Friday, October 13, 2023, 1991 Alumni - Brett Reed, Ph.D. and Head Basketball Coach, Lehigh University, was honored as a 2023 OCS Hall of Fame inductee during our High School Chapel. He offered some great insight and encouragement to our high school students. He was joined by his mother and father, brother and aunt and uncle. During a previous visit, he offered these words which were echoed during his acceptance speech:
"I am thankful for my experiences at Oakland Christian. The mentoring, learning, and growth during that time in my life were critical to my development.
At this stage in my life, I am a Christ-follower, son, brother, husband, father, and basketball coach at Lehigh University. Lehigh is a Division 1 basketball program, and we have been fortunate to have strong program success over my twelve years as the head coach. We have won championships, beaten Duke in the NCAA tournament, and turned out a number of graduates who are now blossoming in their lives after college.
It is exciting to work with young men within our sport. I feel I had great mentoring as a student-athlete growing up. The coaches I interacted with at Oakland Christian were as important as any others in my life. Through Ed Mehlberg I learned how to harness my competitiveness while also living through God and seeking to use my talents for His glory. I can only hope the players that I coach will one day look back at their experience and be able to pull important life guidance like I was able to.
Learning and growing in the classroom as well as spiritually during high school set the foundation for the way I also try to lead my family and children. I am so thankful that in a challenging world, I know to point our kids toward Christ and can encourage them to seek Him for guidance and support. The same holds true for our married relationship as well. These habits and perspectives on life spring out of the family I had growing up, as well as the refinement I received through Christian education.
It was so cool this summer to come back to the school and visit with the teachers and coaches I had over twenty-five years ago. Seeing Coach Mehlberg, Ms. Butler, Mr. Crump, Mr. Stauffer, and Mr. VanDorp in person and knowing that they are still pouring into the lives of students and have done so consistently over the years, makes me appreciate all those who sacrifice so others can learn and grow. I am thankful for the time I had at Oakland Christian and am proud to be a Lancer."
John Belkoff was born in Pontiac, Michigan in June 1963 to his Christian home, which followed the discipline of the Episcopal Church. He was active in men and boys choirs, serving at the altar and lay ministry to mission churches. His grandmother was convinced that he should leave public school, always sensing John's calling to ministry. This began his long journey through scripture, history, and theology of the Chrisitan Church, committing to find and promote the ancient Christian faith of the Apostles and the early Church. Seeking a school that upheld the values of faith, scripture, morality, and on sacrificing oneself to Christ, he found Oakland Chrisitan School where he graduated in 1981.
Following OCS graduation, he studied at Oakland Community and Oakland University, discerning the best path to ordination and proper seminary education. One Sunday, a clergyman recognized John's dilemma of disappointment with his secularized church and its disregard for scripture and moral law. Understanding John's dilemma at a crossroads, he advised John to leave his church and venture across the cultural dive, immersing himself in the Apostolic Church of the 1st Century; the ancient Orthodox Christian Church. Few opportunities existed to experience and participate in the somewhat strange expression of Christianity. The clergyman advised and arranged for John to experience the worship and theological discussion of an Orthodox parish, even providing transportation. John considers the Orthodox Christian Church, his “pearl of great price”, a treasure, offering the fullness of Christianity from apostolic times, neither added to nor subtracted from, throughout the span of Christian history.
Father John became Archimandrite (highest rank of a monastery priest) Pachomy (named after St. Pachominus, a 3rd-century Christian father who preached and founded a monastery in Egypt). His most valued friends and mentors are Patriarchs, Archbishops, and clergy of ancient New Testament Christianity. His closest relationship is with the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Mother Church of all Christianity. Jerusalem is his second home, where he experiences renewal and continuity of the early church while discovering history, Christian theology, and culture. He resides in Harper Woods, surrounded by a paradise of his own making—a monastery with an enclosed community, botanical gardens, beautiful fountains, a library, and a gallery of rare treasures. The monastery church exhibits fresco icon accounts of biblical stories and early Christian martyrdom. Oakland Christian School proudly recognizes Father Pachomy to our Wall of Faith for a lifelong commitment to faithfulness, sacrifice, and worship to Christ.
Laura (Johnson) Hall has experienced much of her life at and with Oakland Christian School. She is the daughter of Steve (Class of ‘74) and Sheila Johnson; she married Luke Hall (Class of ’02) in the summer of 2010 and is mom to Clay (future Class of ‘31) and Lucy (future Class of ’33), both currently attending OCS, and became a host mom to 2012 International Graduate, Randall Chen.
