S E RV I C E O F D E D I C AT I O N
September 17, 2011
A gathering of Godâ€™s people, blessed to be a blessing.
ORDER OF EVENTS
Steve Linton, Board president RECOGNITION OF HONORED GUESTS Jim Marsh, head of school PARTNERS IN EDUCATION Saemmul Christian Academy, Seoul, South Korea CHRIST, WE DO ALL ADORE THEE by Theodore Dubois, performed by the Concert Choir WELCOME & GREETING
GOD’S PEOPLE RESPOND
Leader: Holy is the Lord, the Almighty. People: He was, He is, and He is to come. Leader: He is worthy of glory and honor and power. People: He created all things. By His will they came to be. Leader: Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain; People: worthy to take the scroll and break its seals. Leader: By His sacrifice, He purchased for God People: people of every race and tongue, of every folk and nation. Leader: Christ made of them a kingdom People: and priests to serve our God. Leader: O Lord, you provide for our every need. People: Accept our grateful praises. Leader: You have called us from all peoples, People: we rejoice and bless your name forever. DEDICATION Jim Marsh, head of school GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS by Thomas O. Chisholm, led by the Concert Choir OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S FAITHFULNESS Andrew Shaw, faculty THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU by Peter Lutkin, performed by the Concert Choir Concert Choir directed by Allen Schwamb and accompanied by Junia Haas
to follow in the Grand Entry, with a visual display commemorating 35 years of God’s faithfulness.
MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL JIM MARSH
Dear Westminster Families: The dedication of Westminster Christian Academy’s new campus in Town & Country is a celebration of God’s providence in blessing the lives of His people. Only God could transform the vision and sacrifices of a small number of Christian families 35 years ago into a Christian school that is flourishing and impacting so many young lives today. As we dedicate our new campus to His glory and look forward to the opportunities it will provide for many years, we join the psalmist in proclaiming, “For the Lord is good, and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5). Our theme at Westminster this year is “blessed to be a blessing ... grateful lives in pursuit of God’s purposes.” The Westminster community has been blessed beyond measure with a heritage in education firmly rooted in the gospel and a history of growth that is remarkable. Our new campus provides opportunities and possibilities that will enable us to better fulfill our vision to “prepare and equip more young men and women to engage the world and change it for Jesus Christ.” The dedication of our new campus today ushers in a new chapter in the story of a Christian school that is striving to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders for our community, nation and the world. We are blessed, and it is now time to embrace new challenges and possibilities that will build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth in and through the Christian education provided at this new and vibrant campus. We have a beautiful new campus, but it is how we use this campus and its resources to honor and glorify our Lord and Savior that will measure our success as we move into the future. Please pray for the Westminster community as we embark on the next step in a journey that will, Lord willing, transform the lives of thousands of young people for Him. In His service,
Jim Marsh Head of School
MISSION Westminster Christian Academy honors Jesus Christ by providing an excellent education, rooted in biblical truth as interpreted by the Westminster Confession of Faith, for the children of Christian parents. Faculty and staff enable students to discover and embrace a biblical view of the world and integrate that view into every area of life.
VISION To prepare and equip more young men and women to engage the world and change it for Jesus Christ.
CORE VALUES HONOR GOD IN ALL THAT WE DO Knowing God, loving His Word and living for Him are at the heart of the Westminster experience. Students learn that “all truth is God’s truth” in every aspect of life in and outside of school (e.g., in the Bible classroom, on the stage, on the athletic field and in the guidance counselor’s office). Students are challenged to live out their faith in their relationships, character and service for others. ENROLL AND SERVE FAMILIES Westminster’s doors are open to every Christian family in the St. Louis region who desires a Christ-centered secondary school experience for their children. Academic programs are designed to meet the learning needs of all children in the family, and financial aid is available to help qualified families who are not able to pay the full cost of tuition. Families representing all of God’s people (“every tribe and language and people and nation,” Rev. 5:9) have equal opportunity to a place at Westminster.
BECOME BETTER THAN WE ONCE WERE Excellence is defined as a process that is measured by individual and corporate improvement, not a specific outcome. Striving for excellence (i.e. improvement) is expected of all members of the Westminster community. LEARN AND LIVE IN CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY Principles rather than policies and relationships rather than rules take precedence in the life of the school community. Building, enhancing and maintaining community are integral to all aspects of school life, including curricular and cocurricular programs, architecture and organizational structure. PARTNER WITH THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND CHURCH A strong spiritual foundation is firmly established in the life of a young person when the Christian home, church and school are working in partnership. Westminster exists to help Christian parents fulfill the biblical mandate given to them by God to “train a child in the way he should go...” (Prov. 22:6) and collaborate with the church in teaching and discipling children in God’s will and way. LEAD WITH OUR SERVE Learning, modeling and practicing servant leadership is central to worldview and leadership development. Tangible evidence of placing the needs of others before self is expected in all aspects of school life.
