Joan VanderWilp, Dean of Students
I am Joan VanderWilp, Dean of Students, and for most of my career, I've been in the office next to the Principal's.
It's hard to imagine that 35 years have passed since I came to Grand Rapids Christian High. Some of you were in my Home Economics classes then, and I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know you and teach you what I love. After 10 years, I stepped into the position of Assistant Principal, recently renamed Dean of Students. That provided me another great way to get to know many of you, as students or parents. For all 35 years, I have always had, and told anyone who would listen, the best job in the building.
This year has been a "savor the moment" time for me with each thing that came up, knowing I wouldn't have that particular opportunity or privilege again. In a couple of weeks, I will speak for the last time at chapel to this year's students, to talk with them about living out faith in action, guided by hearing God's speaking in our lives, and to thank them when they spoke God's words to me and others. Then we'll move on to graduation and I will do the final roll call for the Class of 2019 and see each of their faces one last time as high schoolers - "my kids".
Over the last several years, I have had a unique delight of seeing "my kids" coming back as parents with their teenagers and enrolling them here. What a testimony of parents' commitment to passing on the faith to their children in their educational experience. It strikes me each time as a testament to God's continued covenant with us.
I thank God for blessing me so much more than I could imagine. I also want to say "thank you" to all of you for your support, your sharing in the work I've been called to do, your kind words, your prayers, and most of all for allowing me to be the "other mother" to you while you were here as students or parents, and to the children you have enrolled here. I will miss that privilege - I've truly loved being the advocate for students, both for support, and the guidance and discipline when needed. My life has been enriched, beyond all I could have prayed for, by my having the privilege of getting to know the students, parents, and staff at Christian High. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
-Joan VanderWilp, Dean of Students