Vanessa Purvey Schutte was a member of the graduating class of 2008. She was a “lifer” at IRCS starting in preschool and staying through graduation for a total of 14 years. During her time here she was actively involved in Student Ambassadors, Yearbook, powderpuff football, softball, and National Honor Society. She also participated in a wide array of mission trips serving locally in nursing homes, as well as away trips to New York and Dominican Republic.
After graduation she was accepted to the University of South Florida where she graduated in 2010 (yes, just 2 years after high school) majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Psychology. Vanessa felt that being a science major at a public university that did not believe in Creationism was quite challenging. She credits both her science and Bible teachers for preparing her, giving her great confidence in her faith. She felt she had a “strong understanding of the Bible and what it teaches compared to the evolutionary perspective my college professors had.” She especially credits her 6th grade science teacher, Doug Rose. He had a pet snake in his classroom (that she thought was the coolest thing ever) and took a whole quarter to teach Creation vs. Evolution. As a part of this unit they created science binders for their notes that she used as a reference in college and still has to this day. She also currently has a class pet snake named Noodle. Hmmmm . . .
Vanessa’s two away mission trips in high school were to New York with the Haywards her junior year and to Dominican Republic with the Springmans her senior year. She loved both of these trips and felt they helped her gain a better perspective of the world. Vanessa said, “It was humbling putting others needs first and the experience made me more comfortable sharing the gospel with other.”
Most everyone can look back on high school and remember a teacher or coach that stood out in their life. Vanessa is no different. She feels that Mrs. Becky Hayward had a great impact in her life. Vanessa shared this about Mrs. Hayward. “I remember how warm and welcoming she was to anyone who stepped into her classroom. She is such a joyous person and that showed in her teaching. She made learning so much fun and would have the funniest analogies so we could remember things easily. Mrs. Hayward is exceptional at showing God’s love and grace to others. I look up to her and I strive to show her energy and compassion in my own classroom.” She also shared a favorite memory of playing softball her senior year. She said, “I was absolutely terrible, but Coach Farver was the best and made it so much fun.”
Right after graduation from college, Vanessa was hired to work at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in their education department. A little over two years ago she felt God calling her to step out of her comfort zone and into the classroom. An opportunity opened up at another Christian School in their science department. Vanessa currently teaches 6th grade science, 9th grade biology and high school marine biology. She relates, “Having gone through private, Christian schooling myself, I feel like I have a better understanding of the students. I remember all of the teachers who help shape me into the person I am today, and I am so grateful that IRCS provided that opportunity for me. I strive to have an impact on my students’ lives just like all of the staff at IRCS has had on me.”
We are very proud of Vanessa and her accomplishments since graduation from IRCS. We look for great things from her as she impacts the lives of the students she serves.