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Amazing Things are Happening Here: My Son's Growth at Sussex Christian School

Today’s blog post is from Tracy Vander Groef, a parent at one of our partner schools, Sussex Christian School (Sussex, NJ). All of Tracy’s children have attended the same school, including her son Corey, who has developmental delays. In this post, Tracy shares her thanksgiving for the school and a very dedicated teacher, Edith MacMillan.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” - 1 Chronicles 16:34 

Sussex Christian Corey (left) and his friends at Sussex Christian School.

Inclusive education at Sussex Christian School (SCS) in Sussex, NJ has been a blessing to our entire family. My husband and I have always made Christian education a top priority for our six children. When we realized our son Corey had developmental delays, we became very discouraged, as we did not know how he would be able to attend a Christian school.  We quickly turned our thoughts to prayer, and began communicating with the school.
We were ecstatic when SCS decided to welcome Corey as a kindergartner, even though there were many unknowns.

Corey was the first student with higher needs to attend SCS. Even though the school did not have an aide for Corey, they were committed to receiving Corey and allowing him to bless their school. If there is anything that we have learned throughout this journey, it is that God provides the people and resources to accomplish His will.

Welcoming Edith

In late August 2012 when Corey was entering his second year at the school, Sussex Christian principal, Trish King called me to share that she had just hired an aide, Edith MacMillan, with a special education degree! We were thrilled that Corey and his classmates would have a special education teacher to support their needs both within the general education classroom and in her Resource Room.

Edith has been such an encouragement to Corey and our family. She is an asset to the school that I hope will continue for many years to come. Edith is a vibrant and creative teacher who sees the potential in all the students she teaches. She saw potential in Corey from the very beginning; he has come so far under her guidance and encouragement. Though Corey has communication impairments and has had difficulty with speech, he now communicates well with his peers because of Edith’s support and the inclusive education environment supported by All Belong at Sussex Christian.

Creative Projects

One way that Edith creatively engages students and helps them grow is through the Thanksgiving mural project. Before Thanksgiving, I visited her classroom where four students (including Corey) took turns explaining their Thanksgiving murals and what they had learned about the holiday. It was wonderful to see each of the students share what they learned, allowing their gifts to shine through their words and artwork. By allowing these four students to explain their murals to their peers, Edith was allowing them to expand their vocabulary and strengthen their communication skills.
It has been a delight for me to see how Corey’s memory and communication have grown. Recently, he recalled a memory from first grade to Edith. The fact that he recalled a memory from three years ago just blew me away!

Amazing Things are Happening Here

I am so thankful for Edith’s role in helping Corey reach his God-given potential, but I know we are not the only family that has been blessed by her work. Many people have told me they are thankful for her. She works 1:1 with students who need help and she does it with joy and a smile. Over the door of Edith’s classroom, a plaque reads, “Amazing Things Are Happening”—a testament to the growth and community that’s happening at Sussex Christian because of Edith’s work, the commitment of the SCS family, and the assistance of All Belong to include all of God’s kids in Christian community.

We thank God for providing you, Edith MacMillan. Not a moment too soon or late, God provides what we need if only we ask and trust in him!

You can learn more about the Sussex Christian School community in this blog post.


Tracy Vander Groef is the mother of six children. She enjoys living on her dairy farm, leading Moms in Prayer, volunteering at the Sussex Christian library, and spending time with her family.