The Light

MAY 2022


"Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" -John 8:12


Dear Harbor Light Christian School Family,

We have just begun the interview process for filling teaching roles for next year. It feels really impossible to describe specifically what Harbor Light is, and just what it means to be part of the family here. It is a special place, where so many people pour their full hearts in. When I was praying over some school changes, and the discomfort that inevitably comes along with growth, I asked God for his wisdom and for clarity, and he brought me this passage.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:9-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Harbor Light Christian School is a place where people strive to follow these principles. Am I perfect at every word of this? No! Are we perfect at every word of this? No! BUT we are in love with the perfect one. God goes before us. He spurs us on to get up each morning in His power and strength, to refill ourselves with His word and His presence and try again-- again!

One of the infinite examples of this verse from Romans on display here at Harbor Light was the process and reaction my daughter Audrey had to her success on her spelling test this week. See, Audrey struggles with reading and spelling. She works hard, REALLY HARD. And this hard work doesn’t always pay off quickly for her. As her mom, I know she is building muscles in this process of working hard, while not always finding immediate success. This makes success so much sweeter when it does come.

We practice spelling at home. The night before her spelling test, she still was getting 7-8 words incorrect in practice. We had her wake up early, and keep practicing. When I saw Audrey later in the day, I asked with hesitation how her spelling test went. She said, “guess what…? I prayed right before my test, and guess what, I got them all right!” It was my joy to see her test, with all the words correct. But even more of a blessing was to have her teacher, Mrs. Johnson, celebrate with her and shower her with love.

As we are in the midst of this final month of school, I charge you to re-read that Romans 12 passage, do a quick self check on the areas that you can improve on, and then step out in the confidence of Christ and enjoy the community He has assembled here- a community that cultivates the delicate work of encouraging each other to try again-- again!

May His joy and peace be upon you,

Kelly Dutcher

Deliberate Diffusion with Mr. Ernst

Seven in ten high school age girls admit to having skipped school because they don’t think they look pretty enough on a given day. One in five high school students have reported being bullied in school, and another one in five will be diagnosed with depression before college. Four in ten middle school and high school boys admit to taking protein supplements because they don’t look strong enough – and 15 percent of those taking protein supplements have also experimented with steroids. Every study done has shown that increased phone usage amongst teens leads to increased mental health concerns – and data show that the average teen checks their social media and text messages over 100 times per day.

This is the world our young people are growing up in. A world seen through the glasses of social media accounts, where worth is gauged by the number of followers a person has and the number of likes their posts receive. Where every time they pull out their phones, they are slapped in the face by thousands of people to compare themselves to or feel lacking in the presence of. A teenage girl I know, has over 700 followers on Instagram. Think about that. Every time she posts a picture, there are 700 judges out there, deciding if it is worth a comment, a “like, or not. How many likes is she worth? How many likes does she need to feel worthy? What might she do to get those likes? Scary thoughts.

It is with this as a backdrop that our school instituted a radical policy for our mission trips this year – when my group of 11 teenagers showed up to get on the van to head for North Carolina for a week-long mission adventure, they all were asked to put their cellphones in an ammo box, locked away for the entirety of the trip. It was not easy for them. I had to pry a few out of cold, sweaty, clenched hands. But we made it happen. And then something beautiful happened.

For 14 hours, broken up over two days, we listened to 11 teenagers engage in group conversation. We played jukebox and gave everyone the opportunity to share their favorite songs with everyone in the car without having to pass earbuds around! Smiles were shared. Faces were seen. Real cameras surfaced. Amazing connections were made, grown, and solidified. And the tone was set for the trip.

This was my second mission trip with Harbor Light. A few years ago, I tagged along with Mrs. Wendt and Mrs. Powers on a trip to Detroit – not wanting to miss the opportunity to learn from the very best. I learned so much on that trip. But one of the most important things that I came away with is the realization that there comes a point on every trip where the physical exhaustion, inconvenience and discomfort, all start to creep in, and a battle for attitudes – for hearts – takes place. Mrs. Wendt’s answer to this was affirmation night. Just when morale was lowest, put the kids in a circle, and have them speak life over each other. And if you can’t tell by how many words you have already read – I am a firm believer in the power of words – so I absolutely loved affirmation night.

