Four truths alumni know and want for their own kids
“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11
In 1987, Justin Pardee was in kindergarten. His teacher, Mrs. Klock, had to keep an eye on him. “I was pretty familiar with sitting outside on the bench for causing trouble,” he laughs. Fast-forward 28 years, Justin (a K-12 “lifer” and graduate of the class of 2000) is married and raising his own family. His son Titus (the eldest of four Pardee siblings) now sits in the front row facing second grade teacher Mrs. Hobbs. “He’s following in my footsteps!” Justin says of his fun-loving, sharp-witted son Titus who continues to figure out second grade expectations. “We don’t get a second chance at raising our kids. I want my kids to be sharp, I want them to be smart and skilled, but most of all I want them to get their education in an environment that is God-centered.”
1. As parents, we only get one chance to lay a solid foundation for our children’s future.
Fellow alums Steven and Rebecca Boyd (also graduates of the class of ’00 and ’01 respectively) share the same sentiment. “We both graduated from WCSS,” says Rebecca. “We are products of the school. We experienced it and know how it shaped our lives,” she says.
For Steven (also a lifer), it’s a variety of things about WCS that impact him the most. “It starts with Miss Leach,” he says, “and how she knows each kid and their siblings. The teachers have a real love for each student. My oldest daughter has had the same teacher I had which just goes to show the faculty love their job. I also appreciate the academics. I know what’s being taught to my kids and I don’t have to worry about it.”
2. We know what’s being taught to our kids and we don’t have to worry about it.
“I came to WCS in 7th grade from a much smaller private school,” says Rebecca, “ I wasn’t at all prepared academically. The teachers cared. They weren’t waiting until grades came out to show me I was struggling. They were watching. They expected me to be responsible, but they helped me when I needed it. I value that this school teaches more than academics. They teach life lessons.”
Van Metschke (a lifer and 1982 graduate) and his wife Sonja have two daughters, Kaylee (’09 lifer) and Karlee (’18 lifer). Van recalls how past principal and superintendent Randy Thompson used to describe a WCS education as the third leg of a stool. “Randy told me one leg of the stool is family, one leg is church, and the other leg is WCS,” says Van. “Sonja and I feel like we’ve had a partnership in raising Christ-like kids in a world where it’s becoming more and more of a challenge.”
Van also recognizes two important factors that made sending his kids to WCS an easy decision. “First, I know that I had a better education than my public school peers,” he says. “My daughter Kaylee has told me WCS prepared her for the hard classes she took for her nursing degree.” Kaylee, a graduate of CBU’s School of Nursing is currently a pediatric nurse at Riverside County Regional Medical Center. “I know the classes are still college-prep,” says Van, “but I also wanted my girls to have an opportunity at every turn to come to know Christ. At WCS, it’s the order of the day.”
3. We want our kids to have an opportunity at every turn to come to know Christ.
“Secondly, I know now that my parents made a lot of sacrifices to send me to this school,” says Van. “Sonja and I have had to say no to things we would like to purchase, but we chose instead to pay tuition. My kids are the long game.”
Van and his daughters were also students in Mr. Burdett’s class. “Mr. Burdett was my teacher and both my girls had him. He was pivotal in my high school experience. I don’t think most students realize how smart he is. He’s a wealth of knowledge, but he also really loves the students,” says Van.
4. We know our kids will be prepared academically. It’s the life-long spiritual lessons we want them to have.
The lessons taught at WCS are academically challenging but spiritually deep as well. “My dad became a Christian because of WCS,” explains Justin. “He spent four years helping me memorize my Bible verses every Monday night. God saturated his heart through those verses and I remember getting picked up early from Summer Day Camp one day because my dad was getting baptized. My hope and my experience with the school is that the education and environment are woven with wisdom. I know my kids are being equipped with foundational truths that will be with them all their life.”
In the 2015/2016 school year at Woodcrest Christian Day School, nearly 40% of incoming kindergarteners were alumni children. “It was the biggest year ever for second generation families coming back to the school,” says Superintendent Jim Sullivan. “It was a blessing to have to open a third kindergarten class to accommodate the growth.”
That bustling group of kindergarteners brought back memories for Mrs. Sallie Gude, who has been teaching at WCS since 1977 and has had many students’ parents in her previous classes. “Each child is unique in their personality, but I do see a family resemblance in their features,” she says and chuckles at recalling last year when she inadvertently called a little girl by her alumni mother’s name. “She looks so much like her mom!” she laughs. “When I teach or see a second generation child at our school, I am overjoyed to know they valued the education they received enough to want it for their child,” she says.
The Bible clearly tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” –Proverbs 22:6. As parents we are continuously trying to nurture and develop Christ-like qualities in our children. When home, church, and school all send the same message, our relationship with our kids is deepened. God’s fundamental truths become part of their worldview. Though the benefits of such a commitment may be realized much later, it’s plain to see that many WCS alums have found that a Christ-centered foundation is priceless.
“We will not hide (what we have learned) from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” –Psalm 78:4
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