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

Alumni Highlights

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 (Konynenbelt) 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.