Church decides to close doors of school at end of this year
The pastor tried unsuccessfully to unite three of the county's Christian schools.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
HOWLAND -- Word of Life Christian Academy, a private school on Schenley Avenue N.E., will close at the end of this school year.
Housed at Believers' Christian Fellowship, the academy was founded by Pennsylvania resident Ted Saad in 1984.
The Rev. Joseph Cameneti, academy president, who supported the academy from its founding and invested the resources of the church in support of it, expressed regret Tuesday over the decision.
When Saad resigned as principal in 1999, the Rev. Cameneti said he was "determined to make every effort to make WOLCA succeed.'' Founded by Mr. Cameneti in 1983, BCF is one of the largest churches in Trumbull County.
"Three years ago, I let the school board know that our facility could no longer maintain the school, and we began an intensive search for other alternatives," Mr. Cameneti said.
BCF has had plans for its children and youth ministries that couldn't go forward as long as the school remained on the premises, he said.
Enrollment this year was 122 students.
What failed: Mr. Cameneti unsuccessfully pursued a plan to unite three Christian schools to form an alliance supporting one network of Christian education in Trumbull County. "Once our school board had realized that all efforts proved unsuccessful, we voted for the inevitable,'' he said.
In July 1999, Saad announced land in Howland had been donated for construction of Trinity High School, which was proposed as a combined effort of the county's Christian educators. It would have allowed for larger classes and improved technology, curriculum and athletic programs, they said.
The plan called for WOLCA, Warren Christian School and Victory Christian School in Kinsman to offer classes through eighth grade and serve as feeder schools for Trinity. At that time, Saad said a fund-raising campaign would have to be launched to build the Trinity building.
"I believe it was just a timing issue," Mr. Cameneti said. "It is my personal opinion that Trumbull County could have a stronger, cutting-edge, independent community Christian school system if we combine the efforts of the existing private schools," he added.
Although the decision to dissolve WOLCA was difficult, Mr. Cameneti said two other Christian schools in the county "are well able" to meet the educational needs of WOLCA students.