2021 Senior Spotlight: Sam Kortman

My name is Sam. I was born in Guatemala. My birth mom was not financially able to care for me, so when I was about seven months old, I was adopted by my American family. A few years later, as they were looking for a good Christ-centered school that was diverse and could fit my needs, they found The Potter’s House.

I have been at TPH since preschool. I remember Mrs. Larson’s classroom pet snake, Sammie. He was interesting to watch. In first grade, with Miss VanderKolk, we partnered with Joel Tanis, the artist, to create a movie. I remember drawing the scene and going to his studio to film.

I had Mrs. Cammfferman for third, fourth, and fifth grades. She and Mrs. Smith (4th/5th grade co-teacher) guided and prepared me to work to my fullest potential. I struggled with reading and writing, and Mrs. DeJong came alongside me in middle school when I needed it the most. We worked on writing papers together. She was a big support then and continues to be. She even helped me with my senior project. It has been pretty fun because she has watched me grow.

Pictured: Sam showcasing and presenting his senior project to the guest.

In elementary and middle school, I was not outgoing. I was shy and never paid attention to the diversity at the school. I didn’t take the time to get to know others, nor did I take advantage of extracurricular activities. In 8th grade, three boys became my best friends. With them, I learned to be more outgoing and by high school I was less shy.

I became involved in various aspects of the school plays, gaining experience as a stage crew member, stage manager, and soundboard technician. Being in the play, The Curious Savage, my freshman year was a highlight. I enjoyed hanging out with the cast. They came from different backgrounds, and through their lenses, I began to understand what diversity looks like and what other cultures find normal.

I am the oldest of three siblings. My family has been a big support to me. If I had not had the opportunity to attend TPH, I would be in a totally different situation right now, as would many other students. What a neat opportunity for us all to come together to build a community. With the support of donors, we are receiving a good education. To change even one life means so much for those who are changed.

My goal is to find my birth mom and help her. On the sophomore Mexico trip, I saw poverty first-hand, and I wanted to help the people. It could easily have been me there in an impoverished state. To think that my birth mom could potentially be living in those conditions is a painful thought. It causes me to want to help as many people as I can.
I have always found machines fascinating. After graduating from high school, I am taking a gap year and will take pilot lessons. Then I plan to attend Western Michigan University for their aviation program.