Friday, October 9, 2015

Never A Dull Moment

Thank you to Cathy Harvey, Administrative Assistant, for writing today's blog.

Parents, if you are worried about what your son or daughter will do with their weekends if they don’t come home, let us assure you there is never a dull moment around Shepherds College! Our Residential Life Coordinator and Weekend Supervisor, Jordan Debbink, continually scours community and online resources to provide fun, relaxing, and interesting activities for all our students, and there is quite a variety from which students may choose.

The Sign-up board for activities is often full, and sometimes to overflowing, with choices. Students exercise decision-making and budgeting skills as they consider the upcoming possibilities. This year’s Student Activity board has already included sign-up sheets for the following variety of activities:

  • Dog shows
  • YMCA
  • Grill and Games
  • Cookouts
  •  Mexican Fiesta
  • Kite Flying
  • Nature Center
  • Brewers Game
  • Bowling 
  •  Car Show
  •  Ice Skating Championship Show
  •  Tickets to plays (James & the Giant Peach, currently)
  • Gillmore Farm campfire, s’mores, and hayrides
  • Fall Festivals

It is a joy to hear the students gather outside the college office where the activity board hangs and hear the buzz of conversation between classes as students decide what and why they want others to join them in an outing.

Res Life staff work hard to coordinate these events, reserve vehicles, consider the meal schedule and meds they may need to take, and many other details as they strive to give our students a great college experience laced with opportunities to grow in their independence, as well as social and daily living skills.

A shout out and high 5 to Jordan Debbink and all the staff who help make these creative activities  happen! We hope it builds a scrapbook of fond memories for our students as they continue their college journey.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Elevator Speech

Thank you to Yvonne Tomczak, PR & Marketing Assistant, for writing today's blog.

Yesterday, the second-year students learned about elevator speeches in their Personal and Professional Development 2 (PPD2) class. They all had to create a 30 second elevator speech about themselves that they would then have to practice on four different people. 

The class came and visited us in the Development department to practice these speeches. One by one they came up and introduced themselves, talked about their major and what they are currently learning. They shared their hobbies and special interests, and told us something that they are looking forward to this school year. All of them did a wonderful job despite being nervous.

I figured, since I am new to Shepherds Ministries and all of the second year students just introduced themselves to me by using these newly learned elevator speeches, maybe I should write one and introduce myself this way too. So, here is my elevator speech:

Hello, my name is Yvonne Tomczak.

I am the new Marketing/ Public Relations assistant here at Shepherds. As the assistant, my duties vary every day. Some days I am getting smaller office tasks out of the way, and other days I am writing different kinds of pieces, taking pictures around campus, and/or putting together ads and posters. 

I enjoy designing my own typefaces, photography, knitting, and anything else that is crafty. I also really enjoy taking walks with my husband along Lake Michigan. 

Something I am really looking forward to is getting to know the students better and learning more about Shepherds. I am also really looking forward to coaching the Special Olympics soccer teams again this coming fall!

At the end of the exercise, Instructor Sarah Kolkman debriefed the students, asking them why having an elevator speech prepared could be beneficial to them. Students agreed that this would help them with first impressions and make introductions less awkward and choppy. They also stated the value that such an elevator speech could have for them in an employment setting or when applying for a job.  

Here are some of the student's reflections about elevator speeches:

Mrs. Kolkman asked, "Why is it important to have an elevator speech memorized?  How will you use this speech this year?"

"Because you never know who you will meet and it might be a very important person.  It will be helpful for interviews and for other speeches in other classes and in life.  it also is going to be really good for when we have a big speech in class or in a job." - Gretchen

"If you have an elevator speech you will have a better future.  I can use this in class and out of school and the more you practice the better you will be" - Nee Dow

"It can bring others together" - Leah

"So you can be ready for unexpected visitors who want to know what you have been doing in Shepherds College and what the school is all about" - Hannah

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing Technology Club!

Thank you to John Andrus, Technology Club leader and Res Life Faculty, for writing today's blog.

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I can’t believe that the students will start coming back in less than two weeks from today!  WOW!  We finished up another awesome year here at Shepherds on June 13th, and the new school year starts August 10th.  We have witnessed a huge amount of growth in students this year, both in classes and in residential life.  But along with all that growth, we also love to have fun!

