HAWTHORNE, NJ - The students of the Hawthorne Christian Academy, the faculty, staff, and visitors welcomed the dedication of a new athletic field Thursday afternoon.  The manicured, fenced-in field has synthetic turf stretching from end to end, with lines boldly marked out to be used for all their sports needs.

For this, the Academy has a wealthy--and anonymous--benefactor to thank.

Head of School David Seidman told TAPinto Hawthorne that a donor gave the school $1,070,000 which was used to construct the athletic field. 

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Athletic Director Tyler Van Dyk said that what had previously been a grass field was used for soccer only.  The students had to go off campus to play baseball.  "We are where everyone else is now.  For twenty-five years baseball was off-campus, now we can host both.  We've been blessed.  This will be huge for the campus and the community, we don't have to travel anymore.  This will be great for the kids after school and also the campus aesthetic."

"We are so excited to dedicate our beautiful new Defender Field, our multi-sport turf site," Seidman said in his address.  "This field will provide not only a new soccer pitch, but a much-needed baseball field that will allow our baseball team to host home games.  The field will also support the work of our many athletic teams, our physical education department, and other ministries of Hawthorne Gospel Church such as VBS, Top of the Hill, Men's Ministry, and more.  The new Defender Field will draw attention to the ministry of Hawthorne Christian Academy, giving us more opportunities to be a light in our community."

Seidman also drew attention to the new scoreboard standing at the edge of the field.  "We wanted to make a statement to reflect who we are to everyone using this field, so we chose 1 Timothy 4:8, 'Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.'  We are grateful for the generosity of our donor, whose gift of over one million dollars will impact individuals and programs beyond measure.  Our hope is that this gift will inspire generosity in others to expand the work of Hawthorne Christian Academy, as we continue to inspire and challenge our students toward spiritual maturity, achieve academic excellence, and impact the world for Christ."

As a crowd of parents and students had been gathered on the sidelines of the new field, Senior Pastor John Minnema invited everyone to come forward, onto the field itself, and feel the new terrain.  Minnema then delivered a prayer, dedicating the field and its uses to the mission of the school and the glory of God.

Mayor Richard S. Goldberg, Councilman Dominic Mele, Athletic Director Tyler Van Dyk, School Board Chairman Paul Egedy, Head of School David Seidman, and former Advancement Director Tammy Butler gathered in the center of the field to cut a maroon ribbon with the mayor's giant scissors.  Afterwards, Head Coach Aaron Van Dyk, himself an alum of the school, Class of 1996, threw the first pitch amid excited applause.


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