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Teachers, of all people, know the meaning of “busy.” Mallory Rohlfing, now in her sixth year at Westminster, navigates each day as chemistry teacher, orchestra director, and varsity softball coach. Coaching, in fact, is the reason Mrs. Rohlfing became a teacher in the first place. “I was an athlete myself, and I had the best coaches,” she says. “They made me want to coach, and the easiest way to do that was to become a teacher!”
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., where she attended Calvin College, Mrs. Rohlfing majored in chemistry having attended a high school that, she says, closely resembled Westminster. “I admired my chemistry teacher because he set high goals for me,” says Mrs. Rohlfing. “He was confident; he was good at what he did; and he’d make time to come to my games.Read More
Plus coming from a family of scientists, I just really liked the subject.” Immediately following graduation, Mrs. Rohlfing started teaching at Westminster where, little did she know, she’d meet her husband with whom she’d already spent several years of her life.
Mike Rohlfing ’05 graduated from Calvin the same year as Mrs. Rohlfing, who happened to have been teaching Mike’s brother’s friends in her class. One of them, Kevin O’Leary ’12, introduced the two at a Westminster basketball game. Mike asked her to the symphony shortly after, and the rest is history. The couple will celebrate their one-year anniversary in June.
“We even had common friends at Calvin yet never knew each other,” says Mrs. Rohlfing, noting how they hit it off immediately with their shared love of music and sports. “I’m always in awe that God gave me a man who shares both of my passions!” she says. “Our stories are so interconnected — he knows this [Westminster] world; he knows my hometown; and he knows and understands my greatest joys. It’s a blessing to be married to him.”
At home in Grand Rapids is also where Mrs. Rohlfing cultivated her love of music, specifically orchestra. In a family of musicians who lived in a city where practicing music was a given, Mrs. Rohlfing attended a grade school where 4th grade students were required to choose an instrument to play for the next two years. “They knew we would never know if we were gifted in music, or if we even liked it, until we tried it,” says Mrs. Rohlfing, who took over the orchestra program at Westminster in 2012. When the options were spread before her, she chose the viola, fell in love, and has played ever since. “Music was just part of the culture — one which I hope to help continue to cultivate at Westminster.”
Every day, Mrs. Rohlfing went to school, went to practice, and went to rehearsal. How did she do it all? “My teachers and coaches,” she says. “They truly understood kids, understood that our lives were often as busy and stressful as some adults’, and knew how to encourage us. My viola teacher in particular knew when to push me to do more, and she knew when I was overwhelmed and just needed to have fun and enjoy music. I needed to love it, and she knew that,” says Mrs. Rohlfing, who realizes the same about many of her students and athletes.
“We all started doing something because we love it,” she says. “And if we think about getting rid of it, it’s because we’ve somehow lost the joy. It was always important to be reminded, ‘I’m good at this — God gifted me with this — and it brings me joy.’ At softball practice, if there are days we just need to play ultimate Frisbee to give the girls a break, it’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to rest and not go, go, go. We must take a breath and remember why we’re doing what we’re doing — to share our very best with others and glorify God in the process.”
Mrs. Rohlfing says her favorite thing about coaching is the opportunity to set an example and talk with high-school-aged girls about what it looks like to be godly women. “Every day I have the opportunity to interact with young women who are trying to figure out what really matters in life,” she says. “We’re always asking, ‘How do we sincerely encourage our teammates when we’re so used to comparing ourselves to other girls?’ ‘How do we show God to our opponents?’ ‘How can we be confident yet humble?’ ‘What does it look like to work hard at something, even if we end up failing? How do we lose well?’ That’s a big one,” says Mrs. Rohlfing. “’How do we strive for success but refrain from losing our identity in that?’ It’s important for the girls to remember every day where their true identity lies. Sports is a wonderful way to teach these lessons.” The game of softball, she says, is merely a bonus.
