Parent Communicator

                                                                                           MR. RICHARD NOORMAN, PRINCIPAL
January 26, 2017


Dear Parents,

Psalm 4:5, “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.”  This is the new text that we are featuring in our main display case that has been dedicated this year to the phrase, “trust in the Lord.”  The full meaning of this verse comes to light as we consider the complete middle section of Psalm 4, “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.  But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.  Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.”  This is a wonderful reminder that God’s elect, those set apart, will always be heard when they call upon Him.  Being pointed to the sacrificial work of Christ, we can be assured that God loves us and works all things for our good.   We can trust in the Lord.

First Semester Review—Our first semester went very well.  We have seen students make great progress in many areas of their studies.  It is really exciting to observe these students as they develop their abilities in the classroom and also in other areas that they are involved in at school.  We have also seen students struggle in some ways.  We have had our share of students with physical issues, either sickness or surgeries.  Knee carts, crutches, and walking boots have been very common in our hallways this year.  The Academic Support program continues to be a great support for those who struggle with classwork and studying.  We are seeing increased signs of “Senioritis” which is characterized by a decrease in motivation toward studies found in students nearing the end of a particular phase of schooling.  There is no doubt that this can be a seen in some of our classrooms but, as a staff, we are called to continually challenge our students to be faithful in their current vocation of being a high school student and to exhibit Christian stewardship by using their God-given abilities.  All of our students, especially the seniors, need to be encouraged to continue to make good decisions and take advantage of the opportunities to learn.  

Student Teachers—This is an unusual year for our involvement with student teachers.  Not only are we hosting an exceptional number of student teachers, but we also continue to have some non-traditional situations.  During the first semester, Mr. Matt Elzinga, who has been working in our schools for several years, did his student teaching assignment here in order to complete his certification requirements.  Mr. Elzinga will be continuing his work here as a certified teacher teaching two classes in the second semester.  Mrs. Emily Boersen, who did her student teaching in the first semester, will be teaching four classes in the second semester.  Mr. Ethan Mingerink, who has been teaching our Spanish I classes during the afternoon, will now add student teaching in the English department to his morning schedule.  Finally, in March, we will welcome Miss Samantha Andringa, from our Crete congregation, as a student teacher working with Mr. Bergman.

Social Media and Technology—I recently came across two interesting items that deal with how we and our children deal with technology and social media.  First is a TED Talk given by a “media historian” titled, “The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native.”  In this video, Dr. Devorah Heitner, talks about learning what it is like to grow up with technology and how parents can assist their children to use it in a positive way.  You can find this message by searching YouTube or at the following link:

The other fantastic article was written in a recent (January 23, 2017) RFPA blog posting by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, a CCHS graduate and pastor of Doon PRC.  He introduces his list of Ten Technological Traps this way,
“There is nothing inherently sinful in these things. In fact, they can be powerful tools for good in the service of God and his church, and therefore we can use them with a good conscience before God.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 4:4-5)  That being said, we ought to recognize that there are many dangers that these wonders of the technological age present. These dangers ought to make us careful in our use of these good gifts.”
This article can be found on the RFPA Blog.  The web address is rather long so I plan to email a link to both of these resources to you.

SAT Testing—We will be giving the Michigan Merit Exam to all of our Juniors on April 11-13.   This will include the SAT test, the ACT WorkKeys assessment, and the M-Step 11th grade assessment in Science and Social Studies from the State of Michigan for all 11th grade students.  The SAT portion is especially important for students who intend to continue their education in college.  The SAT score is a key component of the qualification for financial aid.  Ninth and tenth graders will also be taking the PSAT 9 and PSAT 10 on the Tuesday, April 11. 

Khan Academy—Another note about the SAT and PSAT testing for all students.  As part of an informational workshop that I attended last week, I spent time taking a portion of the SAT test.  I can personally testify that, given the opportunity to become familiar with the format and the type of questions that were asked, I would have been much more comfortable and would have performed much better than I did on my first try.  It has been proven that students who spend time working with SAT preparation materials receive higher scores than if they had not had any exposure to the test.  All of our 11th grade students have set up Khan Academy accounts for the purpose of doing this preparation.  The Khan Academy SAT test prep is a totally free service for all students.  Through this program, they are able to access up to 5 practice tests which will give them immediate feedback about their performance.  Another wonderful feature of this program is that it gives a customized program of instruction to each student that is based upon their performance on the preliminary tests that they have already taken (PSAT, PSAT 9 and PSAT 10.)  The Khan Academy program will analyze these tests and point the student to practice work that is most beneficial for them.  This service is available online and the student can access it from home or at school.  Students don’t have to wait until 11th grade to start working on this because these accounts are available to students of any age. 

