Fellowship spanning 40 years enjoyed by Christian school graduates

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The school was much smaller when Sandra Vanderveen was among the first students to attend what was called the Eben-Ezer Canadian Reformed School in Chatham in 1973.

Vanderveen was placed in a Gr. 6 class with just a handful of other pupils to finish her elementary school years.

"I came from a public school. It was a nice change ... most of my classmates went to church with me," said Vanderveen

About 300 people, including Vanderveen, took the walk down memory lane at what is now called Eben-Ezer Christian School during the school's 40th anniversary reunion on Saturday.

There was food, fellowship and an evening of entertainment to enjoy.

The school opened Sept. 5, 1973 with 49 students sharing two rooms.

The same number of students is currently enrolled in Jr. Kindergarten through to Gr. 8 classes, but the school now boasts four classrooms, a library, and a gymnasium/auditorium.

Members of the Canadian Reformed Church spent nearly 20 years getting the facility opened.

"It speaks to commitment to give children a Christian education," said school chair Rob Vanderveen.

Forty years later, families remain loyal to pay the $6,000 per family each year to send their children to Eben-Ezer.

The school receives no grants from the Ministry of Education although the government maintains oversight of the curriculum through inspections.

The members ensure the teachings are referenced to the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures as confessed in the Three Forms of Unity.

Each year the Gr. 7 and 8 students hold a 30-hour famine.

They raised $2,100 which was used to support a breakfast program and Right to Life signage.

The school also supports an orphanage in Haiti.

"We let the students decide where the funds will go," said public relations chair Deb DeBoer.

Sabrina Bos, 14, will graduate from Eben-Ezer in June.

"I like that the classes have not many students. You get more attention from your teacher," said Bos.

She's looking forward to attending a Christian high school just outside London in the fall.

Though Eben-Ezer has only five full time teachers, Vanderveen said teaching staff is not easy to find since the explosion of Christian schools in the Golden Horseshoe.

There is an opening currently for a full time teacher at Eben-Ezer, he added.

But the focus on the weekend was catching up with former classmates, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Manitoba.







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