Whenever I hear someone say “Growing Pains,” I cannot help but think of the ’80’s TV show with Kirk Cameron, but the growing pains that we are having here in the DR have nothing to do with the Seaver family. Our school, The Palms, is becoming so well renowned in our city that we are having trouble keeping up with the growth. Let me give you a little of the history of our school so that you can understand the problems that we are facing.
Our school started 3 1/2 years ago in a small, single family home that we rented and turned into a school building. Our first year we had 36 students that enrolled from K-4th grade. Word started to spread and people started talking, but we could have never imagined what the Lord had in store for us. In the schools second year, which is when Julia and I visited for the first time, we added 5th grade and had 92 students crammed into that little single family home. It was obvious that something had to change if we were going to add more students for the next year. The team and ministry supporters began to pray and the Lord miraculously met our need of a bigger building by allowing us to sign a 3 year lease on a much larger home. This home was build by one of the most successful lawyers in our town’s history. It has a very large main building, a big gazebo building, a pool, a pool house, and several other out buildings that we have renovated and turned into classrooms and office space. Last year when we moved into the new property, we had 215 students and added the sixth grade. We filled the building up pretty quickly, but we still had a little wiggle room. This year, we have used every possible square inch of the property to add seventh grade and we currently have 285 students.
Now we are faced with another problem. We are committed to 19 seventh graders and their families to provide them education through high school years, but we have nowhere to put them for next year. We also have a waiting list of parents who want their kids to be in our school. At this point we have only been able to place them on a waiting list, because we have nowhere to grow, nowhere to put these precious children.
We have the rest of this year and next year on our lease of the current school property, but we need even more room than we currently have for next year. Will you pray with us about what we should do to accommodate the kids for next year. Conservatively speaking we are looking at having around 350 kids in the school next year, but we must find a new building and come up with a plan to make that a reality. We have a lot of different options and potential plans, but we know that God has a plan for us, and that is what we are seeking. Pray that we make the best decisions as we deal with this awesome problem of having too many kids for the space we have.
Should we move the preschool to a different location? Should we move the middle school to a different location? Should we move the entire school to a different location? We have property to build on, but all the finances are not there to build the size of school that we would need to house the growing student body. We might not know the answer to our growing problem, but God does. I am excited to see what He has in store for us as we strive to make an impact for Christ here in the DR.
Pray for team Dominican and pray for our DR vision. Our vision is to have 800-1000 students in our school once we are done growing it through the 12th grade. A big goal, we know, but our God is able!