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Christian high school enters second year

School Monday morning began with an hour-long chapel where students listened as Pastor Randy Beumer of Oak Harbor Christian Reformed Church provided a biblical perspective about dealing with anger.

Following chapel, the students headed to biology class.

In a couple of years those same high school students will comprise the first graduating class from North Whidbey Christian High School.

There are approximately a dozen students attending the school, which is currently in its second year. The school shares space with the long-established Oak Harbor Christian School, which teaches students from preschool through eighth-grade.

“We’re still getting off the ground,” said Administrator Doug Fakkema, who is also pastor of a church in Anacortes. The dozen students are freshmen and sophomores and there are six teachers currently working for the school.

“Staff and students come together in an ordained kind of way,” Fakkema said.

He added that it is “always a challenge in this culture to maintain a Christian witness in what we do.”

With the start of the new school, officials are busy getting documentation and accreditation together. Fakkema said the school is in the process of getting approval from the state Board of Education. He hopes that approval will arrive any day now.

To get the state board’s secular blessing, the school had to submit information about such things as the facility, course descriptions, curriculum and graduation requirements.

Fakkema said the school is also having similar challenges to public schools in incorporating new graduation requirements such as the culminating senior project and having students develop a “high school and beyond” plan.

In addition to working toward state approval, the school is focusing on gaining accreditation from a suitable organization. For example, Oak Harbor Christian School is accredited by Christian Schools International.

Fakkema said the complex accreditation process takes between six and eight years to complete.

The students seem to enjoy the new school, which for some provides a big change from the public school environment.

“It’s a lot different from public school,” said Taylor Aydelotte, who attended middle school in Oak Harbor last year. She didn’t enjoy the environment in the public school and she along with her family decided to switch schools.

The school’s mascot is the Griffon, a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, that has been used in Christian symbology through the ages.

North Whidbey Christian High School is a nondenominational school that represents students from different religious backgrounds. The school offers a classical education. In fact, some students were surprised to find out they would be learning Latin.

In addition to the coursework, students also participate in service projects. They visited the Pregnancy Care Clinic in Oak Harbor, for example, and are planning to visit nursing homes.

The new school also provided a chance for former teachers to restart their careers.

Joan Nienhuis had taught high school in the early 1970s. She got out of it and owned and operated His Place Christian Bookstore for many years. When she retired and sold her business, she thought it would be a good idea to return to teaching.

“It was an exciting opportunity,” Nienhuis said. She works part-time and teaches science, algebra and the Bible.

Math teacher Laura Beumer, who is Randy Beumer’s wife, enjoys the small classes and the Christ-centered curriculum the Christian school offers.

“I just enjoy to be able to share our faith,” Laura said.

In addition to putting its documentation together, the Christian School has a long-range planning committee. It likely won’t be long before the school runs into space problems. It would take just 10 additional students before the school outgrows its space, so supporters are hoping they’ll need a bigger high school building before long.

For more information about the school email dougfakkema@gmail.com or call 675-5352.

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