Broward Junior Academy




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The History
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Broward Junior Academy opened its doors for the first time in August 1996 under the name Broward SDA Bilingual School with an enrollment of 110. Three years later, after the school achieved full accreditation with the Southern Union of SDA Department of Education, secondary classes were added and the school was awarded Junior Academy Status. The name was then changed and BJA became a K-10 school.
 
BJA was called into existence when five Haitian churches in the Broward County SDA community saw the need to have a school serving the needs of their constituency. God had paved the way by allowing the Sinai SDA church to purchase a complex with a nice school facility which was then offered to the new school. At first, BJA attracted a majority of students who transferred over from the public school system, many of whom had been the beneficiaries (or victims) of social promotion. Disciplinarily problems were numerous, and social life was rough, to say the list. Soon BJA established a good tract record of helping its students catch up and move beyond their normal grade levels. In the mean time the school was discovered by other segments of the community. English speaking families and non-SDA started to enroll their children and BJA began to serve a much bigger circle. Enrolment increased and for years fluctuated between 140 and 220 (the pick year).
 
In 2006, 2007 the school had projected an enrollment of 150. It was well on its way to reach this number when Hurricane Wilma struck and we lost the main building that housed four classrooms, the library and the school office. Enrollment took a downturn because of family displacements and loss of jobs. The school finances followed the same curve. We finished the year with about 115 students. Two classes had to be moved to a nearby constituency church when Bon Samaritain graciously made its fellowship hall available to us. The following year, BJA went, from a school that had single grade classrooms, to two-grade classrooms. Since then, enrollment has fluctuated around the 100 mark with six teachers 4 of whom are hired by the Conference and support personnel of 4.
 
The main building we used to occupy has still not been restored. Only the faith our constituency has in the school helps us to keep our current enrollment because we are an institution that is hurting. All our library books are still in boxes scattered around several storage rooms. Our temporary makeshift office looks more like storage room than what it is intended to be. Our scanty lab materials did not have a better fate. Several of the few rooms we currently occupy are shared with the church with all the limitations that such sharing imposes. A lot of teaching materials have to be hauled away on Fridays. Our Title I classes meet in a hallway. We even had to donate some of our resource materials for lack of space with the hope of retrieving or replacing it when we are back on our feet.
 
However, despite those physical limitations, we are thankful for the great strides that the school has taken academically. We are getting to be known as a school that is strong in Math. Our students who transfer to other schools make it a point, every year, to inform us of their high standings in their new schools. Several of them have written to us in that respect. Year after year, our students score high on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, many of them raking composites that are in the seventieth, eightieth, and even the ninetieth percentile. One of our students is the reigning champion of the Southeastern Conference Annual Spelling Bee. BJA is an exquisite flower waiting to be transplanted to more fitting grounds. Help is greatly needed.