Christian schools excited to begin

By Josette Keelor

Changes are in the air for area Christian schools in the 2014-15 school year. Student numbers are up and academic programs are expanding at Eukarya Christian Academy, Riverfront Christian School, Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy and the new Legacy Christian Academy.

Legacy, which formed during the last year by parents, teachers and other former employees of Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy, has followed up a recent summer session with its first semester curriculum. Though still awaiting the completion of renovations at the former Bon Air Home at 5933 Valley Pike in Frederick County, the nondenominational Christian school started Sept. 2 in temporary locations.

On its own “mini campus” in Middletown, the school has divided classes among First Baptist of Middletown, God’s Place and Valley Assembly of God Church. The school’s office “hub” is at God’s Place, said Marianne Poole, director of admissions and marketing.

“I go to each facility throughout the day,” she said.

“We’re prepared to be here as long as we need to be,” she said, but “our hope is that we’ll just be here for a couple weeks.”

The school has enrolled 106 students, and administrators expect more to join during the fall and spring semesters.

“We’re trying definitely to make our name known in the community … and be a blessing to the community,” Poole said.

The school is unaffiliated with any area church, but Poole said its staff represents a diverse faith of 10 different churches.

“We’ll all be under one roof soon,” Poole said.

Down the road from Legacy, Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy at 401 Valley Pike enjoyed a successful first day of school on Sept. 2, according to upper school Principal Bobby Wheelock.

“As far as enrollments, I think we’ve got a great group of kids here,” he said. “We do have a good group of returning students and also a good group of new students.”

New teachers have signed on for roles in the upper and lower schools, including kindergarten, and the school welcomed a new science teacher and registered nurse.

“We’re just moving along with our school,” Wheelock said, assuring there’s no “bad blood” between Legacy and SVCA. “They’ll just be separate academies doing new things.”

“We’re trying to offer some new programs, but our mission is the same,” he said.

Eukarya, at 165 Agape Way, Stephens City, serves a solid base of students that Office Manager Jennifer Moore said are looking for a unique learning experience.

“What we really specialize in as a school is working with children at their level,” she said.

On the campus of Agape Christian Church, the unaffiliated school offers a curriculum that includes Hebrew, Latin and AP-level government, literature and chemistry classes.

“We’ve really broadened our curriculum and our class space,” Moore said. The school also has a day care center providing before- and after-school care.

The school started its fifth year on Aug. 27 with about 70 students.

“I think it’s around what we had last year, maybe a little bit more,” said Moore. “But we seem to be growing each year.”

Last spring she said the school graduated its first student, and “That was really exciting.”

In Front Royal, Riverfront had a “fabulous first day of school,” according to Principal Cindy Martin, but “it went by too quickly.”

Enrollment of 97 on Sept. 2 fell short of last year’s 111 students, but Martin said exciting things are coming through the expansion of the technology department into the elementary school and the incorporation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes to the school’s standard curriculum.

“It’s a big thing,” she said. “We’re very excited about the upcoming school year.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com