Hull Christian School

 History of Hull Christian School

 “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” Psalm 90:1

IT IS WITH JOY and deepest thankfulness to God that we can recall blessings through the years Hull Christian School has been in existence. 

Planning for the School                                                                                     

March 10, 1909 - The first society meeting was held for the purpose of electing a school board that would be responsible for beginning our school. B. De Jong, C.J. Schaap, C.R. Boz, Rev. H.J. Heynen, A. Faber, A. Brummel, and A. Brunsting constituted the first school board.

The most important issues facing this board were the building of a school and the hiring of teachers.

May 5, 1912 - A building fund drive was conducted in both the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches. The amount collected was $2,211.00 of which $1,500.00 was used to buy an acre and a half of land for the site of the school building. The building contract was let to Tom De Koster for $4,649.73.

September 1, 1913 – The two-story building (46’X36’) was ready for dedication. The following day classes began with Miss Della Vanden Hoek teaching grades one through four. Henry Van Zyl, principal, taught grades five through eight.

Early Years

TWO MAJOR ISSUES confronted the constituents of the school for the next number of years: the addition of 9th and 10th grades, and the teaching of the Dutch language.

1914 - A decision was made to add 9th grade on a trial basis and there was talk of adding 10th grade.  Since there were not enough parents supporting this, both grades were dropped.

1919 - A request was again made to the board to add the two grades.  It was again turned down.  However, the society decided to build a teacherage for an estimated cost of $5000.00.

1919 - The government passed a ruling against the practice of using the Dutch language for teaching, and of teaching the Dutch language. For six years the school year had been ten months instead of nine in order to make up for the time spent teaching the Dutch language. When the government ruling was made, the school year was reduced to nine months and the month of June was used to teach the Dutch language to those who wanted to take it.

THE EARLY PRINCIPALS, like so many dedicated principals and teachers since, were always willing to take on more than the full occupation of teaching. Whether it was teaching an extra class or two, or organizing new groups to support the school, they were always ready:

1920 - Mr. Henry Van Zyl was given a week’s leave of absence to help organize the National Union of Christian Schools in Chicago. The following year our school joined this union.

1923 - Mr. Stephen A. Van Har organized an alumni association called the Junior School Society.

1923 - Mr. Onie Aardema was instrumental in organizing the Parent-Teacher Association and also the Sunshine Club, an organization of 5th through 8th grade girls.  The aim was to teach the girls how to make the best use of the needle.  Every spring the girls presented their work to be sold to the highest bidder with the proceeds going toward helping the cause of Christian education.  

1931 - Mr. Cornie Zylstra and the other teachers were required to do the janitor’s work after the janitor had been released due to “hard times.”

1936 - Mr.  P.B. Bouma and the other teachers welcomed the students from the Perkins Christian School when it merged with ours because of financial stress. 

1938 - A class in agriculture was organized.  Since this is an agricultural country it was deemed important that the boys should know something about that great industry, so while the girls plied the thread and needle, the boys wrestled with the problems of corn, oats, horses, cows, and pigs.

Forties and Fifties

FOLLOWING THE DEPRESSION and the war, the years were marked with growth and improvement:

1947 - A building fund for a new school was begun.  Projected enrollment indicated that something would have to be done soon.

1947 - Transporting the country students by bus began with the purchase of the school’s first bus.

1950 - Mrs. L.R. Haan began teaching fundamentals of music to grades 5 - 8 a half hour a week.

1953 - Only some $31,000 had been raised for the new school. This was the year that the men appointed to go on the annual drive got together and decided that more definite plans had to be presented to the constituents.  They met with the board and things got rolling. In fifteen months, $50,000 was raised. De Stigter Brothers were given the contract.

1955 - The first kindergarten class met with Mrs. Peter Mesman as the teacher.

1955 - The music program went more in the direction of a band program under Mr. Hazen Brummel.

1955 - A second bus was added.  Also, during this period, some of the country students were transported by Western Christian High buses.

1955 - The new school was completed at a cost of nearly $100,000.                                         

1955 – The students all walked, carrying their books, from the old building on Division St. to the new school on 5th St.  What an exciting day that was!   206 students were enrolled.

1958 – A fund was started to purchase and install indoor toilets.  The connections were already in, so in a newsletter the constituents were encouraged to “put our shoulders to the wheel and get this improvement this year!”

1959 – A teacherage was built next to the school property.

1959 - Increased enrollment prompted the decision to add two classrooms on the east end of the building.  The next September, 251 students were enrolled.

Sixties and Seventies

PROGRESS CONTINUED throughout the decades.

Classrooms changed from having blackboards to greenboards and eventually to smartboards.  Mimeograph machines were replaced by copy machines.  Overheads gave way to computers.

Many educational changes also took place.  The curriculum was greatly enlarged.  The news of Sputnik resulted in a dramatic study of the entire educational system in our country.  Special attention was given to the math and science areas. When “Modern Math” was introduced it actually was not so new, but there were many new terms and names. Changes in teaching methods resulted. Pupils were taught to discover. Not all of this so-called modern math remained in the curriculum. There was a tendency to return to the traditional way, giving more attention to drills and problem solving.   Science also became a more important part of the curriculum.

