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A Protestant Reformed High School: Its Vision and Progress

“It is the objective of the Christian School to furnish the pupil with an education which in all its branches is rooted in the principle of the fear of God as the beginning of all wisdom, and thus to co-labor in its own proper domain, alongside of, and in distinction from the home and the Church, equipping the pupil with wisdom and knowledge necessary that he may be able to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith God calls him, being furnished unto all good works.”  This statement which is one of those adopted by the High School Board as setting forth the basic principles of Christian education indicates somewhat the tremendous task confronting a group of dedicated men who are determined to hold fast to these objectives.  Not only must the High School Society be concerned with locating a suitable and desirable building site as well as with determining the type of building required, but also, and most importantly, it must prepare a curriculum which may be used to train children “to follow their life-long calling to reveal the glory of their God in a life lived from the principle of regeneration by grace.” (Article 1-C of the Constitution of the High School Society)

You, who are truly interested in preserving our Protestant Reformed heritage, know how indispensible a thorough Protestant Reformed education is in order to realize that high goal set before us.  The necessity for this type of education is an indisputable fact since the future of our churches, in the providence of our God, lies in the hands of our covenant children who, therefore, must be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  The means by which this education can be provided deserves the wholehearted moral and financial backing of all faithful members of our churches.  Certainly none will attempt to evade fulfilling to the utmost this most important of covenantal obligations.

Keeping in mind the magnitude of the task, one realizes that progress towards the greatly desired goal of our own High School must necessarily be measured in years rather than in weeks or months.  In the six years of its existence what has the High School Society accomplished and what are its aims? We would like to use this article to give a few brief answers to these questions.

September 15, 1959, marked the date set aside by the Steering Committee for the first meeting of what was to grow into our present High School Society.  Since this was the first meeting the Committee deemed it fitting to begin with an inspirational speech.  Rev. C. Hanko kindly consented to speak on the need for, the possibility of, and the procedure to follow in the development of our High School.  After the speech a temporary Board was appointed.  In November of that same year, the new Board officers were chosen with Mr. C. Jonker serving as the first regularly appointed president.  This Board labored diligently in drawing up a proposed constitution so that by March of 1960 that document was presented to the Society and adopted by that body.

With the Society now operating under a written constitution the Board immediately divided itself into various committees to facilitate its labors.  The four groups appointed by the President were the education, building, finance, and publicity committees.  These committees have been laboring diligently for over five years now and they have accomplished much but the task which lies ahead is still very great.

One of the first problems facing the Board was that involving our educational needs.  The committee concerned with this task began work immediately by determining the range of subjects being taken by our young people.  This survey revealed that our school would have to offer a full range of college preparatory, commercial, and general courses.  The Education Committee also began formulating guiding principles to be followed in our secondary educational system.  These proposed principles were subsequently adopted by the Board, one of which appears at the beginning of this article.  One of the greatest problems facing this committee is to determine the specific subjects to be taught in our school and the manner in which they should be taught.  Authorization has been given to the committee to locate well-qualified professional persons to help decide on these subjects and to help develop unique Protestant Reformed approaches to the teaching of them.  Here we are again reminded that a project of this size requires sizable sums of money.   Without strong support this committee will be very restricted in what it can accomplish.

Many hours of investigation have been expended by the Building Committee and the Board as a whole in determining the best location for our school.  Few people realize how much time and work is involved in choosing a suitable building site.  The site must satisfy the desires of the greatest number of people and must be within a reasonable price range.  Literally dozens of locations were investigated, some very extensively.  The possibility of using our present school building was studied with the full cooperation of both grade school Boards.  After careful consideration of all the possibilities, the Society finally decided that the Finski property near our Hope School would be most satisfactory.  In conjunction with this work the Building Committee met with the architect to determine the type of building best suited to our needs.  The new property was surveyed and test borings completed in order to draw up a good site plan.  This plan was completed and presented to the Society which then instructed the Board to continue with this work.  The Building Committee plans to labor diligently to complete plans for and to begin the actual building as soon as possible.

The work of the Finance Committee was greatly multiplied two years ago when the envelop system was adopted.  However, the Committee is happy in this work because the systematic contributions given in this way have enhanced our financial situation considerably.  The Committee and the Board hopes and prays that the use of the envelopes will increase as the Lord opens our hearts to this cause.

By means of newsletters the Publicity Committee has attempted to keep our churches informed of the work the Board and Society are accomplishing.  It plans to continue and increase its publications as the need arises.

Much more could be written concerning the problems encountered in incorporating the Society under the rules and regulations of the state of Michigan, as well as in determining the state requirements for our curriculum, the building restrictions, and rules regarding teacher certification.  However, we have attempted in a few paragraphs to describe some of the main labors and hopes of the High School Society.  We hope this information will help to emphasize the fact that the secondary education of our children is the Lord’s business and, therefore, worthy of our greatest sacrifice.