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Alumni Update: Nate Pruszinske and FLTR

Alumni Update: Nate Pruszinske and FLTR

Hello MCA!

It’s been 3 years since my graduation and a lot has been happening lately. As a full time mechanical engineering student at Iowa State University, I decided to participate in the National Student Exchange Program, where I’ve spent my entire Junior year and Summer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa! It’s been an adventure for sure, but even more useful was the opportunity to grow and launch my own business, FLTR.

Over the past two and a half years, I’ve worked on designing sunglasses lenses that would filter your view similar to social media filters, and have designed and manufactured these extremely unique double-gradient sunglasses. Living in Hawaii has given me great opportunity to test the product in a sunny environment, as well as reach out to many travelers and residents in the area.

The unique lenses are what really set FLTR apart from regular sunglasses, which are typically dull, monotone, and desaturating to your view. FLTR’s patent-pending double-gradients lenses shade your upper and lower view, brightening your center focus and enhancing color and contrast like nothing you’ve ever seen before! Instead of just darkening your view with regular sunglasses tones, you can choose between our three filtered lenses – Aloha, Resol, and Lago. FLTRs also use the latest protective vision technology, preventing 99-100% of the sun’s harmful radiation (UVA and UVB rays) from impacting and damaging your eyes! So not only are you enhancing your view, you’re protecting your eyes!

On May 30th I launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund this startup, and have begun raising funds to kick-start these sweet filtered sunglasses! In order to begin manufacturing, we need to reach our goal of $20,000 by June 30th, and can only do so by reaching out to as many people as possible to spread the word!

You can check out the FLTR Kickstarter page at and the website at! Thank you in advance for any and all support.


Faith and Learning: Isolation, Interaction, Integration

Faith and Learning: Isolation, Interaction, Integration

Searching for a private Christian school that truly fits your family values requires research that goes beyond asking about class offerings and extracurriculars. If you want your child to experience a truly Christian education, look into the extent to which the school’s curriculum harmonizes faith and learning. Often, it will be presented in one of three ways: faith and learning in isolation, interaction, or true integration.

Faith and Learning in Isolation

In cases of private schools teaching faith and learning in isolation, teachers often struggle to make connections between their curriculum and faith. Often, in schools such as this, you will hear of a standard lesson plan in the classroom and extracurricular classes that offer Bible studies or prayer meetings before the first bell. In this environment, your student will not learn the way that God has hands in every subject imaginable. When faith and learning are taught in isolation, it often means that the teachers and administration will express neutrality (“It doesn’t matter how I feel, it matters how you feel”) towards controversial matters brought up in school, whereas most parents are seeking conviction of God’s will towards issues that will be brought into your student’s attention.

Faith and Learning Interacting

In a school where faith and learning are interacting, you will often see somewhat haphazard or irregular integration of faith, but not as a whole school. Art teachers may ask students to paint depictions of biblical scenes and English language art teachers may ask students to read psalms as literature, but, oftentimes, the focus is not Christ-centered. Teachers of subjects such as physical education or math may struggle to implement any faith-based learning in their classroom at all, simply shrugging and saying, “I’m not sure how to bring God into my class.” While these schools help to normalize Christianity in the classroom, students may leave these schools still unaware of the will of God in their education.

Faith and Learning Integration

At the point where a school has full faith and learning integration, teachers and administration have worked together to craft a comprehensive curriculum that teaches and celebrates God’s hand in all matters of life, including every subject that can be taught in a classroom. Teachers at this type of private Christian school emphasize a Christian worldview and seek student responses to life’s difficult lessons to assure that they are growing in the Lord. Perhaps most importantly, a school where faith and learning are truly integrated invites students to bring their own learning styles into the classroom, allowing the teacher to flexibly cater to the learning needs of the individual while bringing all students together in their faith.

Maranatha Christian Academy of Minneapolis has discovered the secret to teaching your child in an environment that is faith-centered and modern in its approach to student achievement. From our use of STEAM centers to our base curriculum, we seek the growth of the whole child, both in their faith and in their education.


Maranatha Christian Academy’s Private School Teacher Awards

Maranatha Christian Academy’s Private School Teacher Awards

At the end of every school year, Maranatha Christian Academy, a private K-12 Christian school located in Brooklyn Park, MN, hosts an end-of-the-year BBQ and awards ceremony. The following is a list of the awards and the winners for the 2016-17 academic year. Congratulations award winners.

