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Different generation, same classroom: Lansing Christian teacher walks in grandmother’s footsteps

By Ashlee De Wit

LANSING, Ill. (September 15, 2022) – Beaming, energetic, and nervous pre-kindergarteners started their school year at Lansing Christian School (LCS) on September 7, welcomed into their classroom by teacher Jennifer Bos. After weeks of planning and preparing, Bos, a first-year teacher, was also excited to start her school year at LCS — but in a way, the moment had been generations in the making.

Long before Bos started setting up her room, another young teacher took her spot at the front of a Lansing Christian class — Bos’ grandmother, Cecelia Rietveld, who spent her entire 19-year teaching career at LCS.

Rietveld graduated from Purdue in 1971 with a degree in elementary education. “It took me seven years to get my degree,” she said. But it didn’t take her long to find work. “Ed Mulder was the principal (at LCS) then; he knew my family, and he knew I was going to school.” He offered her a job upon graduation.

Different generation, same classroom

Rietveld spent her first couple of years teaching third grade at LCS, and moved to their first-grade level for a couple years before she retired. But she spent the bulk of her career in the kindergarten classroom — the westernmost room in the building. It’s the same room where Bos now teaches PreK–4.

Cecelia Rietveld peels an apple as part of a class lesson. Rietveld spent the majority of her 19-year career teaching kindergarten at Lansing Christian School, in the very same classroom that her granddaughter is teaching in this year. She retired in 1990. (Photo provided)

“This room is perfect — I loved it!” Rietveld said. “All these windows; it’s so spacious. I think it’s the nicest room in the school!”

“I think so too, but we might be biased,” Bos said.

“We are!” Rietveld laughed.

The big, south-facing bay windows, complete with storage benches, are a highlight of the room. The class is connected to the room next door by a shared space for coats, boots, and classroom storage.

Lansing Christian
Rietveld (left) and Bos stand in front of the large windows that lit Rietveld’s classroom decades ago and will now serve Bos’ students. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)

“I think you’ll really like that,” Rietveld told Bos.

Those adjoining rooms host pre-kindergarten classes for three- and four-year-olds — Bos teaching the latter; she and the PreK–3 teacher, Laurel De Young, intend to share not only space, but also curriculum and ideas.

Lansing Christian collaboration

“The culture here is so gracious!” Bos said. “The veteran staff has been very welcoming. You don’t find that everywhere. Teachers are reaching out, mentoring, and sharing ideas.”

“That just gives me the shivers,” Rietveld said. “I remember that feeling well: all working together, the teachers, board and principal. This is a wonderful place to be in — they’re helpful, they’re praying for you. All the teachers here want a good, solid education for every child — and a Godly one.”

A Lansing Christian legacy continues

Outdoors near the classroom is a fenced-in playground with rubber mulch — an upgrade from the open, wooden playground and gravel of years past, Rietveld noted. Most of the rest is the same as she remembers, even some of the faces are the same. Bos is now teaching with some of Rietveld’s former co-workers, and even some former students.

Rietveld retired in 1990. “It was not because I didn’t want to teach anymore, but because of life changes,” she said. Her daughters were grown and her husband traveled all over the world for his job with the Bible League — he was tired of traveling by himself, and she decided she’d like to go with him.

“And now 32 years later, I passed the baton to Jennifer [Bos],” Rietveld said. “[I am] so happy for her.”

Lansing Christian School is located at 3660 Randolph Street in Lansing.


Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.