THE HISTORY OF WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY THE FIRST 25 YEARS In the mid 1970s, several St. Louis families from the Reformed Presbyterian Church recognized the need for a distinctly Christian junior/senior high school that integrated faith and learning. Led by Dr. George Knight III, a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary, a school board armed with the mandate to establish Westminster Christian Academy was constituted in September 1975. Dr. Knight’s leadership and passion helped define a vision and philosophy that have endured throughout Westminster’s history. The founding Board established the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechism as the doctrinal base for the school and used the integrated bylaws provided by the National Union of Christian Schools (NUCS) to guide development of the school’s bylaws. The official bylaws were approved by the Westminster Christian Academy Association and incorporated into the State of Missouri in September 1975. Westminster became a member of the National Union of Christian Schools in 1975, which established Westminster as a viable Christian school in the Reformed Christian school tradition. In 1982, Westminster was approved as an accredited member of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), an association of respected independent secondary schools in America. Westminster Christian Academy’s first home was in rented classrooms at Missouri Baptist College. This venue not only provided necessary classroom space, but it also offered access to well-equipped laboratories, a gymnasium and other facilities rarely available to a small secondary school. The first-year curriculum included German, band, art and music. Missouri Baptist College, 1976
In April 1976, Mr. Nolan Vander Ark was hired as Westminster’s first headmaster, and Mrs. Evelyn Downs assumed the position of head
teacher. The Board tasked the two to secure a teaching staff and open Westminster’s doors in the fall of that year. Mrs. Downs later became headmistress. Throughout the following months, the fledgling school prayed faithfully, interviewed families, enrolled students, partitioned rooms and purchased equipment, books and furniture, all with less than $10,000 in the bank. The school’s vision was realized on September 7, 1976, when Dr. George Knight III addressed the students and faculty at an opening day chapel service. After only one year at Missouri Baptist College, Westminster transitioned its campus to a small elementary school building in Des Peres — now the Walgreens located at Manchester and Lindemann Roads — where the school resided until 1982. It also quickly became too small for the growing student body, which had reached 250 students. At that time, Westminster purchased the Ladue Road campus, then belonging to West Ladue Middle School, a building that would hold 600. “We thought it looked huge,” said Head of School Jim Marsh, who began his tenure as head of school in 1985. “For a while, it looked too huge,” he said. In 1987, Marsh, along with the School Board president, even contemplated selling the campus, or at least part of it, as the school had begun to accumulate significant debt. However, God had a different plan. After much prayer, planning and constant effort, Westminster began to grow and grow stronger. By the early ’90s, the school building that seemed so big a few years back began to reach its limits. In fact, when enrollment reached nearly 600 students, families were being turned away — a harsh reality that seemed to contradict the mission of the school. In order to regain the ability to enroll entire families, Westminster expanded the school to include a two-story classroom building, science lab, new gymnasium and athletic fields. The addition would allow the school to enroll as many as 900 students.
Founding Board member Dr. George W. Knight III
From left: Architect Lou Henry, STUCO President SheenRu Yong, Head of School Jim Marsh, Board President William French, Campaign Chairman Larry Collett, Architect Mark Hugeback, Architect Nick Walker (‘91), General Contractor Robert Schaefer and Plant Supervisor William Roper
THE HISTORY OF WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY THE PAST 10 YEARS By the 2000-2001 school year, the transformative renovation had caused classrooms to fill quickly. In the past, every time Westminster nearly reached capacity, we had either (a) moved to a larger facility or (b) expanded our current campus. This time, however, it became clear that expanding the Ladue Road campus would be impossible. As such, Westminster was faced with a vital question: “Do we find a way to continue to grow and therefore move, or do we just limit our enrollment and turn away more families every year?” To find the answer, we looked to our mission. We are a school that seeks to honor Jesus Christ in all that we do, and we are a school for the children of Christian parents. We enroll families — not students — and we believe our mission does not permit us to say “yes” to some and “no” to others. This is the same motivation behind the constant efforts to expand offerings and programs, creating more experiences for individual students to find their place and excel. This philosophy also led to the development of The Learning Center years ago — in order to meet the educational needs of every member of the family. As we pondered the question of growth and how it relates to our mission, the reason for our answer was a compelling one: We knew that if we were to continue to keep our doors open to every qualified family — and if we were to remain committed to excellence, to provide our kids with more and better opportunities so that they might engage and change the world for Jesus Christ — we needed to move.
