For alumna Nicole Zasowski (‘05), Bellevue Christian School was a great place to grow up – emotionally, physically and spiritually. When facing a cross country move, she drew on her experiences at BCS to move forward with resiliency.
As a child, Zasowski’s parents, Charles and Gigi Wallace, were part of a Bible study group with other families. This is where the Wallaces heard about BCS and felt it would be the right fit for their girls. Zasowski started attending Three Points Elementary in first grade, with her sisters Brianna (‘09) and Laura Anne (‘11) following a couple years behind.
Zasowski thrived at BCS, developing strong relationships with her teachers. She would talk to them between classes and on their planning periods, just sharing life together. Specifically, she remembers connecting with Mr. Hibbard, Mr. Ulstein, Mr. Seymour and Mr. Olson. Looking back, she says that they all made a significant impact on her life.
As a student, Zasowski was highly involved with Senate, where she developed unique friendships across grade levels. When collaborating with Senate groups from other Christian high schools, she recalls BCS standing out from the group.
“BCS helped me, not only develop my faith, but also to engage with people that think differently than I do, which was something, as far as I could tell, that was different from other Christian schools.”
Along with Senate, Zasowski ran cross country, acted in drama and sang in the choir. Under the direction of Mr. Ulrich, she grew in both her ability to sing and to live out her faith. Zasowski recalls Mr. Ulrich encouraging his students to, “Love where you are and grow from there.” This wisdom has guided Zasowski through her life and is a philosophy that she shares with her own children today.
After graduating, Zasowski went to Pepperdine University where she met her husband (a fellow Pepperdine student) on a study abroad trip to Germany. At the end of her second year, God confirmed her calling to become a marriage and family therapist. Her desire to listen and support others is a passion that can be traced back to her foundation at BCS.
“Understanding what drives behavior was an interest for me early on, and I think Bellevue Christian was a part of that. I began to understand how people’s stories and faith journeys shape what they feel and what they do. I’m sure that played a huge part in my work today as a therapist.”
After earning a Master’s at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, she and her husband moved to Connecticut. For Zasowski, the move was a difficult season. The experience of leaving her deep roots on the West coast – in addition to struggles with pain and loss – left her feeling empty and alone. After walking through that challenging time, Zasowski learned an important lesson: “On the far side of pain, we find transformation we wouldn’t trade.”
Looking back, Zasowski discovered that she had been relying on her own performance, rather than God’s grace to achieve self-worth. When things that had previously grounded her identity were stripped away, she discovered what it looks like to truly receive the unconditional love of her Savior.
Following her experience, God prompted Zasowski to share her story in a book. Her story, From Lost to Found: Giving Up What You Think You Want for What Will Set You Free and was released in February 2020.
For Zasowski, the belief that she has inherent value, regardless of her achievements, was a deep truth that she had internalized in her years at BCS. As she wrote her book and reflected on her journey, she found herself being reminded of this important lesson.
“My teachers affirmed me at BCS, but not because of what I did. The way they loved me was an experience I could draw on when I started going through that journey of discovering that I was not significant because I was good at things. I am significant because of who I am.”
Nicole Zasowski lives just outside New York City with her husband Jimmy and their two young sons. You can learn more about her here: https://www.nicolezasowski.com/