Academy in Evanston reopens after more than a decade
Students Javion Irby (left) and Millicent Thompson during an Oct. 25 language class at Faith Christian Academy in Evanston. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Faith Christian Academy is housed in Faith Temple’s church building at 1932 Dewey Ave. Classes are in session between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., though the church provides extended care beginning at 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuition had been set at $5,562 for a nine-month school year.
Updated: November 2, 2012 10:34AM
EVANSTON — As enrollment at private schools begins to rebound nationwide following a dip during the recession, an Evanston church has taken its own leap of faith to resurrect a parochial program.
Faith Christian Academy welcomed a dozen pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students last month after a 12-year hiatus.
A series of construction projects in the mid-90s followed by financial constraints had forced Faith Temple Church of God in Christ to shut down the city’s first and only Protestant kindergarten through eighth-grade school.
“People were asking when were we to start again,” said Bishop Carlis Moody, who founded the church 55 years ago.
“We decided now was as good a time as any.”
The academy aims to provide children with a faith-based global perspective at an early age. Students begin the school day with prayer, then take part in a Spanish lesson.
“Why not expose them now? America is a nation of languages,” Principal Tamara Stewart-Hadaway said.
Students also communicate remotely with peers at schools in Haiti and South Africa for students to communicate remotely with their foreign peers. Stewart-Hadaway views the partnerships as a way for the students to carry on the church’s relationships abroad.
“We were looking for ways to introduce students to more,” she said. “The students we are serving are from backgrounds where they’re not necessarily exposed to a whole lot.
“We want them to realize it’s more than just them and their community.”
Music is a key area of study, too. The kids sing, and Stewart-Hadaway would like to incorporate instruments into instruction.
The class spends time in the chapel on Fridays. Moody said a Christian education stresses the differences between right wrong, and that the academy also seeks to teach the value of inner pride and self-conviction.
But a lower-than-expected enrollment has forced Faith Christian Academy to make concessions in order to carry out its programming.
Stewart-Hadaway is the academy’s sole instructor to keep costs low. Two teaching aids — one each for morning and afternoon sessions — assist in the classroom.
Stewart-Hadaway was asked to lead the academy after serving on a committee dedicated to the reopening. Her previous experience includes being assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Northwestern University, and teaching high school English in Chicago, Evanston and Hoffman Estates.
A fundraising pledge program aims to support scholarships; the school also is seeking grants to fund technology tools like Mac computers and iPads, Stewart-Hadaway said.
She remains optimistic about growing the academy.
“We really just believe in what we’re doing,” Stewart-Hadaway said. “We’ll make sacrifices to make it happen.
“It really is a faith walk.”