Alumni Spotlight: Meredith Wiggers Heintz ’89
Meredith believes that her Faith In Action senior service project at Westminster set her on the path to do what she does today, serving as head of school at Promise Christian Academy, an evangelical Christian school in St. Louis that serves and educates children with special needs.
Since 2007, Promise has been a Faith In Action site for Westminster seniors—81 to date. The school has also hired two former senior service students, Sarah Dieckgraefe ’10 and Katherine Hickman ’11, following college graduation. “I have been blessed to be able to help mold several young men and women in their journeys just as someone did for me,” says Meredith. Thirty percent of Promise employees are Westminster alumni, and 50 percent are members of the broader Westminster family.
Meredith graduated from Calvin College in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation with an emphasis in pediatrics. She has served as head of school at Promise since December 2007.
By blending academics with faith and multiple therapies into each school day, Promise Christian Academy, founded in 2004, builds an “onramp for life” for its students with special needs. The school affirms the innate value of every child and works to discover and cultivate each student’s potential. While Meredith was a student at Westminster, one of the school year themes was “Walk your talk.” This particular theme has stayed with Meredith, as she strives to apply it to her work today. “I pray that I am ‘walking my talk’ and living out my faith in helping children with special needs and their families,” she says. “With Christ’s help, I am working the mission field in which He has planted me—working to further His kingdom, one step at a time.”
For the 2015–16 school year, Promise opened a fourth classroom, focused on secondary education and preparing students for life after Promise, which includes employment and higher/technical education. This particular classroom has begun participating in Westminster Chapel once a month!
To accommodate a growing student body, the school has purchased 4.2 acres of property adjacent to West Hills Community Church on South Outer 40 Road, where it currently leases classroom space. They are in the process of raising $6 million to build this new school so that they can open their doors, debt free, in August 2017.
Meredith and her husband David celebrated 22 years of marriage in August and have three children: Hannah (Westminster senior who is doing her senior service at Promise), Luke (Westminster sophomore), and Matthew (Kirk Day School 6th grader). Meredith is thankful for the unique opportunity to send her children to the same school she attended. In response to a question on her admissions application about why she wanted to attend Westminster, her daughter Hannah wrote, “I want to experience everything that my mom experienced.”
Meredith says, “As Hannah walked into Westminster on the first day of 7th grade, I was confident that she was walking the same halls that I walked, being taught by some of the same teachers I had, and receiving the same incredible education rooted in biblical truth that I received. Now, as a parent of two Westminster students, I am extremely thankful for the sacrifices that my parents and the founding families of Westminster made for me and my children, who I know are experiencing everything that I experienced and a whole lot more!” Meredith says that Westminster laid a strong foundation of faith for her and every other Westminster alumnus/a working alongside her. She says, “Westminster truly shaped us in how we see children with special needs as fully bearing the image of God.”