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  • Kelly Steenstra

Ryan Dykstra and Faith-Based Education


Upon the end of a thoughtful discussion of faith in his English class, Mr. Ryan Dykstra walked through the high school hallways, past Mr. Zacharias’s math class, in which he overheard students also having a faith-based conversation. Then, Mr. Dykstra walked past Mr. Bailey’s Bible class where the class was once again discussing Christ. As someone who might like to see additional Bible classes than there already are at EC, Mr. Dykstra was uplifted by the amount of spiritual dialogue he heard within the range of only three classrooms.

Eastern Christian 2010 alumni Ryan Dykstra, who returned as an English teacher, shares what EC has done for him and continues to do for his students.

Born and raised in the EC community, Mr. Dykstra appreciates the well-rounded worldview that this school provided him with. Although he did not recognize its importance at first, “It has helped me to understand my place in the world and in the many communities I've found myself a part of since graduating.”

This journey since graduation brought Mr. Dykstra to Eastern University, PA, and then transferred him to Ramapo College, NJ, to finish his literature degree. He enjoyed playing tennis for Eastern University, as well.

Post college, he worked for an engineering company, received his teaching certificate, and subbed, and then was hired at Eastern Christian. He married his wife Samantha in 2016 and they now have two little boys, Samuel and Theodore. The Dykstra family currently resides in Sussex Borough, and Mr. Dykstra recently finished his Master of Fine Arts degrees in Creative and Professional Writing.

The part of EC that most resonates with Mr. Dykstra, as previously stated, is the Christian worldview education lens that Eastern Christian provides for their students. “One of the most important things that EC taught was to think for myself and weigh my conclusions and others' conclusions against God's word,” he says. “This has been the single clearest directive in my life and remains so today.”

Faith is incredibly important to Mr. Dykstra, and it has influenced all of his decisions, including his decision to return to Eastern Christian as a teacher. The importance of faith is the reason why hearing faith-based conversation in the hallway was so inspiring to Mr. Dykstra. Finally, he states, “I am extremely grateful to the people who, many generations ago, began and maintained this school in the face of great adversity and who unknowingly provided me with the foundation of my life.”

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