Learners are innovative thinkers who are successful, confident, respectful and caring

Alumni Highlights

Jeremy Wind (Class of 1999)

Jeremy Wind grew up in Southern Alberta, graduating first from Taber Christian School in 1996 and then from Immanuel Christian High School in 1999.  After high school, he went on to complete his diploma in Heavy Equipment at Olds College.  Before joining the family potato farm, Jeremy spent a season custom combining in the southern United States, and Australia.

After many years of farming alongside his parents and brother, Jeremy and his wife Erin started Windview Farms in 2021, continuing the family tradition of growing potatoes, as well as branching out into sweet potatoes.  He has been quick to embrace technological advances in farming, as well as partnering with Advanced Ag, a local biological technology company, in the development of ACF-SR, a highly concentrated biological that performs important plant growth promoting functions within the soil.

Jeremy has combined his passion for farming and concern for those less fortunate in his involvement with the Canadian Food Grains Bank, serving the past 5 years as the chairperson for the Taber Foodgrains Project.  Each year, local farmers join together to plant, grow and harvest a crop with all proceeds being donated to the Canadian Food Grains Bank, joining hundreds of other growing projects across the country. Over the past 27 years, the Taber Growing Project has donated $2.4M to alleviate world hunger.

Jeremy and his wife Erin live in Purple Springs with their five children.  You can follow Windview Farms online to learn more, as well as the Taber Growing Project.

Kathy MacFarlane (Class of 1984)

Kathy MacFarlane, nee Van Gaalen, (Class of 1984) has a Master of Arts in Leadership, is a certified Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) coach, a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), an accredited Resilience at Work user and a Myers Briggs Personality (MBTI) practitioner.

She had a successful 30+ year career as a leader and senior fundraiser for various public sector organizations, such as the Boys' and Girls' Club, Chinook Regional Hospital, Lethbridge College, University of Lethbridge and the Kings' University.

Kathy began her consulting business in 2019 with a passion to promote healthy leadership principals so people can thrive at work, at home, and in the world.

She specializes in Spiritual Intelligence as a unique and distinctive layer in her leadership coaching and training.  Spiritual Intelligence is defined as the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.  She uses an assessment tool where people can rate themselves on 21 skills that support SQ.  She then works with individuals or teams on exploring areas to help them thrive.

"People are familiar with emotional intelligence (EQ) and cognitive intelligence (IQ) but that only gets us so far.  Spiritual intelligence is said to amplify our EQ and IQ.  Evidence shows that people and businesses with higher SQ are more profitable, have more employee satisfaction and loyalty, greater workplace wellness, a commitment to a higher cause and more customer loyalty among many other benefits.  For decades society has conditioned people to leave their soul in the glovebox before they walk into work.  If we are people of faith, we might intuitively know that was never helpful.  Now research shows that employers are missing out on creativity and innovation and a multitude of other benefits if people cannot be safe to bring their whole selves to work."

In this confusing chaotic world where it seems like the divides between people are widening, humans are craving significance, meaning and impact. Kathy believes that cultivating Spiritual Intelligence is the best path to a thriving workplace where everyone is seen, can use their gifts fully, and make a difference as well as a living.

"I work with leaders who know there is "something more" and want to go deeper and higher leading self and team.  I help leaders explore their higher self, higher purpose and higher power so they can be wise and effective change agents is business and life.  SQ leaders are a calm and healing presence, even in chaos, make better decisions and move from just influencing to inspiring others.  SQ leaders create an environment of trust and respect, essential ingredients for successful teams."

Kathy enjoys riding her electric tricycle and travelling with her husband in their RV with their rambunctious dog Sage who insists on many miles of walks.

She currently volunteers on the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta's Marketing and Public Relations Committee.

To learn more, please visit Kathy's website and her blog:  https://kathymacfarlane.com/

Shelly Pfeffel (Class of 2003)

Shelly Pfeffel (nee Slomp) grew up in Southern Alberta and graduated from Immanuel in 2003.  Unsure of what she wanted to do, Shelly worked in the banking industry for a number of years before finding her passion working with people at the YMCA of Lethbridge where she managed the membership team, bookkeeping and payroll. 

