Historical Highlights


Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, a small group of dedicated men met in our small and relatively young community of South Holland, to make plans to usher Christian education into this community, which at the time was basically "Dutch Reformed".  This meeting was the start of the present Calvin Christian School of South Holland.  To the best of our knowledge eight men attended this meeting.  (The last of these men, Mr. Peter Smits, lived to see the commemoration of the school's 50th Year.  The remainder of these, according to available records, were Mr. H. Swets, Mr. F. Baron, Mr, T. Van Kalker, Mr. M Weetsma, Mr. A. Couwenhoven, and Mr. A. Pluymert.)


After numerous meetings, starting in 1909, years of hard work and prayer, our local school was founded and graduated its first class in 1913The seed of Christian instruction had been sown in accord with the basic Reformed doctrine in South Holland.  The first graduation consisted of seven pupils.  The original building was a two room one story building costing $1,500.  In its first year it housed twenty pupils and one teacher.



A Historical Timeline of Events...

Summaries listed below are brief summaries of the minutes of the Calvin Christian School Board of Directors.  The first minute book (1912-1917 was lost over the years, sometime prior to 1987, however, all minutes from 1912-1928 were written in the Dutch language.

(Click on the year to view historical photos from that school year.)


1912 / 1913

The official first year of education at Calvin Christian School!  The original school building was one story with two rooms costing $1,500.  The enrollment in the first year was 20 students.



Due to increasing enrollment, the building was enlarged by adding two rooms.  The original wood frame structure was raised, and a concrete block building was constructed underneath it.  This indeed must have been a huge task, as mechanization unheard of at this time.  The building now had four rooms, and the teaching staff increased to two, and, later in this school year, a third teacher was added because of the substantial increase in pupils.



God had truly blessed our first years.  The enrollment reached 123 pupils and teaching staff consisted of three people - J. VanderArk, Miss Stella Tiesman, and Miss Minnie Brinks.  Things were a bit trying during this year because the school had to be closed for a short time due to a smallpox epidemic.  Our school became a member of the National Union of Christian Schools.  First teachers' convention, October 12,1912.  First sale in our school was held on May 4, 1917 for the benefit of the school.



Each school board member was requested to obtain two associate members to help support our school.  The annual associate membership fee was $1.00.  It was decided to canvass our community for gifts to pay the debt of our school.  The Associate membership fee was changed from $1.00 to $6.00 per year.


1918 and beyond...

The years after the First World War (7/18/1914 - 11/11/1918) were prosperous.  South Holland Christian School grew in numbers and prestige.  Records show that tuition rates were higher in 1927 than they were in the early 1930's.



The First Christian Reformed Church donated a second hand organ to the school.  It was decided to present each of the graduates a Bible at the time of their graduation.  The school board decided to borrow money from the South Holland Bank, but must not exceed $500.



New tuition rates were adopted.  It was decided to have farmers raise onion sets to help finance our school.  A fire bell was installed.  It was decided to paint the school building and fix up the empty room to use for children's lunch and board meetings.



Appointed a committee to buy a house for the principal.  They decided to have school hours on standard time.  The Annual meeting decided that the three highest grades be given one hour of Dutch instruction a week.



The Society members contributed $273 to get a new furnace installed.  Also, the first P.T.A. meeting was held.



Resolved to have no spring vacation because of school days lost during the installation of the new furnace.  Decided to plant trees around the school building.  The outside of the school was also painted.  The school society will consider hiring another teacher.  Decided to give the children a day in the firest preserve at the end of the school term.  New tuition rates set at one child $4.00 per month, two children $6.00 per month and three children $9.00.  The board received a complaint against the Dutch teaching in the school room.



The board decided to buy a new dictionary.  This year Mr. Mark Fakkema was requested to address the graduates.  A sum of $321.17 was paid on the school mortgage.  A watchman was appointed to watch over the school property during the evening.  The school board expresses its sincere sympathy to Mrs. Harry J. Van Drunen in the loss of her husband who was a faithful board member.



Part of the mortgage is paid.  Decided to install a water system to heat the school.  It was decided to use only the English language in the Christmas program.  The children who were not being instructed in the Dutch language would be dismissed at 2:30 P.M.



A school bus was considered, but not adopted.  A society was organized, consisting of girls in the upper grades who would sew for the school, supervised by the teachers.



The Girls' Sewing Circle requests the use of a room for their sales, this is granted.  The Principal advised the board that no more face powder and puffs be brought to the school after January 1, by the children.



A committee sent to the Sewing Circle to bring a personal "Thank You" for their gift.  A decision was made to have a 10 month school term again.  New tuition rates were adopted: one child $5.00, two children $7.00, three children $8.50, and four or more $9.50 per month.  Resolved  to write all minutes in the English language.  Principal's salary set at $1,200 a year a nd free house.  A Janitor was employed for $30.00 per month.



