by Abbie Altena
New teachers, new upperclassmen, new international students, new classes, and a new counselor greeted returning PC students this fall.
Three new upperclassman joined the PC family this semester. Senior Micah Mitchell is from Dakota Christian High School in Corsica, South Dakota, and is enjoying all the different classes PC has to offer. He moved because his dad accepted a job as the new principle for Oskaloosa Christian School.
“I am enjoying PC so far, and I like how many classes are offered at PC compared to Dakota Christian,” said Mitchell.
Junior Maddy Crile transferred from Oskaloosa High School and came so she could have a more Christ-centered education. Her favorite thing about PC so far is how nice everyone has been to her.
“I wanted religion involved in my everyday school day,” said Crile.
Sophomore Alisha Collins, who moved here from Illinois, is enjoying physical science and all the people at PC.
The new international students joining this year come from China, Taiwan, Philippines, and Ukraine.
Freshman Kyle Gao from China is enjoying everything about PC, especially the lunches. He decided to come to PC because of the good education, and his parents thought it would be a good experience. Junior Ryan Chi, also from China, studied at a Christian school in Wisconsin before coming to PC and plays football.
Junior Jason Lai is from Taiwan and came to PC for God, basketball, and education. He is enjoying getting to experience chapels and loves the gym.
Junior Szimi Simon is from the Ukraine and likes everything about PC, but wouldn’t mind if the school days were shorter.
“I decided to come to Pella because I want to know the American culture and life, and I would like to improve my English knowledge,” said Simon.
Junior Katie Escoto is from the Philippines and wanted to experience life and culture in the United States with new people. Although PC is not what she expected, she loves the people and how helpful everyone has been to her.
A new health class for freshmen, as well as several new classes related to the Ag Program, have been introduced to the curriculum this fall.
The health class is being taught by family and consumer science teacher Pamela Vande Voort, who believes that with all the changes teenagers go through in high school, it is essential for them to be mindful of challenges they may face and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Students’ understanding of the importance of spiritual health is woven throughout students’ learning about physical, mental and emotional, and social health,” said Vande Voort.
The new Ag Program, involving more than 50 students, is directed by new teacher Ellie Rethmeier. She believes students are extremely passionate about agriculture and hopes to nurture students to use agriculture to actively serve in God’s Kingdom.
“My goals for students enrolling in this program are that they not only increase their knowledge and skill in the discipline of agriculture, but also develop their leadership and communication skill via participation in National FFA Organization inside and outside of the classroom,” said Rethmeier.
Finally PC welcomed counselor Jeanetta Nieuwsma to better meet the needs of all PC students. She will be meeting with students on Mondays in the second floor conference room to discuss and help manage the stress of high school academics, sports, friendships, dating or any other things that they might be going through.
“Being a teenager is tough and today’s teens are under so much pressure to socially fit in, to have the perfect physique, to be dating, to get straight As and the list goes on,” said Nieuwsma. “Counselors can provide a vital role in offering advice, support and encouragement to teenagers during this chapter of their life.”
Other new teachers this year include family and consumer science teacher Pamela Vande Voort, study skills teacher Melinda Nunnikhoven and vocational ag teacher Ellie Rethmeier. Read more about them here.