After her maternity leave, it was time for a change.  She started working at Kasko Cattle Company in 2019, initially as the accounting technician, but when an opportunity arose, she was approached to become the Human Resources Manager for the company.  Attending online classes at the University of Calgary to continue her knowledge, Shelly is deeply passionate about what she does because she believes in the pivotal role that people play in the success and sustainability of agriculture.

Working in HR in this industry allows Shelly to create a positive and supportive work environment for the hardworking individuals who dedicate their lives to cultivating the land and raising our food.  She is able to foster a culture of collaboration and well-being amongst the farming community.  Shelly is proud to help people find their passion, emphasizing the importance of a fulfilling workplace by promoting a work/life balance to ensure that each member of the team can thrive both professionally and personally.

Ian Veenendaal (Class of 2009)

Ian Veenendaal attended Immanuel Christian High School from grades 7-12 and graduated in 2009.  After graduating, he completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD in Physics at the University of Lethbridge.  Ian worked under the supervision of Prof. David Naylor, developing new concepts for scientific instruments used on space telescopes for studying the universe at far-infrared and microwave wavelengths. 

“These wavelengths are used to study cold, dark areas of the universe, containing clouds of dust and gas which may collapse under their own gravity to form new stars, allowing us to understand the physics behind the star formation process,” Ian explained. “Also, long wavelengths allow us to peer past all stellar objects in the foreground to study the background glow of the universe known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) which marks remnants of the formation of the very first atoms.”

Ian has worked at SRON, a space research institute in the Netherlands in the cities of Groningen and Leiden, and currently, Ian & his wife Alexis live in Cardiff, Wales, where Ian works as a research fellow at Cardiff University.  His main work involves optical design and AIV (assembly, integration, and verification) for various far-infrared and microwave telescopes.  Ian has previously worked on the Herschel & SPICA space telescopes, and now works on the Simons Observatory, a ground-based CMB telescope located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, and LiteBIRD, a space-based CMB telescope led by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Braeden Scholten (Class of 2014)

1. Where do you work? What is your job there? I am working at Dutchie Dirt Moving Ltd. At Dutchie Dirt Moving I clean the shop, clean the equipment, drive the skid steer, and I am learning how to weld with Art Brouwer. On Fridays I go to the Ability Resource Center and volunteer at the Humane Society working with the cats.

2. Who are you living with? I used to live with my cousin Briana but now I live with my cousin Ian.

3. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? I like to sing, listen to my music, watch wrestling, go bowling, go to dance and hang out with my friends and family.

4. What is your favorite memory from Immanuel Christian School? I have a lot of good memories! At the elementary school I like to see my friends and the teachers as well as my teacher Mrs. Fennema. I like to play on the playground and play trumpet with Mr. Robb. At the high school I like to see my friends. I loved the Christmas banquets and being in the play Cheaper by the Dozen. I liked to cook in Home Ec class and I remember I burnt my grilled cheese sandwich. I learned that God is always with us. Immanuel Christian School is an awesome school.

Annette Lievaart (Class of 2005)

Annette Lievaart grew up in Southern Alberta, graduating first from Taber Christian School in 2002 and then from Immanuel Christian High School in 2005. From there, Annette went on to NAIT, where she received her diploma in Respiratory Therapy in 2008.

After beginning her career in Edmonton, felt called to do something different. This started with a short-term trip to Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya, in 2010 and then a move as a long-term missionary there in 2013. Tenwek is a 330-bed hospital that provides care to patients in rural Kenya. As the only Respiratory Therapist (RT), Annette works with patients in the ICU, as well as providing training and education throughout the hospital and the region.

