It was a proud moment in September of 1950 when the students entered the classrooms of the Adams Street Protestant Reformed Christian School for the first time. Many years of dreams and nearly nine years of hard work by a small group of dedicated people had brought about this moment. Now a school with eight classrooms was ready to receive the children of Protestant Reformed parents from eastern Grand Rapids.
The school was so full that plans for expansion had to be made almost immediately. Even the teachers’ lounge had to be pressed into service as a classroom while an addition was being built. This addition provided two more classrooms and an assembly room. Within four years the enrollment stood at 300 pupils, and the school was nearing the limit of its capacity. It was an auspicious beginning.
Then suddenly there was no longer a problem of lack of space. In September of 1954 only 125 pupils began the new school year. The split in the churches had led to the withdrawal of more than half of the pupils and to a serious shortage of teachers. Now the smaller classes had to be combined, and some of the rooms stood empty. A much smaller constituency had to support the school and carry its debt. Empty rooms were rented to other schools including for a few years, our Protestant Reformed Seminary.
Slowly the school began to grow again. More teachers were hired, the rented rooms were put to our own use again, and eventually the Seminary had to go back to the basement of First Church. By 1961 the enrollment had risen to 225 pupils.
The following year the school was smaller again by some 45 pupils. A number of families had left Southeast church and had sent their children to other schools. Once more fewer parents were left to bear the burden of support for the school.
Today Adams Street School has nine teachers for about 190 pupils, and we look forward to a gradual increase in the coming years.
But the real story of Adams Street School is not a story of struggle for survival. The real story is one of steady improvement and progress in spite of problems. Through hard work and sacrifice the school is far different from the one that started fifteen years ago.
There have been many improvements in the grounds and equipment. Major landscaping projects have been completed, new buses were bought and a garage built to shelter them, as well as many other projects that have been completed or are in the process of being completed.
The quality of education has also improved. The use of new teaching aids has made teaching more efficient and effective. Constant study is made of the curriculum and many changes and revisions have been introduced. The introduction of the “modern” math program has made it possible to teach more effectively the beauty and pattern of God’s creation. The Bible curriculum has been revised to enrich the study of that subject. The other subjects are continually being revised to improve the quality of teaching. Most important of all, the teachers are gaining experience in teaching in Protestant Reformed Schools. We are learning more and more to apply the truth entrusted to us to all of the subjects that we teach.
That, after all, is the main purpose of all of our schools. It is true that there is much to be done yet in this field, but we believe that with the help of God, we will continue to progress. We are grateful to our God for the privilege of teaching our children the truth of His Word in the school as well as in the home. God has indeed blessed us richly in giving us the school and maintaining it through the years. May we be worthy to continue this great work and also to strive to improve it that it may pass on to our children the glorious heritage that we have.