Decided to buy a second hand piano for the second room.  Received some second hand furniture from the 108th Street School. A new fire escape was bought and installed.  Decided to pay H.B. Gillson $75.00, the balance to be paid when the fire marshall has OK'd this work.


The Great Depression (1929-39)

This was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world.  In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.  From 1930 to 1938 only faith and prayer kept our school from going out of existence.  We have records showing some mothers doing the school's "Fall Cleaning" to keep their children in our Christian school.  Teachers were hired by the month as our school boards did not know from where the "next dollar" would come.  By 1939 our enrollment had dropped to 86 pupils.  Only two of the four rooms were being used.



A new fence is installed with the cooperation of the DeYoung brothers.  The board decided that our school building and the Principal's house be painted on the ouside, money to be received by petition.  The building committee was authorized to seal the hand pump.



New Principal - Mr. G. Ballast.  Permission has been granted for the alumni association to use the school for meetings.  It was decided to install city water in the Principal's house.  Also to clean and paper by charity workers.  A request for band meeting in the school has been granted.



Due to the depression, the society members are contacted by the board members to pay their delinquent tuition fees.  The building committee is to take care of a new roof on the principal's garage.  The Secretary is to correspond with Mr. Mark Fakkema and ask him for information on the teacher's fund.  A special board meeting held and conducted in the Dutch language, to discuss our financial condition and how we shall continue our school.  It was decided to keep three teachers.  Decided to hire all teachers by the month, due to the stress of the times,  the Board does not feel justified in hiring the teachers for a set time.  New tuition rates adoped - one child $3.50 a month, two children $5.50 a month, three children $6.50 a month, and four or more chilfen $7.50 a month.



A nine month school term is decided and prolong the school days.  Decided to continue with two teachers and increase their salary $5.00 per month.  The school nurse shall not show the children any moving pictures under any circumstances.



The Principal was ordered to buy first aid kit.



The school building and fixtures was insured for $5,000.  Principal was reappointed for $90.00 per month, the lady teachers for $60.00 a month.  The black boards were resurfaced.  New fire extinguishers were bought and safety signs ordered for the school.  These were paid by the Ladies Christian School Society.



The board decided to buy a duplicating macine.  The board gratefully acknowledges a ditto machine which was donated by the Ladies Christian School Society.  Decided to give our graduates a National Union Diploma and a county diploma.



The Principal's house was sold for $2,500.00, and school grounds enlarged by buying a strip 50 ft. wide and 250 ft. long.



The merry-go-round was purchased at $175.00.  The school doors were changed to comply with the state requirements for fire safety.



Motion made and carried to have no class prophecy adn will for the graduation program.  A new principal hired; namely, Mr. Anthony DeGroot.  Decided to keep legal documents of the school in a safe.  Motion carried to spend $135.00 on books and globes.  Also, buy black boards and small Psalters for the children to take home.  Enrollment has dropped to 86 pupils due to the depression.


1939 and beyond...

"South Holland Christian School" school began growing rapidly.  By 1944 plans were being made for a new building.  A Building Fund Drive was held during that year which netted a total of $25,000.



The bus system was introduced this year.  All papers concerning the school property wer turned over to the Secretary, Mr. John P. Van Der Zee, and were placed in the safety deposit box in our local bank.  Fifteen desks were picked up at the Racine Christian School due to the increased enrollment.  Three rooms in the school were used.  The board contemplates finishing the fourth room.



The Alumni of the school was requested to take care of the Annual School Drive.  These funds would be used to make improvements in the school property.  It was decided to finish the lower west room and hire a fourth teacher.  The board extends sympathy to the Ubba Boer family in the death of their daughter.



The board advised Mr. Anthony De Groot, the principal, to obtain standardized tests for the pupils.  A motion was made and supported to have a valedictorian and all grades were to have final examinations, which is to be figured as follows:  4/5 for the daily work and 1/5 for the final examination.  A special School Society meeting was held to discuss the School Bus matter.  Because the owner of the School Bus was unable to transport the children to school at 9:00 A.M., the board decided to begin the school session at 9:30 A.M., which was approved by the School Society.



The building committe was given authority to purchase material and let out contracts to put a new roof on the schoo.  The first paper drive was held and $23.85 was collected.  This money might be used by the teachers for necessary articles for the school.  An additional 100 ft. of property was bought from Mr. Ben Ruiter for $600.00



In view of a new site and school, a drive with a goal of $50,000 was made.  Nineteen pupils will graduate in this year.  The first building committee members were J. Van Zuidam, Gilbert Van Baren, C.B. Van Drunen, John Vander Bilt, Tom Ruiter, John A. Vander Zee, Owen De Young, and Nelson Eylander.  The Christian School Finance Committee came into existence on February 16, 1944 and the members were:  A. Meeter, W. Monsma, J. DeBoer, J.P. Vander Zee, P. Ruiter, Gerrit Van Baren, M.J. Van Drunen, and W. Lagestee. The first drive brought $25,006.00.



