This year marks a special year as John Calvin School celebrates 50 years of providing Reformed, Christian Education. The school was built in 1964 by the members of the Canadian Reformed Church and School Society of Smithville. It began as a two-story building with four classrooms on the upper floor for the school and meeting rooms, a nursery, and a place to hold the Dutch worship services in the basement for the Smithville Church.
Steady growth necessitated the addition of another four classrooms shortly thereafter. Growth reached its peak in the 1994-95 school year. John Calvin School was operating 14 classrooms and a full-time special education program for 335 students taught by a staff of 15 full-time and 3 part-time teachers. During the course of this school year, members living in the Attercliffe and Dunnville areas began their own school society and built an eight-classroom school. The split became a reality in September, 1995 when the school in Attercliffe began to operate with approximately 125 students spread over five classrooms.
With the opening of A.C.R.E.S., the pressure was temporarily relieved, but the population soon began to grow again. All the while, a long-standing desire to expand the facilities and include a gym also grew. It didn’t take too long before our numbers again approached 300 and four portable classrooms were once more in use.
In the Spring of 2002 a membership meeting was presented with a proposal for expansion which was approved with a significant majority. The new facility was to add six classrooms, a gymnasium, a kitchen, offices and a staff room. After raising the necessary funds, the actual work got underway with the site being cleared in late July of 2004, and the final touches were made to the gymnasium, the final stage, in September of 2005. By that time, students and teachers were already busily working in the new classrooms. Finally, on November 12, 2005, we were able to have enjoy official grand opening festivities.
In September, 2014, John Calvin School and the broader community came together again to celebrate 50 years of Christian education. May our Heavenly Father continue to bless the work done at JCS educating our children as we seek to “tell the coming generations.”