Concordia Academy has not only made an impact on Thad Christianson (CA '23), but it's also impacted his family. Below, his mother Kirsten explains how she has learned from our teachers, how the CA community has allowed Thad to grow in many ways, and how our principal, Pastor Tim Berner, sets a tone of wisdom, love, and fun.
How did you find out about CA?
We found out about CA through the Kingsbury Family, close friends of ours. Their oldest son, Noah, started at CA, and we watched him grow and mature under the discipleship of his teachers. The fruit of that discipleship is a close family community that shows in every discipline: academics, arts, STEM, sports, etc.
What has been the biggest blessing about CA?
I’ve been discipled by a couple of CA teachers, too! Thad is our only child, and so I can become fearful about things that really aren’t things. In the first round of parent-teacher conferences, several teachers helped me better implement our motto of “Stay near and stand back” in ways that serve Thad better. They prayed with me and then checked in afterward. It helped orient me, reminding me that Christ has Thad way more than I ever could.
How has your child been impacted by CA?
Thad loves CA. He loves everything about it. He has matured in his faith, and he has continued to grow in academics. He has availed himself of sports, friendships, and community life. He has become more of whom I believe God has made him to be. It’s been a joy to watch. I think Thad has been surprised by how much he has embraced CA and the impact that it already has had on him. We are grateful.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about CA?
I think most people know this, but I would say that the teachers live what they believe, and they share that with the students. The students are given a gift; they are cared for by the teachers. Also, Pastor Berner leads by example. He is not perfect, but he is faithful, wise, and fun. Thad has benefited from his leadership of the student body. When the top guy loves well, everyone around him will, 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 learn about our plan to reopen this fall, onsite, five days a week. Or, you can connect with our admissions office to schedule a tour or get more information. We’d love to help you create your own CA story!
Because she is an alumna and her parents are longtime supporters, Concordia Academy was already on Jennifer Reinhard's radar when she and her husband Scott began looking for a high school for their oldest son, Benjamin. But those connections didn't necessarily make CA a shoo-in. As she explains below, discovering how the school she already loved had grown and developed over the years made it clear that Concordia Academy was the right place for her children.
When did you first explore CA as an option for your family?
When it was time for us to choose a high school for our oldest son, we spent time visiting a number of private and charter high schools in person and also had Benjamin shadow at each school. Concordia Academy was one of our choices, not only because of my past affiliation but also because of its current reputation. We believed CA was a good fit for him, but we also wanted to make sure he felt a connection, too.
What led your family to Concordia Academy?
Concordia brings together a lot of the experiences that you wish for your children as they learn, form friendships, and develop their faith. The combination of a small, caring atmosphere along with rigorous academics and competitive athletic programs were important. We also knew CA was a community, led and supported by people of strong faith.
What made you decide to send your children to CA?
We have always said that we would choose a school based on what we thought was best for each child. Our daughter Katherine had the opportunity to play on the CA high school softball team as an 8th grader and was incredibly blessed by the opportunity in ways far beyond what we could have anticipated. She was so excited to attend CA this year, and we have seen her blossom in her faith and friendships. Our 7th grader is already excited about coming to CA; he decided to play BEAMS (middle school) basketball last winter as a way to meet and connect with other prospective students. He had a wonderful experience with that group of boys, and the alumni coaches were excellent ambassadors for the school and role models for the kids.
What has been the biggest blessing about CA? From the beginning, it was obvious this school is a community of Christian staff and teachers who care about my children not only as students with a responsibility to learn but also as individuals who have unique and special talents. When Benjamin fractured his skull in 10th grade, he received personal and heartfelt notes from some teachers, a reminder about how much they cared for him during a particularly difficult time. There were so many staff members and teachers who were paying special attention to him in his time of need.
What has been a surprise about CA? While it has always been a Christian school, there is a renewed fire for Christ throughout the CA staff and student body that is inspiring. The CA community puts Christ at the center of their lives, and many are living boldly in and out of school. The chapels have definitely changed since I was a student!
How have your children been impacted by CA? Concordia Academy has a unique ability to combine learning and faith, where students can challenge, ask questions, and grow as individuals as well as a community of believers. We have seen each of our children develop a strong sense of who they are and mature in their faith. That reinforced confidence is less about what they know and more about their relationship with Jesus.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about CA? It is so easy to have trust and confidence in the staff and administration, for so many reasons. They pray about decisions before acting. They demonstrate a genuine love for Christ, for one another and for their students. They have a strong and vibrant culture that balances learning, fun, and a deeper relationship with God. CA has built on its reputation for excellence by continually improving, staying relevant, and making the school a place where students thrive.
#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 our admissions office to schedule an in-person tour or get more information. We’d love to help you create your own CA story!
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!