Osceola Adventist Christian school serves the growing Kissimmee area (Celebration, Kissimmee, Poiciana and St. Cloud) in the Orlando-Kissimmee-St. Cloud Metropolitan statistical area. Home to Disney World, there are approximately 300,000 people living in greater incorporated and unincorporated Kissimmee (Celebration, Kissimmee and Poinciana). If this population were completely incorporated into the Kissimmee city limits, Kissimmee would be a city larger than incorporated Orlando.
The need for Adventist Christian education in Kissimmee-St. Cloud was recognized and brought to the attention of the church members. A committee consisting of Pastor Art Stagg, Shirley Gray, Emma Douglas, Jess Wills, and Bruce Hartzog began planning in June of 1984 to open a school for the 1985-1986 school year. When Osceola Adventist Junior Academy, as the school was first known, opened in August 1985, the 15 students and their teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Durichek, met in the Schuler Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church fellowship hall. The following school year the school was moved to the Kissimmee Seventh-day Adventist Church, in a new building built by Don Gray and Michael Gray, and which doubled as both the school and the church fellowship hall. The school at this time had one teacher with 13 students.
To further Adventist education in the area a committee consisting of Pastor Art Stagg, Betty Carey, and Bruce Hartzog was organized to promote and administer what was known as the 120 Club. These were individuals in the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Adventist community who donated monies on a regular basis to support the school. In 1987, Mrs. Minnie Boyer became the teacher, and graduated the first two eighth graders in 1988, Christina Shoemaker and Lisa Hall. By November 1987, the school underwent its first accreditation evaluation, known as the sexennial accreditation. In the spring of 1989, a school building committee was voted by the church. Members of the committee were Lee Scheive, Chuck Gastafson, Brendan White, Minnie Boyer, and Pastor Greve. The committee explored a number of options, finally settling on a modular building, which was voted and accepted by the constituency. The Forest City Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church had a modular building they were looking to sell. An offer of $4,000 was made to the Spanish congregation, which was accepted. The first modular building arrived in May 1990. Mrs. Boyer continued in her teaching role until 1990, graduating the second class of eighth graders, Kathryn Baker, Daryl Bass, and Jason Hunt. In August 1990, Mrs. Juanita Babshaw became the teacher with 14 students.
In the fall of 2010 the school made a dramatic change. The student population jumped to 64. By this time, Dr. Delrose Patterson was the lead teacher, and the school now had three teachers and an agriculture program. In the summer of 2011 Dr. Paterson became very ill, necessitating the school to hire an interim principal for the 2011-2012 school year. Mrs. Nury Perez, the school’s nurturer and Associate Superintendent for the Florida Conference, stepped in to fill this role.
The 2011-2012 school year saw several changes. The name of the school was changed to Osceola Adventist Christian School (OACS), the school added a teacher, and the school enhanced the program by including grades nine and ten through the Forest Lake Academy distance learning program. This brought the school enrollment in grades PK-10 up to 76 students, and for the first time the school had a principal instead of a lead teacher. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, the board decided to disband the grades nine and ten distance learning program until the school could stablize its PK-8 enrollment. The current goal is to bring the PK-8 enrollement to 120 students. Once this occurs the board would like to add grade nine the first year, and grade ten the second year. Our end goal is to take our physical plant and expand the school to a new campus with an academy serving the south end of the Orlando metropolitan area.
In March of 2012, Mrs. Perez accepted a position working with Florida Virtual School, and Dr. Michael Cookenmaster was asked to serve as the new principal. The school had a brand new home thanks to the efforts of Pastor Ronaldo da Cunha; head elder, Don Gray; John Beatty; Manly Voorheese; Nury Perez, and many other volunteers. The new facility offered four self-contained classrooms, multipurpose room serving a divided dual role as art/technology classroom and lunch room, and an administrative office for the secretary/treasurer and seperate office for the principal. Two additional classroms were still housed in two modular trailers near the front entrance of the school. In addition, the fellowship hall, which had served as the “old school” building on the Kissimmee Seventh-day Adventist Church campus became the teacher workroom, kitchen, book depository, and conference room. Under Dr. Cookenmaster the school also embarked upon being a standards-based campus, focusing on the Common Core Standards, and implementing Response to Intervention best practices. In the summer of 2013 the school again undwent a transformation. The "old school" building, now only used on Sabbath mornings for Sabbath School by the Kissimmee Church, was refurbished for use by the school. Under the leadership of elder Don Gray, a permentent partition wall was added to the building so half of the building could function as the new Brown-Dowell Memorial Library. This permitted the library in the main building to be transformed into the new kindergarten classroom, which was previously housed in a portable classroom. The kindergarten portable was transformed into the Title I classroom. The other half of the "old school building" was transformed into the new Child Development Center, housing the school's independent Voluntary Prekindergarten classroom. The OACS board also changed the name of the "old school building" to Gray Hall in honor of the dedication and service of Elder Don Gray, who with his son, Michael, constructed the original building and church. Additionally, the school received a $30,000 playground from UCF Mental Health. In 2014, the school adopted a new logo. In 2015, the school and church paved its parking lot for the first time in its 30 year history. In 2016, the main school building received a new roof.
Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year the Holy Spirit has grown the school an average of 30% each year. In 2015-2016 OACS grew to 93 students, a historic first. OACS serves students in grades PK-8, wth six classroom teachers, a volunteer librarian, a school bus that runs daily, a full time secretary/treasurer, and a Title I program through Osceola County Schools. In April 2017, the school was blessed with an award of an eRate grant by the FCC to help cover 80% of the school's technology infrastructure needs until 2022.
In May 2017, Nieves Jenkins was asked to serve as the principal of OACS and teach grades 4 and 5. Along with teachers: Acnil Samuel (grades 6, 7 and 8), Michele Thomas (grades 2 and 3), Risobel Torres (grade K and 1) and Elisabeth Mercado (VPK), we have seen how the The Holy Spirit has continued to bless the school. It is our prayer to grow daily as we point our students to the Earth Made New.