October 3, 2021

Alumni Newsletter – October 2021

Alumni on Campus

Warrior Legacy

Elementary teachers welcomed kindergartener Ollie Gates and his family to Cypress Christian School this fall. Ollie is the son of Jessica Van Rieg Gates (’06) and her husband Rusty Gates. He is also the grandson of alumni parents John and Pam Van Rieg (who are currently both on staff at CCS) and the great grandson of CCS founders Gerald and Edith Van Beek (who are in heaven with our Lord). We are so thankful for this family’s CCS legacy and service to our community and our school. We hope Ollie and his family enjoy a year full of Warrior fun and memory making!

Alumni Staff

CCS Learning Center Therapist Hannah Gould Stevens (’16) joinedthe CCS staff in the elementary learning center as a SEARCH and TEACH therapist. She obtained a B.S. in Child and Family Services from Abilene Christian University. Her specialty is to help children process and cope with their thoughts, feelings and frustrations and ease their anxiety and stress through developmentally-appropriate therapy techniques and strategies. She is overjoyed to be working in the learning center that she too was a part of for the six years she attended CCS. She is married to Luke Stevens and they both are thrilled to be a part of the CCS community.

Alumni Coaches

Middle School Head Cheer Coach Morgan Wright Groll (’13) and her husband Jason Groll (‘12) were married in 2015 and are enjoying parenting their two children, Ella (5) and Zachary (2). Ella has begun her first year of school as a kindergartener at CCS, and Morgan recently joined the CCS staff as the head middle school cheer coach. Jason works as a Vice President in the Corporate Investment Banking Energy Group at Capital One, and they are excited to about their first year back to being involved at CCS, where it all started!

Varsity Basketball Pom Squad Coach Natalie Kirtley
The Kirtleys are back! Fourteen years ago when Natalie Kirtley (wife of alumnus Justin Kirtley ’04) moved to Texas, she wanted a way to find a community outside of just knowing Justin. He noticed CCS needed a varsity cheer coach and knew she was already coaching. Natalie applied and met with Coach Martin and the rest is history. Natalie says she was honored to serve as the head varsity cheer coach at Cypress Christian School from 2007-2012. “So many families embraced me and welcomed me. I felt like I had a home here in Texas.”

After college graduation, she taught American Sign Language, ninth-grade Girls Bible and sixth-grade Keyboarding at CCS during the 2011-2012 school year. Natalie says, “It was so much fun! I enjoyed getting to know even more families through teaching.” At the end of her first year of teaching, God blessed them and she became pregnant. God then enabled her to stay home and focus on being a new mom. They now have two daughters, Carlee (9) and Lyla (5), and God has brought them back to CCS. Carlee is a thriving fourth-grader and loves CCS. Lyla started a Kindergarten bridge class and can’t wait to join her sister next year as a CCS Warrior.

Since stepping away from CCS, the Kirtleys have become business owners. Justin owns Kirtley and Sons Roofing with his father and Natalie owns Kirtley and Company Boutique in downtown Tomball.

This year, Natalie was asked to step back into the Warrior cheer world at CCS and is “thrilled to be the varsity basketball pom squad cheer coach!” She says, “What a story God started when he brought the Kirtley family to CCS in 1991! We are still proud to be WARRIORS!”

Alumni Events


Homecoming 2021!

On Friday, October 29, CCS welcomed home Warrior alumni and families to the 2021 homecoming alumni event. Alumni from the class of 1999 through the class of 2021 and their family members gathered together in the alumni area of the stadium for delicious food, fellowship and prizes. At halftime, the alumni posed for a group photo on the Warrior football field. Congratulations to the grand prize winners of $25 Amazon gift cards: Evan McClintock (’12), Allison White Ratkey (’15), Rebekah Kooiman (’20) and Carson Lacaze (’21). Thanks to our supporters and volunteers for making this a very special Warrior alumni reunion!


Before heading into the fall season of college and career, Warrior alumni spent the summer serving and spending time together.

Camp Leaders

Many of our graduates spent their summer investing in the lives of children and families. Thumbs up to these CyChristian graduates who did a great job as camp leaders at Pine Cove Camp: Cory Chapman (’19), Lawson Ellisor (’20), Connor Newell (’20), Angelina Holl (’20), Addison Brashier (’21), Hailey Braun (’19), Lauren Velez (’20), Sydney Wax (‘21), Campbell Fox (’20).

