The Most Challenging Yet Rewarding Job Of My Life!

| November 8, 2017

When Amanda (Send) Makowski first arrived at Traverse City Christian School in 2003, she had no idea what a huge part this school would play in her life. Now married with a family of five, Amanda looks back in this Alumni Reflection.

Amanda (’08) and Jacob Makowski with children (L to R): Abe, JoJo, and Henryk

I had the privilege of attending Traverse City Christian school from seventh through twelfth grade. I graduated nearly ten years ago (class of 2008), and when I look back on my time at the school, I am so thankful for the influence it has had on my life. I didn’t realize then how big of a part it would play into my future.

Class of 2008, Back row L to R: Hannah Jebb (Lutheran), Sonja Ringlever, Marisa Yeiter (Miller), Anne Friedlander, Stephanie Neugebauer (Arnot), Amanda Makowski (Send), Kate Lozon (Johnson), Rachel VanTil, Carissa Eisfelder (Heersema), Irena Postaychuk. Middle Row: Jonathan Murray, Sam Meachum, Eric VanDrie, Brandon Phillips, Max Alekseyenko, Yusuke Urabe. Front: Daniel Mustard

Some of my earliest memories within the school were meeting some of the girls in my class through the junior high basketball program.  The season began at the start of the school year, so playing a sport was a great way to get to know my new classmates. We would often stay after school and get homework done together (or just goof around) before practices and home games. Many of us would also get together outside of school to celebrate birthdays and holidays. With the class sizes being pretty small (I had a graduating class of 18), that really allowed for strong Christian friendships to form. Those friendships carried through middle school, high school, into college, and are still so precious to me nearly sixteen years later!

I am thankful to have been raised in such an engaging, faith-based environment.

L to R: Kate Lozon (Johnson), Hannah Jebb (Lutheran), Amanda Makowski (Send), Jena Murray (Gagnon), Marisa Yeiter (Miller), Stephanie Neugebauer (Arnot), Anne Friedlander, Carissa Eisfelder (Heersema), Sonja Ringlever

Growing up in a school environment that taught a Christian Worldview was an invaluable experience for me. At TCCS, the Christian perspective permeated every class subject.  As we entered high school, we learned about other worldviews and religions within an environment where it was OK – even encouraged – to ask tough questions. I specifically recall and appreciate the logic and apologetics classes taught by Mr. Broderick and Mr. Weber.

My classmates and I would often study for these class tests together, be given group projects to complete, and would peer review one another’s’ essays. So not only were we being taught by teachers a Christian perspective, but we were also encouraged to discuss these topics with our friends throughout the school day. I am thankful to have been raised in such an engaging, faith-based environment.

At TC Christian, we learned about the importance of helping others and utilizing our gifts and talents for the glory of the Lord.   I really appreciate the heart for missions and compassion for the community that parents, teachers and faculty have here. 

Awaiting departure for senior class mission trip to Guatemala City, Guatemala. L to R: Anne Friedlander, Sephanie Neugebauer (Arnot), Hannah Jebb (Lutheran), Kate Lozon (Johnson), Marisa Yeiter (Miller), Amanda Makowski (Send), Rachel VanTil, Sonja Ringlever

I remember Hurricane Katrina happened when I was in high school. The response by the leadership of our school was amazing. 

We actually shut the school down for a week (this was before the Elementary School joined us on the new campus) and headed south.

The entire student body and parent volunteers drove through the night in buses to New Orleans to help with relief efforts.  Skipping a week in the classroom allowed us to be the hands and feet of Christ to people who were in real trouble and needed help rebuilding their lives.

January 2008, Hurricane Katrina relief trip – Insulating duct work in a New Orleans church

I will never forget working side by side with my classmates, school parents, and teachers.  We were praying for people we had just met and learning how to hang drywall 🙂  I guess the classroom wasn’t closed, after all.  It moved with us.  Going on mission trips really opened my eyes to the world around me. It helped me look at the bigger picture of life rather than my day-to-day happenings.  I consider that a huge blessing.

Fast forward to 2014, when I married my husband Jake. Our story is a bit unique in that Jake was a single dad when we met. I not only fell in love with Jake, but his two precious kids. Always wanting to have a big family, I was so excited to start our life as a family of four.

Being a stay-at-home parent has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs of my life

After we married, I moved down to the family home in the New Hudson area, and became a stay-at-home step-mom to Abe and JoJo (ages 4 and 2 at the time).  One of my greatest joys in life has been being a part of theirs. We’ve since welcomed a third child into our family (Baby Henryk, 19 months), and I currently stay home with him as well. 

As I type this, he is unloading the contents of our kitchen utensil drawer onto the welcome mat. Being a stay-at-home parent has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs of my life, and I love it. There is rarely a dull moment 🙂

New Sabres: Abe (’28), JoJo (’30), and Henryk (’34)

This past summer, we had the opportunity to move to Traverse City. Needless to say, we thought TC Christian would be the best school choice for our family! Abe is in 2nd grade this year and JoJo is spreading her wings in kindergarten.

I’ll never forget walking through elementary on their second day of school. One of Abe’s classmates smiled, stretched out his hand for a high five and called him by name. It made Abe feel special in a new environment, to be greeted so warmly. Many similar kindnesses have been extended to our family since the start of this school year. The kids have been invited to play dates and birthday parties, and Jake and I have been welcomed by fellow parents into the Sabre community as well.

Spirit Week 2017. Our kids wearing my old Sabrewear from 2008!

Spirit Week 2017 ; Safari Day

It’s moments like these that confirm the deep friendships I experienced within my own graduating class are normal at TC Christian.  Walking through the building nowadays triggers so many great memories, and it has been the Sabre community that makes them worthwhile.


What a joy it is to see familiar faces as well as new ones, bonded by a love for family and a dedication to Christian education.


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