Alumni Headlines

Sarah (Rensink) Waltner, 1997 Freeman Academy graduate, graced the cover of Sioux Falls Woman magazine this month. The article focuses on how Waltner has maintained balance as a wife, mother, and Director of Operations for Raven Industries. Waltner concludes, “The end goal is to live a life and to serve God and others, whether it’s at work or at home, we do it well because we’ve taken care of ourselves and our priorities along the way.”

Read more starting on page 83 clicking “Latest Issue” at at

Cicy Li Wins $1000 Concerto Competition

Freeman Academy graduate Yunxi “Cicy” Li recently won $1000 and the honor of playing a concerto with the Seattle Pacific symphony. Her award presentation and performance can be viewed at Brass, string, keyboard and vocal students vied for top honors in this concerto competition. Cicy is studying performance piano at Seattle Pacific University. She graduates in 2019 and plans to pursue a graduate degree in piano afterward. Cicy’s junior recital will be live at on May 21 at 9:30 central time.

Exploring Art & Worship with Michelle Hofer

Michelle Hofer’s art includes the Book of the Saints which she has been painting this spring. More pictures from this book and stories about each saint are at

The stories and pictures of saints, cathedrals and ancient and modern art was the focus of Freeman Academy grad and worship artist, Michelle Hofer, at chapel on Friday.

Michelle shared, “As a child, my sisters and I spent hours and hours on our bikes outside on the farm. I watched nature – the wind in the trees, the way different trees reacted. Their different shades of green. My mind absorbed all these things. Then I realized there had to be somebody who made all this stuff because it was so cool. I must have been about eight when I decided there must be a god and I wanted to know him because he was an artist like me.”

Michelle shared her artwork and the experiences that inspired it including trips to Scotland, Ireland and the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey.

A gilded mosaic of Christ in the Hagia Sophia inspired Michelle to create her own version as a banner for her church.

“This Byzantine mosaic really impacted me and made me think, ‘I want to learn about this art form.’ As Protestants and Anabaptists, many of us have been cut off from this early art form. I feel part of my calling is to share and educate about this art. I’m also interested in how we can add art to our worship places. This piece has been to several areas of the country. It is made of 1000s of little tiles I cut myself.”

“From the begging of Christianity, believers have had a desire to express their faith in images,” she said. “This image is from the catacombs of Rome. Thanks to new laser technology, we can see underneath the paint layers and plaster and decay, to see wonderful images of the early church.”

She concluded with encouragement for students to explore their gifts and combine them with their faith, “I believe God has gifted me with this talent and I can share my faith through my artistic gifts.”

Safe Return from HS Trip to DC

Students and Staff enjoyed seeing the White House lit up at night last week.

Freeman Academy students stepped back on to SD soil about 7:30 last night. We appreciate everyone who supported this trip through prayer or giving. The blessings were many and the concerns few. Thank you for making this robust learning opportunity possible.

They also toured the historic neighborhood nearby which includes the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Washington Museums Bring Learning to Life

Photo by Andrea W.

Freeman Academy students visited four museums during their last two days in Washington, D.C. Here’s a glimpse of that experience through the eyes and cameras of students.

“Exploring the Universe was my favorite exhibit at the Air and Space Museum. It was in a very dark room with will little lights above you to make it look like stars. I love learning about the universe in general because I’m amazed at how God created it. This exhibit gave me a new perspective.” – Andrea W., senior

Salvador’s picture of the Wright Flyer.

“At the Air and Space Museum I enjoyed the Wright brother’s story. It was fun to learn things that most people don’t know about them. For example, they were really devoted to their family. As they worked on the plane, they shared ideas with family and asked for input. Really smart gentlemen.” –Salvador C., senior

Photo credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

“I learned a lot at the Holocaust Museum. I was really struck by the persecution the Jews went through in the concentration camps. I thought the Jews were sent to camps to work until they died, but many were shot right away.” –Stephen W., Senior

Photo credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

”At the Holocaust Museum there was a section that was full of shoes… and a part showing they cut off human hair and they would sell it. That was terrifying. I loved the quotes on the walls from some people who experienced the Holocaust. I remember seeing one from Deuteronomy 4.” – Jessica S, junior

“Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.” Deuteronomy 4:9

“At the Natural History Museum, I liked the display the on ancient Egypt. The design and painting inside and outside the coffin was so detailed.

Then there were the embalmed animals that the Egyptians did.

There was a mummified bull.

Cats and little lizards.

From tiny creatures to big.”

–Mary, Senior

Digging into Creation Care

Freeman Academy HS students packed in a variety of experiences on their Washington, DC trip. On Saturday, they learned about the Vine and Fig ministry in Harrisonburg, VA, which “creates sustainable systems that care for the earth, empower people, educate and inspire.” Students helped incorporate mulch into community gardens and paint signs for a community bicycle project.