Alumni Basketball

In July, Warrior alumni and their families gathered in the East Gym for some Warrior basketball! Both players and fans enjoyed time together – both on and off the court. Even the little ones got into the action! “Train ’em up!” Go, Warriors!

Class of 2021 Yearbook Signing Party

In August, members of the class of 2021 met in the East Gym Foyer for a special yearbook signing party and college send-off. Graduates enjoyed refreshments while reminiscing about their senior year and signing each other’s yearbook. Each alumnus was given a college survival bag filled with caffeine and sugar!

Warrior College & Career

Brandon Galloway, PT, DPT (’10) graduated from University of the Incarnate Word in May 2020, earning a doctorate in physical therapy. Brandon is enjoying working as a physical therapist in an outpatient clinic called Velocity in the North Dallas area.

In family news, Brandon and his wife Brooklyn bought their first house in Frisco, TX, and welcomed their baby boy Rowen David Galloway on December 15, 2020.

Ashley Ponicsan (‘17) graduated in July 2021, from Sam Houston State University with a B.S. in education, with a grade 4-8 math minor. She is thankful to be teaching seventh-grade math at Aldine Middle School for the 2021-2022 school year. She says, “I look forward to making math fun for my students all throughout the year.”

Spencer Sager (’17) graduated in August 2021, from Texas A&M University at Galveston with a B.S. in maritime business administration, where he studied international related business administration, trade and port operations. Spencer has relocated to Friendswood, Texas, and is employed by a regional tanker shipping agency.

Abigail Davis (’20) received a summer internship at TheMET Church located near Cypress Christian School on Jones Rd. in Houston, TX. As an intern in the marketing and communications group, she took photos, assisted in designing graphics for various promotions and in organizing and planning the social media pages. Abigail is currently pursuing a degree in graphic design and a minor in photography from Louisiana State University.

Warrior Wedding

Timothy Starbuck (’13) and his wife Hannah (Higgins) were married on December 20, 2020, in Weatherford, TX. Four of his groomsmen were graduates of CCS in 2013: Travis Wilhite, Rob Miller, Dan Crozier and Matt Bancroft.

Tim and Hannah both attended Texas A&M University. Tim earned a degree in aerospace engineering and is now an eeronautical engineering associate at Lockheed Martin working on the new F35 fighter jet. Hannah is a teacher and has enjoyed teaching second and fourth-grade children for the past four years at Castleberry Elementary School. This year, she will teach third grade at Brock Intermediate School.

Tim and Hannah attend church at Watermark Forth Worth (where they met) and are both active in serving there. Tim leads a men’s Bible study and Hannah serves in the children’s ministry. They are part of a young-married small group and serve together at the membership table on Sunday mornings. Congrats, Tim & Hannah!

Welcome, Little Warrior

Mary Cheek Rosene (’04) and her husband Nathan welcomed their son Benjamin Joel Rosene, born on June 1, 2021. Nathan is a mechanical engineer in the commercial automotive industry, and Mary works in institutional effectiveness and research at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Their family lives in Plano, TX.

Warrior in Heaven

Matt Roberts (’16) went home to be with our Lord, Jesus Christ on September 4, 2021, after a tragic ATV accident. Please be in prayer for the Roberts family and his many friends. Matt will be greatly missed, but we are thankful that he is with our Lord in Heaven, and we, as believers, will be reunited with him there for eternity.

Matt attended CCS from kindergarten through graduation in 2016. He, then, moved to attend Sam Houston State University, where he found a career living his dream as a hunting and fishing guide. Many of his friends have said that Matt was a loyal friend to all, a team player, treated others as though they mattered and would always take a stand for what was right. Matt was reliable, giving and showed generosity to others.

Over the past three years, Matt lived life on the Double Drop Ranch doing what he loved day after day, hunting and fishing and taking others on those same outdoor adventures he was so passionate about. Matt never met a stranger and was loved and admired by so many.

He will forever be missed, but never forgotten. He had love for the Lord, his family and others. The impact that Matt had on others will live on forever.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3:23

If you have news to share, Submit Alumni News or email [email protected].

To read alumni news throughout the month, follow the Cypress Christian School Alumni Facebook page Facebook.com/CypressChristianSchoolAlumni and the CyChristianAlumni Instagram account. To read previous alumni newsletters: CypressChristian.org/Alumni/Alumni-News.