“I came to Tenwek as I was looking for a place that I could share the love of God with my patients, as well as fill a needed role. Tenwek was that fit.” The motto of Tenwek Hospital is “We Treat, Jesus Heals”, so in addition to her role as an RT, Annette is also a part of Bible studies and discipleship for the Kenyans in the training programs at Tenwek.

For more information about the work that Annette is doing in Kenya, or to support her ministry work there, please visit her site HERE.

You can also find her missionary page with Into All The World HERE.

Melissa Hildebrand (Class of 2004)

Melissa Hildebrand (Wever) graduated Immanuel in 2004. She went on to attend Kings University College for 1 year and then enrolled at the Lethbridge Community College for the Early Childhood Education program, graduating from the two-year program with honours.

From there, Melissa worked in a summer program, a day care, bought a house and in July 2007, opened a day home.  During that time, she also married her husband, Mike.  Mike and Melissa have been blessed with two daughters - Janessa (grade 6) and Claire (grade 2), who are now attending Immanuel Christian Schools. Melissa shared how at the time they were born, it was such a blessing to be able to have the day home and stay home with their daughters.

Melissa always loved working with children and it had been a lifelong dream to work in a preschool. In the spring of 2021, a friend mentioned to her that there was a notice in the church bulletin that Discovery Nursery School was for sale. After prayerful consideration, Melissa and her husband decided to purchase the preschool. Just a few weeks later, their youngest daughter, who was 4 at the time, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

“God truly works in mysterious ways. The diagnosis was life-changing for our entire family. I often think that I never would have bought the pre-school if I had known about the upcoming diagnosis.  But God knew and He has been very faithful as we navigated a new diagnosis and a new business (through COVID).”

Discovery Nursery School runs a preschool program on the west side of Lethbridge. Melissa opened her first preschool classes in September 2021 and was able to run 2 morning classes.  Melissa shared, “God has blessed the preschool with growth over the last two years. This September, I have been able to expand to offer additional afternoon classes. To God be the glory.”

Les Vonkeman (Class of 1987)

Les Vonkeman has spent most of his life in Southern Alberta. Being born into a Cree family in the 1960’s, Les was a part of the 60’s scoop, which resulted in the government removing him from his birth family and Les being adopted into the Vonkeman family in Iron Springs. He attended Immanuel, graduating in 1987.

In 2000, Les applied to the Lethbridge College for the Criminal Justice Program and then entered the Lethbridge Police Service in January 2001. He spent the first ten years of his career on the streets as a patrol officer and then moved into the position of Diversity Liaison Officer in 2011.

As Diversity Officer, Les was given the opportunity to learn about his Indigenous culture. This began a journey for him which has included reconnecting birth family. Les has also created programs to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous together, which benefits the Southern Alberta community. For this work, Les has received the Community Builders Award and the Queens Jubilee Award.

Les’ most recent initiative has been as a founding member of the Honouring Traditions and Reconciliation Society, a grassroots action-based organization working in Lethbridge to help spread Indigenous awareness and education in an effort to bridge the reconciliation gap.

Les remains a part of the Lethbridge Police Service, working once again as a patrol officer. He and his wife Jeanette (class of ‘89) have remained involved with the Immanuel community, with both of their daughters attending ICS, as well as many of their foster children. You can learn more about Les’ work with the Honouring Traditions and Reconciliation Society at their website, www.htrsociety.org.

Karen Van Seters (Class of 1999)

Karen Van Seters (nee Vant Land) attended Immanuel Christian School from K-12. In conversation with Karen, she shared that she always loved drawing and “was encouraged by my art teacher, Mrs. Horner. In high school, my science teacher, Mr. Visscher, predicted that I would become a scientific illustrator. That prediction came true as I am now a Certified Forensic Artist, providing scientific forensic drawings for law enforcement.”  

After graduating in 1999, Karen received her certificate in Office Administration from Lethbridge College and then was hired as a Records Clerk for the Lethbridge Police Service. Three years later, she became a 911 dispatcher where she was trained to help people in very stressful situations. This, along with her close working relationship with the Lethbridge Police Service, led Karen to utilize her artistic skills to further help people through Forensic Art. 

