One Day In The Life Of
Calvin Christian High School
by Arlan Koppendrayer, social studies and Bible teacher; chaplain
8:15 AM In chapel this morning a local artist discussed the intersection of his Christian faith with his art. He brought along examples of his work. His answers to our questions are patient and authentic. Clearly he has thought about what it means to be a Christian and an artist and his answers go beyond the typical “share your faith through your art” response.
9:00 AM It is Independent Projects time and a sophomore gives a presentation of his independent project. During the feedback time a senior female student challenges him to dig deeper in his project, urging him to think harder about the question that drives his project and to find more research that will enable him to give a more thorough and convincing answer to his driving question.
10:00 AM Gilbert Meilander of Valparaiso University is giving a lecture at the University of Minnesota. Doctors, medical students, college and graduate students and one group of students from a local high school attend. After the lecture Meilander gives twenty five more minutes of his time to meet with the high school students. They are from Calvin Christian High School. Mr. Vande Glind has taken his junior biology class to the lecture. The lecture is entitled “Gifts of The Body: Procuring Organs For Transplant”. Professor Meilander brings a uniquely Christian perspective.
12:15 PM During lunch break Mrs. Anderson is helping students, several eager for a role in the play, rehearse the songs they will perform for tryouts.
1:00 PM Students in Miss Branderhorst’s Holocaust Literature Class are mesmerized by the stories told by a guest. The visitor is the child of a mother and a father who both survived Hitler’s concentration camps. Though he spoke of the intense suffering of the past, he urged the students to think about those suffering profound injustice, persecution, even torture in the present.
2:00 PM It’s the last hour of the day and the senior class is discussing the confluence of the move toward more democratic societies, more open and free markets and the growth of the internet. Thomas Friedman, in a book the class is reading, calls this confluence Globalization. Most of the students jokingly mention their “tired brains” because they have just emerged from the rigor of Mr. Ahrenholz’s physics and pre-calc class. We push forward with the discussion. In history change is nothing new, the rapid pace of massive change at the end of the 20th and beginning of 21st centuries is.
3:30 PM School is over. Learning is not. Mr. Schaap urges students to ponder the desperate social conditions that led Fantine to sing “I Dreamed a Dream” in the play, Les Miserables. An environment of poverty, indeed misery, prevail and Fantine will end her song, “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed”. This spring CCHS students will perform the play based on the classic work by Victor Hugo. I am moved by the opportunity the play affords our students to learn on multiple levels as they prepare for the performance. They are stretched vocally, theatrically, even academically.
Today reminds me of the growing season this past summer. Abundant rain, hot sun, humid nights and rich soil combined to make an unforgettable season for fruits and vegetables they could not help but grow. One small patch of cucumbers produced thousands of the dark green cylindrical vegetable. Some bean plants were so thick with beans my hands could not penetrate the vines.
Just as this summer was an incredibly rich growing environment, Calvin Christian High School is a rich—really rich—learning environment and a community of abundant life. God has graciously helped us create an environment at CCHS where learning, significant, life-shaping learning, occurs everywhere and all the time. We aim for a place where learning is accepted and growth is normal, a culture wherein discovery is desired, enjoyed, even celebrated. Dreams can thrive in such an environment and, in it, we get a glimpse of a world that is to come.
I am reminded of the words Christian author Katherine Paterson uses to describe her work, “My stories will lean toward hope as a sunflower toward the sun.” Let me borrow that. CCHS is a community where learning connects with dreams that “… lean toward hope….”