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Suffolk Christian looks for growth

Suffolk Christian Academy recently announced a plan to add 50 students to its ranks by next year.

Headmaster Tamra VanDorn announced the plan during the second annual Sustaining the Vision Luncheon on Oct. 27 at Southside Baptist Church.

“I felt like it gave a lot of good information that we shared with members of the community,” VanDorn said about the event.

Financial support is one of the biggest needs of the school, and it can help increase the number of students, VanDorn said. With greater financial resources, the school can offer scholarships to allow students whose families may not otherwise be able to afford to begin or continue attending Suffolk Christian.

VanDorn said the event brought some new financial commitments to the school.

“We had a lot of people make an investment in the school,” she said.

The school currently has 228 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. There are eight seniors this year.

The class size is generally about 20 or below, she said. The third, fifth, sixth and seventh grades are full this year.

VanDorn said she believes the school is ready for a larger student population.

“We have great faculty; we do great things,” she said. “We have all of the groundwork laid so that we’re ready for more kids.”

The school moved entirely onto one campus at Southside Baptist Church on Carolina Road at the beginning of this school year. VanDorn said the move has helped tremendously.

“Southside has been just a godsend,” she said. “They made a lot of sacrifices for us to have the optimal space. They really abundantly blessed us by the way they welcomed us into the building. It was very selfless.”

VanDorn said the school is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and AdvancED. It offers Advanced Placement classes, and about 90 percent of students go on to higher education, she said.

“We’re so proud of the teachers,” VanDorn said.

VanDorn said Christian education is the most important mission of Suffolk Christian Academy.

“Our world chooses to eliminate the truth from education every single day,” she said at the luncheon. “I firmly believe education cannot be complete without teaching this truth.”

Students at the school are required to do 10 hours of community service each year and also to go on a mission trip. Many do additional mission trips after satisfying the requirement, she said.

“We want them to be good citizens,” VanDorn said. “We think it teaches them to love their neighbors. We want to produce young people who love the Lord and love the people around them.”

Mason Burke, a Suffolk Christian student, spoke at the Sustaining the Vision luncheon and said he values the Christian education he is receiving at SCA.

“I think it is important to have biblical knowledge, because if someone questions your beliefs, you can answer in spirit and in truth,” he said.