“The beauty of being in the academic, athletic, and music worlds is that I feel like a complete person,” she says. “Every part of who I am is being touched, challenged, and refined. I’m not perfect in any of those areas; I’m just using the gifts God gave me, and I had people in my life willing to invest in me and bring those things out. That’s all I want to do as a teacher and coach.”
Changsoo Chun is one of countless alumni who is embodying Westminster’s mission to engage the world and change it for Jesus Christ. Changsoo grew up in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to the U.S. to complete his schooling. He enrolled as a sophomore at Westminster in 2000 as one of the school’s first international students. After graduation in 2003, he continued his education at the University of Missouri where he earned a degree in political science.Read More
From there, he enlisted for three years in the Korean navy before returning to Seoul to open his own Japanese restaurant chain, Hukuoka. With a successful restaurant underway, Changsoo’s business interests expanded and he joined a partnership to open a factory in Cambodia, a place where he sensed he could make an impact for Christ.
In 2013, Changsoo and his business partner launched Cambodian Harvest, which specializes in exporting produce and dried fruit products. He works as the executive trading partner, exporting and selling the company’s goods while his colleague remains on site to oversee the daily operation of the factory. As the company began to flourish, Changsoo desired more than financial success for his business; he longed to make the company distinctive and different from other businesses in the country. With a heart for people, he decided to open up employment to applicants with physically limited mobility.
This decision, which seems commonplace in the U.S., is unthinkable in Cambodian culture. “In Cambodia, disabled people are considered ‘cursed,’” says Changsoo. “Culturally, they believe that a person born with a disability is this way because of some sin committed by an ancestor. It’s similar to Karma. Whole communities shun people with disabilities because of this belief.” Despite this cultural mentality, Changsoo wanted to offer these individuals a new life while communicating to an international audience the Christian belief that all people matter to God. “It’s the best way to provide them dignified jobs,” says Changsoo. “Traditionally, they are not given any opportunity to work. I wanted to make a statement to show that business owners can make a difference.”
Changsoo instituted a new hiring policy and now employs 30 individuals with physical limitations. “He is the perfect example of an alumnus living out Westminster’s mission statement,” says Dr. Dani Butler, director of global partnerships. “After 15 years of relationship with him as a student, graduate, and friend, I can see the strength of Westminster in him. It goes beyond the school building and is true of nearly every student. When [graduates] go out the door, they don’t disconnect. It is very rewarding and humbling to see the fruit of what we do here — to know as teachers that what we’re doing in the classroom makes a difference in someone’s life,” she says. “You don’t always see it at first because you are just planting the seed. But eventually, the fruit appears — even in places as far away as Cambodia! That’s why we keep doing what we’re doing.”
Brooke Cusumano ’13 helped lead the Southern Illinois University women’s golf team to a ninth-place finish at the FGCU Eagle Invitational in February. Brooke had the school’s lowest round of the weekend. She dropped a stroke off her score each day of the tournament and led the Salukis with an overall 234 (79-78-77) to finish, tied for 18th. Read more
St. Louis University sophomore center Sadie Stipanovich ’13 was named the Atlantic 10 Conference women’s basketball Player of the Week in February 2015. Read more
Bennett Lewis ’13, sophomore at Washington and Lee University, is a Division III Scholar All-American for the second straight season. Bennett completed the 2015 season with a 15-6 overall record while competing at 197 pounds. He won the 197-pound weight class at the W&L Invitational and placed third in the same weight class in the Washington & Jefferson Invitational. He has compiled a 36-19 overall record. Read more
Two goals from Katie Matheny ’13 helped bring the Ohio State Buckeyes women’s ice hockey team to 6-0 win and sweep over Minnesota State. Read More
Missouri State junior center fielder Tate Matheny ’12 was one of 54 Division I baseball players named as a preseason All-American by the publication Perfect Game in 2015. Read more
Aaron Krumsieg ’10 graduated from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in May 2014 and received a full ride scholarship to Yale University. As a masters student, Aaron performs with the Yale Philharmonia and the Brick Haus Brass and is also an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 2014 – 15 season. Learn and hear more