On May 15 the present school site was purchased from Mr. N. Paarlberg.  The old school property was sold to Mr. George Voss for $3,100.00 including the stoves.  New tuition rate:  one child $5.75, two children $13.25, and four or more children $16.50.



Enrollment is at 173 students/pupils.  A special School Society Meeting was held.  At this meeting the decision was made to begin building the new school in the Spring of 1947 if finances permit.



It was decided to proceed with the new building program.  Prayers were answered and a new building consisting of six classrooms, an all-purpose room, and a teacher's room was constructed at our present location.  The name of the school was changed to its present name, Calvin Christian School. (formerly South Holland Christian School)



Calvin's new school building was dedicated to new standards of Christian education.  The community of South Holland was also taking on a new look.  South Holland was growing at a rapid pace.  With this rapid growth, our enrollment figure climbed to 224 pupils.  Three buses transport about 100 pupils daily.



Our enrollment grew to 290 pupils, necessitating the converstaion of the all-purpose room into two classrooms.



Our enrollment increased to 320 pupils.  Two more classsrooms and an all-purpose room were added.  God was truly blessing our efforts to educate his children in the way in which they should be educated.



Once again, the classroom facilities had to be enlarged.  The all-purpose room added in 1954 was converted into two classrooms.



A "Long Range Planning Committee" was formed and mandated to develop plans to cope with the rapid growth of our school.



Bethany Christian Reformed Church (building now owned by Pioneer Missionary Baptist Church), located at 315 E 161st Place in South Holland, consented to let our school use its basement for two classrooms, since we were bursting at the seams.



Our Kindergarten was started.  And because there was no room available at the school, the 1st Christian Reformed Church, located at 16248 S Park Ave in South Holland, gave permission to use its basement for educating these little people.



Our school population had grown to more than 500 pupils.  A major building problem had to be solved.  Plans were developed to build an addtion to our present building or to construct a new plant on our vacant property on South Park Avenue.  The School Cociety voted in favor a second-floor addition to our present plant.



In the Spring, a huge fund-raising campaign was launched and the CCS Society voted to purchase property bordering the west side of the school.  Calvin Christian School supporters showed manifestations of their faith by giving of their tithes in the amount of $55,000.  And starting in the start of the Fall, in 1962 (the school's 50th Year Anniversary), the building program was completed within a period of five months.  This was the result of good planning, proper timing, and adequate supervision.  The second floor was added giving the school 20 classrooms total.  Expansion consisted of eight classrooms, a library, teachers' room, washroms and extensive first floor improvements.  Total cost of this project was $180,000.

50th Anniversary Banquet held in March (550 friends and parents of CCS attended), and enrollment increased to 540.



A new 48 station Intercom System was installed.  A motion was passed to remodel the office a cost of $750.  A motion was passed to remove or demolish the school owned house located on the west side of the school property.



Al VandenBosch hired as school Administrator.  Enrollment at 588.  Budget for 1965-66 school year was $152,470.



A long range Building Planning Committee was formed.  Plans were made for holding two 3rd grade classes in Bethany C.R.C.'s basement for the 66-67 school year because of crowded conditions in the school.  The budget this year was proposed at $184,250.  Mr. Louis Aarkema of Ireton, Iowa accepted a contract offer to become Calvin's Assistant Administrator for the 1966-67 school year.  Mrs. Jean Rusthoven became the school secretary.  Enrollment for this year was at 574.  The society approved a motion to purchase the Venhuizen property just west of school property.



Due to Calvin's substancial growth, Architects were hired to make sketches for a new school building.  The long range Building Planning Committee recommended that we sell the present school facility and build a new school at the a new site.  The 5th grade classes were held at 1st CRC this year.  The school's 55th Anniversary is celebrated in November during Christian Education Week.



The Society approves the purchase of a portable classroom to house two classes.  School budget this year set at $209,300.  Mr Richard Nagel from Sussex, New Jersey, accepts the position of Assistant Administrator after Lewis Aarkema accepted an appointment to be Administrator to the Christian School in Orange City, Iowa.



Enrollment now at 662.  Mr. Harley Ver Beek from Holland, MI accepted the position of Administrator after Alvin VandenBosch informed the board that he would not be returning as administrator.  The budget for the the 1969-70 school year was set for $243,100.



