As we begin the second semester, we continue to reflect on Psalm 145:13b, “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (NIV). I am so grateful to take this opportunity to reflect on the many ways in which our God has been faithful to Eastern Christian School.
We are pleased to announce that we will be extending our summer camp program to provide more offerings for students in PreK-3rd grade on our Midland Park campus. EC preschoolers entering Pre-K 4 and TK are invited to enroll in our Preschool Camp where they will spend the summer digging into the theme of gardening. For campers entering kindergarten through third grade, Eagles Day Camp will provide children with an opportunity to explore a variety of weekly themes throughout the summer, such as cooking, drama, and Jr. Sports Camp. Camps run from June 26 – August 18 with full and half day options. Campers can enroll for one week, eight weeks, or anything in between.
Our older students are on the road again. After a several-year hiatus, the Academic and College Counseling Office brought back its popular college road trip. Students had the opportunity to visit a variety of sizes and types of colleges this fall. Middle and high school students are preparing for spring break service trips to Guatemala, Texas and Kentucky through our partnership with Touch the World.
Did you know that Eastern Christian School graduated its first high school class in 1923? It was also accredited for the first time that year. As we celebrate 100 years of accreditation, we will be gearing up for our renewal next school year. We continue to lay the groundwork for our dual accreditation with Middle States Association and Christian Schools International. We were pleased to host an initial visit from our accreditation representative this fall and the accreditation team will be undergoing training in early February. You can expect to hear more about this in the spring as we survey school stakeholders. The feedback from students, parents, staff and community members will inform our work as we determine priorities and set goals for the next five years.
I’m delighted to let you know that our high school cafeteria will be renovated this summer to create a student commons. The space will be updated with new surfaces and flexible seating, including booths and high-top tables. Not only will this provide a much more comfortable place for lunch, but it will be designed as a space for students to spend time together before and after school. It will also include a teaching wall so that it can be used as instructional space during the school day and for other events. The renovation is made possible by a generous donation by ditto Upscale Resale. Over the past 11 years, ditto has provided over $2 million in donations to Eastern Christian School. The contributions for the commons are over and above ditto’s annual giving. We are so grateful for the ditto staff, volunteers and donors who give so generously to advance the mission of the school.
Work continues on the high school field. We have continued to face delays in construction and are eagerly looking forward to the completion of the project in the spring.
We continue to make plans for our third grade move to the upper elementary division in Wyckoff in the fall. Administrators and teachers are working with parents and students to ensure a smooth transition for our rising third graders. We are adding staff and finalizing expanded programming.
Since the start of school, we have added a number of new staff members. Heidi Johnson directed the high school play and will be directing the high school musical. Morgan Malone joined us as the elementary school office manager. Joseph DeMarco joined the maintenance team as a maintenance assistant. Sharon DeMarco is the Wyckoff campus after-school director and ESL teacher. Soli Nieves is teaching high school social studies. Carol Malasits is working with the enrollment team in her role as the enrollment management assistant. Gabriel Cuervo is serving as the second grade paraprofessional. Eunie Park, Elise Koo and Kristin Kuiken have stepped up to fill in as long-term art substitutes. We still have a few openings. As always, word of mouth is our most powerful recruitment tool for both staff and students. Do you know anyone who might like to join us at EC? Please encourage them to apply!
The Foundation for Eastern Christian School, the official fundraising arm of EC, has made remarkable progress during the first semester of 2022-23. With a goal of $2,015,000, the team has already raised $1,558,000 in new gifts and pledges (77%). Maura Byrnes, Executive Director, was recently joined by Tonnie Chen, Director of Annual Fund and Special Events, who had served at The King’s College for over 18 years. Working alongside them are Kate Schneider, Foundation Office Coordinator, and Janyce Bandstra, part-time Foundation Assistant. In addition to raising annual fund and leadership gifts, the team carries out three major events a year: HomEComing, a “friendraiser” which gathers nearly 700 community members; the Auction Gala, and the spring Golf Outing.
One of the highlights of the first semester was the creation of the Roger Vanden Dorpel ‘68 Memorial Scholarship which encompasses $140,000 in gifts over four years and a future bequest of approximately $750,000. “We are a lean organization relentlessly focused on glorifying God through sacrificial giving. We are tremendously grateful for the outpouring of support from our school community, friends, businesses, churches, and foundations who value our shared passion for the mission of Eastern Christian,” reported Maura.
Enrollment is the highest it has been in almost two decades, with just over 900 students enrolled in PreK-12th grade. Interest for next year is strong and we are looking forward to open houses on each campus in February:
Preschool & Elementary School Open House (PK-Grade 2)
February 9, 2023 at 7:00PM
Upper Elementary & Middle School Open House (Grades 3-8)
February 22, 2023 at 7:00PM
High School Open House (Grades 9-12)
February 28, 2023 at 7:00PM
More information and registration can be found here.
Please join me in gratefully celebrating God’s many blessings at the midway point of this school year!
Dr. Ruth Kuder
Head of School