The school in the hills

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Castle Hill Adventist Primary School (CHAPS) in Sydney, NSW, was the vision of the late Stanford Baldwin. Stan was convinced of the value of Christian education and was a strong advocate for the commencement of the school in 1961.

Castle Hill Adventist Church was offered the adjoining two acres to build the school but the church could not afford the £500 cost so Stan arranged to buy the property himself.

Other laymen from the congregation approached Stan and offered monetary support. Norm and June Long donated £100, and another, Les Chandler, mortgaged his own property to assist Stan in the purchase.

While Les poured his spare time into building the first school building, his family lived in rented accommodation. He started building his own home after the school was finished. The school opened in January 1961 with one teacher (George Worboys) and 35 students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Mel Olsen was a very practical principal and former students, Ken and Carolyn Long, have fond memories of him nailing floorboards into place after school and on weekends. The first school buildings were constructed totally by voluntary labour.

Past student Carolyn Sheriff.

Carolyn and daughter, Emily.

During Mr Olsen’s time as principal two more teachers were added and the number of enrolled students grew to 77.

A school bus operated at the time. It was rather unique as it comprised Norm Long’s panel van with the seats from the classroom forming the seats on the bus each day. Val Baldwin and June Long were the bus drivers.

These were men and women with a grand vision for education.

The school went from being solely funded by Castle Hill church members to being run by the Greater Sydney Conference (GSC) around 1972. Two classrooms, a school office and toilet block were added, and the principals were C Mackertick and A E Rowe.

Mr Cracknell, also a visionary, arrived in 1974 and began to plan, along with the GSC, for the further expansion of the school. This came in the form of a two-storey building that housed four more classrooms, a storage area and a canteen. Finances were mainly provided by the Conference and through government grants. It was officially opened in 1979.

 June Long, Home & School Association, presents “Your Bible and You” to M S Ruddock, Member for the Hills in the NSW Parliament (right) and A H Whaling, Baulkham Hills Shire Council.

The present Kellyville campus began operating in 2011 in addition to the junior campus in Castle Hill, and caters for Years 5-12, focusing on a middle school (Years 5 to 8) and senior school (Years 9 to 12) program. The campus is undertaking a continual building program providing the college with state-of-the-art teaching and learning areas. The current school principal is Ralph Luchow.

Hills Adventist College, as it is now known, is celebrating 55 years of history, memories and milestones at the school’s Kellyville campus on Sabbath, October 15, from 10am.

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