Association Meeting Report

24 Apr 2020





The following people have been serving on the school board this year.


Jim Benes, Mike De Jong, Joellen Dykstra, Mark Eenigenburg, Jon Haak, Dan Ipema, Jeff Pals, Nancy Rietveld, Fred Schaaf, Wayne Scheeringa, Cal Scott, Paul Smit, Steve Smit, Ryan Terpstra, Janna Van Essen, Kim Van Roekel, Karla Weemhoff, and Raleigh West.  


Of these Jim, Mike, Joellen, Mark, and Nancy are retiring from the board this year after having faithfully served their three-year terms.  Joellen is, in fact, completing a second three-year term. 


Jim Benes has served as chair of the Education Committee and as Vice-President.  He also served on Admissions, Vision, and Nominating.


Mike De Jong has served as the President of the Board and as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer before that.  He also chaired the Policy Committee and served on Finance, Advancement, Statement of Faith, and Nominating.


Joellen Dykstra served as Secretary for five of her six years on the Board.  She chaired the Admissions Committee and also served on Association Expansion, New Campus Steering, Education, Tuition Structure, New Campus Transportation, and Vocational Program


Mark Eenigenburg served on the Finance Committee and also on Athletic, Foundation, Salary Study, Building and Grounds, and Policy.


Nancy Rietveld chaired the Faith Statement Committee and also served on Education, Salary Study, Tenure, and Collaboration.


These servants were thanked for their many hours of commitment to the school through board service.  Each received a plaque expressing that appreciation on behalf of the Association.




In the absence of a formal meeting of the Association due to the coronavirus restrictions, ballots were cast both on paper and online.  This year absentee ballots were attached to and mailed with the meeting information. This was initially just to help those who were unable to attend the meeting in person.  However, as the stay-at-home orders made a physical meeting impractical, a second means of voting absentee was created using Google Forms.  A link to the online ballot was mailed to all those whose email addresses we had on our database and was also available to anyone on the school’s website.  Voters were required, as usual, to provide their names and church membership.  Online ballots also required an email address to provide a means of verifying any unclear ballots.


In the final tally conducted by board members in their meeting on Monday, the 20th, it was reported that 143 qualified paper ballots were cast and 307 qualified online ballots were cast.  This totals 450 votes, significantly more than previous tallies of in-person and paper absentee ballots which have been around 150 votes.


The following candidates were elected to serve three-year terms:  John Eenigenburg, Amy VanDrunen, Bryan VanRyn, Jim DeVries, and Camie Hillegonds.  These men and women will formally begin serving in June.  Meanwhile, we thank those who were willing to be considered and were not elected.  It is important to the health and vitality of the school that we have candidates willing to run.


Wayne Scheeringa, who actually is completing a third three-year term on the board, was affirmed to serve a fourth term.  (Board members may only serve two terms consecutively, but Wayne was off the board for several years between his second and third terms.)  Thank you for serving again, Wayne!


Finally, the Association also approved, by an overwhelming margin, the budget that was presented by the Board for the 20-21 school year.  Although that budget did feature an increase in tuition, it also relied on a hope that donors will cover the expense on the still outstanding portion of the construction loan in the coming year.  In general terms, the school needs to begin payments on a $5 million mortgage this fall.


The school board is very grateful to the Association membership for their participation in this year’s voting.  The convenience and success of the online ballots has made us consider this as a permanent option for the future. We also appreciate your understanding as it was not our desire or intent to not have an in-person meeting, but it was necessary in order to comply with restrictions on large gatherings within the time frame to complete an annual meeting.




In the 75-year history of Illiana Christian High School there has never been a challenge to our community as tough as the one we are in right now.  And, yet, we are confident of the Lord’s provision and blessing because we have seen it in the past, we are seeing it in the present, and we can see it in the future 


From 1945 to 2020, that is 75 years! I do not have room here to recount all of the blessings that have come to Illiana Christian High School over those 75 years, but the list is long.  There are generations of the faithful in this area and around the world who have been educated in the ways of God through the service of Illiana.  Millions of dollars have been surrendered to kingdom service through Illiana.  Thousands of families have been assisted in the raising of children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  Alumni have gone out as missionaries and ambassadors to the four corners of the earth to proclaim the name of Jesus and to bring the cool water of service to others.


