Picture of Founder

Letter of the Director to the Alumni 2009 Get-together

Dear Schneller Alumni,
Warm greetings to you all from your alma mater on the occasion of your yearly get-together in Niagara Falls. As you all may already know this academic year was a tough one. The high-cost-of-living increase on salaries that was given by the Lebanese government to all teachers and employees was an enormous setback for our school.  Thanks to the wonderful leadership of the National Evangelical Church in Beirut, Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, our board of trustees, and our German partners (EMS), we made the necessary adjustments to continue the work and ministry of our school. There were some painful steps on the way, but our priority as always is our school, and we will do all that is necessary to guarantee its secure future.
In a few days, I will have finished my third academic year as director of JLSS. I can now address you with confidence based on my knowledge of the situation and the record of the last three years.
No matter how harsh this may sound, I find it my duty to state the facts frankly and honestly, hoping that this will be received positively, knowing that my intentions are for the good of JLSS.
With the current record and the facts and figures of our financial statements, we honestly cannot talk about alumni support of JLSS.  Alumni support is very humble and compared to the overall budget is very insignificant or actually nonexistent. We highly appreciate the awards that were established to encourage JLSS students, but even this money, no matter how small, is going to the students themselves, and does not represent actual financial support to our school.
We are heading to the year 2010 when we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our beloved Schneller School, and our beautiful church is supported with scaffolding as its foundations are cracked and need immediate repair.
I was shocked to discover three years ago that the boarding homes for boys were just as they were almost forty years ago when I was a student here. Thanks to our German, Swiss, and British partners, we were able to renovate four of those families, but three other boarding homes for boys are still as they were forty years ago. They also need immediate attention to make them suitable for accommodating children in the twenty first century.
Our central kitchen is badly in need of equipment and when the only frying machine or cooking pot we have are out of order, we have to give sandwiches to the children for their meals because we do not have additional cooking pots to use.
The laundry needs to be relocated in its original building, and the stores of the kitchen need to be returned to the building of the kitchen.
Our school library is so much outdated, and thanks to the donation we received from the American board last year, we will update it with some new books, but it is still very far from being adequate for our school.
We still do not have science laboratories and our computer classroom is outdated.
Most of our classrooms need immediate refurbishing with suitable equipment.
Our water pipes are over fifty-five years old and they need total replacement.
Our central heating systems are also very outdated costing us a fortune to operate. The central heating pipes are over fifty-five years old and are regularly bursting causing water leakage into many of our buildings.
I can go on for many pages stating the immediate needs of our school, but my point is that your school badly needs the serious support of its alumni. Yes, our partners: German, Swiss, British, American, and others are helping in various ways, with the main support coming from our German Swiss, and British partners. After so many years of Schneller wonderful work in our land and the thousands of graduates from our schools some of whom reached the highest positions and are mostly well to do, it is not right that there is no alumni income support in the actual budget of our school.
We must start thinking creatively to bring the love and dedication of our alumni to Schneller into a practical and fruitful outcome. If every alumnus donates 1% of his income for a period equivalent to the years he spent in JLSS, then the picture will totally be changed, and the future of our school will certainly be guaranteed.
I assure you that the National Evangelical Church in Beirut and the board of trustees of JLSS will be more than willing to fully cooperate with the alumni and will give them all the necessary controls to make sure that their money is spent honestly, transparently, and for the exact purpose it was intended.
Yes, we do not deny that there were problems in the past, but all the financial operations of our school were assessed by a professional auditing company last year, and the board of trustees fully endorsed all the recommendations. The necessary decisions, no matter how painful, were made. We are all committed to full cooperation with all parties to ensure the integrity and transparency of all our financial operations. We also look forward to the arrival of the co-worker from Germany (EMS) to take over as chief accountant of our school.
I apologize for this frank and long letter, but I urge you to take it as intended, for the prosperous and secure future of our school.
I will also take this opportunity to remind you of my request last year for help in building our Alumni Memoirs. I will repeat what I wrote last year so that those who did not know about it will understand what we need:  
As we prepare for the 150th anniversary of Schneller in 2010,  I am happy to announce that we decided to add a new page to our website under the title: Alumni Memoirs. We want this page to be a memory bank of interesting stories, pictures, and information about Schneller Schools in Jerusalem, Khirbet Kanafar, and Amman.
So much was lost because people did not put pen to paper to enable memories to conquer time and become everlasting public knowledge to posterity. We want your emails to enrich our website, in order to transform it to a living record of the wonderful work that was started by Johann Ludwig Schneller almost 150 years ago.
We look forward to contributions from everyone, not only alumni. We welcome contributions from people who dedicated many years of their lives serving in Schneller schools, or those who have first-hand knowledge of the important junctures of their history. We especially urge the Jerusalem alumni to contribute their stories, whether those stories are sad like the last days in Jerusalem, or happy from better days.
Relatives of Jerusalem alumni who have written documents of such memories are also encouraged to contribute.
The first years of Schneller schools in Khirbet Kanafar and Amman are also of great interest, and we hope to receive contributions about them too.
If your life was touched or greatly influenced by a person who served in Schneller schools and you want to recognize his/her wonderful work, you can also write to us about him/her.
As you write please remember that this will be a public record about Schneller schools so we urge you to be brief and accurate.
Please spread the word about this new page on our website and help us get contributions. It is our hope that this idea will slowly grow into a very interesting record for all to enjoy. We can all be co-authors of a nice history of our beloved schools that will be preserved to future generations.
When Schneller alumni talk about the wonderful Schneller tradition, many people ask: what is this tradition? It is our hope that this new page on our website will be a living record of our Schneller identity and pride.
Those who have old pictures can either send them as email attachments, or send us copies by mail to our address:

Johann Ludwig Schneller School,
Khirbet Kanafar,
West Bikaa,

We welcome contributions in English, German or Arabic.

Please send your contributions to our email:
 Director's Email Address
I want to thank the very few people who sent us contributions last year, and I urge all others to assist us in making this effort a true success.
I want to apologize for the many interruptions that took place on our website last year. We now moved it to a new hosting company, and we hope interruptions will be a thing of the past.

Please note that you can access our website on either of the following three addresses: http://www.jlsss.org

It is finally my hope that you will decide to hold your annual get together next year here in our school to celebrate with us the 150th anniversary. Our German partners decided to hold their celebrations in Germany from 12-17 April 2010. Our board of trustees decided to hold the Lebanon main celebrations on 16 April 2010 here in Schneller School and on Sunday 18 April 2010 in the National Evangelical Church - Beirut.
If those dates are not suitable for you, it is not a problem. You can hold you annual get-together any time during the year 2010 because it will be a year of jubilee celebrations all the time.
We thank you for your wonderful loyalty and love to your school, and we wish you a very pleasant get-together.
May God bless your meetings with fruitfulness and success.  


Rev. George D. Haddad.
Khirbet Kanafar 15 June 2009
Schneller School Name in Arabic
Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule

Education for Peace since 1860