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School grows to nearly 20 students after woman steps in to help sister-in-law during pandemic

A school that started at a woman's home during the pandemic will have nearly 20 children next school year.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - Just off of Cox Road in Petersburg, there’s a lesson being taught inside Western Heights Baptist Church.

No, it’s not a sermon, but there’s a healthy mix of salvation and sight words.

Cindy Dundalow is the teacher.

“This started in my home and I turned my living room into a school room, and I taught kindergarten and first grade that first year,” Dundalow said. “And it was such a success that we decided to grow it the next year.”

Dundalow says her sister-in-law and a good friend, both frontline workers, desperately needed childcare for their three kids when the pandemic began and schools closed.

Dundalow, a former educator and stay-at-home mom at the time, asked them to buy the curriculum and she would take care of the rest.

“The school took over my house and took over every inch of my living room, my kitchen, everything, but it was great it was a big blessing for us,” she said. “I started with the three little boys in there two years ago. And then it grew to the two little girls that I have now. And now we’re going to a full school so that’s what we’re doing.

Western Heights Baptist Church, which is pastored by Dundalow’s husband, saw the value of a Christian-based learning environment and they decided to provide a space for a new private school, calling it North Pointe Christian Academy.

“Cindy has a servant’s heart and she’s a servant leader,” said Susan Lodan, a member of the church who witnessed the growth of the school over the past two years.

“She turned her home into a school and took these kids aside and taught them not just what they needed to do to stay up with their studies, but getting along with each other, and focusing on communication and behavior skills and all of the wonderful things that all kids should have and focused on their needs,” Lodan said.

With that in mind, it was time to surprise Dundalow with the NBC12 Acts of Kindness award - $300 in cash and a $50 gift card to Mexico Restaurant.

This fall, North Pointe Academy will educate close to 20 students, a true testament to the love and commitment shown by Dundalow.

“Seeing them learn how to implement the things that we want to teach them, the godly characters of kindness and self-control and goodness and faithfulness, and just seeing them actually live that out and what they’re playing and stuff, those are the great successes that I really like to see,” she said.

“They’re like my kids,” Dundalow said. “I love them so much.”

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