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The elementary grades, staff, and teachers moved in the summer of 2002, with secondary students having access to the new gymnasium, football field, and track. Curriculum director, Mrs. Debbie Robertson, facilitated implementation of the Foundations and Frameworks Reading Program for elementary students in 2003. Over the next few years, a media center and twelve additional classrooms were completed at the new campus and secondary faculty, staff, and students were able to move for the 2005/2006 school year. The “old building” at 14th and Olive Streets was closed and sold in the summer of 2005. In the spring of 2006, Mr. Fox shared with the Board his sense that God was calling him to something new. Mrs. Lydia Zuidema became the new lead administrator of SJCS in the summer of 2006; Mr. Danny Maggart became the secondary principal, Mrs. Rose Dunlap the elementary principal, and Mrs. Connie Thornton the administrator of curriculum and instruction. During school year 2007/2008, St. Joseph Christian School celebrated its 20th anniversary, offering thanksgiving for all that the Lord had done, including that our capital campaign for the new campus, $7.9 million, was paid in full! In the following years, the mag-lock system and security cameras were installed and a security receptionist hired, the OneCall Now communications system was implemented, the school library was automated and an aftercare program was established. Students continued to excel academically as well as in extra-curricular areas, often scoring several points above the state norms on standardized and college entrance exams, and receiving honors and advancing to state in athletics, scholar bowl and the arts. In the beginning, SJCS used missions materials generated by The Association of Christian Schools International for a week of missions-focused activities, instruction, and outreach, as well as participating in the Operation Christmas Child shoebox program. When ASCI no longer provided these materials, the Lord led the administrative team in creating their own so that missions education, one of the school’s core values, could continue. In the following years, students studied and raised money for a Native American school, a project in South Africa, Bethlehem Bible College, and a Jesus Film mission trip to Afghanistan for two high school Bible teachers, as well as serving in our own community as the hands and feet of Jesus. The missions program of the school continued to grow as secondary students began conducting two community service days a year and all students, PK through 12th grade began raising funds for a clean drinking water well at Kind-Hearts School, Ethiopia. In total, the Lord used SJCS to raise over $37,000 for the project and wove together the hearts of our students and staff with those half way around the world in a very special way. In the spring of 2011, Mr. Maggart was the first administrator to travel with a group including our own high school students to Kind-Hearts School to see the well and minister to children there. SJCS considers the development of our students’ hearts for missions, which has carried them from serving in their local churches and the St. Joseph community to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Netherlands and wherever the Lord may lead, to be one of the Lord’s dearest accomplishments through us.
In the fall of 2012, Mrs. Zuidema announced she would retire at the end of the 2013/2014 school year. During that year, Mrs. Zuidema and Mrs. Thornton led SJCS faculty and staff in completing preparations for an ACSI accreditation team visit in April. We rejoiced as SJCS was recommended for another 5 year cycle of accreditation.
The school family could think of no better retirement gift for Mrs. Zuidema than to send her on the spring mission trip to see the water well at Kind-Hearts, a journey she found “unspeakably moving, to see what the Lord has done!”
Mr. Ron Moutray, board president, announced with great conviction in the spring of 2014, that after a year-long search, board members were led to hire Dr. Jason Tindol as the next superintendent of St. Joseph Christian School, and voted unanimously to do so.
Who could have imagined when the Lord told Mr. Gregory to “let the little children come” that He would work through the “little children” of St. Joseph Christian School to draw “little children” across town and around the world into His saving embrace? As we continue to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ, we are grateful that God in His sovereignty continues to bless the skills, talents, commitment, and prayers of the parents, teachers, staff, students, and friends of SJCS. We look forward with eager anticipation to see what He may do in us and though us in this bright new season!