Woodward, Okla. —
After many years of looking for a place of their own, the Woodward Christian Academy (WCA) is excited to finally be able to host the grand opening of the school's new location on Monday, Oct. 29.
According to a WCA brochure, the Christian school was established in 1982 by a small group of parents from a local church whom banded together to educate their children in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.
Tony Ways, director of development for the WCA, said the school has more than quadrupled in enrollment size in the 3 decades since it opened.
"This year's enrollment was 107," Ways said. "Last year we had 87 students, and when the school first started out there were only between 20 to 30 students. We've really grown as parents look for an alternative means of education for their children, and now that we have our own facility who knows what the future holds."
Over the past 30 years, WCA has gone through several venue changes, but was always utilizing space that was owned by another organization.
But after purchasing the former Westwood Elementary building last year, the Christian school is looking forward to having its own facility.
The Westwood building has undergone a 20,000 square feet expansion during its transformation into the new Woodward Christian Academy.
The additional space includes a new gymnasium, climbing wall, racquetball court, as well as an art and science lab, auditorium, and preschool classrooms. With these renovations the school now stands at 36,000 square feet.
"We included those expansions to the school because we wanted to do things a little differently to distinguish ourselves from other schools," Ways said. "We want our students to have a unique experience."
FULL SCHEDULE FOR MONDAY'S GRAND OPENING
Ways said that the Christian Academy has scheduled a full day of activities for the grand opening because "this is a pretty big deal for us."
"We floundered in buildings that weren't ours for years. We've been here there and everywhere and to finally have our own building, especially one as comprehensive as this, we really wanted to make it a celebration," he said.
In addition, he said the school wanted to reach "all audiences," which is why there are different events planned to target different groups in the community.
Most importantly there are events geared toward local children, "to address them specifically because in the end that's what we're all about, the children," Ways said.
That's why the WCA's grand opening celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with a demonstration by Joe Taylor of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum for all students in the 3rd grade and higher and their parents.
"Joe will do some cool things for the kids with dinosaur bones, maybe even do a casting," Ways said. "And if the kids bring some bones or arrowheads, he might even help to identify them."
The academy also wants to reach out to community leaders, which is why a luncheon for local pastors and business leaders will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The luncheon is by reservation only.
From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. students in 3rd grade or above and their parents are invited back for a student lecture featuring Ken Ham, founder and president of the apologetics ministry "Answers in Genesis," as well as Elizabeth Graham of the Texas Right to Life organization.
"We have a number of people who were instrumental to the development of the school and have personal relationships with these folks, and that was one of the main drivers behind choosing our guest speakers," said Ways. "They're also associated with beliefs that our school promotes, such as a strong respect for life and a Biblical account of creation."
From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony that is open to all. During the ceremony Pastor Jason Dirks and Ken Ham will offer a message and a challenge for the community, Ways said.
"Dirks will talk about the importance of a Christian education. Ham will be challenging the community to hold kids accountable for their actions, and more importantly hold parents responsible for raising their children with a strong Christian foundation so they'll be prepared when they go out into the world," he said.
Following the ceremony there will be an open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in which the basketball court, racquetball court, and climbing wall will be open for use.
For more information concerning the event those interested can contact the school at 256-1877 or visit the school's website at mywca.com.