Alumni Spotlight: Van Metschke ’82
Van Metschke is a Woodcrest Christian graduate from the class of 1982. Van is a Pro Audio, Video, and Lighting industry veteran and has been part of the technical departments of several large churches here in Southern California. He currently works for Vantage Pro AV. Van has volunteered thousands of hours at Woodcrest Christian helping with drama productions, fundraiser events, and weekly chapels. He most recently spoke at the Woodcrest Christian Royal Legacy Gala and shared about the impact that Woodcrest Christian has had on him and his family.
Q: How is it that you came to Woodcrest Christian and what was it like being here as a student back in the 80’s?
A. When I was a kid my parents weren’t Christians. My dad was a deist and he believed God created the world and then moved on. My mom thought that if you were an American and not a Jew or a Muslim then you were a Christian. My parents came from the World War II generation, which is the generation who believed that religion is good for kids because it makes them obedient and a good person. With this notion they sent me to Riverside Christian Day school, or, “the Day School” as my mom always called it. Even though they sent me to the school, I don’t know that they expected me to actually believe what I was being taught. In first grade, Mrs. Smith led me to the Lord and totally changed the trajectory of my life. My mom also became a believer later in life at 90 years old when a close friend and Woodcrest Christian graduate led her to the Lord.
Q. Tell us about your work with churches and how you serve doing audio and video through your company.
A. I started out touring with Christian bands back in the 80’s as a sound engineer and then road manager. Since then, I went to work for this “little church” (I say that with sarcasm and not to be haughty) that I didn’t know much about called Saddleback back in the 90’s and became their head of audio. I didn’t want to work at Saddleback, and I told God, “I’m never going to work for a church, you can’t make me work for a church.” Then I was in full-time ministry for 20 years. I started at Saddleback, and then moved to a church called Mariners, which is also in Irvine, a church called South Hills, which is in Corona, and then for the last three years I was a tech director at Magnolia Baptist church here in Riverside. Currently I work for an audio, video and lighting integrator. We put these systems into churches, schools, civic centers, etc. I’ve been very blessed and get to work with Woodcrest Christian all the time working on all sorts of similar projects.
Q. What are a few things that stand out to you from your time as a student and from your daughters’ years at Woodcrest Christian?
A. Well I’ll say this from my daughters’ perspectives, who both graduated from here as ‘lifers’: My daughter Kaylee graduated in 2009, and Karlee graduated in 2018, and both of them told me this when they went to college: Dad, kids are struggling. They are struggling in these classes and I don’t understand why it’s so hard. In fact, Karlee said that in addition to the spiritual aspect and the college-prep aspect, Woodcrest Christian taught them how to take notes and be organized, how to do projects, and how to study. I remember her saying, “There are kids out there right now that are going to college and they are flunking out because they don’t know any of that because the schools right now think it is more important to teach other things than how to do academics.” This school teaches that!
This school is the third leg of raising a kid: You have us as the parents, you have the church, and you have Woodcrest Christian. And that is the truth.
Secondly, it was Sonja, my high school sweetheart whom I married in 1985, that told me, “Whatever happens, our kids are going to go to Woodcrest Christian. I don’t care. They’re going to Woodcrest. If we have to sacrifice everything, if we have to live in our car, our kids are going to Woodcrest.” She made this comment because she had a terrible high school education from a local school. I didn’t really understand at the time, but now being on the backend of having two young women that have gone through the Woodcrest Christian School System, I see that there is so much there. Randy Thompson, one of our previous superintendents, once told me that this school is the third leg of raising a kid: You have us as the parents, you have the church, and you have Woodcrest Christian. And that is the truth.
Q. What is one thing that you would love to share and offer up to all of us about being here at the school?
A. I think school is what you make of it always. I was just having a conversation recently about how your peers are so important when you’re in high school. Did you listen to your parents when you were in high school? I didn’t. I listened to my peers. Who are your kid’s peers? Who are these kids’ peers? Well, they have a better chance of having good peers at this school. Now, I’m not saying it’s going to be perfect, as kids are kids. At Woodcrest Christian, they have a better chance of being surrounded and influenced by good peers, and my daughters had good peers for the most part. Their friends influenced them positively for them to keep being Christians, to keep loving others, and to keep loving God. Their friends encouraged them to be true and to walk the Christian journey. Those of you who know me know that I’m not a super spiritual-sounding person, but it sounds like I am tonight so I will just tell you that this school is the reason for the path that my family and I have been on.