Damascus Christian School is not just about basketball and other sports. The school has an amazing record in both girls and boys high school basketball, and The Outlook has done an amazing job in covering the teams' efforts.
Just a couple weeks ago the girls team went to the State 1A tournament again in Baker City, and the boys team came within one game of doing so, falling in the final district game. Both teams have won the Oregon basketball championship several times since 2000, and the track and field team has been ranked No. 1 many times. And with a high school of fewer than 70 students, Damascus Christian also does well in soccer and volleyball.
But most people in the community probably have not followed the track record of the school in its involvement to help communities on two continents — nearby in Gresham and far away in Rwanda, Africa. Like other private and Christian schools, DCS has an annual fundraiser to help offset the costs of tuition and other financial challenges that the school faces.
This year DCS did something a little different. The school leadership decided to give away a significant portion of the fundraiser to help the poor and disadvantaged.
The entire student body was encouraged to participate in this effort. Out of every dollar collected by the approximately 200 students, 30 percent would go toward the needs of the homeless in east Portland —the Gateway neighborhood — or to the needs of children in Rwanda for food and clothing. The remaining 70 percent would go toward technology upgrades for things such as computers, projectors, document cameras and microscopes and probes for our science and math classes.
The Rwanda connection is not something new. As principal, I have gone to Rwanda for several years under the auspices of an organization called New Life Rwanda. During several summers, I spent a couple weeks there training national teachers to help improve the national school system. New Life has contributed to the phenomenal improvement of the education of Rwandan children.
The goal for this special fundraiser is about $35,000. Thus, about a third will go toward helping children both here and abroad. We would like to invite the community to join us at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 17, in the DCS gymnasium, 14251 S.E. Rust Way, Damascus, as we physically pack these meals and homeless packs for which our students worked hard to raise funds.
So, Damascus Christian School is not just about sports. It is much more. It includes the students' giving back to the disadvantaged financially and physically, locally and internationally. What a great way to inculcate the values expressed by Jesus as the two great commandments (Matthew 22): "To love God with all your being" and "to love your neighbor as yourself." In the classroom students learn the fundamentals of the first commandment; in civic involvement they learn the basics of the second.
Zach Davidson is principal of Damascus Christian School.