A school is much more than walls and boards and desks, books and playing fields. A school is people: the students who attend it, the teachers who make classrooms welcoming, the parents who faithfully attend every event (and wrestle with homework!), the community that supports and encourages it.
On Friday, June 28, Timothy Christian, which is devoted to “helping children understand God’s world” is inviting everyone to come and help celebrate its 50 years as a vital part of the South Dundas community.
I had the opportunity to spend a morning at the school. Along with principal Gary Postma, my special guides June 12 were members of the 2013 grade eight graduating class: Gwen Knight, Emily Tibben, Cilicia Pol and Kyle Havenaar. (Unfortunately fellow grad Jade van Dyke was not able to attend.)
Gwen is a recent transfer to Timothy Christian. She came last year to grade seven from Rose-des-Vend in Cornwall. “It was easy to fit in here,” Gwen said. “When you go to a big school, you have to find your way. I knew people here by day two.”
Emily, Cilicia and Kyle said, with grins, that they had all been at Timothy Christian “forever.”
What are some of their first memories of school?
“I remember visiting Mr. Postma,” Kyle laughed. “Then I found I liked nap time a lot.”
“It was great,” Cilicia said, “because we all got a turn sleeping in the Puppet Theatre, which had this big pillow.”
“I remember painting with chocolate pudding,” said Emily, who will be the 2013 valedictorian. “It was gross, but a lot of fun. And we got to eat the ‘paint’ later.”
They talked about field trips to places like Mont Cascade and Cosmic Adventures. They also described science fairs and “fun fairs” that involved some hilarious, if silly games like major “bubble gum blowing.”
Timothy’s Got Talent is a popular yearly school event. Auditions are held and various acts are chosen, including stand up comics. “The best comic in school is Noah, in grade three,” all four students agreed.
Teachers are “very involved. They seem to like it here, they support us, and they really like kids. Class is usually fun.” (“Maybe not math all the time,” Kyle grinned.)
Were there any embarrassing moments in your school careers?
“Oh, no,” they said solemnly. “Everyone in this group was totally perfect.”
When the laughter died down, a story about sticking grade seven student Aiden into a garbage pail in the girls’ bathroom came out. “It was just for fun. He thought it was funny too. But just as he got out of the pail and was heading out the girls’ door, Mr. Postma caught him…He caught us too.”
Later the students took me on a tour of several colourful, and bright classrooms. We visited the junior/senior kindergarten students, the grades one/two and finally dropped in to the grade seven/eight classroom. Then the grade eights and I joined the entire school outside for a very special 50th anniversary Timothy Christian photo.
Chair of the Timothy Christian board of directors, Art Pol, also took time from his busy schedule to come by the school June 12 to talk about the big celebration of the school’s 50 years.
“We formed an anniversary committee last year,” Pol said. “They have really worked hard setting up events, caterers and booking halls. They are also putting together a special booklet that will have pictures of all the graduating classes and all the staffs over the years. On Friday night, people can come to the school to meet and greet and remember, as classrooms will be set up with memorabilia and photos past and present.”
Saturday the committee has arranged a car rally, a barbecue and games at the school. “This is all open house. Everyone is invited.”
On Saturday evening, a special banquet (ticket holders only) will take place at the Matilda Hall. The guest speaker is Dr. Brenda L. Berkelaar, assistant professor at the College of Communications, the University of Texas at Austin, and a former Timothy Christian student.
On Sunday, a celebration service will be held with guest pastor, and another Timothy Christian graduate, Tim Lumies, preaching the sermon.
For 50 years, what has Timothy Christian meant to this community?
“For my family, it’s important to educate the child,” Art Pol said. “But for six hours a day, I know my kids are with teachers who also care about what’s going on in their hearts.
I see it as a triangle of home, church and school. These forces work together to develop the whole child and to equip him or her to better face the future.
Timothy Christian is developing our youth and our future leaders, teaching them that morality matters in a leader.”
“Celebrating a half century of Christian education in our community is very special,” Art Pol explained. “God has led us through all the struggles of the past. He continues to guide and to bless us.”