CCHS Mascot/Logo Design Contest—For nearly 50 years our athletic teams have been known as the Chargers and have been represented by many different depictions of a horse, a knight-like rider, or both.  Many of the past images used have been very complex drawings and also very difficult to duplicate.  It is not our intention to change any of these basic forms but we would like to try to find a logo that would readily be recognized as our own.   Therefore, we are announcing the Covenant Christian Logo Design Contest.  This new logo would be used for the athletics web site, on team uniforms, Charger gear, on hallway walls, and possibly on the gymnasium floor.  This contest is open to any individual in the CCHS community.  The basic requirements are that the logo must be original, include a Charger (horse/rider--not lightning bolt), use black and gold colors, be easily reproduced, be recognizable as representing CCHS,  artist quality work with clean lines, edges, and colors, and it must be able to be put in a digital format .  Digital images are preferred and print images should be no larger than 8.5” x 11”.  For a complete list of requirements or if you have questions, please contact Travis Van Bemmel or the school office.  Deadline for entry submission is March 31, 2017.

Music Department Concerts and Trips—Plans are progressing well for the choir to take a trip to Pittsburgh this Spring.  This trip will involve the 11th and 12th grade students in Concert Chorale and Chamber Choirs.  They will be leaving by bus at noon on Thursday, March 23, for Grove City, Pennsylvania, where they will stay the night.  Friday will be a very busy day beginning with a time of singing in the beautiful Grove City College Chapel.  The highlight of the afternoon will be singing for the students of Trinity Christian School in Pittsburgh.  Then in the evening there will be a concert, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Church, at the Heinz Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  Being able to sing in that huge stone cathedral will be something that these students will remember for a long time.  They will stay that night in Pittsburgh.  On Saturday morning they will go to the Pittsburgh PRC for a time of singing and fellowship before heading home.  All of the choirs will be presenting a concert on March 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Jenison Center for the Arts.  The final year-end concert will also be at Jenison on May 17.

The Band will be travelling to Hull and Sioux Center, Iowa, in April to take part in the Dordt College Festival and give a combined concert with the bands from Trinity Christian High (IA) School and Heritage Christian High School (IN).  This trip will take place April 20-22.  We have a tentative date for the Spring Band Concert on April 18, at Grandville Middle School.  The date for the final combined bands program is Tuesday, May 23, at the new Hudsonville High School Auditorium.

Report Card and GPA—Report Cards for the first semester are enclosed.  The final semester grades are used to compute the cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA), therefore, all students will have the GPA updated from what they had at the end of last year.  Ninth grade students should see their first cumulative GPA listed on this report card.

College Financial Aid—Parents  of seniors should be aware that the State of Michigan deadline for submitting the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) is March 1.  This is an important part of the financial aid process used by colleges to determine the eligibility for the amount of financial aid given to a student.  This application now uses the prior year’s tax information (2015 tax return) so it is not necessary to wait to complete your 2016 taxes.  Also, for those who are looking at college for the first time, and for those who have students in college already, remember to consider the tax credits that are available.  These credits are not direct financial aid and they do not show up on financial aid statements, but they do reduce the overall cost of college tuition and should be considered when making a decision on college.  These credits are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.   Following is a description of the American Opportunity Credit from the IRS website: 
“For the tax year, you may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 for qualified education expenses paid for each eligible student.  A tax credit reduces the amount of income tax you may have to pay.  Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a credit directly reduces the tax itself.  Forty percent of the American Opportunity Credit may be refundable. This means that if the refundable portion of your credit is more than your tax, the excess will be refunded to you.  Your allowable American Opportunity Credit may be limited by the amount of your income.  Also, the nonrefundable part of the credit may be limited by the amount of your tax.”  Check with you tax advisor for more information.

Gift Certificate Drive—The CCHS Student Council wishes to thank all of those who contributed to the annual Gift Certificate Drive.  Due to the contributions of so many people, we were able to exceed our goal of $3,800.  It was a great help that the collection at the Christmas Chapel was over $1,100.  Again, thanks to all who contributed.

Homecoming—Homecoming week is scheduled for February 13-17.  Details of activities and the themes for each day will soon be announced by the Student Council.  The week will end with a Homecoming Chapel during the day on Friday and the Homecoming basketball game against Tri-Unity Christian that night.  This year we will honor the Class of 2001.

Baseball @ Fifth Third Ballpark—You will not want to miss the baseball double header versus Kalamazoo Christian to be held at Fifth-Third Ballpark.  This will be the third year that we have been able to hold this event.  Each year we get rave reviews from those who attend.  Last year again, we had a large crowd that came out to the park to see two great games.  We are looking for more of the same this year.  Save the date: Friday, April 28.

Spring Break Dates—A reminder that our Spring Break will begin on Friday, March 31, and go through Friday, April 7.  This is a day earlier than we usually start our break.  It is our fervent hope that this move will not encourage families to begin taking the day off on Thursday.  The quality of the educational experience for all students declines as the number of student absences increase.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers!


Mr. R. Noorman