DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — Sometimes it takes sitting down to reflect to see how much an organization has accomplished. When First Baptist Christian School officials recently did that, they found the campus enjoyed a stellar year.
“At the end of this year, we had some major milestones,” said Donna Wilcox, a school board member and a parent. “We feel like we’re at that next level.”
The campus began as a child development center in 1987 but added kindergarten in 2003. Since then, the school has added a grade level about each year with seventh grade coming for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“This school definitely fills a need in the community,” said assistant principal and teacher Tammy Berkman. “The purpose of the school is to educate children with a biblical influence. We have class five days a week. For the professional couple, it offers a very workable schedule.”
The campus has earned several accreditations over the years, but this past session, it added both academic and athletic competitions.
“At first, we started off just offering academics, but our parents were looking for more activities,” Berkman said. “This year, we started offering sports.”
Lions in the fifth- and sixth-grade classes competed in the Austin Christian Athletic Association in football, volleyball, basketball and track and field. The school participation levels were high.
“Starting the activities at an early age really helps prepare them for the upper-level competition if they decide to keep competing,” Berkman said. “But it’s also a great confidence builder.”
Wilcox and Berkman pointed out the students often discover things about themselves while competing.
“We have two students, very academic oriented, who really didn’t have much athletic background,” Wilcox said. “But one won the (district) shot put and one won the (district) discus. It’s been amazing to see what these kids can do. When they find success both in academics and extracurricular, it’s amazing to see what it does for them.”
The campus also competed in literature and science programs with six students qualifying for the state-level contests. Two students earned second and fifth places in the state literature competitions.
Wilcox said the students benefit from a mix of academics, athletics, leadership and individual activities. It’s not just about creating good students, but building future leaders.
Throughout the day and year, staff members give students opportunities to build their leadership skills. During the daily assemblies, the youth help lead the program.
The campus holds weekly chapel services. In the spring, the students led the service for the first time.
“This leadership component is a big thread that goes all the way through the school, all the way to our pre-K classes,” Wilcox said.
At the heart of the school remains academics. While students are grouped by grade level, the staff sets high expectations.
“Every student is expected to study up,” Wilcox said. “We give them opportunities to be successful, and what we see is they seize it.”
The results of the Stanford Achievement Tests bear out the philosophy as most students show higher-than-grade-level performance.
As First Baptist Christian School celebrates the successes of the past school year, officials look forward to 2013-2014.
“We’re adding seventh grade next year and then eighth grade the following year,” Berkman said. “We really haven’t looked past eighth grade, so we haven’t decided (if we’ll add more grades). We’ll let the Lord take care of that.”
For more information on the school, go to www.fbcsmf.org.