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Grand Rapids Christian Schools Celebrates 349 years of service

This June, ten Grand Rapids Christian Schools staff members will retire, moving on to new adventures with family, friends, and travels. Together, these staff members comprise 290 total years of service at Grand Rapids Christian Schools, years that were invaluable to their students, parents, colleagues, and the community.

At their annual luncheon, high school staff will come together to celebrate three retirements: Dean of Students, Joan VanderWilp, Director of Inclusion, Linda Greenfield, and facility manager, Scott Sanders.

Joan remembers “the year of the major construction project at the high school. When everyone had to walk outside to go to the CAW for chapel - there was not one single Tuesday that we were in the rain. On the Tuesdays that had rainy mornings, it cleared long enough for us to trek back and forth to the CAW. Everyone was ‘in it together’, positive in the face of the most unusual disruptions, and the Lord blessed us beyond all we could ask or imagine.”

Denise van der Laan, GRCMS Inclusion Coordinator. She says, “I am looking forward to taking time to feel the sand in my toes, stare at the stars, and smell the flowers.  I am looking forward to climbing mountains, hiking canyons, fording streams, swimming in lakes and oceans and doing whatever God has planned for me next.”

In an open house on May 16 from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, the Iroquois campus will celebrate principal, Mark Krommendyk and teachers, Judy Rooy, and Jim Koop.  

Judy says, “My favorite moments have been sharing books and essays with students, seeing their eyes light up with interest or excitement, and then having them return to share with me just how right or even how wrong I had been in my recommendation.”

Team 1 teacher, Mary Witteveen, and Team 3 teacher, Holly Haan, will be celebrated at an open house on May 23 from 3:30-5:30 pm at Evergreen. Witteveen, who taught at Seymour Christian and three different Evergreen campus locations says, “I think my greatest learning professionally took place when I worked with several teachers and administrators for two years on the curriculum and pillars of a new Grand Rapids Christian Schools venture in starting our Evergreen program. It taught me to look at the big picture instead of the small details. It was very collaborative, challenging, and rewarding.”

Bonnie McGinnis, who began working for GRCS at Creston Christian and who will retire as the Rockford Christian librarian this year, says, “Helping students find just the right books to check out, reading amazing stories to classes, and seeing the excitement on their faces as they discover new books in the library is a joy…I always say that it’s the best job ever!”

These ten staff members will be missed, treasured, and prayed for as they continue to discover more of life’s adventures!

Read all the 2019 Retiree Reflections.