Pastor Chung's realization of the emergence of the Chinese community was the driving force behind the school establishment over 30 years ago. He wanted to utilize the church's resources to assist the Chinese families in the community, to preserve the Chinese tradition, and to foster a thriving Chinese culture, allowing the Chinese-American children to be equipped with bi-lingual capabilities and helping them to gain a promising future career, lessening any negative impacts due to the differences in Eastern and Western cultures.
Over the past years, with support and efforts from the pastors, the school board of directors, and the teaching staff, the school has evolved from a Saturday Chinese class of 30 students to an impressive multi-purpose educational endeavor, with a yearly attendance of about 800 children and adults. Over the years , through its educational activities, the CS has not only benefited the neighborhoods, but has also led a great number of people to know and accept Jesus Christ as the Lord.
In the past, our teaching was based on Traditional Chinese phonetic symbols/ system. Beginning in 2003, in an effort to adapt to the onset of the digital age, we initiated the Pinyin System of Simplified Chinese, while retaining the Phonetic System of Traditional Chinese. Initially, as we did not have a complete set of teaching materials, I compiled a Pinyin Textbook, Teacher's Guide, and a CD Recording from scratch. This work has enhanced the volumes of our teaching materials, leading to very good results. This new development has placed us far ahead of all the local Chinese schools .
Summer Vacation Camp (SVC)
After many years of hard-work, our SVC has now enrolled at least 200 students. We rent four large school buses every time we go for an outing. What a great sight! As some camping areas are not large enough, we travel in separate groups to avoid crowding them all at once. G radually, as the number of students has been increasing, we moved from the Education Center of the MBCLA to the Basement of the Main Campus for a larger accommodation.Earlier on, we also recruited short-term students. Due to the limited number of students we could enroll, we came to a point of supply not meeting the demand. During the registration period, the quota was usually filled up in a couple of weeks. Therefore, as a priority , we were compelled to accept students who would attend for a minimum of 8 weeks. As a result, we could always maintain an overall standard and avoid functioning like a day-care center.The schedule of the SVC is from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM, Monday through Friday. The first thing the students do in the morning is exercise in order to foster an amicable atmosphere in the teacher-student relationship. This is followed by two hours of Chinese class and one hour of Talent and Art classes. Lunchtime is held in a nearby park, allowing the students to be in the natu r e. The active students will have a chance to run, which will help them work off some of their extra energy, while others can stay in the shade, with opportunities to practice some social interactions and skills. Then the students practice their math and English skills on Mon-Thurs afternoons. Students with a weak academic ability review lessons of their previous grades, while stronger students preview lessons of their next grades. Students who have attended the SVC generally achieve top-honor status in the mainstream schools. Additionally, there is a field trip and a movie session every week.
These are the desired outcomes of the SVC activities: Teacher qualities enhanced, classrooms well managed and controlled, and discipline and reward system strictly adhered to. Students who are well-behaved and finish their work can play sports, or a half-hour game in computer rooms after class. Students who have fallen behind will use this time to finish their assigned work.Participating in the Church Summer Vacation Bible School is another attractive element of the SVC. Though there are some parents who will resist this kind of activity, through our patient communication, their unnecessary concerns could be alleviated. In fact, most of the students generally like this activity , and there are more than a few who would make a life decision to believe in the Lord, enabling them to immerse in the warmth of the Spiritual Home.
Saturday Chinese Class (SCC)
Weekday Tutoring Class
According to a nationwide safety survey, adolescents get attatcked and injured the most from the time of school dismissal to when their parents get off from work. Therefore, many schools organize after-school programs to take care of the children of double-income earners or single parents. One difference that stands out between our program and others is due to our adequate planning. We do not only help the developmental growth of the students, we also pay special attention to their moral education, delivering the part that most schools abandon nowadays. During registration , as the parents have already reached a consensus with us, they are very cooperative with our moral education. Upon their visit to our school, some school principals have been amazed at the good manners our students display. For this praiseworthy achievement, we offer thanks and glory to our Heavenly Father!
Participation of Church Activities
Blooming and Blossoming
- In response to the call of our church missionary outreach program “Deepening into the Communities, and Embracing the World”
- In realization of Christ's spirit in serving the community, benefiting the neighborhoods, and giving back to the society
This Center is an extension of the Chinese School. While the primary objective of the School is teaching the youth Chinese, the adults and Chinese teachers are the target groups of the DEC.
- Adult Education
Early on, there were some inquiries from Sunday School teachers if Chinese keyboard entry skills could be taught. Seizing the opportunity to serve, we thought we could help Sunday School teachers to plan their lectures, and without hesitation we began to prepare for the related courses . Gradually, as more demands grew, we set up classes, and the scope of interests expanded. In early 2011, when classes first started, they became full and packed quickly. Among them, were two classes with more than 45 students, and since we didn't have a room big enough, we had to use the dining hall of the Garfield Worship Center. Though classes were crowded, every student was quite pleased. Since some classes were not suitable to be large-scale sessions, they had to be split in two. From the over-filled classes, we could clearly see that there were genuine demands. More classes were subsequently developed and launched. Over the next several years, we enrolled more than 800 students in the adult compute r classes. We never expected such a spectacular result at the outset. Presently, our classes may not be as crowded as before; however, the capacity of every class is at average, ensuring the computer rooms to be are adequate enough to fit all the students.
Running adult classes brought some unexpected surprises to us. We did not only have ample opportunities to work with brothers and sisters, we also happily met a lot of parents. Some graduated students were so elated to share with me that their friends admired them as a “computer genius”. Hearing some positive comments definitely made us proud of our work. The Scripture says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” ( Rom. 8:28). Therefore, as it turns out, serving one another in the name of the Lord is not difficult to materialize; it also pushes us to move forward with great encouragement.
- Teacher Training
Our School has gained a good reputation over the years. In 2011, our School was selected to be one of 23 “Global Digital Learning Centers” by Overseas Chinese Affairs Council (OCAC) from Taiwan. Being funded by the OCAC, our School provided training in digital skills to other Chinese school teachers and those Chinese teachers in the local mainstream schools. For this matter, a computer room was further well-equipped and remodeled to be opened in 2012. Presently, our curriculum and courses are all developed for the on -site training, at which teachers and students assemble to meet. In the future, we plan to develop on-line courses, such as “Distance Learning”, which students could go on-line to learn. At on-site training, there are more opportunities to do class work in a physical setting, and any questions and problems could be dealt with immediately. This type of on-site training is presently more suitable to our situation. On-line training does not have restrictions to locati ons and distance . Not only could we sign up more students, its scope of learning could also be expanded with far-reaching impacts. In addition, lecturers and assistants do not need to be in the same location, making it a class-room without borders.
In these computer courses, our Chinese teachers could manufacture animations, CD's and on-line games to make students' learning more lively, amusing, and interesting. Not only could students play and learn at the same time, they could also complete their assigned work on-line. Learning Chinese is no longer a boring task.
A View to the Future