The school’s grand colonnade has become a characteristic image of Westminster Christian Academy. The Celtic crosses were transported from the Ladue Road campus to our Town & Country campus and integrated into the colonnade.
In 2001, a handful of people started to pray about and discuss what Westminster would do if God opened the door to the purchase of the former West County Technical School property, which had recently been placed on the market. The location was ideal. Lacking funds and even a definitive plan for how Westminster would use the campus, armed only with our vision and the knowledge that God would lead, in February 2003, the school purchased the 40-acre campus for $14,250,000.
As the Westminster community moved forward with planning committees and town hall meetings, seeking to determine possible uses for the newly purchased campus, the strange irony of the immediately adjacent property began to become clear. The 30 acres of property called Centreat, owned by Central Presbyterian Church, was perfectly situated to the Westminster property. How remarkable that of all the property that The 30-acre property outlined in blue, formerly Centreat, gifted to Westminster in 2007, and the former would become available to Westminster to West County Tech campus, outlined in orange, comprise Westminsterâ€™s 70-acre Town & Country campus. purchase, it would be right next door to these 30 acres? As Westminster explored ways to develop the purchased 40 acres, a few people hoped God would also provide Centreat; there were meetings and ideas, but as time went by, it became clear that the dream of our campus including the Centreat property was just that â€” an impossible dream. With only the 40 acres in our possession, the plan was to keep the Middle School at the Ladue Road campus and to move the Upper School to the Town & Country campus. But as He sometimes does, God surprises us with a different plan. In summer 2007, a family offered to gift Westminster the funds to purchase Centreat. This unexpected $7.1 million gift would allow Westminster to plan for a 70-acre unified campus. This remarkable and unexpected gift coupled with early success in the capital campaign propelled Westminster forward. Architectural drawings were updated, a builder was selected, and a 70-acre site plan was finalized. In 2008, Town & Country granted us approval, and we placed the Ladue Road campus for sale. But in 2009, the campaign and our construction plans were placed on hold due to the economic turmoil of our region. While we knew the prospect of selling the Ladue Road campus was dim as a result of the poor economy, it remained on the market.
THE HISTORY OF WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY By the end of January 2010, the Ladue School District presented us with an offer and a contract to purchase the Ladue Road campus for $18 million. This was a solid price and significant enough to cause us to begin working to figure out how and when we might be able to start construction. For Ladue to be able to purchase our campus, residents of the District would have to pass a property tax increase during the April 2010 general election. Most of us believed that it would take a true miracle of God for this to occur. For the sale to be final, 56% of voters would have to vote “yes.” When all the votes were in, Proposition O (as it was called) passed by 60%. Today, we are still hearing from people who wonder how in the world this happened. Things began to roll forward with great speed, but it didn’t seem easy or speedy at the time. In March, we began to ask what became another key question: “What happens if we can start construction this summer?”
Director of Operations Todd Fuller watches as Board President John Moore signs the closing documents to finalize the sale of Westminster’s Ladue Road Campus to the Ladue School District.
The answer redefined our view of the new campus project. We discovered huge savings in construction costs if we started immediately; we learned that the project could be completed faster; and the biggest news of all — we could be in the new campus, completely finished, for the next (2011-12) school year.
The accelerated construction project presented a new challenge and test of faith. While giving and pledges have always been the expected way to fund this project, the concept of having to reach specific goals by specific dates was something new for Westminster. We wondered how our community would respond. We had many fearful questions. Why take the risk? What if we have to stop construction? People are busy and preoccupied with so many things. Can we really mobilize a campaign in this time frame? Will people really pray and encourage others to get involved?
But in the midst of all these questions came the peace and knowledge that God works through His people. This is His work, we said. Let’s keep moving forward and do our best to communicate and ask people to pray and consider what God is doing. Let’s see if God will move in the hearts of His people to give, lead and take steps of faith with us. We established the critical pledge milestones: $12 million by the end of June, then $15 million by the end of September, and $20 million by the end of December 2010. These milestones, if reached, would keep construction going. Then, we took this giant step of faith. Many people asked us, “What if we don’t reach these milestones?” The straightforward answer was hard to hear and difficult to say out loud: “Then we’ll have to slow down or stop construction until we do.”
