Our Cups Overflow with Love - For Coffee & For People!

October 17, 2016

This weekend Silk City Coffee will open on Main Street in Manchester! This unique coffee shop was born of a vision shared by Rob May (Class of 2011), Sarah Loftus May (Class of 2011) and Glenn and Tammy Gerhard (CCS Parents / CCS Guidance Counselor).  It was through Cornerstone that Rob & Sarah first met Mrs. Gerhard, and then the rest of her family.  As "Mrs. G" led Sarah & Rob through the high school leadership program, she became invested in their lives. Later, after they graduated and married, they shared their passion for coffee and for people with the Gerhard family. Together, they heard God calling them to this unique business and ministry opportunity.

Their hearts for the people of Manchester -and for good coffee - can be seen in the Silk City Coffee mission statement. 

Silk City Coffee is a specialty coffee shop that serves quality coffee and delicious food in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Silk City is a place where employees greet customers with a smile and take an interest in their lives. We designed a comfortable space where customers are loved and welcomed.

Silk City seeks to bless their community by bringing people together and empowering them to meet each others needs. We also plan to give back a portion of our proceeds to support programs that bring light and hope to our area.

We aim to do business with integrity to the glory of the God we love, who first loved us to even make this possible. Our greatest desire is that your time at Silk City Coffee leaves you feeling refreshed, encouraged and excited to return for another cup!
— Silk City Coffee

A Faithful God

Dan Donovan (Class of 2010) was unable to make it to this year's Alumni Chapel because of his new job. However, he wanted to be sure to share his story of God's faithfulness with his CCS family. After graduating from Cornerstone, Dan attended Central Connecticut State University and graduated with a BS degree in history with a focus in elementary education in December of 2014. He has recently begun working as a learning tutor, providing classroom support to students in a Connecticut elementary school. As Dan reflects on his time in college, he can clearly see how God has been faithful.  He hopes that his story will encourage others to trust in God as they finish high school and await the next step in God's plans for their lives.

As I reflect on these experiences, I realize that God has truly been faithful to me. He has helped me raise money to have incredible experiences both in my local area and also abroad. He has provided me with a group of friends who I have been able to support and who have also supported me. Further, He allowed me to purse a career that I am incredibly passionate about. What I have learned from all of these experiences is this: if you pursue what God wants for your life He will make a way. The road getting there may not be easy. There may be bumps in the road; there may be twists and turns that you did not see coming. But, He will be there for you. All you need to remember is to stay focused on God, and He will help you get from where you are now to where He has planned for you to be.
— Dan Donovan (Class of 2010)


Dr. Michael Evans, a 1990 graduate of CCS, embodies Cornerstone's ideal description of goals for its graduates. After graduating from CCS, he received his BA in Elementary Education, his MA in Educational Administration, and his PhD in Organizational Leadership. He has served in full-time ministry as a teacher in a Christian school and as an assistant director for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). He currently serves as the pastor of Christ the King Community Church in Pennsylvania. 


Dr. Evans reflects on his time at CCS by telling us, "Without doubt, the ministry of Cornerstone was extremely influential in my life to ground me in faith and to prepare me with academic skills I continue to use. I will always remember my  years at Cornerstone with fondness." 


Michael and his wife, Danielle, are also engaged in the greatest ministry of all--parenthood. They are blessed with five children.


Louder Than Words

Leah Robertson, a 2008 CCS graduate, received her BA in International Studies from Cedarville University.  As an academically high-achieving student, Leah has not lost site of her foremost call--The Great Commission--to live out her faith in a lost world. She is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia. She works there as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher in an Islamic high school as an instructor of English and teacher training. 


Leah tells us, "My hope is that as I am learning about Islam and Muslims, my counterparts at school, my students, my colleagues, my [host] family, and my neighbors...will also be able to learn about Christianity through my actions, which must of necessity speak louder than words." Leah explains that she is not permitted, as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), to proselytize in the interest of all PCVs' safety, but the people within the Indonesian culture frequently ask questions about others like Leah, including questions about religion. 