  • The Leadership Award (1 Peter 5:2-3): This award is to recognize an MCA employee who lives out Godly leadership and influence with andamong their peers. This person has both vision and follow-through to bring about improvements and enhancements to their department, area, or to MCA as a whole. The award is $1,000 cash, plaque, and name prominently displayed at the school.
    • 2016-17 Winner: Deb Larson-Wooton
  • Innovation in the Classroom (Eph. 2:10): This award recognizes innovation and creativity in the classroom. Teachers who construct a learning environment where students explore, imagine, and engage in a variety of stimulating and innovative experiences and who inspire a joy of learning in their students will be nominated for this award by their principals and peers. The recipient receives a $1,000 cash prize, plaque, and name prominently displayed at the school.
    • 2016-17 Winner: Evan Handrick
  • Instructional Excellence (Psalm 32:8): This award recognizes those teachers who excel in instruction and pedagogy. Those who demonstrate a conspicuous desire for student achievement and learning while providing an environment of compassionate care will be nominated by their principals and peers for this award. The award is $1,000 cash, plaque, and name prominently displayed at the school.
    • 2016-17 Winner: Cheri Clausen
  • Faithful Servant (Matthew 25:21): This award is to identify those among our community who faithfully serve those around them with a humble and giving heart. Those that consistently strive to assist and support others will be nominated by their peers within the entire staff for this award. The recipient receives a $1,000 cash prize, plaque, and name prominently displayed at the school.
    • 2016-17 Winner: Karen Boese
  • Teamwork and Collaboration Award (Ecc. 4:9-12): This award will be granted on an annual basis to a group or department(s) modeling teamwork and collaboration in ways that support the vision and programs of Maranatha Christian Academy. Each individual associated with a larger collaborative effort will be recognized by administrators and peers for this award. The winners of this award will split $2000 cash, receive a plaque, and have their name displayed in the school.
    • 2016-17 Winner: Lower School Paraprofessionals (Jenny Huhne, Kathy Brandstetter, Amy Cox, Griffin Finton, Jenni Baden, and Tanya Frey)

Deb Larson-WootenEvan HandrickCheri ClausenKaren BoeseJenny Huhne, Kathy Brandstetter, Amy Cox, Griffin Finton, Jenni Baden, and Tanya Frey



Is All This Worth It? A Selection By 2017 Valedictorian Elise Moore

Is All This Worth It? A Selection By 2017 Valedictorian Elise Moore

As a graduating senior, Elise Moore requested that an excerpt of her valedictorian speech be shared with the community at large.  

Is all this worth it? Is Maranatha worth it? For my first two years, here I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until this year I realized three reasons that set Maranatha apart from the rest.

I transferred here my sophomore year. The first day, I walked into school in my atrocious khakis, and a nervous feeling in my stomach at the thought of having to convince people to like me.

First class of the day, American History.

I sat down in the closest available seat to the door because my legs were shaking. The group of girls I sat next to stopped their conversation and turned toward me. The movie Mean Girls flashed through my mind and I pictured being victimized by the next Regina George. To cut the tension, I made a reference to Sherlock when I noticed the 221B door plastered on one of their planners. We made an instant connection and we’re best friends to this day. Mikayla, Alainna, and Kim thank you for taking a chance on me that day.

Maranatha is worth it because of friendship. From struggling up mountains with Berit to the love and support from the devoted fan section at State games to even coming to this school thanks to Sami’s convincing. Nowhere else is there the chance to create as deep and meaningful relationships as what I have here.

It is rare that so many people will invest in your life. My second reason Maranatha is worth it is because of how much the staff cares. Thank you to Mrs. Brinkley and all my student council family for helping me pursue my passions. Thank you to Mr. I for teaching me that Integrity is My Only Option. Thank you to Mr. Handrick for his French toast and life advice classes. Through Maranatha, I’ve built memories that I never would have accomplished. I’ve looked over a Mexican city from 10,000 feet above. I’ve started a club and got a grant for $9,000. I’ve played basketball on TV and in front of thousands of people. I’ve shaken hands with the governor. For this, I want to thank Mrs. Clutter, Mrs. Nelson and Coach Chris respectively. I could not have done those without you.

Some of you may be thinking this is a unique case of an overachiever, but Maranatha is designed this way. It lives up to its college-prep status. College prep is a school that will prepare you for the challenges faced after high school. Having a Bible class may not help you on the ACT but it will help you in life. My faith has grown immensely since I’ve been here, and in the end, isn’t that the only thing that truly matters? Maranatha is worth it because of faith.

Now, full circle. Is it worth it? Yes. It is. But, where do we go from here?

