It was in the early part of the fifties under the pastorate of Rev. M. Schipper that the need for a Christian school where the covenant seed could be instructed in our own distinctive truth to the fullest satisfaction of our Baptism vows was brought to the fore. Having brought this need to us at a speech one Memorial Day, he labored individually with each family at house visitation the following year. By this time the consistory had given its opinion on the matter by formally expressing its desire that the congregation work toward this goal.
It must be remembered that the dark clouds of an impending split hung in the air. And because of this impending, and indeed, serious trouble our progress was somewhat delayed. In 1955 Rev. H.C. Hoeksema arrived to assume the leadership of our flock; and shortly thereafter through the joint action of the South Holland and Oaklawn consistories a meeting was held. Soon a board was formed, a constitution was drawn up, and the Association for Protestant Reformed Education was indeed a reality. Work was begun by the Board at once for the purchase of property and the construction.
As is usual in cases like these, our society did not receive one hundred per cent support from the people of the two churches. So one of the first things our Board did was to attempt to increase the membership of the Association.
In the latter part of 1957 a parcel of land was purchased for $25,000 and consisted of six acres directly behind the South Holland church. After selling off two acres to the South Holland church we were left with an ideal tract suitable for many years.
In the next few years support began to grow for our plans, construction was begun, and soon we had built a four-room school. What a happy day the Lord gave His people when in September of 1961 we were able to open the doors for the first school year. Our first enrollment included 81 pupils with three teachers. Many of our people gathered to hear Rev. Heys give the Convocation address.
The present enrollment of the school now stands at 64 children with Mr. F. Block as teacher-administrator, Mr. J. Kalsbeek as the teacher in the middle grades, and Miss G. Brummel in the lower grades. Our annual budget exceeds $20,000.00. We owe about $14,000 on the building yet; but we expect to have this debt taken care of in a year and one half. Recently we have purchased a new school bus and have added many new textbooks and teaching aids.
We labor under a philosophy of education which begins with God’s Word as its deepest essence. We try to recognize the individual differences that the Lord has given His people. To some is given much; to others intellectual ability may be limited. Yet He has included us all in His Church and has given us an important place to fill. We try to encourage the children to develop their talents to the best of their ability, to work at the highest level of ability.
We know the continued success of our school is dependent on the Grace of God. Our prayer is that we may use this rich blessing to the fullest of our powers. And we pray that God will continue to provide us with the facilities to educate His children in the Truth of the Scriptures and our Protestant Reformed heritage, never forsaking it for the worldly philosophy of natural man.