All of these are loud signs of God’s faithfulness and blessing on the school over many years.  There were moments and even decades in which we, as the people of Illiana, erred, failed, and sinned.  We may have been hypocritical or arrogant as a community, but God still blessed the work.  God still saw to it that students’ gifts were discovered and developed.  God provided Mom and Dad the money to pay the tuition.  With God’s blessing programs were expanded and opportunities increased.


In more recent times our community stepped forward with an ambitious vision for new programs and services and a whole new campus   God blessed that effort with generosity from hundreds of donors–from $10 to $1,000,000.  We were able to quickly develop STEM program.  Our understanding of what it means to be a community is changing to be more inclusive of students with various learning abilities.  Dual credit opportunities are growing. Families that struggle financially are getting two and three times more help than ever before making Illiana accessible to families that otherwise could not afford it.  These are ways in which God has blessed Illiana recently.


Now we have been thrown into this completely unprecedented upheaval of how we function as a school.  Two weeks of “snow days” have turned into more than a quarter of the school year in which students are learning from home in a way that a generation ago would have been impossible.  Though it is challenging and we are struggling, we can still see God’s provision.  The Chromebooks that our students used to facilitate their learning in class have become an essential tool for accessing almost all instruction from home.  Teachers that may have never recorded a video before are now using video conferencing as a way of reclaiming the community of the classroom.  God has also provided the school with adequate financial resources to assist families harmed by coronavirus restrictions.


And what about the future?  Will God still provide for us as a school community next year and thereafter?  We can actually be confident that he will.  This present challenge of staying at home reminds us of the value and necessity of being together as a Christian community.  Just as we long to return to gathering in our churches, so our students are longing to return to the community of Illiana.  We have been developing another new and refreshed vision for Illiana’s future which involves expanding our Association, continuing with Phase 2 building, deepening our service to all students, and increasing our passion to serve God, others, and the world.  (You can learn more about this in a series of blogs from Lance Davids in the coming weeks.)


So past, present, and future–God has provided for Illiana Christian HIgh School and the Illiana community for 75 years.  He is still doing so today, even in these very challenging times.  And our God has promised us a bright future learning more deeply how to be passionate in the challenge of his service.

Peter Boonstra, Principal




The Board is pleased to report that a Statement of Faith summarizing the theological positions of the school has been completed and is now posted on the school’s website.  This statement provides substantially more detail than the constitution’s general reference to the “three forms of unity.”  However, we also understand this statement to be consistent with those documents.  In the future, faculty and board members will be expected to agree with this statement.  (We are indebted to Crown Point Christian School as their statement served as the source of ours.)




It is not always part of our annual Association meeting, but the Board would like to publicly thank those who have served Illiana as teachers over many years.  We would normally have a fancy dinner to recognize the contributions of these faithful educators, but the limitations on our gatherings makes those plans uncertain.


Mr. Jack Rudenga has served Illiana for his entire career beginning in 1976!  That is 44 years!. He has been teaching Business all that time and, of course, has managed the school’s technology since the days of typewriters.  He has been a tremendous resource for the school in managing the transfer and development of instructional  technology in the new campus. He will continue to work in golf and robotics.


Ms. Deb Kamp has served Illiana since 1985.  She graduated from Calvin College in 1979 and taught PE in Florida before coming to Illiana where she taught PE and eventually served as AD and in recent years taught Photography.  One of her unique contributions to Illiana has been organizing and guiding the Loud Crowd.  She will continue to serve in tournament hosting.


Mrs. Pat Menninga has been the leader of the band since 2001. She taught at Highland Public, Lansing Christian and Highland Christian before coming to Illiana. She has maintained a tradition of excellence here by consistently earning #1 ratings at state competitions  Although she is retiring from Illiana, she plans to continue directing at Crown Point Christian School..


Mr. AJ Turkstra has left the service of Illiana after 11 years. He previously served as a teacher and coach at Denver Academy and became head of the Progressive High School there.  He began at Illiana teaching vocational classes and was appointed Vice-Principal in 2011.  Mr. Turkstra contributed substantially to the transition to the new campus.  He also made significant other school improvements in school climate, clubs, transportation, and facility management.


We thank all these faculty members for their faithful and dedicated service to the Illiana community!




During this time of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and widespread lay-offs and job losses, Illiana has made a substantial amount of tuition assistance available to those in need.  Because teachers are still delivering instruction and students are still earning credits and meeting learning objectives, we are not anticipating a reduction in tuition for all families.  However, we are eager for families financially impacted by the pandemic to apply for assistance.  Forms for assistance can be obtained by contacting Suzanne Jonkman at


by Illiana Christian High School



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