Holding hands in praise

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18-19 Impact Report Web Graphics4. GRCHS


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.

1 Timothy 4:12 

At Grand Rapids Christian High School, students and staff are guided by The Eagle Way, a set of core values that enable students to grow and learn in the classroom while preparing to be servants of Christ in contemporary society.

These values include: honoring God, maintaining integrity, striving for educational excellence, fostering relationships with others, serving their home and church communities, and seeking the mindset of Christ through service.

Each year at Senior Awards Night, two Eagle Way Award recipients are chosen that embody these values. Senior Award recipients are chosen by faculty and staff for the manner in which they have discovered their gifts and have begun to live them out, leaving an indelible mark on the GRCS community. In 2019, Olivia Haverkamp and Ben Swedberg received the Eagle Way Awards.


Olivia, who attended GRCS for her entire schooling, except for one year at Zoo School, has a passion for learning. “I love school, studying,” she says. Olivia maintained her excitement for education even after she was diagnosed with sarcoma, or bone cancer, during her sophomore year. As she battled her illness and spent much of her time in the hospital, Olivia yearned to be in the classroom.

“School was just my favorite thing. That’s where I always wanted to be when I was an inpatient in the hospital…something that I could focus on.”

Olivia continued her education at GRCS and went on to achieve a 4.17 GPA. It was this achievement and perseverance that earned her the Feenstra Scholarship for pre-med students at Calvin College, a joint partnership with the University of Michigan that pays for her undergraduate education and guarantees her an interview at U of M medical school. “I just want to say thank you to all of the staff and everyone at GRCS,” says Olivia. “I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”


Ben Swedberg lives out the advice of one of his favorite teachers, Steve Tuit: “It’s not about the work, it’s about the process.” During his time at GRCHS, Ben reveled in each experience, participating in theatre, peer listening, improv, and forensics. “These extracurriculars provided me with confidence, skills, and an outstanding group of friends,” he says.

“They helped me to surround myself with like-minded people who were focused on building supportive relationships and pushing each other.”

Ben was also a devoted student, favoring AP Psychology, AP European History, and AP Calculus, the latter of which was the most challenging. “There were nights that I would spend three to four hours on one homework assignment,” he says. “However, after all that work, there was always the moment in which a skill became cemented or the rationale behind a theorem became fully apparent. These were some of the most gratifying moments I experienced in high school.”

Having worked at Camp Roger’s day program Camp Scottie this summer, Ben is attending Northwestern University this fall, majoring in communication studies and international studies. Confident but flexible, Ben looks forward to the unknown. “Ultimately, I’m not really sure what life after graduation holds for me,” he says. “I’m glad to say, though, that I’m confident in my ability to face it head-on after four years at GRCHS.”

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