BCS is Unstoppable

August 2012 – Struggling economic times and future economic security seem to be topics on a lot of people’s minds in the past few years.  As we quickly approach the election of a new president, each candidate works hard to prove that he would the one to turn the economy around in the next four years.  The past four years have had far reaching effects on people around the world.

Its impact on Brazosport Christian School (BCS) began as a gradual decline in student enrollment.  A school that was incorporated by families in the Lake Jackson community began with an enrollment of 92 students (kindergarten through sixth grade) in 1980.  By 1994, they had increased their staff and student population to include seventh through twelfth grades, as well.  They continued to grow after moving to a new facility that included two buildings.  Their enrollment was reaching 300 students by 2009.  As tough economic times hit the housing market and unemployment began to rise, the enrollment rate at BCS began to fall.  By the time Stephen accepted the position of superintendent, enrollment was half of what it was capable.

However, budget cuts did not enough to keep the school from falling into debt.  It was around the end of the first semester when Stephen realized that the school was hitting a major financial crisis.  They had begun to rely mainly on major donors to get them through the school year.  Half a million dollars was given to the school in the fall, but it was quickly swallowed up by expenses that needed to be paid.

Stephen came to a dawning realization that the school was not going to survive past the current school year if nothing changed in the next few months.  After several months of advising the school board to explain the situation to the school’s community at large, they finally agreed.  Two meetings were held a month before the 2011-2012 school year ended to disclose the financial struggles of the school and to explain what needed to be done in order to insure that there would still be a BCS for students to attend in the 2012-2013 school year.

The main message given to the school’s community was the following: If the school did not raise half a million dollars by the end of the school year, BCS would be forced to close.

The message that was taken away by the BCS community was simply this: We can’t let that happen.

We watched in awe as different people in the community began to step up and offer donations or fund-raising activities.  Several teachers at the school offered to take salary cuts.  Some of them were willing to work for $1.  By the week after graduation, the school had raised a little over $250,000.  After going through the budget once last time, Stephen was able to make up the rest of the costs through budget cuts.

At the same time that all this was taking place, we were starting to see an increase in enrollment.  One of the biggest fears was that we would lose families in the community once they learned of the financial situation of the school.  Although there were some families who withdrew their children, the school greeted the new school year with an overall increase of 40 students which included 70 new students.  Some of the biggest increases were in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes.  For example, there were only 10 kindergarten students who finished the school year in 2012.  At the beginning of the fall semester, there were 18 students (and one of them was our son, Jared) enrolled.

Over the summer, I had marveled at this miracle turn around in such a small Christian school.  I’ve heard of so many little Christian schools having to close their doors in the past few years, because they can no longer afford to keep operating.  BCS was becoming proof that when faith and community come together, miracles can happen.

One day, I was listening to Chris Tomlin’s song, “Our God (is greater).”  The bridge goes like this:

BRIDGE
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

I thought about the fact that Stephen is in charge of choosing the school’s theme at the beginning of each school year.  He has to come up with a slogan, theme verse and song.  I asked Stephen if he had been thinking of a theme yet.  When he told me that he hadn’t, I told him that I thought “Unstoppable” would be an encouraging theme slogan after going through such a tough crisis at the end of last year.   Chris Tomlin’s song would fit perfectly, and the theme verse is right in the song.

Stephen presented it to the school board and school staff members and they all liked it.  The school year began with this slogan printed across their announcement board, “BCS is Unstoppable.”

Thanks to God and a community of believers, BCS really has become an unstoppable example of determination and strength in the face of adversity.  It may have been down, but it is certainly not dying out of the community.

We are currently finishing up the fall fund-raising project.  BCS was trying to raise $70,000 with a car give-away.  Every ticket sold would be placed in a drawing for one person to win a car at the Homecoming Game on the evening of November 2.

Although, BCS was only able to reach half of that goal by their deadline of October 26, Stephen is still looking at this event as a great way to advertise the school.  It will be interesting to see who wins the car (and other prizes) on the night of the Homecoming Game.

Those who are interested in giving to the school can visit their donation page on the web:

http://www.1bcs.org/support/index.php

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