Last fall, when AJ Greene walked in to Concordia Academy for his first day as a freshman, he already felt at home, thanks to participating in camps and admissions events. Below, his mother Victoria describes, in her won words, what led her family to CA, what they love about the school, and the ways Concordia has impacted AJ.
Our children have always been strong student athletes. CA’s basketball camp led us to take a closer look at the school, and our decision to send our son AJ to CA was based on a combination of things.
During the admissions process, AJ spent a day at CA shadowing another student. He really enjoyed that experience and made a connection to the school. During our tour of the school, as parents, we were able to get an idea of what the environment was like in relation to academics for the students. We were very impressed with the dedication of the staff to help the students achieve their goals academically and prepare them for their futures.
We were also impressed with the coaching staff. The culture of the coaching appeared to be centered on both athletic development and cultivating leadership principles for the students. CA is a great place to grow and prepare for the next level as a student athlete.
Last but not least, we were highly impressed with Dr. Berner’s passion for leading the school and the faith he has in the students to achieve excellence and change the world around them.
AJ has had the opportunity to serve the community alongside his peers and see a positive change in the lives of others as a result of their service. He has cultivated many friendships and has made connections with others that are priceless. He has come home excited about many projects and events he’s attended. AJ loves the connection that he has made between academics and his faith.
And he says that the lunches are really good, too!
#OurCAStory lets families describe, in their own words, how they discovered Concordia Academy and the way the school has impacted their lives. If you’re just discovering Concordia Academy, click here to watch a virtual tour, or connect with us by contacting our admissions office. We’d love to help you create your own CA story! And to learn more about summer camps at CA, click here.
Four years ago, when Mackenzie Ursel brought up to her parents, Stacey and Ben, the idea of attending Concordia Academy, it seemed like a long shot. They lived in Stillwater, she was attending the public middle school that ran through 9th grade, summer was more than half over, and the family had never set foot in the CA building.
Flash forward to today, and CA has become a home not only for Mackenzie, a senior, but for her brother, Isaac, a sophomore, and her parents. Below, Stacey, shares their CA story.
After exploring the CA website and scheduling a tour, their decision was surprisingly easy.
We toured CA in August 2016. Even though we had never been in the building before, there was an overwhelming sense of peace when we stepped inside. Then, on the spot, we just knew this was going to be the place for our daughter’s high school education, and most likely our other children, as well. We made our decision for her to attend by the end of the tour.
Opportunities and relationships have been big blessings.
CA has been an excellent fit for our two oldest children. Both have been Student Ambassadors, built great relationships with friends and teachers, and flourished in sports. At CA there is the opportunity to be a three-sport athlete if you choose to do so, and the commitment of the coaches is outstanding.
The opportunities and relationships aren’t just for students.
When I signed up at freshman orientation to help with the spring auction, little did I know that it would become a very big part of my life every year. Helping with CA’s annual auction has allowed me to use my gifts and talents in fun and creative ways. At the same time, it has also allowed me to make some amazing friendships with teachers, staff members, and other CA parents!
Even in the midst of a pandemic, excellence in education has remained.
At CA, the commitment to students, parents, and excellence in education is amazing. As a parent of a senior during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, I know that the CA staff and teachers have done an incredible job! They have reached out and personally called each family, they have shared daily devotions, they have stayed connected through social media, and they have been successful at continuing to provide a high quality of education through distance learning.
Christ is central to CA.
I love the Family Life Groups and chapels at CA. And I am so impressed with the spiritual role models that CA brings to the students’ lives. They lead with godly attitudes in the classroom and in sports and activities. That is something to be admired!
#OurCAStory lets families describe, in their own words, how they discovered Concordia Academy and the way the school has impacted their lives. If you’re just discovering Concordia Academy, click here to watch a virtual tour, or connect with us by contacting our admissions office. We’d love to help you create your own CA story!
The Manning family learned about Concordia Academy from family friends, but they were far from certain that it was the place for their son LJ instead of the public school to which they had always planned to send LJ. But now LJ is a freshman at CA and his father, Len, is a Beacon baseball coach. Below, Len describes their journey to CA and how the school is not only a great fit for his son, but for him and his wife, as well.
A couple of years ago, our family found ourselves at a crossroads with faith, ideals, and the political agendas in the public-education environment. The problem was that this public high school is where LJ’s dad went, where his uncles and aunts went, where his sisters and cousins went, and was where he was destined to go. His sports, which are very important to him, were all set at the “family” high school he was ready to attend, with all the coaches knowing him.
