In 1982, a small group of parents, led by Pastor Carroll Brentlinger of the North Rome Wesleyan Church and Pastor Larry Burke of the Herrickville Wesleyan Church, gathered together with the shared conviction that God wanted to raise up a school where children and young people would be educated in “the fear of the Lord.” Throughout the year, these visionary pastors and parents gathered weekly to pray for God’s direction and seek His provision in making Christ-centered education a possibility in the North Rome area. Many late nights were spent at the home of Dr. Donn and Tina Laudermilch, along with hours around the parsonage table at the Burke’s residence. Decisions from the school’s statement of faith, curriculum, tuition and salary, schedules, dress code, school name and location, etc., were decided at this level.
When the North Rome Wesleyan Church completed a new sanctuary and gymnasium, it became the vision of Pastor Brentlinger and Pastor Burke to see a Christian School in these facilities. However, their vision was not shared by some of the parishioners, many of whom were concerned about the financial cost of a school, since the church had just acquired a hefty mortgage on the new building. Meetings were held, and eventually, it came time for the church membership to vote on whether or not they would begin a Christian school. That first night in early June of 1983, a NO vote was given and it looked as if there would not be a school that year. Yet, the group continued to pray and look for God’s direction and will for the school.
God was working in the heart of one of the church members who had voted NO. The Wesleyan Discipline allowed for a member who had voted NO to bring the item up for the membership to vote again. At the request of church member, Shirley Rockwell, a second meeting was held. Through much prayer, the school committee presented to the membership a proposal that would allow the school to operate in the building on a cost-sharing basis. North Rome Christian School would be a separate organization, establish its own board, take responsibility for its own finances, and be a separate ministry from the church. The only stipulation at that time was that all school board members must be from a Wesleyan church. The vote was YES!
The summer of 1983 became a whirlwind of decisions and activities. Finally, a board was chosen, Miss Lori Blue (now Mrs. Brelsford) was the first teacher hired, and a school was born. Miss Blue bravely took on the responsibility of teaching 14 students in grades K – 4 in one room and each board member committed to absorb $1,000 of debt should the school close in the red. Parents took on the role of classroom aides, tutoring, lunch and recess monitors, and all electives; art, music, gym, and chapel. The value of parent involvement was instrumental from the beginning of the school’s history and continues to this day.
The school grew in the ensuing years. Teachers were added, grades were expanded, and for many years NRCS operated as a K–8 school. After praying and many more meetings, ninth grade was added on in 1995, with an additional grade added the following year. NRCS graduated its first group of seniors in 1999 and was officially a K–12 educational institution.
God’s blessing and the strong parental structure has been the foundation for the school’s success. Since its beginning in 1983, North Rome Christian School has been committed to providing students with quality education from a Christian perspective and our prayer is that the school will continue to grow and impact young people for Christ.