Fast forward to North Carolina. It’s day five and our team is still rocking it. There haven't been any bad attitudes, low morale, dissension or discord – just a 14-person team working together to be the hands and feet. But we were running out of time, and I wasn’t going to let affirmation night not happen. So, at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday night, we circled up as a group and sent one brave soul to the middle…

And for the next four hours, these 11 teenagers openly, sincerely, deeply, spoke love and life over each other. Surrounded by a culture that tells them they aren’t good enough, aren’t pretty enough, aren’t smart enough – they told each other how inspiring they are, how beautiful they are, how impactful they have been, and how much they are loved and appreciated. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. In that moment, in all four hours of that moment, my continuous prayer was simply that every young person would get to experience something like that. That every struggling teenager would have a chance to get a glimpse of how God sees them, through the words of their peers – the people whose words have the most power in their lives. And that every young person would find a group of people that they feel safe enough with, that they would be willing to show the kind of vulnerability that I saw that night.

Harbor Light doesn’t do everything right. We make mistakes. Our students aren’t perfect. We have our share of shenanigans and kids picking on each other. But we are also teaching these kids where their identity comes from. We are teaching them to see each other, and themselves, as the beautiful, perfectly designed, sons and daughters of the King that they are. And it’s working. It is taking hold. I have seen it firsthand. And in a world full of comparison and judgment, bullying and depression, insecurities and anxieties – I don’t know what could be more important.

Please continue to hold all of our students in your prayers as the school year ends and they navigate whatever summer has in store for them.

God Bless!

-Mr. Ernst

Our Month in Pictures

Upcoming Events

May 16:

Baseball/Softball @ Ellsworth (4 pm)

School Board Meeting (6 pm)

May 17:

Baseball vs. Vanderbilt (4:30 pm)

May 19:

Softball/Baseball vs. Boyne Falls (4 pm)

May 21:

Junior/Senior Banquet

Dorothy Gerber Strings Program Spring Concert (6 pm @ Great Lakes Center for the Arts)

May 23:

Softball/Baseball vs. Posen (4 pm)

May 24:

9-12th Grade Awards Ceremony (6 pm)

May 25:

7th and 8th Grade Awards Breakfast (7:30 am)

May 26:

Softball/Baseball @ St. Ignace (4 pm)

May 27:

Bring A Friend to School Day

Swordsmen Olympics

May 30:

Memorial Day (NO SCHOOL)

May 31:

4th Quarter Ends

June 1:

Student Council Picnic

June 2:

HALF DAY/Last Day for Pre-K and Kindergarten

Kindergarten Graduation (6 pm)

June 3:

Last Day of School (HALF DAY)

Baseball Districts (2 pm)

June 4:

Softball Districts (12 pm)

June 5:


June 9:

Sports Awards Picnic (6 pm)

Class of 2022

Join us in congratulating and praying for the Class of 2022!! We are exceptionally proud of these 10 individuals. Graduation is June 5th!
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Billie Burby is one of our dedicated and reliable volunteers! She and her mother Diana serve hot lunch, and Billie takes care of submitting all of the D & W and Oleson's receipts, which is a HUGE help to the school! She also chaperones field trips and drives students to and from sports games. Her son, Dylan, is a 10th grader at Great Lakes Adventist Academy in Mt. Pleasant, and her daughter, Gracie, is an 8th grader here at Harbor Light.

Though Gracie will be joining her brother at GLAA next year, Billie plans to continue serving hot lunch at HLCS. Having been in the restaurant business for many years, it's second-nature now! She says "I love HLCS because it feels like family." We asked her why she would want to keep giving her time at the school when her kids were no longer here. "I want my kids to keep the connections," she said, referring to the strong friendships her children have made with peers here. As part of the boarding school schedule downstate, Dylan and Gracie are allowed to come home once a month from Wednesday to Sunday. You may have seen Dylan serving alongside his mom, and we can expect to see Gracie next year! Harbor Light is truly a place that treasures family connections.

Billie's husband Jason Burby works with Gibson excavating, and the Burby family keeps a hobby farm in Petoskey with horses, goats, chickens, cats, and dogs. Billie loves gardening, canning, horseback riding, snowmachining, 4-wheeling, and camping.

"Something God has been teaching me is to move my feet." Billie and Jason are currently in the final phases of getting licensed for foster care, which is a lengthy process. Foster care is something Billie has wanted to do from a very young age. They began the process one year ago, and just had their final walk-through! How exciting!

