Class of '99
Greetings Class of 1999!
Gustavus recently unveiled a new slogan, Extraordinary People. Extraordinary Place. So simple, but so true! Think about it. What was it that made your experience at Gustavus memorable? Whether it was that thoughtful Collegiate Fellow or inspiring professor, I think we’d all agree that the people encountered during our time on the hill made for a truly unique learning environment.
In the spirit of Extraordinary People, your Class Agent team has decided to offer a series of spotlights on various classmates. It’s amazing to see where our fellow Gusties are today and how they positively influence the world.
To get the ball rolling, we asked Dave Scherer to elaborate on his mission with JUMP: The Hip Hop Worship Experience. Read on for more on how his outreach is bringing new hope to at-risk youth, while breathing new life into the inner-city ministry.
A few years ago a group of urban youth workers from Minneapolis felt frustrated with the music at their churches. They felt like the traditional music wasn't speaking to their kids, who longed to be spiritually nurtured. This group hired me to write a worship service that would be more relevant to urban youth culture.
This year we launched "JUMP" (Joint Urban Ministries in Praise) at Redeemer Lutheran and it has been a smashing success. It is so inspiring to me to see the future of the church come alive right before my very eyes. JUMP is such a unique service. I don't really know how to describe the service, but a few stories do come to mind...
...I think about Tyrone. Tyrone is a middle schooler who was getting in trouble at school and was very "at risk." He lacked a lot of confidence, but we knew he had gifts of rapping and performing. We asked Tryone to perform at a JUMP service, and he blew the roof off. The congregation went wild as he rapped and sang his praises to God in a very authentic way. Afterward, his face lit up as he began to see how he could use his gifts for something so positive. I have started to take him on the road with me and I am amazed at what a positive leader he has become.
...At one of our worships, there were a few boys that came from a drug house next door. They heard our DJ spinning hip-hop records during the worship and they wanted to be a part of it. They ran up to the altar before we could stop them and began dancing and shaking. Soon, a few other kids said, "I want to dance, too" and so they got up there and did their thing. Before we knew it there was a dance party at the altar. Everyone was offering their gifts to God. We would never look at offering the same. Now every offering, we allow for youth to come up and dance, or offer whatever gifts they have and it is one of the most exciting parts of the worship.
One of our theme songs for our worship is "All Are Welcome." It says that no matter where you come from, JUMP is a place where you can be yourself. It gives me hope to see all God's children: Black and white, male and female, straight and gay, liberal and conservative, Lutheran and non-denominational, all worshipping the same God in the same building.
If you are interested in attending a JUMP worship, or helping sponsor our service, please contact Kelly Chatman at Redeemer Lutheran Church (612-374-4139). If you would like to host a JUMP at your church, you can contact Rachel Bolte (email@example.com). Here's the info on the service:
JUMP: The Hip Hop Worship Experience
Redeemer Lutheran Church
1800 Glenwood Avenue (on the corner of Glenwood and Logan in North Minneapolis) second Sunday of every month 6 p.m. open mike 7p.m. worship.
Now, to the updates!
- MATT CRANE and ANDREA SCHMIDT-CRANE welcomed a baby girl, Elizabeth Anne, home on November 12, 2004.
- EMILY HENDERSON BOYLAN gave birth to Hannah Elizabeth on February 1, 2004. The family is currently living in Escondido, CA, where Emily is a Title I teacher.
- ALLISON PENNER RAHN and her husband, Kevin, had a baby boy way back in 2003 (we are behind on this news!). Jackson Walker was born on December 22. The family is living in Shakopee.
- NICOLE GARMS PUDWELL had a baby boy on November 16, 2004. She and her husband, Scott, welcomed home Joshua William to their home in Coon Rapids, MN. Nicole is working as a human resources generalist at Integress Metals.
- SARAH JONES RIPPIE and TRAVIS RIPPIE had a daughter, Lillian June, on January 1, 2005. Congratulations to the New Year’s baby and family!
- MELISSA MILLER DOLS and her husband, Aric, had a baby girl last year! Anna Maria was brought into the Gustavus family on August 28, and the family lives in Rogers, MN.
- ZAHILYA AUSTIN and wife, Trish Hiscock Austin ’00, had a baby boy, Kalen, on October 8, 2004. The Austins are living in Rochester, MN, where Zahilya is a property manager with Metes & Bounds.
- HADDIE HEITKAMP OEBSER and husband, Scott, had a baby girl named Isabelle on July 20, 2004. She is working as a meteorologist for WISC-TV, and lives in Madison, WI.
