Written by Febe Gomez

When we came to Holland 24 years ago from Mexico via Texas speaking only Spanish, and with plans to pastor a Hispanic church in Holland, our first two children were just starting preschool and first grade. We were looking for a school close to home where Sam and Betsy could receive their education, but also where we could feel safe and welcome. We visited a couple of schools around the area and finally Sam was enrolled in one of them. Betsy stayed with me at the Montessori school where I found a job.

However, every single day I passed right in front of Rose Park Elementary and I really wanted to learn more about it. My husband and I weren’t very satisfied with the school where Sam was attending— although they had Spanish speaking staff, which was the main reason we enrolled him there. My search for another school started by asking people about Rose Park Elementary and most of the people I talked with had very discouraging things to say like “It was too expensive,” “It’s for the rich people,” “It’s for the white and English speakers,” and so on.

Nevertheless, those words did not stop me from continuing my search. One day I dared to ask the pastor of my church to help me set up an appointment with someone at Rose Park. In a few days, Holland Christian found Brent Holleman, who worked in the main office then as the Director of Advancement, and whose wife, Karen, was the Spanish teacher at the High School. They were very willing to translate our conversation with the Rose Park principal, then Ms. Sally VanHemert. That conversation was a blessing because I was able to clarify that all the negative ideas of Holland Christian that I had heard from people were not based on reality. We decided that Holland Christian’s Rose Park Elementary was the place the Lord was opening for Sam and Betsy to grow up not only academically, but socially and spiritually—which is a very important aspect for us.

Sam and Betsy received scholarships to help pay the tuition, and we managed as a family to live with just one car in order for us to invest into our kids’ education at Holland Christian, because we firmly believed that HC was the place for our kids to receive a Christian education. We are grateful in particular to Ms. Melanie Scott for taking the time to teach English and all the rest of the subjects to Sam—and he can’t forget how much love he received from this teacher!

The most amazing welcoming our family received was having another family, the Hekmans, to help us navigate through the Holland Christian system, with things like communication, events, and any issues we encountered as we found our place in the community. We became very good friends with the Hekmans, both as adults and children—and the friendship and connection between our children was genuine and lovely. We not only received support from them to navigate the “school stuff,” but in other areas as well. We are still good friends as brothers and sisters in Christ even now, even when our kids are grown ups and we don’t see each other as frequently as when they were younger.

Another way I felt welcomed into Holland Christian is when HC teachers invited me to read books to students in Spanish, and then later on as I learned English, I also read books in English. I also worked at Rose Park as one of the “lunch ladies,” and our family’s relationship grew stronger with teachers and administration.

Years later, when Raphie, our youngest, was born, Rose Park became our second family. They all prayed for him when he went through several surgeries and remained at the hospital for four months, trying to survive. We saw their love in so many tangible ways. How could our family forget all that love and kindness from our school family? That’s the same reason why we continue investing in Raphie’s education at Holland Christian. He has received personal attention with his educational, emotional and spiritual needs from K-13! We thank God for this blessing.

We never regret the investment of Christian education. At HC our children were challenged to avoid drugs and alcohol, keep their bodies holy as the Holy Spirit’s temple, focus on what the Lord wants them to accomplish, and remain humble serving Him in any capacity in the community He places them in. We can see the faithfulness of the Lord in our children’s lives even today. They have grown up in their own faith and personal relationship with God and His Word despite going through different trials and hardships, while always deepening their trust in Jesus and believing that the Father will never abandon them in the middle of the darkest moments of their lives.

We just love the mission statement of Holland Christian Schools, “Equipping minds and nurturing hearts to transform the world for Jesus Christ,” because I believe I can see the product of that process in the way of thinking and acting in teachers’ and students’ daily lives, at work, at home, at church, etc.

When I see that in my kids and in others who were taught under the same principle, I believe the goal was reached. And that mission statement shows a real value.

So, my advice or challenge for potential new families is to come, visit and talk with staff at Holland Christian who can give you accurate answers. Yes, Holland Christian has a price, but everything good in this life costs. However, nothing will be lost if you dare to try! Come, visit and invest in your kids’ education!

Thanks, Holland Christian for all you do for our beloved children!

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We look forward to meeting you and your family and introducing you to the fresh, creative, personalized education at Holland Christian! We are here to help! Get in touch using the contact form linked below or call us at 616.820.2805.

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