Pray for Leah as she seeks God for His next set of directions as her current position ends in the summer of 2015.

Called to Ministry

I am very thankful for the privilege of growing and learning at Cornerstone. I was able to build strong relationships with my peers but more importantly with my teachers. I was challenged, stretched, and motivated to think, work, and act responsibly while following Christ in my life. It was while I was at CCS that I began to feel the Lord calling me into ministry, and the teachers were faithful to play a role in confirming my calling. I will be forever indebted to my time at Cornerstone.
— Rev. Christian Partyka, Class of 1996

Reverend Christian Partyka  (Class of '96) is currently serving as the pastor of the Ocean Park Baptist Church in Jacksonville Beach, FL. After graduating from Cornerstone Chris attended the Moody Bible Institute before earning his Masters of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Chris is married to Denise Partyka, and they have four children: their niece Kayla, daughter Anna, and two sons Andrew and Crosby.

National Competitor

Rebekah Chenelle, a 2014 graduate of CCS, has signed with Texas A&M as one of several individuals accepted onto their equestrian team this year. Rebekah spent the last semester considering the various offers made to her by other pursuing colleges that were hoping to gain her as a student. She chose this school not only for the full scholarship she was offered, but also for the spirit of her future teammates. Rebekah's sister, Leah, who also attended Cornerstone, is finishing her senior year on the team and will return as a student coach for the team. Rebekah will be riding hunt seat at A&M.


Rebekah will be majoring in Communications and Journalism in preparation to one day work in the area of public relations or marketing for a company that she hopes will bring her to either New York City or Chicago.  

Rebekah tells us (when we probed her to boast a little), "My last year of competition was my best one! At my last competition I ended up 7th in the country. I'm excited to finally be on a team since riding is [usually] more of an individual sport..." 


Rebekah reflects on her time at CCS as one that helped her learn how to juggle her schooling alongside her equestrian pursuits.  Cornerstone worked closely with her family to enable her to achieve her equestrian dreams while also earning her high school diploma.  CCS is proud of Rebekah!

Back for a 2nd Generation

Jared ('2026), Suzy (1998), Brad (1998), Julia (2021), Jacob (2023)

Jared ('2026), Suzy (1998), Brad (1998), Julia (2021), Jacob (2023)

When Suzy-Lynne Dagon and Brad Williams graduated from Cornerstone in 1998, they had no idea that they would one day be married and have their own children enrolled at CCS. They are one of several families that now have second generation students enrolled at Cornerstone.

Suzy (Dagon) Williams is currently a social worker at a local school, and Brad will soon be joining her in the counseling field after completing his coursework at Liberty University. The two are also very active in their local church, serving on various teams together and individually. They are also active supporters of Cornerstone where their three children attend. Suzy is currently finishing her second year as the president of our Parents, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA).

It is such a testimony to the quality of our school to see parents bringing back the second generation of students! We look forward to when Cornerstone will see third generation students as well!

Cornerstone Wedding Bells

Bells will soon be ringing for another Cornerstone wedding! Josh Lojzim (2012) and Kristie McLain (2011) are engaged to be married in August of 2015!  Josh and Kristie met at CCS where Josh played basketball and Kristie was a cheerleader. The couple also served alongside each other as part of the school's leadership program.  It was during that leadership program that Josh learned that "helps" was one of his spiritual gifts. A perfect match for Kristie who learned that acts of service is her main love language!

Kristie and Josh both attend Eastern Nazarene College.  Kristie will soon be graduating with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Josh, who received a full academic scholarship, is working on his degree in Physics and Mathematics.  As they look at the many possibilities  of their future, they are sure that it will include a marriage focused on the Lord and service to him. Josh has a strong passion for working to end human trafficking and hopes to serve in that field at some point in the future. Kristie's love for children and young women will translate into a wonderful support for his work in that ministry. 

Congratulations to this CCS couple!  It is a blessing to see alumni dedicated to the Lord and committed to family. May God bless their marriage!