Unexpected Opportunities

Anthony Siegrist — Staff Writer

In the rooms toward the back of Student Services, Jon sits in his office, decorated with an eclectic assortment of memorabilia and a wide array of books. The most audacious piece of furniture is De Groot’s “Fat Bike,” which sits in front of his desk on two traction pads to keep it from dripping on to the carpet. Curly haired with glasses and an emboldening smile, many Dordt students have probably seen De Groot biking to or from work, calling to them by their names and then wondering how he always remembers.

Jon De Groot - contributed

For nine years, Jonathan De Groot has worked at Dordt University as the Director of Campus Ministries and Worship Arts, but after the end of this semester, he will be transitioning to a new job as the superintendent of his old high school, Central Minnesota Christian School (CMCS) in Prinsburg, Minnesota.

The saying goes, “that good things come to those who wait,” but De Groot wasn’t waiting or expecting a call on Defender Days of last year from a friend who told him about the position that had just opened up at his old high school, telling him that he should apply.

“If you would have asked me the day before that phone call came, I would have said—and I would still say afterwards—I have the best job in the whole world,” De Groot said. “I would have said that I’m not looking to leave… and I love what I do, and my family loves it here.”

Skeptic of his chances, Jon looked into the position and quickly realized that he had the experience the job required and that these were all things that he loved.

“There’s a lot of technical skills that I still need to learn about the job itself,” De Groot said, “but I think I have the heart for the community and for the school that someone in that position needs to have. I have a deep love for my hometown and for that school I grew up in.”

Throughout the interview process, De Groot’s expectations kept being shattered because he kept getting called back.

With an unexpected opportunity, also comes the unexpected fact that, soon, Jon and his family will leave Sioux Center for their new home in Minnesota. But Jon couldn’t pass up the opportunity because it seemed like God was giving him the “lead” into it.

“I told my neighbor,” Jon said, “‘We aren’t leaving unless the right thing comes along.’ Oh, I said until the ‘perfect thing comes along.’ I don’t know if Prinsburg is perfect, but it’s pretty darn close.”

Before this job opportunity came along, De Groot couldn’t believe that there was something that aligns more perfectly with his gifts and loves than his current position, but he thinks superintendent position just might. Still, Jon knows that leaving Sioux Center and the local community will be difficult.

“We know a lot of people in this area,” Jon said, “and we’ve come to love and become friends with so many different people…that’s going to be a hard thing to leave.”

Not only De Groot’s departure will be hard for him and his family, it will also be difficult for Dordt students who have come to know him.

“It’s hard hearing that Jon is leaving because Jon has always been there for me,” said DJ Runia, a Digital Media Major at Dordt. “Being here all four years, he’s always been the first person I would go to when I needed emotional support and guidance, and I’m not the only person on campus, I’m sure, that has that kind of a relationship with him.”

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