Classes Underway at NC
Nebraska Christian Schools is excited to be back in session and even more excited to see what God has in store for this school year. Enrollment is up and campus feels full with 234 students for the 2021-22 school year!
Summer brought many projects including updating the locker rooms, preparing new classrooms, and continuing renovation of the Administration Building. Consequently, the Administration Building is completely closed and former administrative offices in the gym building now house classrooms. We welcome visitors in our new temporary front office in the entrance to the high school building. This move has certainly altered the flow of people and information across campus, but students, staff, and families have adjusted, and we’re grateful for their patience as various staff members settle into temporary offices around campus.
The first day of school, a Wednesday, dawned bright and sunny, and students poured into classrooms for a full day of instruction. Teachers handed out books, kids filled the playground, and students realized things that didn’t work in their class schedules. New school counselor Mrs. Birnie recalled, “It was fun to start with schedule changes as it is something that helps me meet students and teachers right away.” And just like that, the school year was underway.
In celebration of school’s start and in support of NC’s football and volleyball scrimmages and cross country fun run, NC hosted its family night on Friday. The seniors sponsored a hamburger tailgate, the Parent Teacher Fellowship ran a carnival including inflatables and games for kids, and the entire student body and their families were invited to join in the food and fun.
In comparison to recent years, the opening weeks of school have been uneventful. “Walking onto campus this year felt normal – almost like coming back from Christmas break,” commented sophomore Julie Sidak. Gratitude for this flows throughout the student body. When asked what he has thought of the first couple of weeks of school, junior Drew Perdew said simply, “It’s been a blessing.”
Dollars & Sense
We are underway. If I could choose one phrase to describe the start of this school year, I would choose the phrase “growing pains.” Most of the items I am working on from day to day involve our growing enrollment. To the extent that they present as problems, I can confidently say that those are great problems to have.
Growth affects everything including facilities, staffing, equipment, vehicles, technology, finances, and many other areas that I have not thought to mention. I will comment on the area of finances, but I want to encourage you to pray for all of these areas as God brings us to your mind.
The conventional wisdom, in most business situations, is that increasing customers will bring a corresponding increase in revenue and improve the bottom line.
There is only a limited application for that conventional wisdom in the world of non-profit Christian schools. To the extent that we can accommodate the increased students with the same facilities, staff, equipment, vehicles, and technology, we can achieve a higher level of efficiency and by lowering our actual cost per student have at least some positive effect on revenue and the bottom line. However, because we rely on gift income from our generous donors to help keep our tuition cost significantly lower than our actual cost of education, it is generally true that each student we enroll requires some additional fundraising to offset the gap between what we charge that student and what the actual costs of education are. I have had the privilege of watching God cover that gap for 35 years now.
I would be lying if tried to tell you that this current school year does not make me nervous. Our fundraising goal for this year is $585,000.00. I would also be lying if I told you that I had reason to be nervous. After 35 years of watching God provide, I have more and more sympathy for the stupidity of the Israelites, who watched God provide repeatedly during the exodus and wilderness wanderings and yet still found it difficult to believe that He would meet their present need. May God grant us the faith to trust whatever He is about to do. Thanks so much for the part you play in it.
Until next time, may God bless you and yours.
NC received a $10,000 grant for a botany program greenhouse expansion. The grant is provided through Farm Credit Services of America’s (FCSAmerica) Working Here Fund.
The Working Here Fund grant will be used to re-build a greenhouse at Nebraska Christian Schools in Central City, Nebraska. The greenhouse will include aquaponics equipment and a geothermal heating system with natural gas backup. A solar “smart flower” will provide electricity for the greenhouse.
“Our goal with this greenhouse is to grow various vegetables for use in our cafeteria for our lunch program and provide fresh produce for the evening and weekend meals for our dorm students and staff,” said Dee Flynn, science instructor. “Our botany program is expanding to include a research-based honors program which will allow participating students to develop and carry out their own plant-based research.”
The greenhouse is scheduled to be in use in August 2022, at which time the botany class production and operations will begin.