- MIKE WANOUS and his wife, Holly, had a baby boy named William Richard on September 24, 2004. He is working as a conservation manager, and the family lives in Waconia, MN.
- HOLLY SWANSON PARKS and husband, CHRIS PARKS, brought home a baby boy!
- Hudson joined the Parks family on May 22, 2004. He and his family live in Eden Prairie, MN.
- WARREN STOLTMAN and his wife, Amanda, welcomed their first child. Grant Richard was born on October 14, 2004. The Stoltmans live in Elk River, MN.
- LIZ REED EDEN and husband, MATT EDEN, had their first child! Maya Alysse was born on November 7, 2004. The Edens live in sunny Queen Creek, AZ.
- JAALA JONES gave birth to daughter Azaria on July 1, 2004. She is currently working for Cingular Wireless and lives in Jackson, MS. Congratulations!
- HEATHER MAGNUSON RODNING and husband, Patrick, had a baby boy on July 7, 2004! Anders joined the Rodning family who lives in Eagan, MN. Heather is a kindergarten teacher in the Burnsville/Eagan/Savage school district.
- CHRIS SWANSSON and his wife, Corene (Laue ’01) had a baby boy, Chance, on October 30, 2004! The Swansons live in Eagan, MN.
- SARAH HAMMAR HERZER and husband, Thomas, had their first child, Anna Elizabeth. Their daughter was born on July 15, 2004. The family is living in Wittenberg, Germany.
- SARA PRIHODA GILLETTE and her husband, Ryan, had their first child, William Lowell, on November 16, 2004. The Gillettes are living in Austin, MN.
- SARA BERG was married to Nathan Kreyres ’96 on October 16, 2004, in Christ Chapel. The couple is living in Minneapolis.
- TRICIA OTTERBLAD married Noel Kohanski on May 8, 2004, in Thunder Bay, ON. She is working as an ER nurse at Thunder Bay Regional Hospital. Tricia and Noel spent their honeymoon in sunny St. Lucia.
- DEBRA DAHL was married on February 12, 2005, to Thomas Otto. The newlyweds are living in Maple Grove.
- JOY JOHNSON married Mark McGrath (presumably not of Sugar Ray fame), on September 18, 2004. Joy and Mark live in Kalamazoo, MI.
- AMANDA WRIGHT married Geoff Elfstrum on August 14, 2004. She is a program manager of health economics for Guidant Corporation.
- MICHELLE BEISSEL married Winfield Heath ’97 on August 21, 2004. Michelle has completed her master’s in English from the University of Maine, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Winfield is a map scientist at PBS&J in Beltsville, MD.
- AARON FAHL married Angie Henrikson ’98 on September 25, 2004, in Wayzata. The Fahls are currently living in Plymouth.
- FAITH THIESSE married Mark DeChristopher in Fairmont, MN, on August 14, 2004. They reside in Bristow, VA. Faith is a social studies teacher at Oakton High School in Vienna, VA.
- KIM JOHNSON was married to Jason Carlton on August 28, 2004 in Geneva, MN. She is currently working for Minneapolis Environmental Health in Minneapolis.
- CARRIE NELSON married MATT SUNDBERG on May 15, 2004. The couple lives in St. Paul.
- KATIE GRANT married, Matthew Hansen, on September 11, 2004. Katie is working as a transportation seller for C. H. Robinson. The Hansens live in Burnsville, MN.
- JARED CHESTER married Holly Peterson ’00 on August 14, 2004, in Minneapolis. Jared is employed by U.S. Bank in Bloomington, MN. Holly works for RBC Dain Rauscher in Minneapolis.
- KRISTINE WATERS married Andrew Nelsen on July 10, 2004. The couple is living in Inver Grove Heights, MN.
- MARLO UNDERLEE was married to Randy Ray on June 5, 2004. Marlo is working as an account manager at Ryan Partnership. She and Randy are living in Minneapolis.
- MELISSA McDOUGALL was married to Jamie Zuel on September 5, 2004. She is a registered nurse at Fairview University Medical Center, and lives in St. Louis Park, MN.
- MICHAEL RYAN is pursuing his law degree at the Seattle University School of Law. He is also working as an assistant prosecutor for the county.
- KATHRYN HEINS WURSTER graduated from the University of Colorado with a master’s in vocal performance in May 2004, and is putting her talents to use on the performance stage. She and her husband Miles ’98 live in Brighton, CO.
- JULIE MOBERG GILBERT completed her master’s of library and information sciences degree this past December from the College of St. Benedict/Dominican University. She is working as a reference librarian at Rasmussen College in scenic Mankato, MN.