That was the plan...and it was set.
Only now do we laugh when thinking about it. It reminds me of the saying, “If you want to make God laugh...tell Him your plans!” Well, God is laughing now, because in less than two months we went from a guarantee of LJ attending the family tradition to registering for classes at a high school that we knew nothing about two years prior.
I was sitting in an auditorium with my wife, listening to a Catholic speaker talk about how God wants us to give back. That He wants us to not bury our talents in the ground, but to utilize them in a way that makes God proud, because He was the one who gave us those skills. I truly believe I heard God’s voice that night. This timing was right in line with the possibility of LJ going to Concordia.
On the drive home that night, I told my wife, “God spoke to me tonight.” She asked me what he said.
I told her, “I think LJ is supposed to go to Concordia, and I think I am supposed to coach there as well.”
We Christians always say, “Trust in God. Put your lives in His hands, because He knows what is best, even though sometimes it may have seemed as the least-likely thing you may have wanted.” Well, that is the Mannings at CA right now. We prayed….and then prayed some more about it...and let Him have the last say.
So, we made the leap of faith. LJ is nearly done with his freshman year, and CA has brought him the understanding that education and his faith in God do not have to be independent of each other. Both, together, actually make the high school experience more fulfilling. He looks forward to going to school every day and has told us that, “It is really nice that God can be talked about in class as a normal thing.” Both of those things working in unison is what has started LJ’s high school experience with a solid foundation, with three more years to grow in these feelings!
His mother has enjoyed every part of establishing new relationships with her son’s peers, their parents, and school staff. And I never thought that at the age I am, I would make new friendships with a couple of individuals I coach with and that those new friendships would head in the direction of being stronger than ANY in my life thus far.
The quality of the character of the students I have coached, the friendships with those student athletes, and the relationships to their parents have been second-to-none in all my years of coaching! Add to this the continued strengthening of a long friendship with the family that introduced us to CA in the first place.
Look at how it has all come full circle. It is simply the Lord’s work!
#OurCAStory lets families describe, in their own words, how they discovered Concordia Academy and the way the school has impacted their lives.
I know that as we progress through this online learning experience, teachers, students, and parents have seen some drawbacks, occasional limitations, frustrations of technology, and a meltdown or two. But in the midst of all the negatives rises an uncertain, timid, quiet young man who, after some years of struggling academically, is now finding such peace and comfort and success in this style of learning.
While many of my more-confident students, the ones I expected to rock this experience, are struggling, this student shows up to his Resource session every week with questions, carrying an eagerness to complete the math that has traditionally dogged him this past year. He comes with all of his postings completed for all of his classes, and he does them well, even knowing what is coming up next. Suddenly he is standing out, far above many of my other students.
According to his mother, "He is LOVING this whole online learning thing. He's totally motivated, and we are seeing a huge difference!" This comes from a mom who, like many moms at the beginning of the year, found herself teary-eyed, wondering why her boy approaches academics so differently from other students and determined to find the success in her son that she knows is in there, someplace deep.
I just love how God works. He's always at work doing good things in the midst of awful things. He just revels in showing off the unexpected ones, the ones that are hidden in the background, the ones who others have said are behind, lost, or forgotten. And do you know what else I love about how God works? He uses people like this student because this young man is humble and not looking for any payoff or promotion. He doesn't even really want to be noticed. He just wants to be a good guy, doing good things, and feeling good about his progress.
The staff of Concordia Academy is so lucky for what we get to do and see here on this earth:
- The students we get to pour into, never really knowing how deep it truly goes.
- The truth we get to share with those students.
- And the hope we get to live for, that we know lasts for eternity.
I know I am getting all mushy, but I don't care. These things touch me at the core and make me want to go to my rooftop and shout out "GOD IS SO GOOD! OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE AND SEE WHAT HE IS DOING! HE IS MAKING IT NEW! HE IS MAKING IT ALL BRAND NEW!"
Look for it. Look for the good under all this crummy stuff right now. It is sitting there simmering, waiting to be noticed.
Diane Bisping, Concordia Academy's Learning Specialist, oversees CA's Resource Program, designed to create more confident, independent, and motivated learners who will follow the paths that God has purposefully planned for their futures.