A family in faith

NCCS serves the whole family with respect and love as well as providing a good education for students

The Englund family chose to enrol their children in the North Cariboo Christian School for the values and atmosphere they feel best suits their children. Clockwise from left: Emma

The Englund family chose to enrol their children in the North Cariboo Christian School for the values and atmosphere they feel best suits their children. Clockwise from left: Emma

Maria and Travis Englund and their four children tread lightly down the North Cariboo Christian School hallway, down the steps to the gymnasium where the children burst through the doors and immediately dash to the supply room for basketballs.

This isn’t their usual after-school routine. It’s an interview about why their children attend the faith-based school, including their 13-year-old daughter Rose who has Downs Syndrome and ADHD.

Maria began with her background which also included five years in the First Baptist Christian Academy.

“I was raised in a Christian home,” she said.

She attended various other local elementary schools, two years in Maple Drive junior secondary school and finished up with home schooling for Grades 11 and 12.

Travis, on the other hand, had a very different school experience.

“I’ve seen the bad side of public school,” he said and admitted he was a bad boy.

He became a Christian in 1996. He was dating Maria at the time. They married and have 16-year-old James, 13-year-old Rose, 11-year-old Sara and eight-year-old Emma.

The couple volunteered to help NCCS move from its original location at the Bethel Church to its currently location on Richbar Road.

Once James was ready for school, Maria and Travis discussed their options, but it was a unanimous decision he would begin his education in a faith-based school.

James finished his Grade 9 year at NCCS and is now doing his Grade 10 through an online school.

Both James and his sister Sara have accepted Jesus as their saviour and been baptized.

“My faith in God is a lot stronger thanks to the school,” James said.

“The style of teaching helped me to be the person I am today.”

James is very comfortable with his faith and it shows in his conversation. He proudly admitted most of his friends are Christians.

Although he enjoys the freedom his online education affords him, James said he misses his former NCCS classmates and they also wish he was at Correlieu with them.

“The flexibility is great – I wouldn’t have that in regular school,” James admitted.

Travis said at the time they were considering what type of school would best suit James after completing Grade 9 at NCCS. He said James was very much a part of the conversation.

“We talked about moving from a small school to a large school,” Travis said.

“I have a lot of memories of the reality of a big school. Our morals and beliefs don’t match with public school.”

He added James isn’t short on activities or interaction with kids his age. Currently, the 16-year-old plays floor hockey at Correlieu and on other teams, plays drums in a Christian youth group band and has chat groups through his online schooling.

“The flexibility of his online school has allowed James to have a part time job on the weekends,” he said.

For both Maria and Travis, they admit, like any school, NCCS has issues that arise but they said these are handled differently there.

“Discipline is from a different perspective,” Travis said.

“Respect is a requirement and is part of the culture of the school. It’s modelled by the staff and flows down to the students.”

Maria added that parent involvement is also very important at the school.

“With parents part of the discussion, there’s usually a solution to be found,” Travis added.

With a smile, the Englunds admit Rose is another story.

“Rose isn’t the easiest student but with a lot of consultation and discussion with staff and ourselves and reinforcement of the behaviour, we always find solutions to the challenges,” Travis said.

“Rose has the same great quality experience as the other children,” Maria said.

Although Rose is 13, she attends the Grade 6 class at NCCS, however Maria said she’s doing kindergarten work.

For Rose it’s not so much about completing each grade level but working at her own pace and certainly about the social side of school.

Included in the tuition at NCCS is instruction in gymnastics, skating, swimming, cross-country and downhill skiing.

“My dream for Rose was to see her involved with Special Olympics,” Maria said.

Through the school, Rose not only learned to alpine ski but she recently competed in the Special Olympics Regional Qualifier in Kelowna and brought home medals in three of her four races.

“The support Rose has had is amazing, she wouldn’t be the person she is without the support of the entire school,” Maria said with a smile.

For 11-year-old Sara, she firmly believes NCCS is better than other schools.

Having accepted Jesus as her Saviour and been baptized, Sara is confident in her faith.

“I read the Bible and I think my faith helps me to make better decisions. My friends and I talk about Bible class, the stories and what they mean,” Sara said.

Maria told the story of how Sara totally organized her own baptism ceremony and for Sara the only flaw was her mother’s nervousness on the microphone.

Sara will soon be competing in a QuizMe Challenge and is very excited about it.

She also likes the fact there’s only two fifth Graders in NCCS. Although she has a few years to go, Sara said she was thinking about maybe doing high school online, like her brother.

Eight-year-old Emma was somewhat intimidated to be asked how she likes her school, however her parents said she is doing well at NCCS.

With James’ ambitions leaning towards joining the RCMP and also becoming an electrician (backup trade), he seems

to think he’ll

continue with home-schooling.

As for the girls, Maria and Travis hope NCCS can stay on track with offering full high school curriculum in the near future.

As for the children, Travis said they are very open about their faith.

“They came to their faith in their own way – just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean my children are Christian – that must be their decision,” he said.

“Faith must be independent.”

North Cariboo Christian School is celebrating its 20th anniversary of operation.

The school is accepting applications for all grades kindergarten to Grade 9 for the 2014-2015 school year and welcomes all interested families to come in for a tour of the facilities and learn about the accredited interdenominational Christian Ministry of Education-approved  curriculum.

Contact 250-747-4417.