“We value the opportunity to support an organization such as Nebraska Christian Schools, which shares FCSAmerica’s passion to serve the next generation of ag producers,” said Tami Campbell, regional vice president of retail operations at FCSAmerica’s Grand Island office.
NC is one of 34 organizations to receive an expanded Working Here Fund grant in the second quarter of 2021. FCSAmerica awarded each organization up to $10,000 for a total of $262,345 to support projects focused on agricultural education, hunger and nutrition, young and beginning producers, or essential services and rural disaster relief.
New Student Ambassadors Serve at NC
Do you have a question? Are you lost? Have no fear, The NC Student Ambassadors are here to help! This new organization on campus has the purpose of creating genuine connections with prospective students, serving in other needed capacities as stewards of the school, and striving to be positive ambassadors of all things NC. Although this may sound like a daunting task, this group of students is up to the challenge.
Tabitha Seip is the Head Student Ambassador, and is already showing great leadership in her role. When asked about this group she explained, “Our team is a collection of students who are proud to be at NC and want to help others see all the benefits it has to offer.”
Additionally, these students will be challenged to grow in the areas of leadership, communication, collaboration, and in their spiritual walks. Such qualities will be sharpened through experiences, readings, discussions, and team building activities.
The ambassadors anticipate a fun-filled year, and the next time you are at an activity, look for their signature baby blue ambassador shirt!
Team members include:
Seniors- Tabitha Seip, Nehemiah Peters, Andrew Nguyen, Molly Griess, and Olivia Macken.
Juniors- Reghan Flynn, Gabe Langemeier, Chelsey Myers, Elijah Peters, Will Twogood, Sophie Swanson, and Kaylee Powell.
Sophomores- Drew Bailey, Amanda Needham, Hannah Swanson, Micah Perdew, and Caitlin Chiles.
Freshman- Isabelle Brumbaugh, Brodey Flynn, and Oliver Herman.
8th graders– Hananiah Peters, Julia Merchant, Cal Seip, Taytum Perdew, and David Carlson.
7th grader– Kadeya Sandborn.
NC Welcomes New Staff Members
New English teacher, Dr. Ross Etherton, moved his family back to their roots when he accepted the position at NC. He grew up in Grand Island, and his wife, Chas, was raised in Aurora. After graduating from high school he left the area to pursue education and opportunities outside of Nebraska. He holds a BA in Modern Languages (German, with a minor in Linguistics) from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and an MA and PhD in German from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also did extensive coursework in Comparative Literature, working primarily with English- and German-language literature, but also with Spanish-language literature.
Dr. Etherton left a professorship in German at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities to come to NC, and before that was a visiting professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio, and an instructor of German literature, culture, and language at the University of Colorado.
The Lord’s direction and NC’s advertisement for employment brought him back to Nebraska. “I am so excited to be able to combine my academic expertise and my faith! As a former university professor, I’m really excited to be able to work with younger students,” he explained.
The Ethertons now live in Aurora with their daughter Sophie, an 8th grader at NC. As the school year began, Dr. Etherton shared what he was looking forward to most: “Above all, I can’t wait to work with and get to know the great students and staff at NC!”
Shilo Birnie, School Counselor
Last year Shilo Birnie, did not anticipate moving her family from their home in Arizona any time soon. Although she grew up on a farm north of Broken Bow, her family, including her husband Matt and their four children (Caleb, 8th; Titus, 7th; Kali, 6th; Ella, 5th), had been settled in the Grand Canyon state for 13 years. But our plans are not God’s plans.
For the last few years, Birnie had been watching the Nebraska Department of Education website for job listings in central Nebraska just to think about the what-if’s of moving back to her roots. “God often puts something in front of me and then brings me back to it,” she explained. “I initially saw the opening at NC and skimmed over it along with the other postings, as I usually would. When I happened to check the NDE job board again about a month later, the opening at NC really stood out to me, and the unique opportunity to work both in central Nebraska and at a Christian school hit me as a valuable opportunity.”