A building expansion committee is appointed to investigate adding on to present facility and/or building a new facility on a 7-acre site located off of South Park Avenue, adjacent to Calvary Reformed Church (located at 16341 South Park Avenue).  At a special Fall Society Meeting, it is decided not to build on the new property, but to build the proposed west addition of a multi-purpose gym, assembly room, and additional classrooms.



The Society decided to purchase the VandeWoude property at 474 E. 161st Place and to remove it from the premises to create additional playground area to the west.  Approval for building construction was given at $445,000 for the new addition and it was approved to obtain a mortgage for $360,000 of the cost.  It was also decided to sell the 7-acre property adjacent to Calvary Reformed Church on South Park for $85,000.



The definition of "supporting church" was presented and accepted by the School Board.  The Spring Society meeting approved a 1972-1973 budget of $309,310.  The actual mortgage placed on the addition was $325,000 at 7% for 15 years.



There was a discussion on declining enrollment and its affect on Calvin Christian School.  The 1973-74 budget was approved at $321,600.



A new policy was created which stated that all Calvin Christian School teachers must send thier children to a Christian school to substantiate their commitment to Christian Education.  The 1974-75 budget stayed the same as the previous year at $321,600.  A vacation policy was prepared for issuance before Christmas every year to denote the responsibility that both students and parents have to notify and make up work missed during a vacation.



The portable classrooms and desks no longer used by our school were sold to Sandridge School.  The budget for the 1975-76 school year was approved at $332,000.  The cost for one student to attend Calvin was $936.



The Mother's Club presented a check for $16,000 to help cut the costss of tuition.  Calvin's Boy's Basketbal team took first place in the Chicagoland Christian School League as well as the Illiana Junior High Invitational Tournament.  The 1976-77 budget was approved at $359,550.



The society agreed to change the constitution with the net effect of eliminating the Fall Society Meeting.  All normal business including election of new board members will be done at one annual society meeting to be held in the Spring.



A Corporal Punishment Policy was adopted by Calvin to best compliment and reinforce the home in the development of our children.  This discipline will be administered in the light of God's Word.



The Executive Committee is working on plans to implement our board goals, focusing primarily on our new sight/sound presentation



The 1980-81 budget reached the $500,000 mark.  Principal Ver Beek presented a report in which the Board was briefed on the feasability of undertaking a Pre-School program at Calvin.



The entire bill for repairs to our heating system totalled over $3,500 and was paid by an anonymous contributor.  It was suggested this be made public (while maintaining the anonimity of the donor) to let the society know of the generosity and love people have for Calvin Christian School.



Don Woo was appointed as the new Assistant Principal and Dr Ver Beek's role as Administrator took on the new dimensions of fund raising, student recruitment, and increased public relations.  The plans for the farewell/retirement celebration to be held on May 22, 1982, for Mrs. Nellie Barehead were reviewed.  The Board presented Mrs. Barehead with a grandmother's clock for her 34 years of service at Calvin.



The society approved the installation of all new energy efficient windows.  Also, the Calvin Christian School Foundation was established with a separate Constitution and board of directors, for the purpose of current and deferred gifts through legacies, trusts, annuities or other means.



The "BUILD Calvin" Campaign was initiated to provide funds for continued maintenance and improvement after the mortgage was paid off.  Dr. VerBeek reported that the Thanksgiving project for the month of November is the collecting of food and toys to be given to the Roseland Christian Ministries Center.



The 1st Annual Foundation Golf Outing was held in May.  A farewell party was held for Mrs. Ida Kooy who retired after 22 years of teaching at Calvin.



The Society approved a new mortgage of over $100,000 to replace the old roof with a brand new rubber fabric roof.  An exciting balloon launch kicked off the beginning of the 75th Anniversary "Diamond Jubilee of Gratitude and Praise to God."



Plans are being made by the 75th Anniversary Committee to have a Festive Hymn Sing, Alumni Banquet with Alumni Band, and Calvin Open House exhibiting historic memorabilia.



Don Woo hired as Administrator.



Approved reconstruction of brick facade over main entrance of the school.



Hired first Director of Development.



After two years of study, student computer lab is completed.  Purchased 28 computers and 6 printers.



Participated in CSI's Step Up To Excellence" program.



The creation of a Christian Educational Promotional tape approved.  New AMTRAM Bus purchased.



"Paver Fundraiser Project" was approved.  A third bus route was implented to serve students in the Crete/Beecher area.



A new boiler installed and removal of asbestos.  New 1997 Navistar purchased for third bus route in Crete.



Computer Lab (IMacs) implemented (20 computers).  Computer Technology Coordinator was hired.



Office and school software updated to be Y2K compliant.



Computer grading system installed.  Harvest Thrift Store begins with Lansing Christian School.  New phone system installed with Voice Mail.



Two new programs initiated:  "Extended Day Kindergarten" and "Before and After School Care".




(more history coming soon...)

2002 - 2015 and beyond



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