What started as an outreach to the community has, nearly 25 years later, grown to become a caring and compassionate community of its own.
It was 1995, when Hope Lutheran Church in Port Coquitlam established its own school - a single classroom with eight kindergarten students. “It was a vision of Margaret Towriss, the pastor’s wife at the time,” says John Lok, Principal of Hope Lutheran Christian School’s elementary and middle schools, which currently have more than 300 students enrolled.
“Christian education is a pillar of what we do in the school,” Lok says. “And through our Christian education we provide academic excellence.”
What makes Hope Lutheran Christian School (HLCS) stand out from the other schools is the supportive and nurturing environment that meets more than just the students’ educational needs. Diversity is a strong point – the needs, values and preferences of students and parents are met; individual potential, knowledge, skill and healthy attitudes are nurtured in a supportive environment that motivates and instills confidence. Individual educational needs are met and full resources are given to each student.
“We seek to educate the whole child”, Lok says. The teachers endeavour to develop close relationships with each family. Home visits are scheduled with every family, prior to the start of the school year to review registration requirements and answer any questions parents may have. The classrooms are open for observation at any time throughout the year with arrangements made in advance.
As they soon enter their 25th year, HLCS stays true to its mission of equipping each child to impact the world for Christ’s glory - they not only pursue strong academic standings, but produce young citizens who have a commitment to their community and beyond.
“We are trying to develop people who are sensitive and can impact the world as they learn about what the world needs,” Lok adds. “Much of our curriculum supports that. For example, in our chapel, we have offering time for our students, which teaches them the discipline of giving from a very early age. And that’s not directly to the school or the church, but to the community.”
As a result, the school has raised significant funds to support ministries such as the Union Gospel Mission, which supports people in need across Metro Vancouver.
“This past year, we also supported schools in Nicaragua,” Lok says. “All of this helps instill a sense of service in our students.”
They also engage the students by giving back to their local community in taking care of McLean Park in the “Adopt-A-Spot” civic program.
The school prospers from the independent school model, which allows for greater control of hiring quality staff while upholding curriculum standards accredited by external evaluators who inspect the school on a regular basis - a quality assurance mechanism that does not exist at public schools.
“We select and develop our teachers with greater ability to make changes that help us align with the core values of our school,” Lok says. “We have the ability to operate smaller class sizes while still offering a robust curriculum based on the BC Ministry of Education.
Like many other independent Christian schools, HLCS is more affordable than most people think. The school is partly funded by the Ministry and from student tuitions. Family rates also make it more affordable for families with more than one child studying at the school. In addition, as a faith-based school where religious education is part of daily learning, a portion of tuition fees are eligible for a tax credit every year. Attending an independent school is not just for the privileged and financially elite. There is a wide range of families from various socioeconomic backgrounds that make up the diversity of HLCS.
For more information about Hope Lutheran Christian School, visit hopelcs.ca/school. Schedule a visit and see the difference for yourself.