Our Faithful Presence
Catching up with Recent Alumni
I enjoy hearing and seeing the results of community investments of prayer and finances – the long-term fruit God is bearing through our alumni, students, staff, and all the friends of HDCH as they serve, pray, and give both near and far.
“I got in! I’m going to . . .”
With second semester well underway, hallway conversation amongst HDCH’s grade 12 students often includes where a student is headed after graduation. With about 95% of HDCH grade 12 graduates going to their school of first choice, many students are thrilled to share their news.
The decision about next steps is never made lightly. With the support of HDCH’s Student Services department, much exploration thought and prayer are put into these decisions that students and their families make together.
Recently, I caught up with two HDCH Alumni who reflected on how they chose their next steps and how they’re doing now. Kendra Slagter ’14 and Ben Vanderwindt ’16 both chose a Christian post-secondary school – one near and one far.
Kendra Slagter ‘14
Redeemer University College
Kendra is in her fourth year at Redeemer University College in the Honours Social Work program. She admits that the nearby location was not appealing at first: “In High School, I use to think, ‘I’m getting out of here. I’m done with Hamilton,’ and now I’m just down the road — and it was the best choice.” It was Kendra’s visit to Redeemer that changed her mind. She says that “it instantly felt like home and I knew it was where God was calling me to be.” Kendra has been thrilled with her decision to attend Redeemer. She says, “Redeemer has done a phenomenal job at fostering community. It has a unique atmosphere that makes you feel at home and comfortable.”
Besides getting involved in many aspects of Redeemer, including as the President of the Student of Applied Social Sciences group, she has enjoyed living in dorm. She has also appreciated the small class sizes at Redeemer. Kendra comments that people in her program have “become a family. We’ve grown alongside each other over the four years of our program.” Smaller class sizes have also meant one-on-one time with professors. “The professors at Redeemer truly care about the success of their students and are intentional about developing relationships with us,” Kendra says, adding, “they are committed to our learning and success and my professors believe in who I am as a person and they believe in my passions.”
Ben Vanderwindt ’16
For Ben, Calvin College — in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about 5 hours west of Hamilton — was the place for him. At Calvin, Ben is studying Political Science and Organizational Communications with a minor in French. While both his parents and two of his siblings also attended Calvin, that’s not why Ben chose to go there: “Calvin College has a mission I believe in and want to be shaped by. It also has a number of alumni who I respect and strive to be like.”
The mission of Calvin College is to “equip students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” This mission is important to Ben, who comments, “Students at Calvin learn what it means to have thoughtful, civic engagement in the public square from a faith-based posture. We truly are taught how to think critically and thoughtfully about our place in the world.”
Despite only being in his second year at Calvin, Ben has been involved in intramurals, including volleyball, hockey and badminton as well as a part of the Outdoor Adventure Club, Biking Club, and Apologetics Club. This year he is a Residence Assistance (RA) in dorm.
Being an RA seems right up Ben’s alley. When you hear Ben talk about Calvin College, you feel his excitement about learning from and with others through dialogue. “My favourite class so far has been a Political Science Theory course focusing on the philosophy of justice. The class had twenty students and was led by Professor Watson, a Princeton-educated Political Theorist. We read Socrates, Plato, Marx, Kuyper, and many more. Then in every class we would have a discussion-like debate on the week’s readings. Having a moderated space to organize your ideas and have those ideas challenged by peers was critical to the worldview I now have and am developing.”
Ben feels that as a student at Calvin, he has “such a unique opportunity to build relationships with top scholars in their field,” adding that “it’s a regular occurrence for students at Calvin to grab lunch, a coffee, or dinner with a Professor.”
While these are only two stories from among our many alumni, they provide a glimpse of who our HDCH graduates are and who our current and future students may become. Our graduates span the globe – from Ancaster to Grand Rapids and far beyond – extending our faithful presence both near and far.
Gillian Doucet Campbell
This post is sponsored by Redeemer University College and Calvin College, whose support of our annual Golf Tournament is much appreciated.