Please pray for the Burbys as they move forward into this next season of their lives!

Audi Auction!

Once again, we are partnering with our local Audi dealer to raffle off an exceptional car to one lucky member of our community! The car is currently in the HLCS parking lot!

TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE and can be purchased at Harbor Light Christian School, Fletch's of Petoskey, the Harbor Barber in Harbor Springs, and North Star Gardens in Indian River, or by clicking the link below or the QR Code code the right!

Buy My Audi Tickets Now!

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See inside the Audi Q3 by watching the video below!
2022 Audi Sneak Peek


We now have LIGHTS and full electrical capability in the Solid Rock Center! That means our telephone systems, security systems, internet, and of course the scoreboards have the green light to function!
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Check out the video below to see the hoops being hoisted into place!

ACT NOW: Naming a Space on The Legacy Gym Floor is Entering Final Phases

Inside the Solid Rock Center, the Legacy Gym Floor will be installed and finalized THIS SUMMER! We still have a few spaces left for you to leave an impact that lasts for generations!

Curious how much you've donated to date?

Are you considering a larger space on the floor?

Are you interested in finding out more about the current needs of The Solid Rock Center?

Please get in touch with Jennie Cope.

Have you already given a gift?

We will be sending out proof forms to all donors by mid-June. It is time to decide what you would like displayed on your square so we can get it to the printers by the end of July!

Ideas for display:

Name of a family member you'd like to honor

Your family name

Your business name or logo

A favorite Bible verse in honor of someone special

What will happen to the current HLCS gym floor? We have a NEW gym floor for the main gym in the Solid Rock Center. The original plan was to disassemble the current gym floor and move it to the new facility. Unfortunately, upon exploration into the moving process, we determined that moving the current floor would not be in the project's best interest. In addition to the floor being fragile, the labor to move and renovate the existing floor area is close to the cost of a new floor.

Everything is coming together! Please pray over whether your name will be permanently displayed on the Legacy Gym Floor (former Piston's floor) on the upper level, and get in touch with Jennie Cope ASAP to discuss your plans.


Each year, Mrs. Kruger and her students organize a lovely brunch for the mothers and grandmothers of the 5th and 6th graders. This event reinforces values such as honoring your parents, attention to detail, respectfulness, and basic etiquette. It is a highly anticipated event!


One goal the HLCS School Board set this year was to be present during at least one school day. Our board desires to be closely involved in the school, seeing students face-to-face, interacting in the classrooms, and observing school culture first-hand.

Last week, Board Members Missy Tarvudd, Jeff Jakeway, Maria Lucier, Vice-President Rebecca McCray, and Secretary Chad Hanes came to visit classes. Below, they are pictured with Mrs. Bucci's Bible class, Mr. Ernst's Chemistry class, and Mr. Radatovich's British Literature class.

Congratulations to the Cast of The Music Man!

HLCS Drama class presented Meredith Wilson's beloved musical, "The Music Man!" this weekend, and the audience loved it!

With favorite tunes like "Till There Was You," "The Wells Fargo Wagon," and "Seventy-Six Trombones," this was an ambitious production that our students pulled off with grace and professionalism! Thank you to Mrs. Powers for leading the cast and crew through a successful string of 3 shows!

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HLCS Alumni returned to help the Drama class prepare for opening night!


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Dorothy Gerber Strings Program: Saturday, May 21st at 6 pm

Harbor Light students are playing in the DGSP spring concert at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts as part of a much larger ensemble, along with professional musicians. The program highlights include:

  • Students as young as 4 years old all the way to high school seniors
  • Students from Elk Rapids to Pellston, including Beaver Island!
  • Fun music by cute beginners all the way up to portions of a Symphony by Gustav Mahler, performed by the Dorothy Gerber Youth Orchestra
  • Two pieces that include all 270 performers, one that includes a Star Wars theme and the other our traditional Ode to Joy
  • String Quartets and solos, including a recent prize winner at the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition
  • We expect a full house of 500 people to cheer on the students!

More information can be found here.


Has HLCS had a positive or life-changing impact on your life or that of someone you love? Please share these stories with us so we can keep letting others know what a wonderful difference we can make! Send your experience to


We are grateful to partner with Oleson's and D&W this school year. Receipts collected from these grocers may be dropped off in the office at any time.