Central Christian seniors volunteer at at Habitat for Humanity in Wayne County.

Following a challenging 2020-21 school year, Central Christian School in Kidron is focusing on fulfilling its mission of developing Christian leaders. “Central Christian is on task with the mission of growing Christian leaders who know Christ and make Christ known,” said Interim Head Administrator Terry Shue. The staff is committed to that mission and to doing it through an Anabaptist lens, he said.

There are many positive signs as the new school year begins, Shue noted. Student enrollment is equal to last year. In addition, he said, “Our renovations are going forward, and we will be close to debt-free by the time it’s done. The teachers are loyal and flexible and working through this hard year.” The school year has begun with lots of activity, including a service retreat for the senior class.

Renovation of the facility is continuing, even as classes have begun. Contractors estimate that all work will be complete by the end of October. Supply chain issues have slowed down some of the work, creating long wait times for items such as brick, carpet, and the steel for the outside awning.

Some classes are being held across the road at Kidron Mennonite Church for the first few weeks until classroom renovations are complete. “The renovation is already being seen in ways in the hallways. So there’s a lot of positive energy, but it’s a complex time because 65 kids are across the street,” said Shue, who expressed thanks for Kidron Mennonite’s willingness to offer classroom space.

Funding for the renovation is coming from a $4.1 million capital campaign. Shue, who also serves as Central’s director of development, reported that the campaign has raised $3.6 million already, leaving about $500,000 to be raised. “We’re hoping to close that gap by the time the renovation is finished,” he said.

Those interested in seeing Central’s renovations will have a chance to do so on Oct. 8 when Central will hold a community celebration day. The day will include athletic events and a meal, as well as the chance for people to view the building renovations.

One ongoing challenge for the Central Christian community is the continuing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Ohio. In response the school is recommending the wearing of masks and recommending vaccines for those who are eligible for vaccination. The school is also following all COVID protocols mandated by the state of Ohio.

In 2020-21 the school faced difficulties dealing with COVID-19 and experienced conflicts which resulted in the resignation of Superintendent Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi. Shue notes that the conflicts experienced last year were not unique to Central Christian. “The problem didn’t start at Central. It was just the local expression of the political tensions and the race issues of the polarized political climate that we’re in,” said Shue.

Moving forward, one of the goals of Central Christian’s Board of Trustees is to work at relationships, despite the polarization in the surrounding culture. “Our commitment to the Board is to work on those areas of relationships, internal and external,” said Shue.