“I have strong Christian friends who are the biggest blessing in the world to me.”
Julia Fisher became acquainted with Covenant by attending an annual Christmas choir and art show when she was in eighth grade. It made for a memorable event when a Covenant student fainted on stage in the middle of the choir performance. The entire concert came to a pause, and what stood out to Julia the most was seeing several Covenant students standing in a circle praying for their friend who had fainted.
This experience played a role in Julia’s decision to eventually attend Covenant, where she grew in her faith and her own character. Julia recalls wrestling with her faith as an underclassman. “I definitely felt my plans were very important and my faith struggled because of it,” Julia said. But Covenant’s weekly Chapel services deeply connected with Julia and as she would listen to messages she would think, “I know this is true.” She said these played a big factor in owning her faith. “Now I’m much more cognizant of the fact that my plans don’t really matter…You can’t always subjugate God’s plans,” Julia said.
In addition to growing in her faith, Julia’s character grew through student life experiences. Julia was an Ambassador for two years, focused on facilitating a vibrant climate among current students and a welcoming, comfortable, positive experience for guests and new students. This position was a stretch for Julia, but it “stretched her to achieve what other people saw in me,” Julia said.
As an upperclassman, Julia served on Honor Society as secretary and treasurer, and during her senior year, president. Julia said she couldn’t do nearly as much as she wanted to do as president because of COVID, but it was a valuable experience that taught her more about leading with other people.
Outside of school, Julia has a piloting license. Her dad is a private pilot and flies as a hobby, so when she had the opportunity to learn how to fly and receive a private pilot certificate for herself, she was grateful for the experience. Julia said it has given her confidence in decision making. She now knows more about flying itself, and sees it opening future opportunities.
In academics, Julia loves languages, and was excited to learn that Covenant offered Latin. Latin was a new challenge for her, and she enjoyed how “logical” it was. Julia took Latin and Spanish all four years of high school.
Julia said Covenant has influenced the friends and environments she wants to seek in college, as well as academics. “I want something similar to [Covenant’s English curriculum] because I love it so much,” Julia said, and so she decided to apply for George Fox’s honors program. The honors program at George Fox focuses on Socratic discussion, has an emphasis on reading, and makes cross-curricular connections, just like Covenant’s English curriculum. “Mrs. Tamminga is so great at pulling stuff out of the books and making us think,” Julia said. This kind of curriculum has helped Julia learn more about herself, what she enjoys, and the way her brain works.
Julia said she has loved her teachers and getting to know her class. “I have strong Christian friends who are the biggest blessing in the world to me,” Julia said. When school turned into remote learning during COVID, she said students would get together online and Bible studies came out of that season. “We valued our friendships so much more and the times we spent together so much more because it was taken away from us then given back to us in pieces,” Julia said. “It was much sweeter because of that.”
Next year, Julia is excited to attend George Fox University as a student in their honors program, study mechanical engineering, and eventually pursue product design.
“As a whole, Covenant did a very good job at…creating a biblical worldview in all scenarios and teaching us how to look at things properly.”
Ross attended Springfield Classical Christian School prior to Covenant. Looking back on his freshmen year, Ross said he created solid friendships, which he believes benefited his high school experience as a whole. Smaller class sizes made it easy to meet new people, begin the high school experience, and grow socially. Additionally, teachers who treated their students as adults rather than kids, “helped me grow into adulthood,” Ross said.
Several of these teachers positively impacted Ross. Not only are they personable, but they will help you at the drop of a dime and with enthusiasm, said Ross. There is care in their tone in the way they answer students’ questions. Ross particularly enjoyed evangelism and systematic theology with Mr. Nichols. Ross said these classes firmed the foundation that needed to be set for later in life. “As a whole, Covenant did a very good job at…creating a biblical worldview in all scenarios and teaching us how to look at things properly,” Ross said.
For Ross, Covenant’s way of constantly including biblical perspectives and worldviews in subject matters, regardless of topic, helped “firm up stuff”. Ross said there is a personal initiative that needs to be taken when it comes to learning from your education and growing in your faith, which he believes he needed. Ross said this process helped him become more mature in his faith.
Ross also became more mature in his studies, saying he learned to be more prepared in terms of time management. “…You learn how to prioritize your time and what matters to you,” Ross said. “I think I learned what I needed to change and changed it.”
Outside of his studies, Ross served as an Ambassador for two years, focused on facilitating a vibrant climate among current students and a welcoming, comfortable, positive experience for guests and new students. As a whole, Ross said the Covenant community made it easy to be a leader, even if you didn’t have a leadership role. Students are encouraged to step in when they are needed and be in community.
