With the OACS News service winding down to take a summer break along with the schools, it is a natural time of reflection, and I find myself looking back at five years of sharing stories on behalf of the organization.
This year’s summer break aligns with my own change, as I prepare to take my first maternity leave.
I started working at Axiom News in 2007. At the time, the OACS was a new client, and I started writing for the organization right away.
Being a Christian, it has been a true blessing to use my journalistic skills in writing stories forwarding the Christian education movement.
At the time I didn’t know much about Christian schools. I talked with my brother-in-law’s mother, who was a teacher and volunteer bus driver for years at Northumberland Christian School. My first day at Axiom, I took a trip over to Rhema Christian School, where then-principal Ray Hendriks answered a lot of my questions about the Christian school landscape.
Many of those first stories I wrote were advocacy pieces with the 2007 provincial election around the corner. It was at the time (and still is) hard to grasp why Ontario is the only province that funds one faith-based school system and not others. Learning about the history of this scenario, including how the Equity in Education Tax Credit was announced and two years retroactively abolished, was quite eye-opening.
I’m continuously impressed and inspired by the people within OACS member schools, starting with the parents. They recognize the importance of school being an extension of home and church, and are willing to pay tuition to have their children attend a faith-based school.
But it’s more than the money. Parents make up the board and committee members that democratically run the schools. They volunteer their time for all sorts of events and fundraisers. They take an interest and passion in their children’s education and the school’s well-being. Families are engaged in school life.
Then there are the teachers, principals and other staff members who are ensuring the schools are operating well every day. And it’s more than just creating a safe and welcoming place of learning. The teachers are role models for the students, praying with and for them, taking an active interest in their individual strengths and gifts and bringing learning moments back to God.
After writing hundreds of stories (and marrying into a Dutch family who are strong Christian school supporters), I know a lot more about Christian schools and give a heartfelt thanks to everyone within the OACS who has been part of the journey so far.