Hats Off to the Class of 2021
Nebraska Christian celebrated its 63rd graduating class on May 15, 2021. After a unique outdoor graduation ceremony for last year’s class, this year’s 21 class members marched into the gymnasium to the band’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” led by junior escorts Molly Griess and Jonathan Needham. In so doing, they ushered in the new tradition of entering through the newly renovated southwest main entrance to the gym.
Themes of gratitude and glorifying God permeated the celebration. The choir belted out a lively, “I will sing and give thanks to Thee for all the dangers, toils, and snares that He has brought me out,” from Robert Ray’s “He Never Failed Me Yet.” They also reminded all attendees that, “You are with me, my very hope, My refuge, fortress, and my strength,” from Michael John Trotta’s “You Are My Refuge.”
Janssen encouraged her class to be grateful to God for the opportunities and difficulties He has given them. She expressed her own gratitude that NC is a place for Christians to gather that facilitates spiritual growth and provides education through a biblical lens. These benefits prepared and continued to equip her and her classmates to lead in unique and difficult circumstances this year following the worldwide shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As these circumstances have shaped us, Janssen shared, God continues to mold each individual and use willing servants to shed His light in a dark world.
Following Janssen, Pipher shared his experience one summer of starting a construction job. He was inexperienced, untrained, and green at the start, but his employers taught their young apprentice so that by the end of the summer, Pipher could do many things. Likewise, Pipher came into NC overwhelmed by all he would need to master, but teachers and coaches gave him responsibilities and opportunities to grow. As they head out into the world, Pipher encouraged his classmates to not feel as though they’ve arrived but rather to see these next steps as an opportunity to continue their apprenticeship in life. He pointed everyone to God’s Word, which is sufficient to teach, and to a Lord of whom there will always be more to explore.
As the final class speaker, Swanson shared her reticence to fill the role of class speaker, public speaking not being among her aspirations or desires. However, she admitted that she agreed to speak at graduation only because of Christ’s work in her life. Slow but steady growth over her high school career through the numbing pain and hopelessness in both grief and sports brought her to this point of submission to His will. She encouraged her classmates and all in attendance that, “Christ will see you through.” Every circumstance, whether painful or pleasant, has a purpose, and through each, she exhorted, “Christ will see you through.”
Steve James, NC’s school counselor, retiring this year after 9 years of service at NC, followed the class speakers. His speech can be boiled down to 4 simple words: “It’s not about you.” Although graduation day seems to be entirely about and for those 21 students sitting on the stage, James cautioned, the day isn’t about them. It’s about bringing glory to the God who created our seniors and serving Him only.
After receiving their diplomas, the class moved their tassels and headed out into the warm sunshine, and ongoing celebration of gratefulness for all God has brought them through. Congratulations, Class of 2021!
Go Big GIVE 2021: YOU Deserve a Big THANK YOU!
by Jody Heuermann, NCS Foundation Executive Director
The wonderful supporters of Nebraska Christian Schools certainly came through in a BIG way for this year’s Go Big GIVE campaign, a 24 hr online giving event for non-profits in Hall, Merrick, Hamilton, and Howard counties. “Thank you” doesn’t seem adequate to express our gratitude to all of you who prayed, donated, or contributed to this campaign. It was such an exciting day as the funds came in online. There were many times throughout the day where “prizes” in the form of matching dollars increased your donations. After an incredible day of generosity, we were the top non-profit organization with $125,039 raised. Additionally, we were incredibly blessed with substantial matching funds, which increased our total to $225,039!
The money raised will enable us to make extensive roof repairs and updates on the gymnasium building and install the fire suppression system required by the State Fire Marshal. Our gymnasium is the center of many activities, athletic competitions, and special programming for our students here at NC. The gym has seen a massive facelift over the past year, and the fixed roof and fire suppression system both ensure that no flames or water will jeopardize all of the fantastic progress.
We are in awe of everything the Lord has provided for us as we continue to update, repair, modernize, and make our facilities and campus safe and welcoming to everyone who steps foot here. We praise the Lord for His sustenance over the many years of our existence, and we marvel at the way he continues to bless us year after year. Go Big GIVE was a BIG reminder of His faithfulness, and we thank you for your part in supporting Nebraska Christian Schools.