In 2009, Karen took her first course in composite drawing from Stuart Parks Forensic Associates, a husband-and-wife team from Idaho who travels around North America teaching various Forensic and Fine Arts. She mentioned that “during my very first class with them, we realized we had our Christian faith in common when they mentioned their close friend, Frank Peretti, and my head popped up like a fan girl! They have become like family to me now, and we remain close in our faith and love of art and books.” (Carrie Stuart Parks is a published author and I highly recommend her Christian fiction crime novels.) 

Today, Karen is still a 911 dispatcher and continues her ongoing training in composite drawing, skull reconstruction, identification of unknown remains, age progression, and more. She provides these services primarily to Lethbridge Police; when they release a drawing to the public, you’ll see her trademark KVS signature in the corner. 

“My time at Immanuel Christian School reinforced my Christian faith and taught me the importance of service and caring for our neighbors and community. The school also introduced me to my husband, Randy, and is where our children, Jakob and Luka, each attend. With this family and community supporting me, God used my career in Emergency Services to lead me to serve others through Forensic Art. I could never have predicted this would be my path, but I can’t imagine it turning out any other way.” 

Karen’s art is on Instagram @kvstheartist, Facebook @kvstheartistyql, and her website https://karenlynne.wixsite.com/kvstheartist. You can find Carrie Stuart Parks’ books at Chapters and on Amazon, and more information on her website http://www.carriestuartparks.com. 

Ken Boessenkool (Class of 1987)

Ken Boessenkool graduated from ICHS in 1987 and has spent his career invested in Canadian politics and policies.  After high school, he completed an undergraduate degree in business with majors in Finance and Philosophy from the University of Lethbridge.  Ken also completed a graduate degree in economics from the University of Toronto in 1998. 

Ken’s career has been long and varied.  He began as a personal banker and has also been a senior regulatory economist with two different electricity firms.  He has played senior strategic and policy roles in four national election campaigns for the Conservative Party of Canada under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He has been Chief of Staff to former Premier of British Columbia Christy Clark and a senior policy advisor to three national Conservative leaders, two Alberta Finance Ministers, and an Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader, as well as holding senior roles in numerous national and provincial leadership campaigns. 

Ken is currently the J.W. McConnell Professor of Practice at the Max Bell school of Public Policy at McGill University, Research Fellow at the CD Howe Institute, and Founding Partner at Meredith Boessenkool Policy Advisors. 

Above all of these accomplishments and titles, however, the name Ken wears most proudly is that of Opa.  Ken lives in Southern Alberta, has four daughters, two of whom graduated from ICSS, and two grandchildren. 

Jordan Schellenberg (Class of 2002)

Jordan Schellenberg graduated from Immanuel Christian High School in 2002 and from the Criminal Justice program at Lethbridge College in 2009. He then went on to join the Boys and Girls Club in Lethbridge in 2012 as the Director of Youth Programs.

As Jordan continued to work with youth within Lethbridge, he became increasingly aware of one of the major obstacles facing youth – a lack of affordable, quality driven, mentorship-based programs supporting youth after school. Seeking to responding this problem in Lethbridge, Jordan and three friends founded Youth One, a grassroots organization dedicated to giving youth a central community of support which would be completely funded by the community. Since launching in 2014, Youth One has supported thousands of individual youth through their middle school and high school years. This has been done through after-school drop-in programs, support groups, leadership training, food services, life skill development & more.

Jordan began as the Director of Services in 2014 and today serves as the President and CEO. He and his wife Jodi have three children, two of whom will be students at ICES in the fall of 2023, much to the joy of their grandmother Terri, who is the ICES admin assistant. 

You can learn more about Youth One and support Jordan and the work he’s doing there at www.youthone.ca.

