RMCNews with Deidra Watson – Farmington, New Mexico … In a school year marked by challenges and hardships, Discover Christian School in Farmington, New Mexico is experiencing an improbable growth in enrollment.
The beginning of the school year was bleak when more than half of the parents chose to homeschool their children instead of enrolling them in school, partly due to the ongoing pandemic.
Deidra Watson, school board chair, recalls facing the low enrollment, “We prayed the prayer of Jabez, not for God to increase our territory but to send us the students that needed to be at our school.”
The school opened in early September 2020 with 16 students and two teachers; however, the enrollment slowly started to climb. In New Mexico, the majority of public schools have been closed to in-person learning until late March or April, leaving Discover Christian School as one of the few in-person classroom learning sites available in Farmington.
“We should not have been surprised when after local public schools chose to continue distance learning that our community reached out to us in need of in-person learning and filled our classrooms to capacity,” Watson commented.
The sudden desire of community parents to have their children involved with in-person learning has helped the school and church make connections in the community.
“There was concern for our financial situation in the beginning of the year because of low enrollment. How could we make all our obligations without going in deep debt? Through prayer, God’s faithfulness, and Covid our enrollment increased from 16 students to almost 40. We not only serve our Adventist students but we also serve Mormon, Baptist, and agnostic families. Sharing God’s love each day and showing a personal interest in each person,” Wayne Gayton, pastor of Pinon Hills church said.
According to Watson. the influx in enrollment has necessitated the creation of a wait list for the first time. “For years. we have contemplated how we could better reach our community and now, with little effort, save for prayer on our part, He filled our nets to bursting. We have a wait list for the first time that we can remember.”
Students are not only learning math, science, and social studies, but are experiencing a relationship with Jesus. A fourth grader was overheard telling her teacher in Bible class, “You know, my mom used to read us Bible stories, but she doesn’t any more. I’m going to ask her to do it again.”
Prayer closes every day at Discover Christian, usually done by one of the church member students who offers to pray, but Watson recalled a recent special moment. “We always ask for volunteers to pray at the end of the day and it is usually the same couple kids from our church that volunteer, but recently one of the new girls from our community volunteered. Her prayer was so sweet and sincere. It was one of those moments that make all the hard work worth it.”
Parents are working to ensure that their students can stay at the school to experience the environment the staff has worked to build. “A single mom works nights at a gas station to be sure she can send her Kindergartner. Another single mom saves all her tips as a waitress, has already paid the whole year and is saving for next year for her 1st grader,” Watson said.
Diane Harris, RMC director of education commented on Discover Christian School mission, “”The community of Discover Christian School has been blessed continuously by church and board leadership, because they have always been mission-minded with a heart for supporting its community. It is exciting to see a growth in enrollment, proving that DCC is filling a need in the Farmington area.”
Discover Christian School currently has an enrollment of 38 students and has had to hire an additional teacher and teacher’s aide.
“We truly are a mission school,” Watson commented.
RMCNews with Deidra Watson who is the school board chair at Discover Christian School; photos supplied