“Mr. Gertsen is one of the most influential role models any student could have. He appreciates each of his students for their individual strengths, and challenges us to become better people every day,” expresses former CCS student Kevin Chao.
Mr. Gertsen is just one of many reasons to attend junior high at CCS!
Read on to learn why he chooses to teach.
Why do you love to teach?
One of the greatest joys in life comes in helping young people discover their God given abilities. It is incredible to have the blessing of working with them as they prepare to use those abilities to glorify Jesus. It is especially exciting to come alongside young Christians who are learning to critically evaluate the lessons of history, and apply these lessons as part of their pursuit of God’s calling in their life.
Please describe what you teach.
For the past sixteen years I have been blessed to teach world and U.S. history at Calvary. I firmly believe that the classroom is sacred ground, and that each student has a singular place in history. With that in mind, it is imperative we endeavor in service of our Lord, and the Body of Christ, with our unique gifts.
Through the study of world history we learn about our neighbors, their stories, their cultures, and how best to reach and love them. In studying U.S. history we prepare for civic service and the preservation of freedom. Throughout all of this, we work towards developing grateful hearts and sharpened minds, understanding the lessons of history, and the costs of freedom.
What is RGHC?
In 2006 two former CCS parents donated funds to be used for the purchase of historical materials to be used by CCS students. Over time, these donors expanded their vision to establish a separate, non-profit, history center.
Our founding donors requested that the Richard Gertsen History Center (RGHC) be named for my father in honor of his service as a Christian school educator. (My father’s career included teaching at the high school and college levels, prior to his time at Calvary Christian School.) Calvary Church of Santa Ana has been very kind, and gracious, in providing space to house RGHC materials. As a result, we have been able to host the RGHC internship program and museum here on campus.
RGHC holdings reflect two areas of focus: 1. Theodore Roosevelt’s life, presidency, and Christian service; and 2. Southern California history and culture since the time of statehood.
I am humbled to serve as director of the RGHC, but I am also very pleased that my father’s years of service are being honored in a way that continues to bless students.
What do you aim to accomplish with your RGHC interns?
CCS RGHC interns are equipped and empowered to create museum exhibits, teach their fellow students, and build a foundation for future CCS historians. Interns grow as scholars, and eventually emerge as caretakers of the history and legacy that can be found in our community and nation. It is our hope that interns do all of this with a spirit of gratitude, and an ongoing zeal to love their neighbor and preserve the American Republic.
Finally, which historical figure do you admire most?
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A nation needs heroes or it won’t know how to act.” As a Christian I want my heroes, while fallible, to demonstrate Christ-like character that inspires and instructs. With TR, I see a man who might be the greatest Christian statesman to have served in the White House. His greatness is a result of actions that flowed from wise priorities.
TR’s favorite Bible passage was most likely Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
It is beneficial for the Christian to study TR as he attempted to live out this truth. Even though the presidency demanded much of TR, he was able to consistently demonstrate an adherence to priorities reflecting Biblical principles.