Laura is a second-generation, K-12 graduate from OCS, Class of 2002. She was an excellent student who played OCS basketball in grades 5-12 and participated in high school drama productions in grades 10-12. Very involved in her high school studies and holding to friendships with both peers and teachers, when asked of her plans for the future, she quipped, “I want to teach high school English at OCS”.
After graduation, Laura attended Oakland University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in English and Biology and earning a Michigan Teaching Certificate. While at Oakland University, she volunteered each year to help with the OCS high school drama productions. Laura enrolled at Wayne State University where she earned a Master of Arts Degree in teaching with an emphasis on Secondary English Education Curriculum.
An OCS High School English teaching position opened following Laura's graduation from Oakland University and she accepted the challenge to begin her OCS teaching career in the fall of 2006. She quickly became a quality English teacher and a dynamic instructional partner to Ann Klein. Many students have benefited from her teaching of English 9 & 10, Speech, College Writing, Research Writing, Foundations of Christianity, American Language and Culture, AP Language and Composition, AP Biology, and AP Seminar through the years.
In 2014, Laura assumed the OCS Secondary Library position, which she continues to supervise. In addition to her library responsibilities, Laura has trained to teach the current and upcoming AP Capstone Seminar classes. In an already busy schedule at OCS, she serves as Science Department Head and has coached five seasons of middle school girls' basketball and one year of junior varsity basketball. She coached girls' bowling, worked with the high school drama productions, and served as a Student Council sponsor. Laura was also very influential in the development of the International Student Program in its early years.
Although naturally quiet, her words carry strength and purpose. She listens and responds wisely to the needs of the school, the students, and her co-workers are always honest and genuine while faithful to demonstrate compassion. Laura completes the goals that face her thoughtful consideration and intelligent efficiency, and OCS depends on her for much! She has a deep and personal faith in Jesus and her Savior and her faith is evident in her daily ministry at our school.
Oakland Chrisitan School takes this opportunity to recognize Laura Hall to its Wall of Faith in gratitude for the many openhanded and openhearted contributions that she brings daily to OCS and in grateful anticipation of continued experiences as she shares God's love for years to come.
Oakland Christian School is proud to recognize two graduates for Wall of Faith induction, honoring their partnership in long-term service for Christ Jesus. Michael and Dayna (Preseau) Peterson graduated from OCS in 2003; Michael was Valedictorian, Christian Life Award recipient, with Summa Cum Laude Honors and Dayna also was a Summa Cum Laude Honor student. Both were athletes who were influential leaders and faithful servants at OCS.
Dayna graduated from Oakland University with an Elementary Education major. She returned to Oakland Christian School as a preschool teacher. Michael graduated from Olivet Nazarene University where he majored in Business Management and Christian Education. He served as a youth leader for eighth-grade boys during college and also taught a college and career class to his peers while home from college. Michael accepted a position as Youth Pastor at Marimont Community Church in 2007, where he served as the middle school Bible teacher and chaplain until his resignation, in December of 2017. While at Oakland Chrisitan, Michael emphasized Bible quizzing and a biblically inspired lifestyle, while serving youth at Marimont with Pastor Michael. Elliott. As Pastor Elliot's health declined, Michael faithfully filled any church role as needed and was asked to assume the Senior Pastor position in the fall of 2017.
Always obvious about Michael and Dayna is their love for each other and their partnership to glorify God in all they do. While dating, their commitment to purity served as an example to students who packed the Peterson wedding, on May 16, 2009, to witness their “first kiss”. As teachers, both Michael and Dayna always demonstrated genuine joy and contentment. Now, as Michael assumes full leadership responsibility at Marimont, he continues to visit OCS to maintain the Bible quizzing responsibilities. Dayna is a mom, but also assumes the role of pastor's wife, serving as a youth leader and Sunday school superintendent. Together Michael and Dayna are a positive example of what Christian marriage should be, and able to engage in dynamic pre-marital counseling sessions.
Michael and Dayna are blessed with three beautiful children, Tobiah, Nadya, and Levi, all cherished as precious gifts and as a responsibility to the Lord. As Michael and Dayna serve together, they continue to grow, recognizing each door that God opens to them. Michael and Dayna have continued in all of their experiences to share God's love and salvation for all people through loving and faithful service for Jesus.