By Marlene Bergsma, Communications Coordinator
The Christian School Foundation’s enrolment bursary fund continues to bear fruit for member schools.
Smithville Christian High School is pleased to be welcoming a new student for Grade 9 in September 2015 who is that school’s first recipient of a $2,500 Foundation entrance scholarship.
Micaela Felvus, who is currently attending a public school, downloaded the scholarship application form from Smithville Christian’s website and wrote a compelling essay about why she wants to attend a Christian school.
“Incorporating God into my school life is very important for my teen years,” wrote Felvus. “Being involved in chapel and in religion classes, as well as being surrounded by Christian friends and teachers could help me make decisions that glorify God.”
Smithville Christian did not offer any Foundation-funded needs-based bursaries in August, when the Christian School Foundation bursary program was first announced, because it was able to meet incoming families’ needs with its own well-run and generously-funded bursary program, said principal Ted Harris.
That’s why Smithville Christian sought a partnership with the Christian School Foundation to fine-tune the bursary in a way that would create new inquiries for the school.
Applicants had to be new to Christian education, they had to be able to say why they wanted to attend a Christian school, and they had to be able to say what they have to contribute. Unlike needs-based bursaries, there is no requirement for demonstrating financial need, so the school also asks for permission to share some of the student’s story.
Micaela’s essay was reviewed by a panel made up of representatives from teaching staff, administration and the board of directors, and unanimously recommended for approval.
The entrance scholarship is being gratefully received by Micaela and her family. “We are thrilled with this news,” wrote her mother, Melanie, who was first introduced to Smithville Christian High School when she accepted students from the school’s co-op program at her local business.
“I’ve listened to my mom tell many people about how great these students are and I want to be like them,” Micaela wrote.
“When I get to high school, I hope to be involved in the school plays, the parade committee and the school’s newspaper,” she wrote. “These are all areas in which I can bring my creativity.”
“We were pleased to be able to recommend Micaela,” Harris said, who was part of the review panel. “Based on her essay, she looks like she will be a wonderful addition to our school.”
Harris said Smithville Christian High School is pleased to have the Christian School Foundation as its ally, and even more students are making inquiries because of the entrance scholarship.
“The Foundation is starting to yield more and more revenue for our school, and we are thrilled to apply these funds to our bursary in most cases,” Harris said. “The Foundation helps us to make good on our goal of removing finances as a obstacle in allowing families to be blessed by Christian education.”
Similarly, the Christian School Foundation welcomed Smithville Christian’s tweaking of the bursary program, said executive vice-president Henry Koornneef. It’s exactly this type of partnership — working with member schools — that the Foundation wants to encourage.
“This was something we hadn’t done before but we are always looking for these kinds of solutions and answers,” Koornneef said.
“Some of the best ideas are at the school level.”
(The application form for the Foundation entrance scholarship can be found on the bulletin board of the Smithville Christian High School website at www.smithvillechristian.ca)