Forging Deep Bonds

What makes a ‘Legacy’?  At TC Christian, a Legacy is the imprint a family makes on the school due to love, longevity, and commitment.  One such ‘Legacy’ is the Ritsema family.  Since the earliest days of the school, the Ritsema family have been front and center in sports, academics and volunteering.  Today, Megan Ritsema shares her perspective of growing up at Traverse City Christian School.

The Ritsemas: (L to R) Molly (Class of ’14), Joelle (Class of ’17), Kelley (Class of ’09), Megan (Class of ’07), Emily (Class of ’11), & Brett

I started my journey in Christian education as an elementary student in 1994. Moving up to junior high, and eventually high school, at TC Christian seemed to be a big step. My memories of TC Christian revolve primarily around two things: academics and athletics.

My seventh grade basketball team began as a group of girls, strangers to each other, who disbanded six years later as friends with a deep bond between them.

The TC Christian basketball team joins hands in prayer prior to a game

During my years on this team, I learned a great many things. Because of it, I know what it is like to truly work as a team, to lean on others in times of great need, and to support those around me. Now, every time I step on a basketball court, I feel a deep sense of belonging and satisfaction that stems from the many hours I spent practicing and competing in middle and high school.

Some of the team reunited: (L to R) Emma Fromholz, Megan Ritsema, Lenora (Ealy) Knight, Michelle (Benson) Deedrick, and Kara (Finney) Damm

Aside from sports, I also have very fond memories of my teachers and classes at TC Christian. Academically, I was challenged and given the tools I needed for further education, but beyond that I was given a knowledge and understanding of what it is to live and work for Christ.

As a teacher myself, I look back and have a deeper appreciation of the time and effort that my teachers put in to planning for classes, pouring into their students’ lives, and living as examples of Christ for their students.

Megan and her class at Abundant Life Christian School

After leaving TC Christian, I attended Kuyper College and Cornerstone University and graduated with a degree in elementary education. My calling to teaching and missions led me to spend several years teaching overseas at Abundant Life Christian School in Gracias, Honduras. What an amazing experience it was to serve God there! Although it was often challenging to live and work in another country, God truly taught me the meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Clutching my prizes after a grueling Half-Marathon

In 2015, I moved back to Michigan, and I am currently teaching fourth grade at Northern Michigan Christian School in McBain. My passion for sports is still a big part of my life, and I continue to run, play basketball, and also coach middle school soccer at my school. During summer break, I take time to return to Honduras and serve in Gracias and the villages surrounding it.

The Ritsema Family: (L to R) Randy, Joelle, Emily, Kelley, Brett, Megan, Molly, Mary Ellen.

It’s such a joy to give my students the same kinds of experiences and memories that I received as a student at TC Christian. I’m very thankful to my parents for their commitment to Christian education and for ensuring that my siblings and I could attend a school that supports the biblical values that my family upholds. I am blessed to have TC Christian as a part of my past that continues to touch my future.