The Westminster Theatre, mid-construction
By God’s grace, we reached the pledge milestone on December 31, the last day possible. We started the day with approximately $360,000 in pledges to go, and that morning, even after all we had seen, our final milestone felt immense and undoable. An email update had gone out the day before, and the pledges were flooding in; around 5 p.m. that afternoon, we realized that God really had accomplished this. We received our last pledge of 2010 at 9:49 p.m. that New Year’s Eve. “I’ll never forget the $100 checks written in ‘care of Jesus.’ And the single parent whose financial situation changed overnight and who then pledged $100,000 to repay every dollar of financial aid Westminster had provided her family in the past years. I love that a 7th grader quietly pledged $125 ($25 for five years) and that an 8th grader made a multiyear pledge of $100, without being asked. Many people pledged for the first time to Westminster, and some made their first five-year pledge ever in their lives to any organization. And then, there are those faithful families that have been involved in supporting Westminster for so many years, pledging to walk the ‘second mile’ with us. ” Zach Clark, director of advancement
THE HISTORY OF WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY Reaching the $20 million pledge milestone enabled us to keep construction going and allowed us to be in the new campus a year early, realizing significant construction cost savings along the way. Our lending partners came through with the $35 million construction loan — no small miracle in today’s economic environment. The goal was never simply to complete the new campus construction. The goal isn’t simply to be able to manage a long-term debt. We must continue to become better before bigger, say “yes” to enrolling Christian families, and invest in great people, great programs and great facilities — making decisions that keep us financially strong as a ministry for generations to come. The future is now, and this is not the end of the story, but the beginning of the next chapter. It is our prayer and hope that God will continue to provide the people and resources needed for us to remain a worldclass Christian school, and that people will continue to take huge steps of faith, with the hope and commitment to see a Westminster Christian Academy education provided for new generations of students — for our children and for our children’s children. We rejoice as we move forward together, amazed and excited by what God is doing and what He will do in the lives of students and families for years to come.
FOUNDING BOARD OF DIRECTORS The founding Board of Directors received incorporation from the State of Missouri on September 8, 1975. Alan Barker Lee Brown Rex Brown Bobby Duck Arlen Dykstra Joe Hall George Knight Synesio Lyra Robert Miller Robert Reymond James Routszong Patrick Tharp Al Thomas
Board of Directors, 1976-77
As we dedicate our campus to the Lord for all of His good purposes, we remember all of our founding families, the trailblazers who took the first “steps of faith” by investing much of their lives into Westminster Christian Academy. God has indeed blessed the boldness of those early pioneer families, to whom we express our deepest gratitude.
HEADS OF SCHOOL (1976-2011) Nolan Vander Ark 1976-1977 Evelyn Downs 1977-1981 Arlen Dykstra 1981-1984 Larry Birchler (Acting Headmaster) 1984-1985 Jim Marsh 1985-Present
From left: Jim Marsh, Evelyn Downs, Arlen Dykstra, Jim Marsh, Larry Birchler, Nolan Vander Ark
OUR FACULTY: 25 YEARS OF SERVICE In grateful recognition of those men and women of the faculty who have given at least 25 years of faithful service to the families of this community, and with gratitude for the call that God has placed on their lives to serve Him at Westminster Christian Academy, trees have been planted on the Westminster Plaza in their honor. Westminster held a private service in which friends and family gathered to honor these individuals and to give praise and thanksgiving for their many years of service. Larry Birchler
Rich Van Gilst
Clockwise from top: Sherry Blough, Florence Lewis and friends, Scott Holley
PAST BOARD PRESIDENTS AND SPOUSES (1976-2010) George and Virginia Knight 1976-1978
Robert and Cathy Hickel 1992-1994
Joseph and Hermie Hall 1978-1979
Robert and Janice Nienhuis 1994-1996
Paul and Nancy Akin 1979-1980
Charles and Dianne Waldron 1996-1997
Chet and Dorothy Massot 1980-1982
William and Dianne French 1997-1999
Alan and Judy Barker 1982-1983
Kim and Pamela Reed 1999-2001
Jack and Sissy Kramer 1983-1984
Bill and Elizabeth Kling 2001-2003
John and Nancy Prentis 1984-1986
Jeff and Patricia Reed 2003-2005
John and Barbara Hauser 1986-1988
Bob and Jane-Ellen Mark 2005-2007
Larry and Mary Catherine White 1988-1990
Bob and Barbie Wilkinson 2007-2009
Timothy and Sharon Belz 1990-1992