Next year, Ross looks forward to attending Portland Bible College for a greater, better foundation in his spiritual walk. He plans to study theology and receive his associates, open to whatever else the Lord might call him to do.
“I think that Covenant really as a whole teaches the students to grow in all aspects of life, in academics, the arts, and their openness to the future that God has for them,” Ross said. “I think that the combination of small class sizes, rigorous schedule, and quality teachers really creates a proper ideal learning environment for people who want to learn and open to growing intellectually.”
“People are always glad that you are asking questions and you are asking for help and you're not trying to do everything yourself."
Dzhamilia (Jama) Asanalieva
Covenant was blessed to meet Jama during her junior year of high school. Jama grew up in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Her mom is an eye doctor and her dad is an aircraft engineer. At the time, Jama wanted to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a US college. For international students, she heard it was wise to prepare for a US college by attending a US high school first, so she began her search.
An agency provided Jama with a list of US high schools, but she said, “the one thing that I really wanted was to find the perfect climate.” Using markers, Jama noted the climate of each state on a US map, all the way from the east coast to the west coast. Finally, she reached Washington State. Not only was the weather to her liking, but Washington was not far from her family members in California and Canada.
Once Jama narrowed her choice down to a private school in Washington, she chose Covenant High School from the list of schools her agency provided. “I had a lot of expectations,” she said. During a video admissions interview with Principal Miller, he described Covenant’s tight-knit community. “That would be nice,” she responded. “I would know the school and their faces and who is in each grade.”
For the next two years at Covenant, Jama diligently worked on her studies. Despite learning curves, Jama said her studies got easier the more she learned what teachers expected from her as a student. The teachers taught differently than her teachers at home, but with Covenant’s smaller class sizes, they were able to spend individual time with each student, “which is really nice,” said Jama.
Jama especially appreciated Mr. Friedman, Covenant math faculty. His teaching style is fun and Jama would often stay after school to get extra help before quizzes and tests. “I would hope I have a teacher like him in college,” Jama said.
In addition to her studies, Jama excelled in the fine arts at Covenant. At home, Jama’s school didn’t have art classes, and if they did artwork, they mostly worked with pencil. At Covenant, art classes give students the opportunity to work with several different types of art media.
Jama fostered not only an appreciation for art as a subject, but also the freedom that Miss Battle, Covenant art faculty, would give students in some of their projects. Many students have told Jama how much they appreciate her artwork as well, which she said has been affirming. “A lot of people say I have a talent, but I consider it as ‘spending time,’” Jama said. “You have to spend time to draw something. For me it is more patience and nerves and time; it is not talent.”
Interface Design and Technology was another class Jama enjoyed at Covenant, which also influenced her future education. Jama looks forward to studying computer science, IT programming, or software, and potentially art at college in Europe next year. Even though she was accepted to three US colleges and waitlisted at others, she decided to apply to several schools in Europe. Jama is excited to see new cultures and other countries.
As she looks ahead to this new season, she is glad she came to Covenant High School. “Before, I wasn’t as responsible,” she said. “Now, I turn in all my assignments on time and do things before they’re due.” To other students, she recommends to, “Be open. Ask for the help you need. People are always glad that you are asking questions and you are asking for help and you’re not trying to do everything yourself.”
“I want to live like the Bible tells me to."
Zach attended Heritage Christian School in University Place then Covenant when his older sister, Angie, was a senior. He joined the freshmen class along with several friends from Heritage, but Covenant was still fairly new to him. Zach said his freshmen year was fun, and specifically remembers getting acquainted with the other boys in his class, and the future class of 2021, on the annual overnight field trip. From then on, their class grew closer together year after year. During their junior year, he recalls the guys beginning Bible studies during study halls. During senior year, their camaraderie piqued and they became exceptionally close.
Zach said remote learning during COVID was difficult, but his class found ways to remain close. Even still, his senior year was probably his favorite year yet. “This year was the year I got closer with everyone as a whole,” Zach said.
There is a beauty and significance in the small aspects of Covenant, Zach said. He appreciated the character qualities taught, like diligence, integrity, and living with a Christian worldview. Zach said not only does Covenant value diligence, but it is cultivated in its students. Though it might seem small, diligence and good work ethic will result in success and a joy in the work you do, he said.
Living with integrity is another character quality that Zach says Covenant values. For example, teachers will often encourage students to think deeply, even in classwork. In English class, Mrs. Tamminga will often ask students, “How does literature relate to this? How does this character teach you to live with Christian ambition?”
