Linden Christian School celebrates vision for education

WINNIPEG, MB–What started out as a tiny elementary school 25 years ago has grown into a respected Christian school known for its holistic approach to education.

Grant Memorial Baptist Church started Linden Christian School (LCS) in 1987 with just 33 students and three instructors, made up of founding principal Phyllis Cook, and teachers Val Peters and Elizabeth Knight.

"They were supported by the visionary leadership of Grant Memorial Baptist Church. This ministry was a huge step of faith," says LCS principal Robert Charach. "In the early days some classes were held in the hallway of the church. Now Linden Christian School is a fully equipped facility."

Since its humble beginnings, the school has grown to 870 students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, and 103 staff, including a full-time director of spiritual care. The school's growth is most apparent by its strong enrollment and expanded space, shared with Grant Memorial Church.

The school recently completed a 28,000 square-foot renovation, which includes 10 additional classrooms, student study space, new band, choir and art facilities.

With a mission to "provide a Christ-centred education that equips students to love and serve God", LCS is focused on graduating students who hold a biblical worldview and are equipped to serve locally and globally.

"The purpose of the school is to have a Christian school to meet the whole needs of the child," Charach says, pointing to the biblical based learning community that helps students develop academically and spiritually. And that development relies on quality Christian teachers and staff who are themselves committed believers.

"The heart of the school is the classroom and the heart of the classroom is the teachers," Charach says, adding there has been less than five per cent staff turnover in recent years, helping to ensure continuity in the classroom.

"We have a tremendous amount to celebrate," he says. "We are built on a strong biblical foundations which has allowed for growth. We are blessed by the way God has provided for our school."

LCS added Grades 7 and 8 in 1992, and commenced its first high school class in 1994. Grade 10 was added in 1997, Grade 11 in 1998 and Grade 12 in 1999. In addition to its strong focus on academic achievement, the school is well known for its athletic and performing arts programs. "These have matured into signature programs at the school," Charach says.

International music festivals in Chicago and New York have recognized LCS and the school has won provincial volleyball, basketball, and curling championships.

But what continues to set the school apart is the emphasis on spiritual growth and building relationships, with God, people and the community.

"Linden Christian School is very intentional about building compassionate community members," Charach says. The school encourages students to live out their beliefs, express compassion for others and engage in acts of service. As part of its outreach, the school collects winter clothing for those less fortunate, conducts an inner-city day of service, participates in collecting Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and supports the World Vision Christmas catalogue campaign.

In 2009, the school launched an annual short-term mission trip to send high school students to Guatemala. This year 18 students and three staff members will be doing ministry during the month
of February.

With the momentum built in its first 25 years, LCS is headed for a bright future. There is a sense of optimism highlighted by the school's theme for this year, Psalm 100:5, which states that God's faithfulness continues through all generations.

"It is exciting to consider how God is going to work during the years ahead," says Charach.

View a full-page PDF of this story: SOM Linden Christian 01-2013

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