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From one teacher and 19 students, to a staff of 19 responsible for the education of 130 students in a new facility, King Christian School has come a long way.
Seventy-five years ago, on Monday, Feb. 15, 1943, a short program was held to officially open the new Holland Marsh Christian School. This school consisted of a single classroom in the back of the Holland Marsh Christian Reformed Church, which on Sundays served as the church council room.
Eight years earlier, in 1935, 13 immigrant families from the Netherlands had settled in the Holland Marsh area, where they erected a building to hold worship services as members of the Holland Marsh Christian Reformed Church. Because the Christian Reformed Church has deep roots in the Christian education movement, these immigrants soon formed a Christian School Society and worked tirelessly to realize their dream of establishing such a school for their children.
In 1942, three acres of land, at a cost of $150, was purchased on which to erect a school building. But when a building permit could not be obtained, the church council room was renovated to expand to accommodate students, and the first teacher, Mr. J.W. Uitvlugt, was hired.
Finally, in 1947, the School Society purchased two army barracks and, with volunteer help, set them up on the purchased building lot and converted them into a school. By this time, 82 students were attending, with Miss Emma Knapper teaching Grades 1 to 4, and Mr. J. Uitvlugt teaching Grades 5 to 8.
In October of 1954, Hurricane Hazel hit the area, causing severe flood damage to the building. By 1957, a new brick building with 3 classrooms had been built as a replacement.
Meanwhile, on the west end of the Holland Marsh, the Springdale Christian School Society had erected a school of their own, to serve the community there. Springdale Christian School continued to operate independently from 1955 until 1974, when a process of amalgamation with the Holland Marsh Christian School was begun. The last year that the Springdale location was used as a school was 1981.
Now that all of the students from both schools were being taught in one building, the school added four new classrooms, a gymnasium, staff room, kitchen and resource room, and was now known as Holland Marsh District Christian School. The King Township Public Library also operated a branch out of a portable classroom at the front of the school.
By 1990, because of increased enrolment, the public library moved to their own building near the school, and a year later HMDCS added four more classrooms, a new resource room, change rooms, a larger staff room and a new office area.
The dream of building a new school began in 2001. Finally in 2015, on Sept. 2, that dream was fulfilled with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the occasion of the opening of the new school on a 15-acre parcel of land at the corner of the Graham Sideroad and Bathurst Street. Along with the move to new facilities came a change in name to King Christian School.
The school was founded by Christian parents who believed that the education of their children was a parental responsibility and that such education must be Christ-centred. Though many things have changed over the last 75 years, what remains the same is King Christian School's goal of providing quality, Christ-centred education where each student may grow in grace, wisdom, knowledge and wonder and so be enabled to responsibly serve God and others in all areas of life.
February has traditionally been a month of celebration for King Christian School. Students usually celebrate the school's birthday with a winter carnival, but as this year is the 75th anniversary, there will also be a celebration for the entire school community and alumni. On Saturday, Feb. 17, a program will commence at 1:30 p.m. including entertainment, refreshments, time to look back and remember the past, time to visit with past schoolmates, a light meal, and, finally, fireworks. All this will take place at the school, located on Bathurst Street just west of Yonge, at 19740 Bathurst Street. All are welcome to attend. For more information about this celebration or King Christian School, please visit the school's website: www.kingchristian.ca.
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