To the parents in the crowd, congratulations you’ve made a good decision putting your kids here. To the extended families here tonight to celebrate us seniors, thank you for your impact on our lives. To the administration, teachers, and staff thank you for honoring God’s calling to teach us. To my senior class, I want to thank all of you for making this worth it. My story is not unique to this class and I am only successful because all of you showed me how. It’s crazy to think I’ve only been here and known all of you for three years. Wow it’s only been three years and we’ve all grown so much. Imagine what we will do in a lifetime. I want to close with a quote from a scholarly source in history, Professor Albus Dumbledore of Hogwarts. He says, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices”. I made a good choice coming here and so did all of you.

Thank you, Maranatha. You were worth it!

If You Would Like to Learn More about MCA - Let us Know!

4 Topics to Discuss with a Child Transferring to a Private Christian School

4 Topics to Discuss with a Child Transferring to a Private Christian School

When making the switch from a public school to a private Christian school, the transition can be a major change for your child. Even though this change is a positive one, adolescents often have trouble in times of transition. Talking with your child about what to expect in their new environment prior to making the switch can ease the stress that your child may feel. When planning your discussion, here are 4 things that should be touched on:

  1. Be Open and Willing to Change

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” As your children prepare for the shift from public to private school, remind them that the new adventure they are going on is one that will bring positive change to their education. The smaller class sizes mean that your child will get individualized support and resources that they may have not had access to. In addition, they can expect to be around individuals who think, feel, and behave the way that they do. They don’t have to be afraid to be themselves. This all adds up to a school experience that can’t be found in a public school setting.

  1. Rejoice in Your Strengths

Private schools tend to have more opportunities for extracurricular enrichment and programs than their public school counterparts. Private Christian schools, , believe that it takes more than an education in math and science to create a well-rounded person. Courses, electives, and clubs offer opportunities to demonstrate skills that don’t necessarily make an appearance in the common classroom. Private Christian schools assure that the arts, sports, and academic enrichment are a central part of its curriculum.

  1. Be Prepared for a Challenge

Expectations at a private school, such as Maranatha Christian Academy, tend to be higher than the expectations held at a public school. Christian values and morals play a huge part in what makes up the school culture. The small class sizes make it almost impossible to slip through the cracks y. Being a part of a private Christian school community can be a linchpin in the life of a student, changing the way that they interact with the world around them. The result is focus, dedication, and commitment to the goal of learning and growing as Christians, students, citizens, and the future workforce.

  1. Take Healthy Risks

Attending a new school means that there are new opportunities to engage in risk-taking behavior. Explain to your child that good decision making comes from taking healthy risks. These include opening yourself up to peers, attempting to do things that are more difficult than they are used to, and trying out for teams or joining clubs. By becoming a part of the school culture through healthy risk-taking, students are more likely to feel comfortable in their private Christian school.

Brian’s Blog: God Works

Brian’s Blog: God Works

God Works
By Brian Sullivan, Head of School at Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

I want to pose a theological question: What do you think God does all day? Consider the people who have retired from their work. They don’t know what to do with their time. We all talk about killing time, or just finding things to do to pass the time. God has all of eternity. What do you think he does with his time? Is He involved in hobbies?  What does God actually do every day?

A number of biblical scholars would answer this question in one word; they would say God “works”. If you go to the beginning of the Scriptures in the Book of Genesis, it says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. “The opening lines of the Bible are filled with verbs that describe a God of action. He separates light from darkness. He makes the sky and the solid ground. He gathers the water together into the oceans. He creates plants and living creatures.

God worked at the very beginning. But, after the sixth day, he didn’t go into retirement. Psalm 104 says that the universe doesn’t run on its own. It’s run by God.  Yes, God is running the universe every day, but the Bible makes it clear he is particularly busy working with people like us. Psalm 121 shares, “The God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.”  Instead, He’s busy guarding, guiding, providing, protecting, and watching over His people.

Then, He sent Jesus so we could know what He’s like. Jesus also came to earth as a worker, spending most of his adult life with his hands busy as a carpenter. That’s an amazing thing to think about.

Here was the creator of heaven and earth, who’s obviously really good at making things, making benches, tables, and chairs.  Can you imagine the quality, the standards of his work as a carpenter? He was blessed by and in turn blessed work.

From the Gospel of John, we hear Jesus saying, “My Father is working still, and I am working.” In fact, God is described in Scripture by a series of metaphors that all involve work. He’s a gardener, He’s described as an artist, He’s a potter that works with the clay of our lives, and He’s a shepherd, guiding his flock.  He’s a king ruling over all things. “The God of the Bible,” one theologian puts it, “is preeminently a worker. He is highly interested in work.”

