First Baptist Christian School had 6 students that placed in the top 15 in the St. Tammany Parish Fair Essay Contest. The students wrote creative essays between 500-800 words on the subject "What is the Best Way to End Bullying in Schools?" Over 100 essays were sent to the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association by several area schools. The following FBCS students and the rank they placed in the contest are as follows: Sydni Stewart-11th place, Peyton Moschell-7th place, Karis VanGeffen-6th place, Sunny Howard-4th place, Emma Hodges-3rd place and winner of $50 cash prize, and Reagan McVay-1st place and winner of $100 cash prize. The essays written by the students who placed 1st and 3rd place, Reagan and Emma, will advance to the state competition in February at the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals.
Image: L to R: Sydni Stewart, Peyton Moschell, Karis VanGeffen, Sunny Howard, Emma Hodges, Reagan McVay
On Wednesday, October 11, the First Baptist Christian School 4-H Club hosted their 6th Annual Pet Show for any student wishing to include their pet. The club decided to use the proceeds for this pet show to help the Clay County Animal Shelter in Green Cove Springs, FL whose facility was devastated during the recent flooding created by Hurricane Irma. The dog kennels and the cat area incurred 3-4 foot of water. Extensive work is being done to rehab their “Cat Cave”.
Mrs. Erin Webb and Mrs. Bridget Blatz, 4th grade teachers, are the sponsors of the club for 4th – 6th grade students. In an effort to teach community service and empathy, the pet show was developed as a tangible to demonstrate this. Each club member had a responsibility in the preparation, organization and cleaning up of the pet show.
They are very appreciative of all who participated and came out to watch the show. There were quite a variety of pets represented: frogs, turtles, rabbit, chicken, guinea pig – and of course, lots of dogs! The categories for the show were: Largest, Smallest, Best Trick, Best Kisser, Best Tail-wagging, and Owner Look-a-Like.
The winners and categories are: Largest Pet – Ryen Pullen and Murphy; Smallest Pet – Izzy Nelson and her frogs; Best Trick – Savannah Perkins and Bella; Best Kisser – Giana Liccardi and Prancy; Best Tail-Wagging – Shelbi Varnado and Fluffy; and Owner Look-a-Like – Cheyanne Johnson and Taz.
Even though it was a very hot day in October, fun will still had by all – and all of the pets were on their best behavior! In all, the 4-H Club collected $200 to send to the shelter in Florida. Great work!
First Baptist Christian School students collected $2,186.89 for their school-wide Dresses for Orphans mission project. Each student was given a Love Bank to take home for one week and fill with coins.
The mission of Dresses for Orphans is to help orphans worldwide feel special, loved and cared for by providing them with new, specially made dresses and shirts.These two FBCS first grade students, Grason Durand and Sadie Drewes, model t-shirt outfits like the Dresses for Orphans organization makes for orphans all over the world. This ministry will be able to make 583 outfits with the money the students collected. So thankful for a student body that cares and believes that God is on the move!
After Hurricane Harvey hit south Texas, two of our service clubs wanted to do something to help.
The 4th - 6th graders in 4-H collected 4 boxes filled with clothes, kitchen, supplies, and linens for the Garcia family who lost their home in hurricane Harvey. They held a bake sale that raised the exact amount they needed to mail the boxes to Houston, TX. FBCS families also donated money and gift cards for this family!
Erin Webb is a teacher at our school, and one of the sponsors for 4-H. Her husband, Kenneth Webb, works for Higman Marine. Most of his crew lives in and around the Houston area. The FBCS 4-H club is always looking for opportunities to help where needed, so they jumped at the opportunity to help this young family after hearing that they lost their home.
Member of the Junior and Senior Beta Clubs, consisting of 6th - 12th graders, collected blankets. In all they collected 46 blankets in a 5-day period! The home of former FBCS students and church members was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in Katy, Texas. The blankets, along with other supplies collected by FBC members, were delivered to the two former students, Gabriel and Eva, and their parents, Randy & Kim. The blankets and other supplies were distributed to the neighbors throughout the community. Eight men from FBC delivered the supplies and stayed to help gut houses.
Thank you to our student population, and their parents, for your generosity and helping with these needs. It is always a good lesson to teach - to be the "hands and feet of Jesus"!