Birnie’s education background prepared her for a variety of aspects unique to NC’s position. After graduating from Broken Bow High School she attended Grace University in Omaha, majoring in Secondary English Education and Biblical Studies with an endorsement in English as a Second Language. She then attended Ottawa University in Phoenix and earned a Masters degree in School Counseling. She has served as School Counseling Department Chair at Highley High School in Gilbert, Arizona.
Like so many others, Birnie has been looking forward to getting to know NC’s students and families. In addition, she shared, “I’m also looking forward to working with other believers and both growing in my walk and encouraging others in their walks with Christ.”
Melissa Edson, Elementary Teacher’s Aide
Melissa Edson, new teacher’s aide in the elementary, has known about NC all her life as she grew up in Chapman and many of her friends attended NC. She graduated from Northwest High School in Grand Island, and then received her BA in Elementary Education and Physical Education from UNK where she also met and married her husband of 14 years, Luke.
The Edsons have three children who now attend NC, Addie (7th), Brielle (6th), and Emmett (2nd). Edson has mostly been a stay-at-home mom to her children but has done some subbing in local schools over the last 12 years. Working at NC is a change for her, but Melissa says, “I am looking forward to meeting many new families this year.”
Foundation Raises Funds for New Kitchen and Cafeteria
On numerous occasions since my arrival almost 18 years ago, I’ve proclaimed to friends, family, and acquaintances alike, “What a great time to be a part of Nebraska Christian Schools!” This sentiment rings true more than ever as I observe the bright faces of new and returning faculty, staff, and students embarking on this school year.
Over the summer months, the Nebraska Christian Schools Foundation saw substantial progress in our Next 50 Years Capital Campaign – here’s a quick snapshot of where we are and where we’re headed.
This summer the work on improving the longevity and usability of the Administration Building took a significant leap forward by a complete gutting of all three levels. Interior work continues to create refreshed and renewed office space for our excellent staff and administration. In the Gymnasium Building, we are working on ironing out the final details for installing the fire suppression system.
Across campus, our elementary is bursting at the seams; what a blessing! With this continuing growth trend, it will be necessary to create more classroom space. To do this, Phase 2A of the Next 50 Years Campaign is more critical than ever. Building a new kitchen and dining facility is at the core of this phase, creating a win-win for all.
First, what a blessing to our kitchen crew and all who enjoy their culinary handi-work would a new facility be, as every student and staff would utilize it daily. Additionally, the old space could be refurbished to accommodate the growing needs of our school.
We are committed to completing this next step debt-free and have $538,000 raised thus far. If you have given to this project already, my sincerest thanks. I also challenge us all to consider how a gift could impact this project and the mission of Nebraska Christian Schools. I’ve said it once, but in case you missed it, “It’s a great time to be a part of Nebraska Christian Schools.” Whether in prayer, giving, or volunteering – please join us!
FREE Old Yearbooks and Jerseys
As we have cleaned out this summer, we uncovered some hidden gems! Click here to request a copy of your old yearbook or a classic NC basketball jersey. Only jersey styles pictured are available. Items will be mailed on a first requested, first served basis. Please consider defraying mailing costs by giving a free-will donation here.
Homecoming has had various facets that have been tradition throughout the years. Do you have any special memories from Homecoming? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may feature some in an upcoming Advance issue!
If you recognize any of the unidentified individuals in the pictures below, email us their names so we can update the captions.
For: Ross Bruning
From: Wayne & Helen Bruning
Les & Marty Griess
Ryan & Katy Rogers
Dr. Christopher & Angie Seip
Richard & Elaine Wischmeier
For: Lee Dessel
From: Donald Jr. & Kayleen Riley
For: Emerson Eckert
From: Donald Jr. & Kayleen Riley
For: Richard Mundt
From: William & Andrea Bakker
Les & Marty Griess
Friends of the Mundt family
Richard & Elaine Wischmeier
For: Dorothy Ritta
From: John & Millie Creutzberg
For: In honor of all Veterans
From: Donald Jr. & Kayleen Riley