Tim Selles (Class of 2005)

Tim Selles was born in British Columbia, moved to Lethbridge when he was in elementary and graduated from Immanuel Christian High School in 2005. After graduation, Tim moved to Hamilton, Ontario to attend university and has remained there to this day. He lives there now with his wife and young daughter and teaches English & Music at Smithville Christian High School.

In addition to his “day job” of being a high school teacher, Tim is also an accomplished singer/songwriter with three albums under the name Timid, the Brave. Tim remembers one of his earlier musical experiences as being in the ICHS choir, singing bass.

Studying English in at Redeemer University gave Tim increased skills needed to write his own lyrics and he began performing his own songs at the coffee house at Redeemer. After spending a month walking the Camino de Santiago across Spain, Tim returned to Hamilton and began writing and producing more music.

You can find Tim’s music and follow his band Timid, the Brave, here: https://timidthebrave.bandcamp.com/album/vuja-de

Erin Elgersma (Class of 2015)

Erin Elgersma grew up in Southern Alberta and graduated from Immanuel Christian Secondary School in 2015, the first of three from her family. After high school, Erin was based in New Zealand for two years with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) before moving on to Trinity Western University (TWU), where she earned a BA in International Studies.

Erin is currently living in Ottawa, where she is a legislative assistant for Chris Lewis, Conservative MP for Essex. She assists Mr. Lewis during committee meetings and corresponds with people of his riding. Erin began considering a career in politics through her time at YWAM, as well as her first political science classes at TWU. Erin didn’t ever plan for a career in politics, but looking back credits high school Social Studies teacher Maureen Milne for seeing her passion for politics and international affairs before she even did. Erin said, “I think regularly, ‘If only Miss Milne could see me now’, and ‘How did Miss Milne know this is something I’d enjoy even before I did?’”

Cindy Bouwers (Class of 1980)

Cindy Bouwers, nee Stronks, is an artist and a designer whose love for art began in Junior High at Immanuel Christian School under Mr. Stelpstra. After graduating from Immanuel in 1980, Cindy went to the U of A and obtained her BFA in Visual Communication Design. She spent many years as an accomplished graphic designer, as well as teaching design courses at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

After a strong career in graphic design, Cindy decided to explore a long-buried desire to paint and pursue her own artwork. This has resulted in a rich body of work, informed by her design background. Cindy has been juried into a number of group shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto and in 2019 won the Duggan Landscape Award presented by the Society of Canadian Artists for her landscape painting titled Gust and Flurry.

Cindy now has a studio in Airdrie, Alberta, and you can view and purchase her work at cindybouwers.com or follow her socials on Facebook www.facebook.com/CindyBouwersArtStudio/ or Instagram @cindybouwersart

Marten DeVlieger (Class of 2000)

Marten DeVlieger grew up in Taber, graduating from grade 9 at Taber Christian School in 1997 and then from grade 12 at Immanuel Christian High School in 2000.  Both Marten and his sister Karen were born with Cystic Fybrosis (CF), a fatal genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.  Their mom had to manually perform chest physiotherapy on them daily to help clear their airways.  

After high school, Marten had big dreams, including becoming a helicopter pilot, and wasn’t going to let CF stand in his way.  Marten designed a chest device that would mimic the physiotherapy that his mom had been doing for his entire life.  Starting with random parts in the shop on his dad’s farm, Marten’s invention is now known and sold as the Monarch Airway Clearance System.  This invention has changed his life, as well as many others living with CF. 

Marten did get his helicopter license and flew in northern Alberta for the oil industry until his health made it too difficult and he had to give up his pilot’s license.  Today, Marten and his wife Janine live in the Crowsnest Pass with their kids. Follow Marten on his socials, Facebook and Instagram, to watch his adventures in mountain biking, snowmobiling and more. 

Kalyn Swihart (Class of 2002)

Kalyn Swihart, a group fitness instructor, founder of Ballet Beats, and ICHS alumni, has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors for 2023 for the second time – congratulations, Kalyn! 