- ROB WILLIAMS recently completed his master’s of education from St. Mary’s University. He is teaching third grade and coaching football in the Aitkin (MN) school district. His wife, BRITA ERIKSEN WILLIAMS is a special education teacher in the same district. The couple lives in Brainerd.
- KIRSTEN AMUNDSON has completed her master’s of education! She is working as a seventh grade social studies teacher in Eden Prairie, and lives in Minneapolis.
- ANN MILLER is racking up diplomas! In December 2004, Ann completed her Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. She is now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Zoology. She and husband, Dave Johnson ’98 are living in Madison.
- CHIEW-SENG KOAY has completed a master’s degree in physics from the University of Minnesota, and is now pursuing a degree in optical science from the University of Central Florida. Chiew-Seng lives in Orlando, FL.
- RISHI GUPTA is pursuing his MBA at Duke University. He began the program in August 2004.
- JENNIFER CARLSON completed her master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, Tucson in May 2004. She is currently living in Edina, MN.
- MATT NOBLE is employed as a firefighter/hazardous materials technician for Wackenhut Corporation. He is currently supporting Coalition Forces in Baghdad.
- JENELLE MONTOYA is currently an analyst for Entronix International in Rogers, MN, and is living in Elk River. She is planning a move to Colorado this spring.
- ALETHEA WERNER FREIDRICHS has recently accepted the position of director of the Sibley County (MN) Public Health Department. She and her husband, Troy, live in Gibbon, MN.
- SARAH SCHUETTE is employed as a senior editor at Capstone Press in Mankato, MN. She is living in Henderson, MN.
- DEBBIE LANG is living in Minneapolis, and works as an attorney with the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office. She practices in adult felonies, so watch out!
- KRISTIN KNUTSON KAJER is employed as a sales representative for Pearson Education. She lives and works in Woodbury, MN.
- ANDREA KVAMME is working as a certified registered nurse anesthetist with Eau Claire Anesthesiology. She completed her masters in nurse anesthesia at the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia in December 2004. She is also living in Eau Claire, WI.
- ELIN AHLDEN has returned to America! She is living and working in San Diego, CA, where she is a senior manager in market communications with Ericsson Incorporated.
- BOBBI MIEST-BAUMANN is working as a kindergarten teacher at Forest Hills Elementary in Eden Prairie, MN. She and her new husband are also living in EP.
- SARA ROBINSON-GAMMACK is an elementary school teacher in the Wayzata school district. She and husband, Jeffrey, live in south Minneapolis.
- RACHEL EGGIMANN NELSON is working at Paynesville Elementary School, and lives in Willmar.
- FRED PALM is working as the manager of program operations for the Faculty Resource Network at New York University. He is living in Long Island City, NY, and has begun a masters program in international education policy at Fordham University.
- JASON POIRIER is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He lives in Cottage Grove, MN.
- ERIN KLAERS is a first grade teacher at Minnewashta Elementary in Minnetonka, MN. She lives in Plymouth.
- JESSE TORGERSON is currently a buyer in the Decorative Home division at Target Corporation, and is living in southwest Minneapolis.
- SHARI HAALAND is a teacher in the Moundsview School District, and lives in Arden Hills, MN. She is engaged to Matt Gibson, and a summer wedding is planned.
- KEVIN OLSON is working as a police officer with the Bloomington (MN) police department. He and his wife, Alaina, live in dear old St. Peter.
- JASON HOVLAND is the circulation manager at the Chaska Public Library in Chaska, MN.
- CHAD HOLTHAUS is the executive director of the Newell Hill Music Foundation in Minneapolis. Chad is living in Lauderdale, MN.
- TATUM MOHR KLINGBEIL is the assistant general manager of the Northwest Athletic Club at Target Center. She and husband, Ben, live in Lino Lakes, MN.
- JULIE LANDREMAN-SULAMOYO is working as a kindergarten teacher in Kenosha, WI, and lives in Racine, WI. She has recently begun a master’s of education program with Cardinal Stritch University.
- AMY RIESE is a resident of psychiatric medicine at the Medical College of Ohio. Amy is living in Toledo.
Well, that’s all for the updates this time around! Did we miss something? Be sure to let us know what you are doing…e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll include your information next time.
Also, be sure to consider making a financial gift to the College. It is quick, easy, and you know it’s for a good cause. Just go to gustavus.edu and click on Alumni. Follow the links for Alumni Giving, make a quick donation or a monthly contribution from your credit card (you’ll never miss the money…), and walk away feeling good about yourself. You will be making a positive difference in the life of a current or future Gustie. What could be better than that?
1999 Co-class Agent