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Ginger Spenst

spenst

Parent
MEI Secondary School

“We have been incredibly blessed and are thankful for the fact that our kids have been able to go to MEI. Our kids are thankful for this opportunity also.”

Good morning! My name is Ginger Spenst and I’ve been a parent of MEI students for 2 years now.

When I was asked to talk about our experience here at MEI, one of the questions asked was “why did you come to school here”? In order to really, honestly answer that question, I would have to say that God paved the way for us to be here at this school at this time.

Our journey at MEI actually started quite some time ago seeing as both my husband, Darren, and I started attending MEI in 1984 and graduated from MEI in ’89. I literally would never have guessed that I would have married the boy that I had to sit behind in my 12th grade Geography class! Consider yourselves warned!

After graduation, I went on to pursue education at TWU, and Darren went on to pursue business. We married, had 2 kids, and then moved to the US as part of a company promotion. Little did we know that we would plant roots in the Seattle area. Our kids loved our neighbors, schools, and friends. We were plugged in to our Church and small group. In short, life was good.

It was around 5 years ago, after we lost Darren’s mom that he thought we should move a little closer to home. The loss of a family member really struck us with the importance of being around family, cousins, and grandparents – especially for our kids. I was firmly planted in my little life there and had no intentions of moving. This was at the time that the US market was just starting to tank and when Darren suggested we list our house, I thought “sure” because I was completely confident that there was no way that our house was going to sell. Again, God had other plans – our house sold in 45 days for full asking price. I was more than shocked! That was when I had to acknowledge that God must have wanted us to move. We were not yet ready to leave the US, but all our family was in Abbotsford. That is how we ended up in Lynden.

It was at this time that we started to seriously consider education options for our kids. We had moved in the middle of the school year and were entered into the public school system. Our son came home with a New Year’s Resolution in the 4th grade saying that he wanted to get to know God better. Furthermore, he told us also that he would like to go to a Christian School. This worked out to be a great option for him because the school he chose was very academic and he was up to the challenge. However, it was so academic that we felt it would not be a good choice for our daughter, who has always struggled with academics, and we wanted her self-esteem to be kept intact. God has blessed us with 2 amazing kids with completely different sets of skills and talents. Once our daughter hit middle school, we noticed a complete shift in her perspective – she would always come home with saying all the negative things that happened in school each day. This combined with the fact that I had never felt happy that they were in 2 different schools receiving 2 totally different types of education made me realize that something had to give. I don’t remember specifically praying about this, but we met a couple at that time talking about how they were commuting their girls to Abbotsford Christian. This was the first time I had ever considered MEI as an option. I couldn’t shake the feeling and started praying about it. Then, I started timing our commute to see if it would even be possible. I feel like the rest is history…

I was a little worried about stereotypes and was concerned about whether or not both our kids would get in. Our son is very academic and I thought it might be easier for him to get in. Our daughter was the one that has always struggled and I was worried that maybe MEI only looked at grades when accepting new students. Well, I was wrong – ironically, it was our daughter who was accepted and our son who was wait-listed. This may seem like no big deal, but God really used it to ease my mind about sending our kids here.

Our son started MEI in the 7th grade and very quickly settled into routines. The highlight of 7th grade for him was the camp. He had such an amazing time and still talks about the incredible food! I think my favorite part about his 7th grade year was the service elective they did. It was nice to see kids giving back in their community. His time at MEI so far has been filled with a wide range of exciting electives, sports like basketball and rugby, advanced math classes, and great friends! This year he has furthered his friendships and is starting to focus more on his overall academics.

Our daughter started MEI in the 8th grade and although reluctant (as any 13 year old would be), very quickly fell into a group of wonderful girls. Her first few weeks she was really fighting the change and would always tell me that the kids at MEI were weird. When I asked her why these kids were so weird, she replied “they smile at me”. What a difference she was seeing between her public school experiences versus being around a Christian world view! She remained reluctant despite the fact that her teachers would tell us what a delight she was and what a hard worker she was. It was about halfway through the year that we thought we might have to leave MEI due to circumstances outside our control, and at that time, our daughter completely had an attitude change and let us know that she herself wanted to stay there. Again, it was God who worked everything out in both situations

We have been incredibly blessed and are thankful for the fact that our kids have been able to go to MEI. Our kids are thankful for this opportunity also. We have felt the overwhelming support from the MEI teachers that work with our kids – particularly this year. This would lead into another long story, but suffice it to say that I cannot thank the teachers enough for really seeing our kids. I don’t believe they are just kids in their class. Their teachers care about them and know about them and want to pull out the best in them.

I cannot say what this journey is for everyone, but would like you to know how much it has meant for us. Even though I sometimes grumble about the commute (especially during sports seasons), I realize the blessing our commute has become. Sometimes it’s just loud obnoxious music, but other times it brings discussion of the hard questions. The “why does God allow certain things to happen” or “why God’s rules are what they are”. I love when the kids let me know what’s been going on in chapel and the guest speakers they’ve had. I just truly feel that this is a gift and not one I take for granted.

With both of our kids in high school next year…our journey continues. Thanks, I appreciate your time and hope you enjoy the rest of the Heart of MEI Experience!