Additionally, Zach has appreciated how Covenant always fosters a Christian worldview and perspective. In class, teachers will ask, “What does the Bible say about this cultural issue?” or “What does it say about who I am as a person and where is my identity found?” Zach said this has made him look through the lens of a Christian perspective more than he would’ve otherwise. It has also helped him find the joys in the sorrows and trust there is a plan even though life appears hectic and uncontrollable. “You will always see the intricacies and the plan that God has set into place and it’s comforting to see that you have a steadfast joy in the Lord, and He’ll never fail you,” Zach said. “And I think that’s been prioritized [at Covenant].”
Lake City Community Church has also been influential in Zach’s faith. Zach has been attending Lake City his entire life and their youth group for three years. As an upperclassman, he served on leadership. He is grateful for a church that makes fully devoted followers of Christ and spiritual contributors, not just consumers, Zach said. Everyone serves in the capacity that they can, whether it is setting up chairs or planning games. This close community has helped Zach grow in his faith.
Outside of school, Zach has run for Curtis High School track. It is an outlet that is not Christian, which has tested his identity and anchor in Christ, he said. He has had opportunities to evangelize to his teammates and learn that he can stand up for his faith in a worldly culture. “I want to live like the Bible tells me to,” Zach said.
Next year, Zach looks forward to attending Colorado Christian University and majoring in business administration. Zach said CCU structures themselves like Covenant in that there is an emphasis in Christian education. They are grounded in a Christian lens but encourage their students to ask hard questions. Zach sees himself growing as a person and Christian at CCU in the years to come, and thanks to Covenant, feels academically prepared.
“Thank you to all the teachers that have supported me and loved me,” Zach said. “That’s what a Christian education should be…that personal student-teacher relationship and how they invest in each of them…I’ll really miss each of the teachers here.”
“...looking back, I can tell that I’ve had a pretty incredible and unique experience.”
Honor Tamminga grew up attending Faith Presbyterian Church and said she always knew she would be a Covenant High School student one day. Even though her mom, Mrs. Tamminga, was the English teacher, starting out at a new place was a little intimidating. Still, Honor said she learned a lot her freshmen year; she made a lot of new friends and it was a positive experience from the start. “As the years have gone by, I’ve only continued to develop my friendships with people in my class and outside my class,” Honor said.
In the classroom, Honor said she learned from knowledgeable teachers who are excited about teaching. Each teacher has their own style, but each prays before class and thinks from a Christian perspective. Honor said that being in a Christian school has made a huge impact on her. In every class, we pray, said Honor. “I see everything through a Christian perspective and that’s because that’s what we do at Covenant.”
Honor has been on Honor Society, served in Student Council all four years of high school, as well as Vice President of the student body. An academic student, Honor has enjoyed being challenged in her classes and pushed herself to take the hard ones. During her senior year, however, she decided to take electives like senior art thesis, photography, and home economics. She wanted to make her senior year less stressful by taking useful, fun classes. Honor said she made a good decision and learned new things she greatly enjoyed. “Covenant offers a lot of really challenging courses,” Honor said. “Covenant has a good balance of challenging courses and teachers that care to help you do well and help you not just get a good grade but really learn the material.”
Honor said she especially enjoyed math at Covenant and statistics was a surprising favorite. At first, she only signed up for the class because her friends did. For a couple months, she questioned what she had gotten herself into and said she tried to find ways out of it, before deciding to stick it out for the whole year. Surprisingly, statistics ended up being interesting and exciting, and her favorite class that entire year.
During her senior year, Honor discovered there was a chance she had cancer, but fortunately, her test came back negative. During this time, she said she didn’t know how to bring it up to her teachers and friends, but at some point, became comfortable being prayed for in class. Honor said she had teacher and students giving her notes, telling her they were praying for her, and asking her how she was doing. “Through it all, going to Covenant was a huge blessing because I had my friends who were thinking about me and praying for me and talking to me and I also had my teachers,” Honor said. “You can just feel how vast the body of Christ is when you have that many connections.” Honor said that is something that Covenant has shown her: how vast the body of Christ is. “We all share in something that is bigger than us and I think that is really evident at Covenant,” Honor said.
Honor was accepted to Whitworth University and Covenant College, but she looks forward to attending George Fox University. She will participate in their honors program, which she said Covenant’s English curriculum has prepared her for. She plans to study math, a subject she greatly enjoys, and perhaps teach or go into data analysis. She also might minor in English or writing.
“It’s not always easy to be a Christian and to come to school every day and be cheerful and have a good attitude and feel like you’re a unified student body,” Honor said. “But in the grand scheme of things, looking back, I can tell that I’ve had a pretty incredible and unique experience.”