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Ripon Christian Schools dedicate complex
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Ripon Christian High freshmen and sophomores that were part of Ripon Christian Schools’ first preschool class in 2008 pose in front of the new preschool complex.

Ripon Christian Schools continue to flourish and grow.

On Thursday, RCS dedicated its new 8,200-square-foot preschool building with four classrooms and a large multipurpose room.

It is the first phase of expansion at the 37-acre campus to accommodate additional students. The next phase is a 6,500-square-foot building that will add three classrooms and a music room.

“It is pure joy to walk down the halls and look into the windows and watch the children play, work, and learn,” former Ripon Christian Preschool Superintendent Mary Ann Sybesma told those gathered in the new multi-purpose room.

Sybesma was among those addressing the gathering after the current preschoolers led the Flag Salute followed by singing and the original preschool students in 2008 that are now freshmen and sophomore at Ripon Christian Schools were introduced.

“The work at the preschool is just getting started,” noted RCS Superintendent Eric Segaar in reference to the purpose for the construction project which is to offer not just a top flight education but also to help “the little ones to become true believers in Christ.”

Ripon Christian Schools, founded in 1928, has done well on both accounts. Not only are students guided and strengthened in the Christian faith but they also excel academically.

More than 60 percent of Ripon Christian High’s graduating classes are accepted at four-year colleges and 35 percent at a community college. Of those that go to community college, 30 percent eventually are accepted at a four-year college. Last year graduating Ripon Christian seniors earned more than $500,000 worth of college scholarships.

Forty-five percent of the 700 plus kindergarten through 12th grade students take either vocal or instrumental music classes.

The preschool currently has 130 students with room for additional students.

Morning and afternoon five-day-a-week sessions are offered for both preschool ages 3 to 4 years and pre-kindergarten ages 4 to 5. There is a Stay and Play program until 12:30 p.m. pus an All Day program until 3 p.m.

George Salijan, whose two sons graduated from Ripon Christian High, led the Flory Construction team that built the preschool complex on a tight time frame of a little over four months. The building was finished with two days to spare before the current school year started on Aug. 14.

Salijan said he was proud of have helped build the preschool given “the important role in the lives of my sons and the lives of our family” that Ripon Christian Schools played.

Pastor Mark Van Dyke of the Almond Valley Christian Reformed Church provided the words of dedication while Preschool Director Elly Rampoldi joined Saljian and Sybesma in offering words of prayer and gratitude. RCS Board President Arlan Vander Woude offered the closing prayer.

The Ripon Christian Preschool’s early childhood philosophy embraces a high quality developmental program in which the children are able to cultivate their imagination and creative ideas while learning socially acceptable behaviors. The highly qualified staff aid children in their cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development. Children are immersed in learning through a “hands on” curriculum of learning activities through music, science, story time, and art projects. Ample time is also given for shaping social skills in the classroom and on the playground.   

Students learn about how God is the creator of the world and everything in it.

The preschool’s website notes that “some very basic lessons in faith and Jesus’ love for us will be reinforced through songs and stories throughout the school day. Bible stories are an important part of our curriculum as well. We use many interactive methods to bring home the importance of the stories and people in the Bible. “

For more information about Ripon Christian Schools including the preschool program go to or call 209-599-2155.

The campus is located at 435 Maple Avenue just off Main Street on the edge of Ripon’s downtown.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email