Choral Finale 2016

Come out on May 31st at 7:30 PM to Northbridge Middle School to hear all of the WCS Choirs as well as Encore Vocal Ensemble perform selections of pop, classical and jazz. It promises to be an exciting and uplifting evening. We hope to see you there!


WCS Encore Vocal Ensemble Performs on Beacon Hill

The Encore Vocal Ensemble from Whitinsville Christian School performed on the floor of the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, May 24. Invited and introduced by State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Webster), the ensemble performed acapella selections of patriotic American anthems and traditional favorites. The group sang during a late afternoon break in a Senate debate over the budget.

Sen. James Eldridge (D-Acton) publicly thanked Encore for coming, and Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) remarked afterward that it was “wonderful to hear melodic voices during debate for a change!”

The State House performance was a fitting way for the vocal ensemble to end a successful academic year, said the group’s director, Joshua Lawson. However, Lawson noted, this was not Encore’s first time performing for the Senate. In December the ensemble sang as part of the Massachusetts State House Concert Series for Christmas. Encore also enjoyed well-reviewed performances at the 2015 Rotary Institute at the Rhode Island Convention Center and at the town of Uxbridge’s Holiday First Night. Lawson noted that the group toured in April, performing alongside the WCS Tour Choir at a number of venues in New York City and New Jersey.

Encore is busy planning its 2016/17 season and will soon hold auditions. Follow Encore at


WCS Celebrates Rise Up & Build Groundbreaking

Whitinsville Christian School (WCS) hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking on Saturday, May
7, to celebrate its newest addition, a project known as Rise Up & Build. The new facility will
add a field house, a performing arts center, new offices, and additional classrooms to the
40-acre campus.

Adam Meyer, WCS Director of Advancement, welcomed guests to the construction site
where excavation has already taken place. “This project is the result of the hopes and
dreams of many people. All of us share in the excitement of what this project represents.
The progress already made is a testimony to the construction and design team of JM Coull
and Dixon Salo Architects, and how everything has just worked so well together,” said Mr.

State Senator Ryan Fattman of the Worcester and Norfolk District attended the event. “The
people who are educated at this school are good people who have learned Christian values,
and take those values out into their everyday life. When I see the school expanding in the
area I represent, I know this school can provide that same opportunity to even more
people, and for that we can all be very thankful,” said Senator Fattman.
Tom Swaim, WCS parent and Co-Chair of the Rise Up & Build Steering Committee, gave
thanks to God for providing the gifts needed for this endeavor. “The Lord has provided
unity, the means, and the fortunate timing to make this a success. This project celebrates
the generation of 1968 who built the current facility and carries on for the next generation.
The design team has been phenomenal,” said Mr. Swaim. “We are grateful for the
interactions and the fact that they are considering the students first.”

As an example of putting the students first, representatives from JM Coull, Andrews
Surveying and Dixon Salo Architects hosted a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-
Art/Design-Math) event for the middle school students of WCS in April. Using actual
blueprints and site plans, students took an in-depth look at the construction in progress. As
they experienced the work, they heard about and saw firsthand things they are learning in
the classroom, and middle school teachers were excited to see classroom work come alive
on the site.

Dan Cobb, Project Manager with JM Coull said, “I’m honored to be here today. This new
facility will enrich the lives of students for years to come. I see the community collaboration
and teamwork represented here this morning and that is our mission. I’m thrilled with the
design and the construction progress to date. We have a very exciting summer ahead of

Mr. Meyer invited the speakers and construction partners to take a shovel to the earth for
the groundbreaking, and any of the approximately 100 attendees who desired to do so were
then invited to participate. Those working the shovels included WCS parents, donors, and
students ranging from Stepping Stone Preschoolers to members of the class of 2016.
Groundbreaking Officials Rev

Whitinsville Christian School Students Explore Beyond the Classroom

 Whitinsville Christian School (WCS) is embracing the idea of experience-based learning with programs at the
middle school and high school levels. Students are allowed to explore their own areas of interest through
Guided Independent Study and Senior Capstone Projects.

Open to all middle school students, Guided Independent Study (GIS) is an elective class that was introduced in
the 2015-16 academic year. Participating students identify a project in an area they feel passionate about, that
they don’t already know a great deal about, and that they believe the results of which can have an impact on
others. “One of our goals at Whitinsville Christian School is intrinsic learning. We want our students to love
learning and to see that learning is valuable,” said Mary Dykstra, Middle School Principal and Capstone
Committee Member.

“There is a growing movement in education toward experience-based learning,” said Mark DeWeerd, middle
school teacher and advisor to the Guided Independent Study class. “The idea behind the program is to allow
students to grab onto their own sense of imagination.” As the advisor, Mr. DeWeerd facilitates the class, but
students are also encouraged to have professional mentors. One student is writing a children’s book and has
been able to correspond with author Jane Yolen. “The students are learning to communicate with adults and
advocate for themselves,” said Mr. DeWeerd. Other student projects include a basketball shoe ranking app that
was recently given the go-ahead from Apple and the production of a smartphone stand using an online CAD
program and the school’s 3D printer.

During their senior year, students are offered the choice of writing a research paper or completing a Senior
Capstone Project, a program launched five years ago. Between 10-15% of students choose to complete a
Capstone Project. “It allows kids to go pretty much anywhere they want to go with a project. Nothing matches
the joy and satisfaction they get,” said Chris Vander Baan, High School Principal and Capstone Committee

The Capstone Project must be feasible, demonstrate a learning stretch, be something for which they have a
passion, and have value, according to Mrs. Dykstra. Unlike GIS, all work is completed outside of class time.
Some of this year’s projects include the production of a middle school musical, the publication of a cookbook
with all proceeds benefiting the Northbridge Food Pantry, establishing a WCS DECA club, and the composition of
a three-movement piano piece. “Both Guided Independent Study and the Capstone Project are great curricular
additions to WCS,” said Mrs. Dykstra.
Experience Based Learning 5 Angela EpplettExperience Based Learning 4 Andrew Baker