Education is an area in which the religious community has excelled. Reaching back through thousands of years of history, the Jewish community has been known as People of the Book. Their need to read and understand the Torah and their other holy scriptures has traditionally been the driving force to educate all Jews. The end result has led the way in teaching and training their future leadership. Affiliated with Temple Beth Shalom, Brevard Jewish Community School (BJCS) boasts 58 students who are taught at and above grade level. The school director, Bertrice Vasconi emphasized one important difference found at BJCS over the traditional private religious school, “Each student is given an hour a day of Hebrew class.”
A microcesum of how the Jewish Federation works nationwide, Howard Rothman, President of the Jewish Federation of Brevard (JFB) reported, “Works within the Jewish community to support the common interest of the Jewish community though education, social services and support of Israel.” In Brevard County Temples, two Hebrew classes are held. Additionally, they work to educate the local public school population to the reality of the holocaust. The JFB provides scholarships for young adults and older teens to travel to Israel, as an educational venture to learn about their Jewish past, present and future.
Rockledge Christian School (RCS) has a 22 year history of providing quality education in Brevard. They have become a diversity center for students of many different ethnic groups and socio-economic levels. One parent said, “After looking at many different private schools, our family chose RCS because of the diversity among the students. We didn’t want our child to be isolated from the richness of different cultures. RCS was our answer.”
Using the Step-Up for Students Scholarships, RCS has been able to obtain and maintain this diverse culture in their school. The Step-Up for Students Scholarships are controlled and monitored by the State of Florida but funded by local businesses that see the needs of minority and underprivileged children to receive the advantage of a private school education.
Rockledge Christian currently has 146 students representing a minimum of six ethnic groups. “We never divide our students into dissimilar groups. They are all students,” reported Rosie Glover, Registrar for RCS.
“Our desire at Rockledge Christian is to partner with parents who want their children to have a quality education with a Biblical world-view. Our goal includes making their learning experience as diverse as possible,” Principal Ken Kerstetter stressed.
Christian schools providing unique educational benefits dot the landscape across the US. There are than 40 community-based Christian schools in Brevard County that range from Titusville’s First United Methodist Pre-school to Holy Trinity Episcopal School in South Brevard which serves every age from pre-school to 12th grade. Many of the upper-level students at Holy Trinity hold duel enrollment with their local community college, graduating with a good portion of their college academics program completed.
The success of Holy Trinity’s academic program is shown by their recent move to a second–though larger–campus. In addition to their emphasis on academic excellence, Holy Trinity has an active and progressive arts/music department which produces several musicals each school year. This year’s productions were entitled Willie Wonka and Honk.
Working hard to provide quality education that makes a difference in the lives of their student, Temple and Christians school endeavor to set the standard and to train the entire person–spirit, mind and body. In the world of educational institutions, the faith community stands tall proclaming that the lives and education of children are not for sale.