Now here’s why this is very significant to us. At the end of God’s work in the creation story, the Bible says, “The Lord God formed a man from the dust in the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  We are created in His image and because of this we were also created to do work, among other things. I believe a lot of Christians are confused about this sometimes. We think that work is a result of the Fall, or that before the Fall, nobody had to work.

But the Bible portrays a different picture. According to the Bible, and as I’ve stated, God is a worker. And before the Fall, the Bible says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it.” God created human beings in his image to work, to create value, to produce, to create and to steward. This was all before the Fall and it’s essential for our students to understand this truth.

When the Fall came along, when sin entered the world, it did affect work. God said, “There would be thorns and thistles in the ground.” In other words, there would now be frustration with work. Up until then, work had been sheer joy. But after the Fall, drudgery, frustration, and challenge became associated with work.

I believe God’s intent is for work to be redeemed from the curse because work itself is very good. God created us to do things.  As adults and Christians, this is what we shouldmodel, advocate for and teach our students.  The redemption of work from the curse is part of our responsibility to them, because work can and should be a form of worship.

The need for understanding and teaching on this is underscored by a Recent Barna Group 5-year study of why young people are leaving the church.  It revealed that 84% of Christians ages 18-29 professed to have no idea how the Bible or God applies to their professional study and work.  Yet, between the ages of 18 and 67, 100k hours of their lives will be spent working.  This is a huge disconnect within this generation of believers.

Paul makes a remarkable statement in Col. 3:23-24. Not only is it remarkable for its truth, but also because he is writing to slaves, people at the bottom of the “Life Organizational Chart”.  They had no rights, no possessions, and no identity beyond being slaves. He says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart because you work for the Lord, not for human masters. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Here, Paul’s point, which is equally applicable to all levels of work and academic study, is that as Christians, we must work as a whole person, totally given to the task at hand.  The project, the study, the paper, or assignment can seem unimportant or even trivial, but the person doing it is never that, and he or she has the opportunity to turn every one of these jobs into a literal act of worship.

Our work matters to God, and instilling this value in the lives of our students matters to Him also.


What Makes a Private K-12 Education Worth the Cost

What Makes a Private K-12 Education Worth the Cost

Choosing to enroll your child in a private K-12 education program is a big decision. It will affect your child, your family, and your future. The good news is that, statistically, a private school education is more rigorous, more well-rounded, and more sufficiently resourced than its public school counterparts. If you’re still deciding whether public or private school is appropriate for your family, here are 4 reasons that private schools are pulling ahead:

Smaller Class Sizes

In a 2002 study by Bruce Briddler and David Berliner found that students who participated in classes with smaller numbers made greater academic gains than their peers in larger classes. When teachers have less children in a classroom, each child is getting an extra helping of loving guidance that they may not experience in a larger public school setting. Smaller class sizes allow teachers to hone in on students’ weaknesses and strengths. Then, by working together with parents, teachers are able to craft and follow through with child-specific learning programs. A private K-12 education is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it is specifically catered to your child’s needs.

A Safer Learning Environment

Private schools maintain standards of discipline that outweigh their public school counterparts. Smaller student population and clear, consistent rules allow faculty and staff members to be more observant and more uniform in maintaining disciplinary standards. The rigorous standards set forth in the private school setting help students develop life skills, such as self-control and integrity. Developing those skills early mean greater success in post-secondary and career settings.

Passionate Teachers and Professionals

Private schools attract teachers who are passionate about their subject, their students, and their school community. Teachers in the private k-12 setting are more likely to have advanced degrees in education or their content area, meaning that their students are getting the cream of the crop in terms of professional educators. In a 2012 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), it was reported that 48.5% of private school teachers have a Bachelor’s degree, 35.8% have a Master’s degree, and 7.35% hold a degree higher than a Master’s. The teachers that your students will experience during their tenure at a private school are specially trained and highly motivated to give your children the best quality educational experience available.

Academic Results

Students who are enrolled in a private school are on track to be well-prepared for college- and career-readiness. A 2002 survey by NCES found that private school students perform higher on standardized tests than public school students and that they are more likely to complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program by their mid-twenties. Students enrolled in a private k-12 education are on the fast track to success, making the cost of private school worth its weight in gold when it comes to preparing your child for their future. A private school setting is the perfect petri dish to help your child grow socially, emotionally, and academically into the future’s citizens, leaders, neighbors, and innovators.

