Celebration and hope.

Beginnings and endings.

Endings and beginnings.

Faith. Trust. Next steps.

These were some of the major themes evident at the society meeting Nov 23rd.

The presence of so many at this important evening was appreciated. Thank you.

The evening opened with Julius Siebenga reminding us we rely on a God of hope.

The refrain was loud and clear. Appreciation for this ACS community runs deep.

This is your school and we all share in a “Shaping God’s World” legacy together.

The campaign has come to end. Work continues. And we trust that God is leading.

The next important society meeting is March 1st.  Revised plans and new designs.

For now on to next steps. These are critical as we consider how to revise plans according to what’s been raised – with a bit of a boost in the last months, we’ve reached $10.5 million! New beginnings ahead.

We trust you were encouraged by the trend shown in the financial statements. An increased demand for Christian education in general has helped us as well. In times such as these that is projected to continue. Thank you to our treasurer, Kevin Dewolde, for making the financial stats interesting and informative.

Another cause for celebration and applause was the auction report shared by Denise DeJonge. A huge “THANK YOU” goes out to Denise and our capable auction team for bringing in $115,000 – the second best total ever!  This adds to the all-time auction total of over 3 decades, now in excess of $2 million.

On the topic of our future plans, our board chair, Rick Thiessen, shared this quote – “We approach the future with the knowledge of our present”. This gave context to the fact that our needs now are different than when the campaign began. It will require realigning of grades in a four track system.

To give further context, five years ago the board was praying for increased enrollment – now prayers have been answered. Abundantly. And in unexpected ways. Elementary is bursting. This is our new reality.  It wasn’t the reality when we headed into feasibility studies and the campaign 5 years ago.

As a result, to alleviate the space crunch at elementary, the gr 5’s will move to the middle school. We will run 4 classes at each grade level. This will also require a successive building project at the middle school to add classrooms. The $5 million middle school addition will be funded separately by debt.

In the Q&A that followed, it was clarified that TSI is specific to the high school renovation/rebuild. The design will look different though since the scope is determined by the $10.5 raised. The middle school project is a separate addition, ultimately funded by growth. Both slated for completion in fall of 2020.

The entire evening felt hopeful, thankful, and celebratory. Faith. Trust. Next steps. This was all well summarized in a looking-back-looking-forward-looking-to-our-only-hope message by Amy Van Belle.

(*see Amy’s full speech below)

Thank you to all who attended to participate in this significant chapter at ACS. See you March 1, 2018!

Brian Koning, Director of Advancement
(On behalf of the TSI Leadership Team)   

(speech by Amy Van Belle, Campaign Co-Chair) 

Here we are at the end of This Square Inch, which officially began over 2 ½ years ago. Before I was asked to take on the role of co-chair, I had never in my life worked on a campaign, done any fundraising, or asked anyone for money for a good cause. Rather than stand here and give you a report about how TSI went, I thought I would do a presentation of learning. Because, to be honest, that’s really what it has been for me – a big project with a huge learning curve. Here are the 3 main things I learned.

  1. Engagement is Essential. As this campaign comes to an end, the need for connection with our community continues. On many of the first visits I went on, people had never heard of PBL before. They wondered why a school building needed to function differently than 40 years ago.  We had our work cut out for us in re-engaging many former parents and supporters. One former parent was totally opposed to the project at the start, but after several conversations and over time, this person became one of our largest donors.  I’d like to think that we’ve come a long way in community engagement. Both by deepening relationships with existing supporters and expanding our community thru events like the Sir Ken Learning Revolution The advancement work of ACS must continue, whether we are campaigning or not. We are always living the mission and need to keep extending the invitation to be a part of this on-going kingdom work!
  2. God doesn’t tell us the future for a reason – His Plans are Perfect and beyond our understanding. If I had known how much work it was going to be and the amount of time it would take, there’s no way I would have said yes. Some of you have heard of that bottle of wine . . . I’m pretty sure I would have slammed the door and said, “nice try.” When I did finally agree to help out, I was under the illusion that I was just going to keep Rick on track (I could ask Karen for some insight on that) and that he would be doing a majority of the work. Well, was I ever wrong! Not that Rick hasn’t been doing anything – but the meetings, scheduling, visits, emails, thank-you notes, event planning, writing speeches – and then giving them! Don’t even get me started . . . (That was one of my conditions of saying yes – no speaking in front of groups. Well, you can see how that panned out!) Let’s just say it’s been a lot more work and stretching than I ever dreamed.

On the other hand, I would have missed out on God’s plan which included blessings that even if someone had told me, I wouldn’t have truly understood until I experienced them.The first has been working with the TSI leadership team – Rick, Steve, Christel, Julius, Brian, Sherry, and formerly Christine. They are dedicated, talented, and have given countless hours for this school. They are passionate about the mission of ACS and it’s been so rewarding to work with them. I’m thankful for ACS staff members such as Gerry and Tanya who gave extra time to TSI. What a blessing to meet weekly with the sales team and see their perseverance.

I’ve also been blessed by every visit – I wouldn’t give up a single one. Each one was unique yet they all had similar themes. Some shared struggles but all expressed gratitude.

  • I heard stories of great appreciation for close-knit, supportive community we enjoy here.
  • Many of the gifted, caring teachers were mentioned by name, not only by current parents but also by alumni. One said, “The only reason I stayed in school was because of Mr. Verbeek.” That’s only one of several positive comments I heard about teachers at all 3 campuses.
  •  I heard many parents say “I can’t imagine my kids being anywhere else.”  

It was a privilege to hear all of these personal stories and it all adds up to a picture of ACS being not just a school, but a vessel of abundant blessing to so many people – both inside and outside our school walls.   

3.  God places a vision for His Kingdom in your heart and says “Trust Me to work it out”       which requires Daily Dependence. For someone like me who values a sense of                 control and predictability, this is hard. When recruiting more help, the timelines and       money didn’t go according to the original plan, it was discouraging. When hoped-         for, worked hard for, donations didn’t come through, to say we were disappointed is       an under-statement. 

On the other hand, God always provided his presence, help, and people just when we needed it.  Through prayer and His Word, God has kept drawing our eyes to Him and focused on the big picture. I’ve had this paper taped to the wall above my computer monitor at home throughout the campaign – “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith”. Brian gave me a copy of this quote by Elizabeth Elliot, and I just kept adding verses and song lyrics to it. There’s a little story behind each addition but I’ll share just one. 

Listen to this from Isaiah 14:24 – “Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape.” How appropriate! God put this verse before me right when I was wondering how on earth our small team could continue at the pace we were going making visits. It would take years to complete them all. Shortly after that, we had many of you step up to help out with the visits and it was a humbling answer to prayer. In the end, over 500 visits were made by 73 visitors. As of today, our 3T tally = 737 people who gave time, talent and/or treasure for TSI. Now that’s what you call a group effort!

When the Society approved a capital campaign by 87%, there were four parameters that were agreed to. These have been our guiding principles all through-out the campaign. I’ll just focus on the last one.

  • The scope of the project will be determined by the amount raised.

This has made it difficult to plan but it has also taken us on a journey of trusting in God’s will and the collective generosity of our Society. To date, we have raised $10,500,002 for which we are extremely grateful!  

We thank God for His Provision and trust Him to reveal His plan in His timing through the prayers and work of His people for This Square Inch. As we continue to dream of spaces that will support 21st century learning, and the renovation team plans with this budget in mind, God keeps reminding me that the vision is about equipping students to thrive as they joyfully and faithfully shape God’s world.

Thank you for this opportunity and for being part of this mission!