Reprinted with permission
[caption id=”attachment_9872” align=”aligncenter” width=”539”] Students stand where the new front entrance will be created at Smithville Christian High School with an update on the progress of the school’s capital campaign. The $1.4 million campaign, launched in January, will literally throw open the doors of the school, with a welcoming new entrance and hundreds of thousands of dollars in bursaries for new students. From left: Greg Loerts, Rachael Ponsen, Ben Bonsma, Julia Glasbergen, Wendy Li, John Boerefyn, Alexandra Kamphuis and Curtis Hoekstra.[/caption]
A small Niagara high school is hoping to boost enrolment now that its ambitious fundraising campaign has been exceptionally successful.
Smithville Christian High School launched a $1.4 million campaign in January to increase enrolment by improving its curb appeal and boosting its bursary fund. In just over half a year, the campaign has reached over 90% of its goal, said principal Ted Harris, which means the school will now offer even more bursaries in the future.
“We exist to give families a choice about where their teenagers will be educated,” Harris said. Being able to offer dozens more tuition bursaries a year “makes us feel so blessed by our community.”
Over one-third of the students who attend the school receive some sort of tuition assistance, Harris said, and many of the donors who contributed to the success of the In Motion campaign stressed how important it is to them to make the school affordable to even more families.
That same message came across at the launch of the public phase of the campaign last week, he said. As the $1.3 million progress so far was revealed, Harris said organizers fully expect the campaign to go past its $1.4 million target, and the bursary fund is the first place any surplus donations will go.
“We won’t stop the campaign until everyone (in the school’s supporting community) has had a chance to contribute,” Harris told guests at the launch. With 1,500 more supporters to reach, “we want everyone to experience the blessing of being part of it.”
Close to $1 million of the campaign is earmarked for renovations to the facade, front foyer and visitor reception areas of the school, along with improvements to the school’s chapel hall.
Harris said it’s no secret among students that the current exterior of the school is “sometimes said to look like a prison.” Improving the exterior and making the school appear more welcoming on the outside is an effort to make the exterior match the welcoming atmosphere that’s inside, he said.
Harris said one of the most gratifying things about the campaign so far was that a third of the major donors gave more money than they were asked for. He said it was “incredibly moving” to have so many people give so generously.
“We have an amazing school,” said student Joseph Falzone at the community launch. “It’s amazing on the inside, but just like some books, it doesn’t have a great cover.
“These renovations are really going to make our school better so the cover will match the inside,” Falzone said. “On behalf of current and future students, thank you.”