Clubs are a big part of campus life fun here at Shepherds.  In my time at Shepherds we have offered scrapbooking, guitar lessons, ukulele club, recycling club, and more.    Our biggest club has always been choir.  (As an aside, the Jensens have faithfully volunteered to lead the choir here at Shepherds College for many years.  However, this past school year was their last, and they were honored at graduation for their service.) 

Former Choir Directors, Sandy & Steve Jensen, with Angela Houk

For many years, we have investigated adding a technology major here at Shepherds, but so far, various things beyond our control have hampered that coming to fruition.  Currently, we are in a holding pattern with regards to adding curriculum due to our ongoing accreditation process.  Because of this hold, we are adding new ways to give the students who are tech savvy an outlet to explore their “inner-geek”, as I like to call it.

Some of us are just born "geeky."

The major way we helped our “Geeks” scratch that itch in the 2014-2015 school year was Tech Club.  Technology Club met once a week on Monday, right after school, and the guys who decided to join had no idea how far we would stretch them.

They look so trusting!

We started Tech Club in October of 2014, and the guys were excited.  The first thing we did was completely tear apart a computer and discuss each part and the function it serves within the computer system.  Once the guys thoroughly understood what each internal part of a computer did, we started shopping!  Using some tools on the internet, and a whiteboard covered in part numbers and prices, we determined how to build a computer from scratch, and, most important to Mr. Terrill, cheaper than what we were buying computers for wholesale.  That first computer ended up costing right at $300, shipped to our door in pieces.  Then, as a group, we put it together and fired it up.

Not too shabby!

Our computer is now the fastest computer in the computer lab, and everyone in tech club fights over who gets to use “Computer 13”.

After we finished our computer, we spent an entire club meeting discussing and debating what to do next.  After we ravaged yet another whiteboard with ideas, we decided that we wanted to build a website For Shepherds College students, By Shepherds College students.

From there, we split into teams.  Two people were on the design and layout of our new student newsletter (Coming Labor Day 2015!)  Two people were in charge of finding or taking photos of students, campus, and student life.  Two others were in charge of design and layout of the website, and one was in charge of editing.

Our site is very new, so be patient with us.  However, it’s a great source of pride for the seven individuals who created and maintained it.

As we enter a new school year, and a new group of students in Tech Club, we commit to bringing you an insider perspective of student life here at Shepherds, one that you won’t see anywhere else.

If you are a current or incoming student who wants to learn how to run the sound board at church, wants to build computers, take pictures, utilize your graphic design skills, or build a website,  Tech Club might be for you.  

We will see you in a couple of weeks.  

Happy Geeking!

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Friday, June 19, 2015

Roll Credits...

From the desk of Cathy Harvey, Administrative Assistant to the Deans of Shepherds College

Whenever I see a modern day movie, I marvel at the list of credits that roll by detailing all the people it took to produce the film including the song list and artists.  Name after name flows up and off the screen, crediting all those lending a role in the production.  I always feel bad for the worker bees who garnish but a breath of space for their invaluable part in the completion of the piece.  The names often roll by so quickly, there is barely time to read their full name and job title, so I have made a point to sit through all the credits attempting to read their names as a nod of respect to the work they also did beyond the big name actors who played leading roles—and besides, some of best music flows with the credits.  Without this roster of blue collars, there would simply be no film to enjoy.

With that in mind, I would like to script a nod of thanks to all the folks who helped create the Shepherds College graduation events and give paper applause, at least, to their good work and dedication.  This is my attempt to remember everyone over the last five months who crafted their piece of the puzzle that so beautifully shaped Baccalaureate and Commencement 2015.  If I missed your name, I sincerely apologize, and please know how appreciated you are!

Roll credits, please!

Cue Lift High the Lord Our Banner from Integrity Music as you read the credits.

In alphabetical order:


Dennis McNabb – Resident Song Leader (all 5 years)
Mark Mulder – Chose the resident Baccalaureate Prayer Commissioners
Nate Peterson – Audio & Sound
Daniel Smith – Oversaw and guided the resident Baccalaureate Prayer Commissioners
Aaron Solomon – Program Greeter
Gary Spiegel – Opening prayer
Samuel Zdancewicz – Scripture reader

Faculty/Staff Ensemble
Jordan Debbink – Ensemble music arranger, singer and Baccalaureate pianist
Elyse Cyr
Amy DeBurgh
Andrew Kolkman

