Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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August 20, 2009

Christian schools report enrollment increases

A dream born of much prayer and sweat came to fruition this week, with the opening of Acacia Academy, a classical Christian school.

Administrator Rob Hoshaw said in the current economy, he had worried about enrollment, but when school started Monday, there were 24 children in four classes, from kindergarten through eighth grade.

In a time when it seems parents could cut back on expenses like private school tuition, Acacia Academy and F.D. Reese Christian Academy opened this month, and administrators at several existing private schools have reported increased enrollment for the new school year.

Therese Bath, development director at Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick School, where enrollment was up 20 students, said the downturn in the economy seems to have the opposite of the expected effect.

“If the economy is guiding your decisions, you would expect our enrollment to be down. I think the change in our economy has made people look more closely at what is most important to them,” she said. The school has students pre-school through eighth grade.

Rob Hoshaw, who founded Acacia Academy with his wife, Martha, said they did not set a number of kids they needed to open their school, which is housed in the education wing at Main Street United Methodist Church.

“Whatever God provided was the critical mass,” he said.

He said only three students who had started the admissions process did not enroll because of the cost of tuition, and he added that about 60 percent of the students are receiving financial assistance.

Martha Hoshaw said even in a time of economic difficulty, parents are willing to pay for what they think is the best option for their children.

“The economic challenges are making people realize what truly is important. Family and education are important,” she said.

Rob Hoshaw thinks parents like Acacia Academy because of the curriculum and the emphasis on character. Martha Hoshaw said it is the only school in Howard County using the classical Christian model.

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