Mary Beth Edema Sytsma '76 of Wheaton, Ill., spent two years working with her writing partner, Jane Tiemersma Vogel '81, rewriting the curriculum materials for teaching the Heidelberg Catechism to high school students in the Christian Reformed Church. The course, called Questions Worth Asking, came out last year. The duo also recently completed a course on worship, co-published by the Institute for Christian Worship.
James DeKorne '74 has been appointed director of support services at Christian Schools International. DeKorne will supervise support programs that include accreditation, teacher and principal placement, leadership training and school board training. DeKorne's experience includes teaching and business administration at Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico, beginning a new Christian high school in Tucson, Ariz., and administering a Christian high school in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In April, the Michigan Home Health Association recognized Brian Laarman '79 with the award for outstanding service in Certified Hospice Care for 2003. Brian has been a home care staff nurse with Visiting Nurse Services of West Michigan since 1982, and he transitioned to the Visiting Nurse hospice team in 2000. He lives in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Helen Kamerman Emmelkamp '72 has been teaching for seven years. She teaches middle school history, language arts and Bible to mostly eighth-grade students in Manhattan, Mont.
Gus van den Brink '78 of Orland Park, Ill., was awarded the Don Burke Award for Executive Excellence by the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, Inc. for his work in the human service field. Van den Brink has been the executive director for the Sertoma Centre, Inc. since 1993.
After a 21-year Navy career as chaplain corps commander-in-chief of the Atlantic Fleet, Donald Belanus '70 became pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth, Va. Margaret Muir Belanus '70 teaches music at Park View Elementary School.
After being named Kent County Middle School Teacher of the Year in 2001, David Vander Jagt '72, of Grand Rapids, Mich., completed 30 years of teaching middle school art and science in 2003. Twice David's students have participated in protein crystal experiments conducted by NASA on the International Space Station. Currently, David is exhibiting pottery and sculpture at Synchronicity Art Gallery in Glen Arbor, Mich.
Nancy Petersen Guth '72 placed first in the category of women 50-54 and third overall among women bicycle riders with 358 miles at the National 24-Hour Challenge in West Michigan. Nancy is currently the top female competitor in the John Marino Ultramarathon Competition. Nancy and her husband, John Guth, have come up from Stafford, Va., to ride the 24-hour event nearly every year since 1998. Second in her age category was Merry Vander Linden Vacas '74, (a winner in her category in previous years) of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who is the third female competitor in the John Marino Ultramarathon Competition. David Hoekema '72 placed 26th among men 50-54, with 253 miles. It was his fifth time to ride the event.
Jack Harkema '75 has been awarded the title of University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University. This is among the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university. Those selected for the title have been recognized nationally and usually internationally for the importance of their teaching, research and public service achievements. Harkema's primary research interests are in the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms related to airway cell injury and repair. He is the co-director of the Collaborative Air Research Effort, a project that seeks to identify air pollutants and their health effects.
Lori Feenstra '78 has been named the new director of advancement at Christian Schools International (CSI). She will be responsible for all areas of marketing and financial development for CSI, including designing and implementing marketing strategies, seeking donations and securing corporate grants. Feenstra has served CSI since 1992 as marketing manager. In that position, she supervised CSI's curriculum representatives, developed promotional materials and sold advertising space in CSI publications.
Robert Paul Schoone-Jongen '71 of Edgerton, Minn., received his master of arts degree in history from the University of Delaware this spring.
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