In his new role as principal of Community Christian School, Rick Dykstra says he’s struck by the strong sense of community.
He’s delighted to be part of it and share their passion for their school and Christian education.
With 68 students in junior kindergarten to Grade 8, the size of the Metcalfe school “pulls the community together,” Dykstra says.
This is Community Christian’s strength and something amplified to Dykstra before the school year even began.
“While I was here in the summer, I was immediately wrapped into this community. I was welcomed. It was really a nice feeling,” he says.
The school was refreshed through a community effort.
“When I looked at the school and what they did over the summer, there was just so many people who came in and did things here, and the school looks completely different than what it did in June,” Dykstra says.
Donations made repainting the whole of the school’s interior possible, he notes. New furniture was also donated and an opportunity arose to obtain some pieces from a neighbourhood school that was closing. Fencing was installed and the flower beds refurbished.
“All kinds of things have been contributed by people who cared, and that’s why … the strength of this school is its community,” Dykstra says.
He wants to encourage and support that as well as emphasize Community Christian School as a centre of learning.
“I see my role as continuing to have the school focus on the learning process and be a focus in the community as a learning institution,” Dykstra says. “That’s where I want to focus my energy, so that it continues to be a school for the community.”
Dykstra brings to the school 25 years of experience in Christian education, including 15 years at Beacon and seven years at King’s Christian Collegiate, where he was part of the team that launched the school in 2001.
Dykstra comes to Community Christian from Dundas Calvin Christian School where he was principal. He says he’s glad to be back in eastern Ontario, where he grew up.
“The Lord was closing doors and opening doors so this door was open,” he says.
“God uses people to plant seeds and definitely a seed was planted and I came here.
“And I love every minute of it,” Dykstra says.
He is not only principal but also teaching math, social and Bible studies, and technology, which is beneficial in Dykstra’s transitions to elementary from secondary school.
“It gets me in the classroom, it helps me to further understand the students and where they’re at, so that when I’m working with the teachers I have a better understanding of their day-to-day work.”
Dykstra says he’s not a typical administrator in that his strengths lie more on the technical side and working with people in a way that enables and empowers them.
“I really hope to be able to use my gifts here,” he says, adding he encircled by a great team of staff.
“They’re all on the same page and supportive of each other,” he says.