and the designation of MHSAA Scholar-Athlete winner.

This award is intended for the elite student and elite athlete. GR Christian can only have four male and four female senior applicants as a Class B school. The minimum is a 3.5 GPA and a varsity sport in your senior year. Check out this link with last year's winners!

Here is the link for you to begin the process: MHSAA Scholar Athlete Link

See Mr. Heerema in the Athletic Office for the code to be able to do the application and if you have any questions.

Go Eagles!

GR Christian HS Concessionaires 

GR Christian HS is looking for concessionaires for our athletic event concession stand. This job is great fun! You are working with parent volunteers and the Eagle Athletic Boosters showing hospitality to our community and our guests. Flexible hours and you get to see our kids! We need more concessionaires so we can offer concessions at our home events.

We will pay for any licensing and certification and the hourly rate is very competitive. Contact Jason Heerema, Athletic Director at or 616.340.6802 if you are interested. Go Eagles!


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