In Alumni, CHA Community, Home Page, Parent Central

Norm Sonju, co-founder of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, speaks at annual benefit

As published in The Winnetka Current on April 30, 2018.

Northfield’s Christian Heritage Academy held its annual Spring Benefit on April 21 at the Lincolnshire Marriott, where more than 350 people in attendance participated in a silent auction and enjoyed the melodies performed by the school’s student choir and band ensemble.

The evening program featured an opening prayer from Pastor Colin Smith, of The Orchard Church, and a message from keynote speaker Norm Sonju, co-founder of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.  

Sonju, who hails from the Chicago area, spoke on the importance of Christian leadership beginning in the family, beginning with parents taking the time to be present with their children. 

“Twenty-five years ago, parents spent 3-and-a-half hours a day with their kids,” he said.” Today, they spend 13 minutes a day and are being ‘discipled’ by smartphones and electronic devices.” 

Sonju urged parents that it is “better to be effective than be popular.”

“Do whatever it takes to help your kids get ready for when you’re not there to protect them,” he said. “It really pays off.” 

The evening also included a tribute to CHA middle-school science teacher, Robin Russell, who will retire at the end of this school year after 34 years of service. 

Russell was one of the original five teachers hired at Christian Heritage Academy when it was founded in 1984. A beloved teacher and curriculum head, Russell is best known for her mentor relationship to students, for helping CHA students place in science competitions, and for leading the annual eighth-grade class trips to Washington D.C. She was honored with student anecdotes and was presented with an American flag that flew over the nation’s capitol on April 6.