When you begin to ponder the history of the Northwest Protestant Reformed School, three dates seem to be foremost in the chronology of the school. They are June 1, 1960, August 28, 1967, and August 10, 1977. These dates seem to be certain milestones in our history. Through the events that took place on these dates we see God’s covenant faithfulness manifested in Doon.
On June 1, 1960 ten men from the Doon and Hull area met together and decided to draw up a constitution and to work to organize a society. This was done, and one year later a society was formally organized. For the next few years this society spent much energy in the arousing of interest by means of lectures, meetings, and newsletters. On January 31, 1965 the final decision to build a school was made. The finding of a suitable lot took much more energy than the society had planned to expend. Some of the available lots were held by the local railroad, and a clear title was hard to obtain. The lot on which the church now stands was considered, but the Roman Catholic church owned it and no one could direct the board to a person who had the authority to sell the land. They finally bought a piece of land on the north end of town for $1175.00. For the next two years drives were held to gather money for the building. In April of 1967 the building contract was let to a building contractor.
The second milestone date is August 28, 1967. On that day the school was opened and the covenant seed of the church were enabled to learn of God’s great goodness under the auspices of Protestant Reformed education. School was opened in that year with an enrollment of thirty-six students in grades one through eight. School went on from that point as schools do. Teachers were hired and teachers left. Books were bought and books were discarded. In the 1972-1973 school year the kindergarten was added, making the school a kindergarten through eighth grade facility.
Our third date is August 10, 1977. On this date there was a celebration. The celebration was in honor of paying off the debt on the school. But this night meant more to the constituents. It was an evidence of God’s continuing faithfulness to His people. It was a time in which God was given the glory for all that had been done in the Northwest Iowa Protestant Reformed School.
The early years from 1961-1966 were a struggle for those interested in this venture. The cause of Protestant Reformed education had to be expounded over and over. Three of our ministers did much in this line of work: Rev. Van Baren, Rev. H. Hanko, and Rev. Decker. The school now runs with a good base of support from the families in Doon. Fathers and mothers join in working to keep the school going. Each summer there is time set aside for the work of keeping up the building and grounds. The women have formed a circle which works for fellowship among the school supporters and for those things which make school life easier. The school has had four principals in its history: Mr. Fred Hanko, 1967-1969; Mr. John Kalsbeek, 1969-1976,; Mrs. Jenette Van Egdom, 1976-1978; and Mr. Chester Hunter Jr. (where did the non-Dutchman come from?), 1979 to the present.
If you look through the roster of teachers you will see one name appearing and reappearing. Jenette Van Egdom has taught in the school for all but two and a half years of its history. Even during these two and a half years she was a substitute for the school. Her husband, Ed, was the first board president and is also the president now. This is just an example of one of the families which make Doon special. There are many others who work hard to make their school adequate for their children. A former principal made the statement that one of the joys of working in Doon was the superior backing received from both parents and board.
Doon has always had between thirty-five and fifty students. The highest enrollment was in 1972- 1973 when there were fifty-one students. The present enrollment is forty-one. In 1973-74 Mr. Kalsbeek taught grades five through eight with twenty-nine students in his room. This year’s graduating class will be the fourteenth. They are the first class to attend all nine grades in the Northwest Iowa Protestant Reformed School.
As we look ahead we know that our support is not only from the board, parents, and friends but also from our heavenly Father to Whom we give all the thanks and praise.
Chester Hunter, Jr.