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OCSTA convention brings together OACS educators

Written on October 31st, 2008

Workshops, speakers offered insights and ideas

The annual Ontario Christian School Teachers Association (OCSTA) convention brought together educators from the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) member schools Oct. 23-24 at Redeemer University College in Ancaster.

This theme was The Treasure For Our Times, taken from Isaiah 33:6: “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”

OCSTA hosts a convention each year at the end of October. Teachers in one of the OCSTA districts organize the event.

“The feedback from participants was positive and enthusiastic,” says Annette Dykstra, chairperson of the convention committee and Beacon Christian School teacher.

“The speakers, presentations, and workshops offered a great wealth of insights and practical ideas to the 900 educators during the two-day event,” says Dykstra.

“It’s a wonderful event for us,” says George Petrusma, principal at Knox Christian School in Bowmanville.

“When you have 900 people together and realizing that all of us are in the same business of educating children to find their place in the Kingdom of God, and how God is part of every nook and cranny of this creation, that’s a pretty powerful event,” he says.

Dr. Chap Clark presented the opening address, entitled “Reading the Seas of Change: Course Correction While Staying Faithful to the Call.”

Clark is the professor of youth, family, and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and the school of theology and regional campuses master’s programs vice-dean. He is the author of several books, including Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers and Deep Justice in a Broken World.

Clark’s presentation explored how to stay faithful to the call of educating children in the Kingdom of God while the children and culture are changing.

Frank Swoboda, teacher at London District Christian Secondary School, says he enjoyed Clark’s presentation.

“He was great, entertaining,” says Swoboda.

Dykstra says one of the gems she took from the convention was Clark’s message that every person you meet is an opportunity; you can either bless that person or tear that person down.

“I have used this phrase in my own classroom with my students during our class devotions,” she says.

Dr. Syd Hielema, chaplain and professor of religion at Redeemer University College, presented the inspirational address, titled “The Treasure of Liberated Fear.” He talked about what fears educators have in Christian education, and how do you feel empowered to continue.

Convention participants had five workshop opportunities over the two days with a variety of topics to attend.

Petrusma facilitated a workshop on Talking the Walk and Walking the Talk, designed for new principals with zero to five years experience.

Petrusma says the workshop, which involved brainstorming about different issues people brought forth about the role of the principal, went by very quickly.

“I certainly appreciate hearing from different principals and how to problem solve certain issues,” he says.

To learn more about OCSTA visit www.ocsta.org.