Since 1892, Eastern Christian School has been dedicated to educating and challenging young people for Christian life and service. We are an independent Christian school governed by an elected Board of Directors, and receive substantial support from local churches, businesses and alumni. Our alumni lead and serve in Christian homes and churches, in business and industry, and in our communities and nation. They are a testimony to the foundation they have received at Eastern Christian School.
Eastern Christian School began in 1892 as the Christian School Society, later called the Holland Reformed School Society. The school opened in August, 1892 with 70 students. By 1893, the school moved to its first home in Paterson, named the Amity Street Christian School. Before the new century had begun, the Riverside School was also opened to serve students from Fair Lawn, Hawthorne and the Riverside section of Paterson.
Growth Through the 1920s
At the beginning of the 20th century, interest in Christian education grew rapidly. Amity Street School became crowded and North 4th Street School was opened. Soon, two more schools opened in the area: Midland Park Christian School and Passaic Christian School. At the time, the school year ran from April to April with four weeks off in July.
In 1919, a new Board was formed for “The Christian Secondary School for Paterson and Vicinity.” The new high school was called Eastern Academy and met at the North 4th Street School.
Life in the 1930s and 1940s was difficult for much of the world, including the Christian community in northern New Jersey. But even in the toughest days of the Depression and World War II, God graciously preserved Eastern Christian Schools.
In 1933, a fire destroyed the upper level of North 4th Street School, but classes were moved to other schools and churches until renovations could be completed. In 1940, bus service was introduced to help those families who lived too far to walk or drive to one of the schools. Growth continued at Eastern Academy and a second addition was added in 1944.
Consolidation and Growth
To bring the schools into a closer relationship, the four elementary schools and the high school were consolidated under a new organization during the 1950s: the Eastern Christian School Association. The Eastern Academy building was converted into a junior high school, and a new high school was opened in North Haledon in 1954. In 1959, the Wyckoff Christian School was built to replace the Riverside School, and in that same year an Endowment Fund was started with a vision to fund Christian education for future generations.
The 1960s saw continued growth in enrollment and expanded facilities. Total enrollment reached an all-time high of 1,855 in 1964. In 1966, the Midland Park School was moved to a larger site in Midland Park. A new library and classrooms were added to the High School. The end of the 1960s also saw the closing of the North 4th Street and Passaic schools.
Building and Rebuilding
Eastern Christian started a preschool in 1973 to help parents begin their children’s education in Christian day school. The Preschool moved several times until its final move to a renovated facility on the Midland Park campus in 2006.
In the 1980s, Eastern Christian reorganized its educational program employing a middle school philosophy, and closed the aging North 8th Street School. Elementary school programs were consolidated at the Midland Park campus and middle school programs at the Wyckoff campus. In 1988, a new wing of classrooms was added to the Elementary School. The science wing of the High School was also refurbished.
The Middle School was expanded in 1994 with new classrooms. In 1997, the High School auditorium and facilities were renovated, and in 1999 the High School Media Center was refurbished. Also in 1999, the donated Terrace Lake property was sold, adding $2.8 million to the Endowment Fund. In 2004, Phase II of the Middle School project was completed, adding a gymnasium and renovated art and music space.
The New Century
Eastern Christian has continued to expand and update its academic program through the creation of learning communities at all levels of the school. New collaborative faculty initiatives keep the educational program up-to-date. In addition, small group leadership programs, freshmen “Timothy Groups” led by juniors, career seminars, and an increased emphasis on the application of technology to learning all continue our great tradition.
Its students, parents, faculty and staff continue to celebrate God’s good gifts and blessings. Eastern Christian continues a tradition of excellence measured not only by the exceedingly good academic test scores its students achieve at all three schools, but more importantly by the faithful supportive Christian communities found on each campus and in the kinds of vocations to which Eastern Christian students find themselves called.