Don and Lisa Waldschmidt are devoted parents of six children and dedicated servants of Jesus Christ. While not Adventists, they have prayerfully, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, elected over the past 10 years to send five of their six children to Hays Maranatha Christian School, the Seventh-day Adventist school in Hays, Kansas. Every day they drive 30 miles one way to get their children to school.

Here is their story, in Lisa’s words.

In August of 2009, the afternoon before three of our six kids were to start public school, I was extremely distraught. I just couldn’t send them another year.

They had been introduced to public education the year prior. Initially, the kids were homeschooled. During the summer of 2009, they pleaded with me to “please go back to homeschooling.” Their plea broke my heart because homeschooling has always been my desire. However, due to circumstances, I was not going to be able to homeschool.

I had heard about Hays Maranatha Christian School and its teacher, Mrs. Spears. And when I phoned Mrs. Spears that afternoon, she said, “Let’s meet.”

In the evening, my husband and I went to Hays Maranatha Christian School. The moment we drove up and experienced so much peace engulfing the one-room schoolhouse, we knew it was the place for our family. This was confirmed when we met Mrs. Spears.

During the past 10 years we’ve had the honor and privilege of four of our six children graduating from Hays Maranatha Christian School. We’ve had the profound pleasure of witnessing the hand of God on the school, the children, the staff, the supporters and the families. As God has been acknowledged, He has been faithful and just to answer every time.

Regrettably, we have not always been able to fulfill the financial requests and obligations of Hays Maranatha Christian School. But we are very grateful to the supporters who have kept the school operating.

What Maranatha Christian School has meant to me

Vashti Waldschmidt
2014 graduate

What I enjoyed most about attending Maranatha was the respect each pupil had for the multi-level student population. We were honest and listened to each other. You could be yourself and didn’t have to act differently to be accepted and included by your peers. Mrs. Spears taught us how to live out our faith by applying it to everyday life skills.

Jada Waldschmidt
2015 graduate

There are so many concepts that get indoctrinated in public schools that oppose the Bible. However, our curriculum was taught to us through a biblical filter. Since Bible was taught every day at Maranatha, my faith continues to be made stronger daily. Everyone is taught the same qualities: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control—which results in everyone having a mutual camaraderie and respect for one another.

Asher Waldschmidt
2016 graduate

I appreciated the fact that with Maranatha being a smaller classroom setting, Mrs. Spears was able to focus on individual students and their needs. When there is an over-abundance of students, they are subject to “fall through the cracks.”

Radiah Waldschmidt
2019 graduate

I loved getting to attend our “Little House on the Prairie” one-room school. My favorite part was getting to be with my siblings while attending school. I also learned how to hold my pencil correctly and write cursive.

Editor’s Note: With Rita Spears’ retirement this summer and declining enrollment, the constituency has voted to temporarily suspend operations. They hope to have enough students to re-open the school in a few years.