Study hall monitors lighten teacher workload

by Seth Van Gelder/

A new addition to the PCHS staff this year were two study hall monitors, who were hired to lighten the workload for the teachers. Teachers now have more time to interact with students who don’t understand or need more attention. 

One monitor, Amy Branderhorst, has returned to the school she graduated from to help keep students in line. She grew up in Pella, attended PCGS and then went on to PCHS. While she was a student she loved getting involved and played basketball and cross country. She attended Professional Cosmetology Institute in Ames, Iowa. She opened her own salon in 2014 and recently decided to switch careers and come to PC and serve as a study hall monitor. 

One of the challenges faced by Branderhorst is the size of some study halls. “The biggest challenge would be keeping everyone on task in the study hall period that contains 60 students,” she said.

Being a former student of PC she knew what the environment was like. This was ultimately what drew her back to teach here. She feels very welcomed and has a great feeling about the rest of the year. “The whole staff is supportive and really wants the best for our students,” said Branderhorst.

Also serving as a study hall monitor at PCHS is Kim Hoekstra. Hoekstra comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays to keep a watchful eye on the students. Hoekstra emphasizes that she didn’t choose PC–God chose PC for her. She prayed for God’s guidance and then she saw an advertisement for the study hall position. She was surprised when the schedule fit perfectly and she could still help in the kitchen at PCGS. 

Hoekstra grew up on a farm 13 miles north of Pella. She lived there with her parents and two older brothers and had an amazing childhood. They had chores like weeding, walking beans, and mowing the lawn. In the time that she had left she would play in the creek with friends and read books. In the winter she would sled down a half mile long driveway. “The walk back up was NOT fun,” said Hoekstra. She attended Dordt College and majored in Accounting and Business Administration. She worked in that field for 16 years before becoming a stay at home mom. 

The challenges she has encountered so far have been learning the names of the students. She also has a few students who keep her study halls “colorful.” “I was surprised at how large some study halls were with the largest being 60 kids.  I was also surprised at how much fun I’ve had at sporting events and other venues now that I know some of the kids,” said Hoekstra. 

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