“The aim of education is the forming of an individual into an independent personality serving God according to His Word, able and willing to employ all given talents to the honour of God and for the well-being of their fellow creatures, in every area of life in where God has placed them.” Dr. Jan Waterink 1890 – 1966
Reflections for the 50th celebration in 2006:
It now seems to me such a long time ago that we attended HDCH, back when it was still in its baby shoes. The whole operation was a learning experience, both for the students, the teachers, the Board and the community. Nobody had any real training or expertise in running a High School operation, let alone managing a bunch of (recent immigrant) teenagers who were just feeling their age and getting into the local culture. (girls, boys, hit parade, hockey, cars etc) (Confession: We (I) sure didn’t make it easy for some of the teachers!) It seems we were all struggling to make ends meet, both in the family and in our church and school communities and learning the new language and culture all at the same time. What a mixed bag of concerns, challenges and opportunities! How much easier it would have been, if we had just connected with the locals!? But no, we were following the cry of Dr. Abraham Kuiper: ‘There is not one inch of human life (the world) about which Jesus does not say “mine!” I remember the first day our family arrived in Hamilton and my dad said to us, just as a matter of fact: “You are going to Christian School.” (1956)
So up the mountain we drove in our blue 1937 Dodge, along the gravel road that was then West 5th Street, past the unpaved Mohawk Road, past the Brouwer’s home on the south east corner and up to Calvin Christian School. The school was situated in a mud marsh and consisted of the original two classrooms with a recent addition of washroom space, teacher office and two more classrooms. The place was full of mud brought in by the kids during recess and when it rained hard the cement block structure leaked at times, the well (sulphur) water smelled like ‘rotten eggs’, the desks were discards from the public school. We played baseball in the marsh reeds…….. but it was a ‘Christian’ school.
When the grade eight class graduated in 1956, it was decided to push through with grade 9 and so HDCH was born. We moved from the Calvin Christian School (1958) site to Immanuel Christian Reformed Church (then the newly constructed home-to-be of the Canadian Reformed Church) at 61 Mohawk Road West. Classrooms were in the basement and it was very much a ‘homemade’ location. Two by fours and plywood separated the (rooms) grades. A year later, we moved to the ‘Mount Hamilton Christian Reformed Church’ on Upper Wellington, where there was more space. It meant however that a lot of us would need to take the city bus beyond Mohawk Road (which cost an additional fare of 15 cents). No student fare was allowed as we were an ‘unrecognized’ school. (This ‘unrecognition’ was not corrected till 1961 when the second class of HDCH students graduated and received their official ‘Ontario Junior Matriculation’ diploma). A number of St. Catharines students were also added to our numbers and they arrived by a special bus driven by teacher Tony ten Kate or rode in with Rev. Wiebe van Dijk’s (‘this is not the Cuban revolution’) car.
One more move in 1961 to downtown First Christian Reformed Church at Charlton & Hess, and then to Athens Street off Mohawk Road completed the journey to our ‘own’ school building. It was all done within five years. A tremendous effort!
What a journey it was! These were ‘heady’ times, full of youthful energy and ‘Kingdom’ dreams and visions. A small but important start in claiming the Canadian scene for the Kingship of Christ. A foundational sense of building ‘for the Lord’ that would reach all the way to many Christian Schools; Redeemer University College and other institutions like ‘CLAC’, ‘Shalom Manor’, ‘Holland Homes’, ‘Christian Stewartship Services‘ and other endeavours.
How are we doing? do we still have this ‘Christian Kingdom’ zeal? Do our children see and ‘catch’ this ‘faith’ desire that was so strong in the 50s and 60s and 70s? Are we ‘passing on’ our Christian faith and passions?
Our parents were the ‘visionaries’, we the ‘users’ and then the ‘builders’, will our children be the ‘maintainers’ and with prayer, the ‘expanders’? Will and can we all continue to constantly renew the energy of doing Christ’s work in our adopted now HOME country Canada? Are we all (still) ‘ready’ for this task? Are you ready and willing?
It is my wish that we may always be found to be faithful ‘servants’ of the Lord Jesus Christ! For the ‘Message of the Gospel of Jesus’ is salvation, glorious, full of wisdom, love and light and above all the Truth! (John18:37)
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.”
Letter to the Romans Chapter 12 verse 11 (New International Version)
JS (2006) and Feb 23, 2021
Top pictures – bottom row L to R: Science lesson in the kitchen of Mnt Hamilton CRC Church basement from l to r- Mr. Tony tenKate;John vanderHoek; Dick vanderSteen; Mary Appel; Ted Bootsma; Berend Hartman; Bill Hordijk – HDCH crest; the staff – Mr.Tony tenKate (science, math & music; Pastor Wiebe vanDijk (Principal – Bible); Miss Jesse Personaire (english, literature, math); Bert Witvoet (french); Lowell Witvoet (history); Picture of the Class of 1956 -57 (Grade 8 & 9) Below: Tuition certificate: 1965 -66 and Graduation Certificate (1961)