Botany Program Receives Greenhouse to Cafeteria Award
The Nebraska Christian botany program was honored to receive the Greenhouse to Cafeteria Award sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs headquartered in Lyons, NE. This award was designed to recognize schools that use their greenhouse facilities to produce vegetables for consumption in the school cafeteria. This was the first time the award was offered through CFRA, which plans to make it an annual award. CFRA seeks to acknowledge programs that involve a variety of students in a variety of capacities. The NC botany program received particularly high marks in creativity, student involvement, community involvement, and crop diversity. Nebraska Christian will receive a $200 gift certificate to the supply store of their choice along with a plaque.
High School Track Season Recap
by Coach Tonya Ostrand
As the 2021 track season got underway, the Nebraska Christian coaches were uncertain but hopeful about how the season would go. Because of the coronavirus, the 2020 season was canceled, which left the Eagles with little experience, especially on the boys’ side. However, the girls’ team seemed to not miss a beat. Except for some early setbacks and a few nagging injuries, they were extremely competitive.
The girls won their last five regular-season meets, including a Goldenrod Conference Championship, and then proceeded to get runner up in a very competitive C6 District meet. Some of the girls’ side highlights were Hannah Swanson, freshman, placing first in the 2-mile at the Central Nebraska Track Championships held in Grand Island against some very tough competition. She also qualified for the state track meet in both the 2-mile, where she placed fifth, and the mile. Tabitha Seip, qualified for the state track meet in both hurdle events, and Molly Griess qualified for state in both the discus and mile run.
On the boys’ side, the term “young” describes most of this group of competitors who were either underclassmen or many of them in their first year of varsity competition. This group was led by Senior Elijah Boersen, who, at the district meet, jumped 21′ 3.25,” breaking the 35-year-old long jump record of 21′ 2.75″ held by Rod Rowse. He qualified for the state meet in both the long jump and triple jump, and placed seventh in each of those in Omaha. “This season was definitely a time of growing and learning not only how to train but also how to compete at a high level. I am really looking forward to next year, where many of these athletes are going to continue to improve, and we should be even more competitive next year,” said Coach Carl Ostrand.
Junior High Track Season Recap
by Coach Tonya Ostrand
Junior high track is all about trying to figure things out. Figuring out how to perform different techniques, work hard, compete, and what events to do. Fortunately, this group of kids could do many different things, and they caught on very quickly! With it being everyone’s first year of competition due to COVID, the kids did remarkably well.
The Eagles participated in five meets with both the boys’ and girls’ teams getting conference runner up. The boys then got either first or second place in all their other competitions. At the same time, the girls won each of their additional four meets – winning many times by as many as 50 points!
Three of the girls were even able to test their abilities at the junior high state meet in Gothenburg. Taytum Perdew, Emma Rathjen, and Izzy Brumbaugh got the unique opportunity to participate in a state-wide, all-class meet where Taytum Perdew took home an eighth-place medal in the long jump! If these athletes continue to work hard, this group will be fun to watch for a long time!
Crash, Boom, Bang – Campus Improvements Update
by the NCS Foundation and Campus Executive Team
If you’ve been on campus since the end of school, you may have noticed the drone of trucks rumbling and hammers pounding. Presently, construction abounds on NC’s campus, including projects in the Ad Building, Gym Building, and soon a much anticipated new greenhouse. Although sometimes inconvenient for staff and visitors, all the disruptions thrill us as we recognize the great progress in progress.
The Ad Building’s exterior improvements (including a new roof, windows, and metalwork) can’t be missed, and now we have turned inward. Our office staff has temporarily moved to the high school classroom building, while the main floor hallway receives a facelift and the third floor and garden levels are gutted. Our crews are removing the 100+ year-old wall plaster, exposing beautiful brick walls in the main floor hallway. New lighting, paint, and flooring are on the way – we can’t wait to see how this improved space blesses the NC community.
One area you probably haven’t noticed (unless you’re an athlete) is our locker rooms in the gymnasium building. All three locker rooms – boys, girls, and visitors – are undergoing a complete makeover. The floors, ceilings, and toilet/shower areas will all be brand new. The boys’ and girls’ locker rooms will have new lockers installed, and the old lockers will be repurposed in the visitors’ locker room. For the first time in Nebraska Christian history, the locker rooms will have air conditioning along with a new heating system and air purification system. We know our coaches and student-athletes will appreciate these improvements when they return to school in the fall!
Finally, stay tuned for a new greenhouse with installation slated for this summer. The additional square footage will allow our botany program to grow and provide more great hands-on experiences for our students.
In honor of the 2021 track season coming to a close, here is a look back at some fun snapshots from NC’s track history.