John and Brookie Moore 2009-2010
CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS AND SPOUSES Jonathan and Ann Barlow Russ and Allison Burns, Vice President Jeffrey and Sandra Clay Joseph and Nancy Gruneisen Grant and Kristin Hoekzema Bill and Jennifer Hughes Steve and Lindsey Hunsicker Robb and Caroline Johnson Christopher and Martha Kehr, Treasurer Steven and Becky Linton, President Bret and Pamela Mehlhouse Jeffrey and Christine Meyers John and Brookie Moore, Past President Michael and Heidi Ottsen Michael and Lauren Stanfill, Secretary Reed and Janet Sugg Bob and Barbie Wilkinson
WESTMINSTER TRIVIA: DID YOU KNOW? WESTMINSTER WAS NAMED A “SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE” IN 1991. Westminster Christian Academy was selected for recognition in the United States Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Recognition Program. This award, which was presented to Jim Marsh at a White House reception in fall 1991, was reserved for only 200 schools across the country, making it a prestigious honor. One of only 53 private schools selected nationwide, Westminster was recognized as a School of Excellence for demonstrating superiority in student success, leadership and organization by its administration, and dedication by its teachers. NUMBER OF AGENCIES SERVED THROUGH OUR FAITH IN ACTION PROGRAM SINCE IT BEGAN IN 1987: More than 150 NUMBER OF CURRENT TEACHERS WITH A DOCTORAL DEGREE: 7
From left: varsity basketball (1976), first home football game at our Town & Country campus (2011), cheerleaders (1976), varsity baseball Missouri state champions (2011)
FINE ARTS In Westminster’s first years, a few basic drama, music and art classes comprised the Fine Arts Department. Today, expanding faster than ever, the program has its greatest presence ever in the school community. As of 2011, the program offers band, pep band, jazz band, orchestra, concert choir, chamber choir, mixed chorus, improv, musicals and plays. In the near future, students may enjoy small performances by the jazz band, chamber choir or other small ensembles during lunch and after school in the Grand Entry. ATHLETICS When recounting their first year at Westminster – then located at Missouri Baptist College – Chris and Kent Kehr recall an athletic program that consisted only of soccer, basketball and softball. “I started on the basketball team that year having never played before!” says Kent. Now, more than 30 years later, Westminster has been named Small School Athletic Program of the Year by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch twice in the past five years (in 2010 and 2007). Sports for girls include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and volleyball. Sports for boys include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, hockey, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track, volleyball and wrestling. In spring 2010, the Westminster community celebrated the boys’ varsity golf team’s first-place victory at the state championship, and, more recently, the varsity baseball team’s state win in June 2011.
From left: choir (1976), choir and band Czech tour (2011), band (1976), You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (2010)
WESTMINSTER TRIVIA: DID YOU KNOW? ALUMNI • Percentage of alumni who are or have been teachers: 12%* • Percentage of alumni who list a church home: 74%* • Percentage of alumni who list ministry involvement: 38%* • Percentage of alumni serving in the military: 3% * • Percentage of alumni in service industries: 33%* • Percentage of alumni in business fields: 52%* • Percentage of married alumni whose spouses are Westminster alumni: 24%* • Percentage of graduates residing in Missouri: 72% • Total number of graduates: 2,852
*Percentages are based on survey data from a representative sample of alumni from the classes of 2000 – 2004.
Nicole Reed Wilkins (’00) and her husband Matt (‘96) enjoyed attending the Community Open House on August 20 with their son Levi - Class of 2030! Nicole and Matt hope Levi will attend Westminster one day.
THE VISION OF A WESTMINSTER GRADUATE
Loves the Lor d wi t h all his hear t and walk s wi t h Him . K nows that G od created him with
a n d e q u i p p e d h i m fo r a l i fe of s e r v i ce t o H i m a n d o t h e r p e o p l e .
the world around him and why people are the way they are.
Believes in the value of learning, works hard to develop his gifts
and is growing to be all that he can be. Is equipped to be the right kind of leader in his church, family, school and work.
Is the type of employee that any ministry, company or organization wa n t s
h av e
i t s
t e a m.
Is committed to the ideas this country was built upon
and is ready to have a voice in the public square. Honors the Lord by honoring his parents and his experience at Westminster
by pressing on toward the high calling of
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