May 29, 2017
In the summer of 1968 a group of men, led by Pastor Robert Miller a pastor, and former missionary to Cuba, knelt in front of a church building that was for sale on SW 89th Avenue in the southwest part of Dade County. They prayed that God would raise up a Christian school on that property that would be faithful to the Gospel while providing parents with a place where their children could receive a quality Christian education. Soon that small group of men, who prayed together that day, became a group of families who began to convert that church building into a school building. They came in the evenings and on weekends to clean, repair, and paint in order to get ready for the school to open for the fall. When the workers needed to eat, someone went out and brought back enough for everyone. When materials and supplies were needed someone went out and purchased what was needed. As the faculty and staff were hired, they came into rooms that needed everything, so many of them brought their own supplies and helped get their rooms ready for school. They were all in.
On the first day of school in 1968 at FCS, there were 100 students enrolled in grades 1 – 12. Since that day there have been over 41,000 students enrolled at FCS, and including this year, 3,056 high school graduates. There are only a few people who were here that first day who remain in Miami. One of the families who were part of that summer of preparation and the first opening day of school was the Painter family. They had three children, Ray, Debbie, and Katie. Bill and Esther Painter and their children were one of the families who spent time getting the school ready and supporting the new school in every way they could. Bill Painter, a construction superintendent by trade, led in the conversion of the church building into a school facility with multiple classrooms, offices, and a multipurpose room used for assemblies, band and choir practice, and as a lunchroom. Katie Painter, known to our current FCS family as Katie Andrews (my beautiful wife), was part of FCS on day one. Her parents, who still reside in Miami, have fond memories of those days when a new Christian school emerged and begin to impact the community. In 1974, after serving at a Christian school in Tampa for two years, Katie and I were called to FCS. We had no idea that God’s plan for us was to serve Him at FCS for many years to come. Together at FCS we have experienced amazing blessings as well as very difficult challenges throughout the years, but serving together we have been blessed by being a part of this great ministry, and we are thankful that our own boys attended, graduated, and were influenced by the faculty and staff here FCS. As we look forward to the next chapter at FCS we are grateful for all that FCS means to us as a family, and we are excited about what God is going to do right here on SW 89th Ave. in the coming years. WE ARE ALL IN!
As this school year ends, our focus throughout the summer will be to gear up for celebrating the 50th year of providing Christian education in the Miami community. To celebrate this great landmark in the history of our school we are launching a campaign, SMAART21 (Students Maximize Academic Achievement through Relationships and Technology 21). We do so not only because this is the 50th anniversary of the school and the school’s classrooms are in need of significant updating, but because in this day of technological innovations and changes in the learning environment, school classrooms are transitioning from the traditional rows of desks and teacher led discussion to a more collaborative environment in which the teacher facilitates interactive activity between individual students and groups of students with the available technology. Our proposed improvements are necessary as we seek to fulfill our mission in the community to develop well rounded students through excellent academic and extracurricular activities, while seeking to win the lost to Christ and equip Christians with the skills and the knowledge to change the world for Christ. If we cannot attract students and families to our school by offering them a learning environment which is relative to the world in which they live, we will not have the opportunity to equip them to change the world for Christ.
Our school exists because we trust in the Lord to provide for the needs of His ministry. We acknowledge that God is the Provider and Florida Christian is His school, and He will sustain it using individuals as His instruments, whether School Board members, administrators, faculty members, parents, alumni, or friends. Our campaign will not be just about improved classrooms, better technology, and fundraising. It will be about building relationships with our students, our families, and our community to create a partnership that will allow the mission of our school, envisioned by those founding families 50 years ago, to be sustained for many generations to come.
We will need the support of the entire FCS family in order to begin the next 50 years with the continued vision to reach students and families for Christ. We are calling on our staff, school board, parents, alumni, and our community to join with us with their prayers for this effort, and with their own generous, joyful giving for the future of FCS and for Christ’s eternal work through our school.
More SMAART21 information to come.
Have a great summer!!