New overseas trips, classes at Valley Christian - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

New overseas trips, classes at Valley Christian

August 6th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
New overseas trips, classes at Valley Christian

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Students will have a chance to expand their horizons as they travel overseas and explore new subjects in classes at Valley Christian High School when the academic year starts on Aug. 7.

About 440 students are expected to begin the new school year at Valley Christian, a private school on West Galveston Street. That’s the highest enrollment the school has had in its history, administrator Dan Kuiper said.

Valley Christian High youths will have a chance to travel to Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Kenya, Mexico, Poland, Romania and Zambia, as well as Washington, D.C., through the school’s ENGAGE program.

Students who successfully go through the application process will go mostly during breaks for service, educational or cultural-type visits, Kuiper said.

“We really believe God calls us to be relational with people and cultures,” he said. “Sometimes our students in the United States think the United States is the only place that is important, but God calls us to minister to all nations and all people. We want our students to get out of their comfort zone.”

The ENGAGE program kicked off last school. About 80 students went to other countries last school year and so far about 200 students have expressed interest in traveling to the other countries and Washington, D.C., Kuiper said. The students will stay for one to two weeks.

He said many Valley Christian staff members have relationships with organizations in the different countries.

“There needs to be a reason to go, as well, either service, educational or just missional-type of things,” Kuiper said. “Obviously we look at the character of the students…and the gifts of the students, if it fits with the objective of that country.”

Valley Christian High’s relationship with Poland began when a previous Bible teacher met a pastor at a convention, who mentioned he discovered his wife’s family was the “last living royalty of Poland,” Kuiper said.

Valley Christian choir students have performed in Poland and exchange students from Poland have visited the Chandler school. Valley Christian has also sent some of its students to Poland as part of the cultural exchange.

Besides giving students the chance to voyage to other countries, Valley Christian High will give them the opportunity to stretch their minds more in the classroom.

Valley Christian is adding new classes this academic year, including a STEM Engineering 2 course. The school also will offer a STEM biology class for the second year.

“We have to prepare our students for jobs that don’t even exist today,” Kuiper said.

The STEM classes “help students with critical thinking, problem-solving” and learning how to work with others, he added.

Valley Christian will also allow students to expand their appreciation of the arts this next school year. The school will add a beginning guitar class and a film analysis and assessment class.

The guitar course will add onto the musical offerings at the school, which have already included orchestra, band, choir and a class where students use trash cans, broomsticks and other items to play percussion in a “STOMP” style.

The film analysis and assessment class will allow students to learn how to analyze movies they are watching and to determine “what world view films might be coming from,” Kuiper said.

This will be the second year Valley Christian has provided a music history class where teens learn about music with an emphasis on the last 30 or 40 years, he said.

Valley Christian High aims to develop students who are knowledgeable in a broad range of subjects.

“That’s one of our taglines is that we want our students to be well-rounded,” Kuiper said. “We want our students to stretch themselves, explore.”

Students are required to take seven classes a day and they can take eight classes if they like.

Valley Christian Junior High School is opening this fall and will house students in grades sixth through eighth on East Guadalupe Road on the Gethsemane Church property in Tempe. The hope is students at that school will go on to attend Valley Christian High School.

To accommodate growth, Valley Christian High is planning to eventually build a new, two-story academic building to provide more programs and classes.

School officials are looking for land near the high school and will be launching a capital campaign in the next few months, Kuiper said. A timeline for construction is unknown.

“We’re absolutely looking forward to this year,” Kuiper said. “Obviously new things are on the horizon for us. We always look forward to having an impact on students’ life.”