Scholarship Offers

Scholarship offers for students graduating from private schools are generally not the exception to the rule, but rather the norm. This stems from a number of different things, including higher academic results, relationships developed between these institutions and high-ranking universities, and the personal attention given to each student as they design their post-secondary plans. This is evident at Maranatha Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The past three years, an average graduating class of 45 have been offered over $4 million in scholarships.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Choose a Private Elementary School

4 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Choose a Private Elementary School


Choosing the appropriate private elementary school for your little one can be an arduous process. There are standards and values about education and behavior that each family holds dear. Finding a school that meets those standards and values doesn’t always come easy. Asking yourself these  four questions before starting your search for the perfect private elementary school can ease the process and assure that you are making the right decision for your child.

  1. Why Am I Sending My Child to a Private Elementary School?

Whether it’s an interest in faith-based learning or simply a desire for students to get the best education that a district has to offer, the decision to place your child in a private elementary school comes with both tangible and intangible costs. According to Private School Review, the current average cost of tuition for a private school is $10,003 per year. That cost may seem steep, but not if your desire for a top-notch, faith-based education is your #1 priority.

  1. What Resources and Amenities Does My Family Need?

If you’ve only dealt with public schools up to this point in your life, you may find that private elementary schools  have different resources, amenities, and schedules. For example, not all private elementary schools offer transportation or operate amenably with your schedule. While this may take some schedule adjustments and planning, many parents find the extra time spent with their child transporting them to school becomes a highlight of their day and an invaluable relationship builder between child and parent.

  1. How Does The Private Elementary Handle Behavior Issues?

It can be tough for elementary age students to mitigate the expectations they have at school and the expectations they have at home. Whereas public schools don’t have the ability to ground their disciplinary plan in faith, private schools do. That means that students will be inspired, empowered, and encouraged to be tomorrow’s good neighbors in a community that supports the same morals and values that you share at home.

  1. How Will They Support My Student’s Specific Learning Needs?

Whether your student is working at, below, or above grade level, they have learning needs that must be met to help them become tomorrow’s leaders. If you student is working above grade level, ask about enrichment programs or accelerated work programs. If your student is below grade level or is living with a learning disability, you’ll want to ask whether the private elementary that you are interested in has a special education or resource program that will support your child’s needs. Assuring that your student will receive the best learning outcomes requires that your student receives the best learning resources.

Considering these questions will undoubtedly assist parents in their pursuit of a private elementary education. Elite private schools, such as Maranatha Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, have excelled at working with parents to guide them in their decision-making process.

Summertime Safety Tips

Summertime Safety Tips

“Summertime Safety Tips”

Healthful Hints from the nurse

Summer is almost here and time for long warm sunny days with swimming, biking and picnics! It is also time to be thinking of safety. Here are a few tips to have a summer that is fun and safe.

  • Always wear a properly fitting helmet when riding a bike or scooter and while rollerblading or skateboarding. (Approximately 400 deaths occur each year in the U.S. because children were not wearing a helmet plus there are thousands of injuries; many of them serious). If the parent wears a helmet the child will model this behavior.
  • Always wear sun block when out in the sun and avoid the midday sun as much as possible. The higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B (the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn and skin cancer). Using a sun block that is SPF of 30 is recommended; make sure every part of your child’s body gets a good coating. Pay special attention to burn-prone areas like the ears, nose, back of the neck and shoulders; and reapply often, after swimming and when sweating.
  • To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, especially water during outside work and when participating in sports.
  • Never swim alone. Never leave a child unattended in a backyard swimming pool. Never dive in unfamiliar water. Shower or bathe after swimming in lake water to avoid getting “swimmer’s itch”. Always wear a life vest when boating. (Every year at least 3000 people drown in the U.S. making it the next most serious summertime risk behind traffic accidents).
  • Always wear a car seat belt! Adults should lead the way and model this behavior as well (June, July, and August have the highest rate of auto fatalities).
  • Never leave a child alone in a car, not even for a second. With summertime comes hot weather and temperatures in a car can soar above 100 degrees in a short time. (More than 30 children die each year of heatstroke from being left in a car).
  • Lawnmower safety- children under the age of 12 should not use a lawnmower. Older children who mow should always wear sturdy shoes (not sandals or flip flops)
  • Bug safety- avoid scented soaps which attract bees and wasps. Use child-type insect repellants on your child’s skin and clothes to ward off mosquitoes. To protect your child from ticks in wooded areas, dress them in long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into socks. Use insect repellant on exposed skin and do a “tick check” on head and body after being out.

Have a fun and safe summer. See you in the fall!