“As a child, Kalyn Swihart was an entrepreneurial dance teacher. She offered her services as a ballet teacher to athletes in sports like gymnastics, figure skating, synchronized swimming and martial arts, who might benefit from ballet. This inspired her to combine fitness with dance and her Ballet Beats program was born. “I love teaching movement more than words can express,” she says. 

“I am passionate about creating a teaching environment that is for all bodies. One that starts with acceptance and self love and focuses on the movement, being our strongest selves and rebelling against the idea of an ‘ideal body,’” she says. “I think the world needs more of that to get all people moving and benefiting from exercise.” (taken from impactmagaine.ca) 

Kalyn attended Immanuel Christian Schools from kindergarten to grade 12, graduating in 2002.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in dance with a major in ballet from the University of Calgary and Alberta Ballet.  Her education emphasized both dance and kinesiology which has supported the marriage of Classical Ballet technique and fitness to create a unique experience for her students.  Kalyn created Ballet Beats ®, a full-body workout experience, to break down the ballet barrier – making ballet accessible to all. For more information, please visit her website at balletbeats.com or follow her socials on Facebook or Instagram. 


Rebecca Van Dyk (Class of 2010)



Please tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what going to school at Immanuel Christian Schools was like for you as a student.

I grew up in Lethbridge and attended Immanuel from K-12. I have so many fond memories of my years there. At Immanuel I received a quality, Christ centered education that formed my worldview and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I enjoyed all facets of life at ICS and appreciated the many opportunities that were available for me to develop intellectually, spiritually, athletically and creatively.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I have always loved writing, but for a long time my poems and stories stayed hidden in my notebooks. Encouragement from my poetry professor and inspiration from my children’s literature classes gave me confidence to pursue publication. After a lifetime of reading many picture books and spending countless hours in the children's section of bookstores, I am thrilled to be publishing my own stories.

What inspired you to write your book “Something More”?

As a teacher and a parent, I have seen the importance of fostering imaginative, resourceful, self-directed play in children during the foundational years of their development. The flexible structure of pretend play allows children to flourish in essential areas such as problem solving, communication, self-expression, confidence, inquiry and motivation. I wrote this book as an aid to further encourage natural creativity and curiosity after seeing the world through the imaginative eyes of my students and daughters.

Tell us a little bit about your family life and how you balance teaching, writing, parenting etc.

I taught Grade 2 for five years until my first daughter was born. Now my most important role is being a mom. When I only had one baby at home it was easier to find pockets of time to write during the day. Now that I have 2 kids, most writing happens at night when the girls are in bed. The process of publishing Something More took longer than I expected, and I learned so much. After my maternity leave was over I also began teaching English online to students around the world. Doing this in the early mornings and evenings allowed me to continue to use my teaching skills while also staying at home with my girls and spending more time on my writing.

Why do you think reading is so important?

Teaching kids to read is important, but teaching them to LOVE reading is invaluable! Reading opens the world to children, provides the foundation for future academic success, expands their vocabulary and, of course, enhances their imagination!

Are there activities children and students can do after reading “Something More”?

Yes! Be sure to check out the resources page on my website where you can download free colouring pages and follow-up activities! More importantly, my hope is that reading Something More will inspire kids to engage in imaginative play and for adults to encourage and join them in this. Kids don’t need the newest, fanciest toys to have fun. With a spark of creativity, everyday objects such as laundry baskets and trash cans become vessels of discovery and exploration.

Is there something you would like to tell our students in terms of following your dreams?

Don’t only focus on your end goal but enjoy the process of learning, creating and imagining!

Will there be more books in your future?

I hope so! I have many stories on the go. Some never leave the idea stage. Some are outlines. Some are half finished. Some are finished and waiting to be edited. Now that Something More is out in the world, I can take steps towards publishing my next book!

Where and how can readers follow your career, and purchase “Something More”?

Find me on Instagram @rebeccavandykauthor or check out my website www.rebeccavandyk.com to follow along or to purchase a copy of Something More.