1966 - Our school had a total of 285 pupils. Some classrooms had more than thirty pupils. Soon after this, our classes decreased in size because of fewer births. 

1967 – A remedial reading program began with Title 1 teacher, Grace Bulluyt.

1968 – A music program began in all grades K-8. Our music instructor moved from room to room with a cart loaded with materials. Programs were given regularly, and we participated in Interscholastics with other area Christian schools. The era of musicals was introduced with “Down by the Creek Bank.” Our band program was continued with the band instructors of Western coming to our building for lessons. Full band met at Western.

Late ‘60s – The Iowa Department of Education became more interested in, and more critical of, our schools.  We had to have a central library and a better physical education program.  The teachers had to be properly certified. Many of the criticisms were good and resulted in further expansion. We needed more space and a gym or all-purpose room.

1969 - Because another building project was necessary, a “calf project” was initiated. Farmers raised livestock, and the proceeds went into a building fund. In the first year, we had $10,000 invested in animals.                      

1971 - The society met for the purpose of deciding whether or not we should build.  The time was not ripe. It did not pass.

1972 – Mrs. Ella Mae Vande Burgt began doing some of the school’s bookwork at her home. As more duties were added she was given a desk at school and became the secretary for 25 years. 

1973 - Another meeting was held and a proposal to build an all-purpose room, a kitchen, and a classroom was presented. It was passed by an overwhelming majority. The Lord provided for the right time. It happened according to His plan for our school. In May, the groundbreaking ceremony took place. The building was completed in February and we immediately began using the new facilities.

One result was a better and regularly scheduled physical education program and better basketball training. Up until now the only hoops were behind the school and the boys had to scoop snow off the cement pad before they could play basketball. Their first real game with another school had been in the bus barn in Rock Valley.  Now, both the girls’ and boys’ teams could invite other schools to play in what would long be the best grade school gym in the area.

Also, a hot lunch program was begun in our fully equipped kitchen. Gone were the days of black dinner pails with a thermos in the rounded lid, or rectangular dinner pails displaying cartoon characters, or plain old brown paper sacks.  Gone were the monthly lunches of hotdogs, taverns, or Hull Christian Hot Dish served by moms in the furnace room of the basement. A new era was set in motion with Marilyn greeting and feeding many a child for many a year.  

1976 – The members of the Protestant Reformed Church built their own school.  This caused a drastic drop in our enrollment.  

February 1978 - We burned the latest mortgage at our annual Hostess Supper.

Eighties and Beyond

1980 – Grandparents’ Day was begun and remains one of the highlights in the school year. What a great delight it is to have these grandparents come to see what their grandchildren are doing!

1984 - The teacherage was sold to Mr. Kramer who was principal at that time.

BUILDING PROJECTS, renovations, and additions continue to be ongoing:

1984-1985 - The next addition to our school was built. Four rooms were added to the west side. This enabled our school to have a spacious central library, a music room, an office which provided room for a secretary and principal, and an adequate board-faculty room.  The money from the sale of the teacherage provided a good share of the needed funds for this addition. True to tradition, Hull Christian did not have the building debt very long. This is a worthy tribute to its supporters. Also, we recognized God’s hand in it—He blessed us!

1989 – Carol Van Den Bosch was hired to be our first school librarian. Our book collection is now automated and the accelerated reader program is web-based. Each year the students enjoy two special reading weeks with a variety of themes and activities. 

April 1998 – Another building project was proposed for the addition of a music room.  The proposal did not pass.

October 1998 - A revised building plan for a music addition was presented to the society and passed.  A new music room was built on the east side of the school and the old music room space allowed for a computer lab and a resource room.

February 1999 – After negotiating with Western to consolidate bussing, a contract was made turning total bus transportation over to them.  However, this did not relieve Howard of his bus driving duties or his candy distribution to the young passengers on his route.  (This is ongoing in 2014.) 

2004 – The first paraprofessionals were hired to give specialized assistance to students.

October 2007 – A plan to add more office space was defeated during a society vote.

2008 – The preschool that had been meeting at HCS became an official part of our school.  A morning session and an afternoon session each meet three times a week. 

March 2008 - The board had decided to use the existing building to meet the need of more office space.  The new plan was approved by the society and a major renovation took place. The library, pre-school, 1st grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade were relocated. The faculty workroom, Scrip room, secretary’s office and principal’s office also moved. The only addition was to the storage space along the north side of the gym.

November 20, 2013 - Update on the Centennial Campaign for further building expansion:

At the society meeting a presentation of the proposed building expansion was given and a question & answer time followed. The society voted to move forward with the building project. The proposal received an 85% approval rate (194 Yes, 34 No). We will not begin to break ground until 1.2 million is pledged and a bid of 1.9 million or under must be secured. We thank all who attended the meeting or voted absentee and for the many who have been praying for the Lord’s direction for this project. Please continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance as we continue to move forward.

WE CHERISH the past and look forward to the future. May our school always remain a God-centered school.   It is a joy and challenge to prepare our youth for a life of dedicated service to our Lord.