A School that is part of ACECEN

When the San Antonio Sugar Mill in Chichigalpa was destroyed by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, various communities were affected.  Empalme de Chichigalpa was formed as these communities tried to recuperate from this economic disaster.  Since then, the community at Empalme de Chichigalpa remains in a very difficult economic situation, with a very high unemployment rate, as well as dealing with significant health issues.  Many parents must support their families on part-time temporary (5 month) jobs, and large numbers of the community have been affected by the Chronic Kidney Disease epidemic.

Culturally, this community is known as being religious, with approximately 60% of people identifying themselves as evangelical Christian.  The Bethel community founded their school in February 2000, led by teacher Rosalia Reyes and the pastor of the Assembly of God, Antonio Rodríguez.  158 families were part of this community from the start, and were supported by the Piedad Foundation, an NGO connected with the Assembly of God.  This foundation provided the means for building the classrooms needed.  Their mission was, and still is, to provide children and youth with a high quality education founded on Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

In order to strive towards their vision to reach souls for Christ and to provide students with an integral education, the teachers at Liceo Cristiano Bethel (Bethel Christian School) have all taken part in ACECEN’s Biblical worldview training, and can see the affect this is having on their teaching strategies and the children they are educating.  It is also very clear that high quality education is being provided by Bethel since, over the course of 16 years, they have participated in educational events and obtained first and second places in government educational contests.  In 2016, Liceo Cristiano Bethel received first place in both the math and volleyball contest and second place in soccer (Municipal level).  In 2012 Bethel received first place in Best Student Awards in the town of Chichigalpa (Municipal), and second place in the province (Department). 

This school of approximately 266 students, from preschool to high school, employs 15 teachers and 2 additional staff.  Class sizes range between 14-32 students.  They have short term goal of increasing teachers’ salaries.  Long term goals include reopening the computer lab with new computers in order to offer technology to the students and teachers.  The facilities also include 12 classrooms, one office, six bathrooms, a playing area, and a kitchen.  The kitchen allows them to provide a needed nutrition program for the preschool and primary students. 

The Assembly of God, the supporting church, assists in various aspects of the school, including providing counseling services, and providing for trips and retreats.  The constant tension at Bethel and other Christian schools in Nicaragua is the fact that government run schools provide free education. Schools which charge tuition fees, nominal though they may be, must display the fact that sending children to this school will provide greater benefit to the students and families, both with respect to Christian worldview and quality of education.  The Liceo Cristiano Bethel community is committed to providing this quality as it seeks to develop their school and grow in numbers.

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