From the Archives (8/23/2008): Realization of a Dream

This old post is especially fun for me to read, considering my involvement in the school over the past several years. I guess, in a sense, the dedication described in this post was the beginning of a journey for me, also! This post originally appeared in my Facebook notes on August 23, 2008.

I witnessed a very cool thing last Thursday afternoon. My son Drew is attending a school called “Christian Life Academy” in Hopedale, IL for kindergarten this year. It is a brand-new K-8 school this year so they had a dedication ceremony after their open-house on Thursday.

The ceremony itself was fair. The public elementary school closed a few years ago thanks to the small school “mergers” in Illinois, so CLA is now using the building that once housed the Hopedale Warriors. Since it’s not a new building, it’s not exactly state-of-the-art. Consequently, we all packed into an elementary school gymnasium without A/C for a 30 minute presentation given by the school’s new principal – his young kids working his Macbook and him holding his clip-less clip-on microphone in his hand. We watched a short DVD which had a voice over that reminded me of the guy who did all of those educational reel-to-reel movies we used to watch in school: “Wisconsin….America’s Dairy-land!”.

About half way through the ceremony, it struck me what I was really seeing. Josh Horning, the new principal/upper grades teacher in the school comes from a background of Christian teaching. He taught in a Christian school in Pennsylvania prior to coming to Illinois and spending a couple years at the high school here in Mackinaw. What I saw in his eyes during that ceremony was a sense of pure excitement. Not excitement just for the upcoming school year, but because this building – filled with these children – was the realization of a dream. What a feeling it must have been to see the vision that God gave him coming to life after so many months of preparation specific to this school, and years of personal development and preparation to step into a position to lead – to shape children’s lives. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen somebody’s dream coming to life before their eyes in quite that way before. That night, the official dedication of the school he’d dreamed of, was the fulfillment of a promise, and he was very aware of the significance of the moment.

I watched the remainder of the dedication with an increased sense of respect and awe. I started to get caught up in the moment a little myself, and felt some real excitement at having the privilege to witness this little ceremony. Who knows, perhaps one day CLA will be the premier Christian school of central Illinois, and I will be able to say that I was there when it all began. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m glad to have witnessed it.

On a side note, the grounds where the CLA building now resides is the site where the first “vacation bible school” in the world occurred back in the late 1800’s. Interesting.

Link to CLA’s website:


One thought on “From the Archives (8/23/2008): Realization of a Dream

  1. Josh Horning says:

    Ben, somehow, for the first time ever, I chanced upon this entry – which you had reposted this summer after its first posting on this date in 2008… thanks for writing this so many years ago, and for explaining to me what was actually happening that night. I kind of get to relive it every year now, and sharing the spotlight with you is cool. By the way, the clip on without a clip I believe was handed off to me that year by Mike Humphrey… and the building keeps getting better, and older!

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