On Patriot Day, Monday, September 11, First Baptist Christian School remembered the purpose of this day and also honored our local First Responders. Four 7th grade students read original poems while four 1st graders demonstrated the uniforms of EMT's, Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers. The 12th grade Digital Media Class videoed the 2nd graders adorably acting out scenarios involving First Responders. The 2nd graders also performed a song in honor of the First Responders.
After the program, First Responders were invited to a brunch. Those with students in our school also joined them.
The Friday before, September 8, 4th graders volunteered to wash the patrol cars for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office.
We are so thankful for the commitment and sacrifice that EMT's, Firefighters and Law Enforcement Officers make every day to protect us!
A copy of the article published in the Slidell Independent Newspaper by Kevin Chiri on September 10, 2017.
SLIDELL – With a recent study predicting growth in St. Tammany Parish to skyrocket in coming years, First Baptist Christian School in Slidell is ready to get ahead of the curve after a generous donation of over $500,000 has enabled them to purchase 30 acres of land directly next to the existing church and school property.
The land purchase was completed with school growth in mind and Principal Mona Nelson said it is tremendously enhancing the plan they already had to enlarge the school which now has nearly 250 students.
First Baptist Christian School (FBCS) opened its doors in 1989 to offer a private education with Christian values to local students. Now offering first through 12th grades, the school operates in a facility with 17 classrooms with school leaders working on a plan in recent years to build 24 more classrooms.
First Baptist Church and School sit on approximately 20 acres of land on Pontchartrain Drive and began hosting meetings with church members interested in expanding the school.
With a 30 acre parcel of land directly next to the existing land, south of their current footprint, Nelson said she was sitting in the meeting when a church member surprisingly offered to put up the money for the land—approximately $550,000.
“At first there were two men who were talking about splitting the cost, then suddenly he leaned over to me and said ‘I’ll buy the entire thing.’” Of course I was so surprised,” she said. “The only way to react is to say that God is amazing.”
Incredibly, the school has a theme for the 2017-2018 year that had been selected long ago: “God is on the move.”
Nelson and her Assistant Principal Lisa Brooks said it seemed so appropriate to have such an incredible donation for the school when that theme was already selected.
The church member making the donation asked to remain anonymous, Nelson said, but she noted “he wanted to help the school grow and was matter of fact about offering that amount of money. It’s truly an amazing thing—God has always provided for this school and we saw it happen again.”
Nelson also announced that the school recently achieved two important certifications that continue to show their commitment to excellence. With Brooks’ assistance the school spent the past two years meeting all the standards to be accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and were also certified as an Advanced Education school. They had received Louisiana state certification in the early 2000s.
“These certifications are important to us to since it confirms to parents that we are doing all the right things,” Nelson said. “We knew that we were—but to have an outside, independent organization come to your school to see it all assures parents that we are meeting very high standards.”
They received the recent ACSI accreditation after months of filling out reports and forms, and displaying to the organization they were meeting many top rated standards. Topics included School Foundation, Philosophy, Governance, Executive Leadership, Community Relations, Instructional Programs and Resources, Student Care, Character and Values.
“The final step to pass was when ACSI officials sent a team to our school to talk to parents, teachers and students over a four-day period, and to see first-hand that we were doing all the right things,” Brooks said. “We knew we had all the things in place, but this was a rubber stamp to show others that we aren’t just saying it, but have it confirmed by an outside organization that it is all being done.”
Brooks, with 28 years in Christian and public schools, came on board to First Baptist three years ago and had previously gone through an ACSI approval process.
Nelson, with 22 years in education and the past 11 years as principal at First Baptist, said the school is now ready to move forward for the next major phase in its history. They expect to have a new building site plan ready in about two months that will include a new gymnasium, cafeteria, library, 24 buildings and administrative offices.
With the current school situated behind the church as it faces Pontchartrain Drive, the new school buildings will also be situated further off the frontage of the 30 acres so all school facilities are next to each other. In the past two years First Baptist recently constructed a youth center and also built a track.
The school currently offers sports that include basketball, swimming, volleyball, track, cross country and girls softball. The question about ever adding the expensive football program is one that Nelson said she is asked on a regular basis.
“We are very aware of trying to have a football team one day, but that is a big undertaking. For now, the top priority is to construct the new buildings so we are ready for the growth that is coming,” she remarked.
Nelson said they also hope to construct a softball and baseball field in the next expansion project that is expected to cost “several million dollars.” The school has maintained an ongoing building fund and is currently evaluating total cost for construction and what it will take to get it done.