Preparing minds for action |

Preparing minds for action

Cindy Ramunno
Vail Daily/Melinda Kruse

Vail Christian High School has been around for the last four years. Currently located on U.S. Highway 6 in Edwards, the staff and parents are preparing a plan to build a new campus across from the St. Claire of Assisi Catholic School campus. Principal Steve Glandorf says the new space is desperately needed. The first step in the approval process happens this week, he says.

The proposed new campus will allow the school the opportunity for future growth, while accommodating a fast-growing student body already bursting at the seams .

“We are aggressively pursuing this site to accommodate our growing population,” says Glandorf.

In the beginning

VCHS started out with just 32 students donning the silver and blue. The school is affiliated with Gracious Savior Lutheran Church and accepts students of all faiths. Now, in grades nine through 12, the school boasts 92 kids with a sold-out freshman class. There is currently a waiting list for the class of 2007, and the students come from all over the valley. This year, there was a particularly large interest coming from feeder Eagle Valley Middle School in Eagle.

The current site is a far cry from a state-of-the-art facility, so why are kids coming to Vail Christian?

“Happy students and happy parents,” says business and admissions coordinator Shelley Gile.

The faculty is completely devoted to the students, Gile says, and there is a lot of individual attention paid to each student, which makes students succeed. Gile also says word has spread throughout the valley, contributing to an increase in enrollment.

What’s on offer?

Vail Christian High School offers the typical high school stuff – a football team, a homecoming dance and a music program – but with a different twist. For instance, the annual Homecoming Pep Rally Spaghetti Dinner requires fall athletes to attend and encourages all students and families to join in on the evening.

The Saints also kick-off the school year with a retreat, with seniors stepping into a leadership role – proving to freshmen here is nothing to fear at the school. This year, the retreat focused around the 2003-04 school year’s theme: “Prepare Your Minds for Action.” Each year, the school comes up with a different theme to motivate students.

Senior John McGee has attended VCHS since he entered as a freshman four years ago.

“Vail Christian offers primarily small class sizes for a very personal learning environment,” McGee says, adding the staff at VCHS focuses on each kid’s personal needs and special gifts and that the curriculum offers classes not found in traditional public high schools.

Senior Richard Butters, who came from Eagle Valley High School after his sophomore year, says he agrees.

“There is more one-on-one attention and it’s unique to the valley because of the Christian-based curriculum,” Butters adds.

How much does it cost?

The cost to attend Vail Christian runs around $8,000 per year, with siblings getting a $500 discount. Academic scholarships and financial aid is also offered through the school. Individualized payment plans also offer flexibility for parents.

Parents with students in the school are saying it’s money well-spent, and that the cost is pretty much all-inclusive, as there are no activity fees and uniform costs that are sometimes associated with typical high schools. That cost also includes a computer for the student.

Families are told about the commitment of parental involvement upon enrollment. The level of commitment from a family must be high in order for the student to be successful.

“The student has to want to be here,” says Gile.

And the word spreads

Older students are telling younger students about the school, and parents in the valley are talking to their friends, too. Word spreads about how a new school is doing in a community of this size.

Lauren Mutter insists that her younger sister, Caitlin, will attend Vail Christian next year. Caitlin is currently an eighth-grader at Berry Creek Middle School.

“The teachers care so much about us as individuals and want us to be our very best,” Lauren Mutter says.

The excitement level reaches out to extended family too. Butters helped recruit younger cousin Kyle Woods, who is a freshman at the school; Woods is enjoying his classes and playing on the football team with his older cousin.

When a younger student is interested in VCHS, the student is encouraged to “shadow” a current student to get a feel for the school’s atmosphere. Sophomore Leslie Peterson says once she shadowed a current student, she instantly knew Vail Christian was the high school for her. She says she immediately liked the kid and environment and felt welcomed by the teachers.

“I like all they offer, from sports to academics,” she says.

If your build it …

Principal Glandorf says the school is earning a great reputation. The college prep curriculum, mixed with the Christian influences, offers students in this valley another educational choice.

“We have an incredible faculty; they’re second to none,” says Glandorf. “Our numbers are growing because we have higher expectations.”

For more information, call Gile at 926-3015.

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