The following speech was written and presented by Nicole Minnema, a 2004 graduate of Kingston Christian School.
We are in this amazing school with all these great teachers almost every day. We know about the school and what it is now. Have you ever wondered how it got started, and what made it what it is today? I have, and I decided to look into its history. This is what I found out.
After the Second World War, in the early 1950s, there were a large number of immigrants from Holland that came to Canada and the United States. These new settlers were very religious, and as soon as they established themselves, they began building their own churches in the tradition of the churches they left in Holland. Their denomination was called the Christian Reformed Church. These congregations didn’t like the idea of sending their children to be educated in the public school system. The main reason was that when their children were baptized, one of the promises they made to God was to educate their children in the Christian faith. So across North America these settlers, with the help of their churches, started building their own schools.
This particular school was built by the congregation of the First Christian Reformed Church, way back in 1963. The first building was on Wright Crescent, which is just north of the Kingston Shopping Centre, where an apartment building now stands. It was first called the Calvin Christian School, after the reformist John Calvin. This new school had only four classrooms with students from grade one to eight.
The school was set up to be run as it is now, a group of people called the Society, who vote and elect a Board of nine who run the school. Although the School was built by members of the First Christian Reformed Church and the Dutch immigrants of its congregation, when it drafted its constitution it was clear that while the school was going to be operated based on Christian values, it was not going to be associated with any one Christian denomination, and Society membership was going to be open to all persons regardless of race, ethnic, or national background.
By the end of the first decade, in the early 1970s, the school was enrolling 60 to 70 students per year. There was a lot of growth in the 1970s, and by 1977 the school had grown to 107 students. With continued growth, by the late 1980s the need for a new school building was clear. Enrollment for 1991 was 175 students. A new school was therefore constructed on this site at 1212 Woodbine Road in 1992. The old limestone farmhouse, that is now the office, was there at the time, and rather than tear it down it was incorporated into the design. The school had an open house on Wednesday, April 15, 1992, and the first school year started September, 1992. The new school cost 1.3 million dollars to build, and had 9 classrooms, one for each grade, and another one for the Kindergarten classes.
Nicole Minnema – Grade 8
Inside KCS, you’ll notice that natural light pours in the large and numerous windows — and many of these windows overlook green space.
Walking through the hallways, you’ll find students happily learning in nine full-size classrooms plus a double-sized kindergarten room. Preschool students can attend KCS now by enrolling in Bayridge Nursery School two half-days per week. The school also features a dedicated visual arts classroom, a library, regulation-sized gymnasium, full kitchen, a networked computer lab on a cart with continuous Internet connection and new playground structures. KCS is surrounded by Woodbine Park, a city-owned green space with additional playground structures, baseball diamonds and soccer fields.