April 25, 2024

Zaoksky Christian Secondary School in Russia Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Interview with the school’s chaplain reveals God-led path and expansion of the school.

Mark Rakovich for the Euro-Asia Division, and Adventist Review
Zaoksky Christian Secondary School’s 30th anniversary celebration. [Photo: Euro-Asia Division]

In March, Zaoksky Christian Secondary School, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Zaoksky, in the Tula region of Russia, celebrated its 30th anniversary. In honor of this significant event, the Euro-Asia Division prepared a short article that will offer everyone a glimpse of the school’s history and growth. No one can better help us see everything from the inside than our school’s chaplain, Reuben Dmitrievich Kroytor, with whom we conducted a short interview.

Can you please describe in general terms what the path of our school was, how it all began? Where have you come to now?

The school began in September 1993, and a year later, in 1994, by the decision of the head of the Zaoksky district administration, the Zaoksky Christian Secondary School was registered.

Back then, completely different people were around for the founding of the school, and thanks to God’s leadership and the willingness of the people called to this ministry, today we have such a great blessing! The school began with 23 students and over 30 years has grown to 223 students, and the school continues to grow. Therefore, the school’s trustees decided to build a separate building for the elementary school.

As a school chaplain, what differences do you see in comparison with an ordinary secular school? What are the differences in the curriculum, in the teachers, in the students?

It must be said that I did not work in a secular school, so I can only compare as a student. Of course, no one had any explanatory conversations with us, no one particularly taught moral standards, no one dedicated a lesson to studying the Bible. The most valuable thing in this school is that each teacher is focused on the child, and not on the program; everyone’s task is to give not only knowledge, although this is very important, but to form the consciousness of the child in such a way that he can succeed in life.

What is your personal ministry? What are your goals as a chaplain? What are the goals of the school itself, besides educational ones?

My ministry is to ensure that a correct idea of God is formed in the minds of every child at school.

Every week I teach Bible studies in preparation for baptism. For the second year we are trying to prepare children for baptism, which is held twice during a school year.

I am conducting, so to speak, a mass study of the commandments. We reward everyone who can recite the commandments by heart with a certificate and a chocolate at the school assembly.

I visit schoolchildren at home and communicate with parents.

I have also organized a parents’ club called “OPORA,” in which we organize meetings with fathers and mothers.

What is the percentage of children who are not from religious families and what feedback do these students and their parents have?

Today, the percentage of schoolchildren from non-religious families is approaching 50/50.

Parents who bring their children from other schools are very surprised to learn that there is such a “wonderful” school here.

Of course, we have to work individually with children who come from other schools, explaining that there is no need to “defend” or “attack” here as in another school. Often they come to us closed, withdrawn ...

And when we walk this path together, we rejoice with them, remembering their past.

We see how a decision made 30 years ago still affects the lives of hundreds of children. We believe that every student at this school is here for a reason and receives a special blessing from studying at an Adventist school. Let us pray for this and dozens of other schools throughout the division, that their students will experience the special influence of the Holy Spirit.

The original version of this story was posted in the Russian-language Euro-Asia Division news site.