Alumni Stories: Brayden VanEss ’17
What have you been up to since graduation?
After graduating from Sheboygan Christian I attended St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI, having the opportunity to play football here. I will be graduating this December with a major in Business Finance and a minor in Economics. I will be starting my career in financial planning this January. I also got engaged this summer to Melanie Obbink and will be getting married next summer.
What do you love about Sheboygan Christian School?
I absolutely loved my time at Sheboygan Christian. A lot of people are amazed when I tell them how small my graduating class size was, but that is one of the things I loved about my time there. I was able to have personal relationships with each of my teachers, which I believe to have been a huge educational advantage. This is a perfect example of why Sheboygan Christian is so great. It is not just a great school that wears its faith on its sleeve, it is a family, and I truly felt this during my time there and continue to feel it 4 years after graduating.
Describe one of your favorite teachers and tell why he/she is a favorite.
This is a tough question as I loved all of my teachers, but my two favorite were Mr. Hendrikse and Mr. Gesch. Mr. Hendrikse always found a way to make whatever subject he was teaching fun and interactive. Very rarely did we sit in his classes and listen to him lecture, which I believed helped me learn in a much better way. He is also very passionate about the students that attend Sheboygan Christian, doing whatever it took to help every student grow intellectually but most importantly spiritually. Mr. Gesch was always very straight forward with me, pushing me to expand my horizons and really explore different gifts and abilities. I didn’t truly learn to appreciate this until I was out of high school, realizing that his being tough on me helped me grow in many different ways. He also knows everything about everything, which lead to many enjoyable conversations on many different topics. He also makes some dang good beef tips!!
In what ways have you grown in your faith as a result of your experience at Sheboygan Christian School?
I have been blessed to grow up in a Christian family, being surrounded by Christian roll models who put me on an incredible path to grow spiritually. It was not until my time at Sheboygan Christian though that I truly began to make my faith my own. Each and every day I was asked hard questions that put me out of my comfort zone, causing me to truly think about my walk with God and how seriously I was taking it. The teachers, coaches, and faculty not only taught us the gospel, but they helped us realize how important it was to apply it to our lives each and every day. SCS taught me the true importance of placing God in the center of everything that I do. Growing up I knew all the Sunday school answers but Sheboygan Christian helped me transition from a lukewarm follower who knew the answers when they were needed to a firm believer who understands the importance of giving God control and aggressively pursuing him.
How do you feel that SCS prepared you for graduation, college/career, and life?
Academically SCS prepared me very well for my time at SNC. My transition from high school classes to my classes freshman year was incredibly smooth because I was prepared so well by SCS. All the teachers were very detail oriented, which got annoying at times while I was in high school, but helped me realize how important the little details are in everything I do. SCS also helped me understand what it looked like to place God at the center of everything I did. Whether it was in class, in sports, or through certain school events, God was at the center of it all, making it very evident to me how important this truly is. SCS also provided me with lifelong friendships that have been so important to helping me grow as a person and Christian.
What sets SCS apart from other schools?
I could point to a lot of different factors that set SCS apart, but I believe the biggest is the way in which they approach the lives of their students and the sense of community that comes from being a part of this school. Christ calls us to do our absolute best in all that we do and SCS takes this same approach while serving their students. They do everything they can to prepare their students for life after graduation academically, but more importantly, spiritually. On top of this, with being a small school, there is a sense of community/family that you might not get at a larger high school. Unlike a lot of other schools, at SCS not only do all of the students know each other, but the families do as well and in my experience this provides each family involved a small community that cares about and looks out for each other.
What would you say to a prospective family considering enrollment at Sheboygan Christian School?
I would let them know that SCS is an amazing academic school that does an incredible job of intellectually and relationally preparing students for whatever route they take post high school. Most importantly though, it is a place where students are given tremendous opportunities to grow spiritually. SCS understands that faith comes before everything, and they do a great job of applying this to the everyday lives of a high school student. I would also let them know that they are not only joining a high school, but a family who loves, looks out for, and takes care of each other.
What advice would you give to current SCS students?
I would give three main pieces of advice. One, let God work through you during your time at SCS so that you are prepared to serve him in everything you do. This school does an incredible job at giving you opportunities to grow in Christ and take steps of faith that will change your life. Don’t be afraid to take these steps and walk outside your comfort zones. Two, school isn’t always fun, but take advantage of the incredible teachers you have and academic resources that are available to you because it will benefit you in major ways in the future. Third, ENJOY IT! Your four years at SCS absolutely fly by, so make the most of the relationships, events, and experiences that will take place during your time there because once you leave, you will miss it!