Hand Bell Choir
Kim DeVrou – Director
Gail Bartman
Jamie Flower
Susan Frail
Gayle Freeman
Becky Henline
Rebekah Marvel
Seth Peters
David Rich
Lisa Wetzel


Resident Prayer Commissioners:
Dan Condor
June Furman
David Koss
Gary Spiegel
Corrie Vanderhenght


Friday Celebration Dinner Reception
Jordan Debbink – Pianist
Audrey Oswalt – Caterer
Student Servers:
Abby Grabinski
Isaac Helfrich
Micah Muma
Ashley Nelson
Becci Terrill – Table Decorations

Graduation Day
Audio, Sound
John Andrus
Kit Luchterhand

Color Guard
Michele McGarry – Coordinator
Gloria Dahlberg
Dave Fantl
Sue Frail
Andrew Gilchrist
Gloria Pavuk
Aaron Solomon
Dave Slye
Melba Wright
Trinity International University – Flag poles and stands

Cupcake Reception
Chef Cassandra Comerford
Sue Kurschner – Culinary Arts Paraprofessional
Second Year Culinary Arts Student Servers:
Abby Grabinski
Kirsten Graybill
Isaac Helfrich
Jonathan Ingram
Joshua Maher
Geovanni Melendez
Julian Melendez
Micah Muma
Ashley Nelson
Torrey Ryan
Grant Ugolini

Greeters, Ushers, Escorts
Nancy Amstutz
Sherri Collicott
Dan Dark
Amy DeBurgh
Jonathan Ingram
Bill Kraiss
Pam Kraiss
Willetta McVicker
Donn Mogford
Gary Spencer
Gary Spiegel
Cindy Weitzel

Grounds, Domestics & Parking Lot Team
Dave Slye, Facilities Administrator
Steve Gillmore, Maintenance Supervisor
Denise Gillmore, Domestics Supervisor
Warren Beth, Volunteer
John Caldart, Volunteer 
Faith Davidson
Gayle Freemen
Sue Frail
Jessica Gobeli
Becky Henline
Dick Koehn
Jocelyn Monroe
Jo Ellen Paul
Seth Peters
Tess Spahr
LouAnne Stevens
Bob Theilig
Gerald Warriner


Corrie Ladd
Abby Wohlgemuth

Plant Decorations
Owen Lackey, Horticulture Instructor
Second Year Horticulture:
Andrew Bickelhaupt
Suzanne Dean
Tommy Hayward
Joey Martin
Willetta McVicker
Olya Porth
Cherokee Thompson

Student Choir
Steve Jensen – Director
Sandy Jensen – Pianist
Michael Bayer
Nathan Ford
Abby Grabinski
Andrew Gummow
Jonathan Isaac Helfrich
Jonathan Ingram
Karilyn Johnson
David Jones
Katalin Lehman
Joey Martin
Rashard McCoy
Jonathan McGowan
Willetta McVicker
Geovanni Melendez
Julian Melendez
David Moran
Micah Muma
Ashley Nelson
Kathryn Norton
Crystalanne Nystrand
Olya Porth
Wade Philips
Torrey Ryan
Amy Spieker
Nee Dow Too
Ellie Treiber
Zachary Wandel
Gretchen Winter

Brian Canright
Guilia Hoke, Union Grove High School Media Arts student volunteer

Judy Anderson – steamed all new flags and graduation gowns-no small task!
Julie Anderson – Processional/Recessional door holder and graduate line guide
John Andrus – Music for Class of 2015 electronic yearbook
Johnnie Mae Evans – Ironed color guard shirts
Gretchen Hansen/Gigi’s Joy Photography – Photographer for Senior Photo Day, Baccalaureate and the Graduation Celebration
Miranda Kasprzak – Class of 2015 electronic yearbook, “From Dream to Reality”
Pam Kraiss – Stapled the commencement programs
Kathi Sawyer – Processional/Recessional door holder
Karen Seifer – Cleaned and disinfected the closet designated for Color Guard uniforms, hand addressed all the graduation invitations, put together flags

I Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, thereby administering the grace of God in its many forms,” and at this exciting time of year when we have an opportunity to showcase the hand of God during Baccalaureate and Graduation, it’s Shepherds Ministry community at its best, plus many volunteers, all working together as one unified family.  

So thank you, everyone, who contributed your part(s) of the puzzle that fashioned the whole glorious finished product!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…
to him be glory…”! 
-Ephesians 3:20

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at