Trinity’s 25+ Years of History
In January 1987, a handful of members of newly-formed Tates Creek Presbyterian Church began meeting and planning the opening of a Christian school. The new congregation had recently broken ground to build the first phase of a church facility, and the pastor, Al Lutz, also had a vision to incorporate a day school on its premises. The planning committee for the school included several young parents who became involved with their own children in mind. Members of this committee were approved by the church session in March and became the first Board of Directors. They began focusing on several critical areas: Mark Buchanan, chair; Greg Anderson, budget and finances; Debbie Johnson, publicity; Barbara Broderson, curriculum; Jule Robbe, church elder. With the ambitious goal of opening a kindergarten in the fall of ‘87—shortly after building construction was to be completed—the committee pushed ahead. It would be called Tates Creek Christian Academy.
Of course, numerous hurdles had to be crossed. Hefty agendas kept the bi-monthly Board meetings occupied until the wee hours of the morning. When Tates Creek Christian Church challenged the school’s name as too close to theirs, a name-change became necessary. Tates Creek Christian Academy became Tates Creek Academy. Construction of the new building was progressing on schedule until a late spring storm completely flattened the tall roof trusses that had just been erected over the main sanctuary. Construction halted. Completion dates were pushed back. “Contingency plans” became a new agenda item. At the same time, enrollment numbers waxed and waned over the summer months, driven by competition with many well-established private schools and preschools in the area. The August opening date came and went without facilities and without students. The obvious decision was made to postpone the opening for a year. In the following months, the Board continued meeting, praying, and working toward the new goal. Various sub-committees were formed and labored long hours on their assigned tasks. On August 29, 1988, with a faculty of two plus a principal and an annual budget of $34,000, Tates Creek Academy opened its doors to its first, long-awaited students: 24 preschoolers and 7 in a K/1st combination class.
Over the next seven years, major changes took place. New families heard about the school and one grade per year was added through grade 8. In the spring of 1992, the Board made a third and final change to our name. “Tates Creek Academy” was not a name that communicated to the community our deep commitment to teaching all subject areas from a biblical worldview. Wanting to keep the same TCA initials, the new name “Trinity Christian Academy” was adopted. The purple, gold, and white school colors were also chosen, and a student contest was held to name a mascot. Early possibilities included Stallions, Crusaders, Preachers, and Aliens. “Titans” was considered too pagan for a Christian school by some, but when the votes were counted, it won out. By the ’92-’93 school year, Trinity was already outgrowing the facilities, and a double-wide was used to house grades 3, 4, and 5.
That same school year, the Board recognized its need for counsel and help in the very practical areas of written policy manuals and administrative, faculty, and student handbooks. An adviser was found in Robin Lewis of Heritage House Educational Consultants, Dallas, Texas, and in June 1993, the Board signed a 3-year consulting agreement with her. Mrs. Lewis’s mission was thoroughly Christian and thoroughly classical. She was experienced in establishing and administering non-profit Christian schools, and she was dedicated to the same academic excellence the Trinity Board sought. Through her mentoring and expertise, many of the governing documents that currently undergird Trinity were put into place. Roles were more clearly defined, vision focused, academic program challenged, and sound management procedures implemented. Several faculty and Board members visited one of her schools in Dallas and returned recharged. A critical need had been met, and the school structure was on more secure footing.
The spring of ’95 witnessed the graduation of Trinity’s first 8th graders: two young ladies who would move on to high school at Lexington Christian Academy. The original intent for the scope of Trinity was to be a preschool through grade 8 campus, and the Board had received verbal agreement with LCA that our middle school graduates would be funneled into their high school. In the fall of ’95, however, LCA reversed that decision, sighting growing enrollment from their own lower schools, and only the current 7th-8th grade Trinity students could be assured admission. To address this problem, and after much discussion and prayer, the Board published in 1997 their findings in a 5-year, long-range plan for Trinity. It laid out plans to expand to a secondary school beginning with grade 9 in the 1999-2000 academic year, seek a headmaster to be in place by fall of 1998, aggressively develop two classes per grade at the lower school level, and work with Tates Creek Presbyterian Church to plan for space requirements. The church was already in the middle of phase 2 of the facility expansion: the 19,000 square foot classroom wing.
In 1999, Scott Mayo became the first headmaster, and the high school became a reality. In 2003, we celebrated the first high school graduation. Beginning with this graduating class and continuing with subsequent ones, parents felt great pride and sincere thankfulness to God for the high achievement of their young adults. Trinity graduates have gone on to higher education and careers in medicine, law, business, the arts, nursing, teaching, and the military.
A Bible verse that was often the focus of the Board in the early years was Ephesians 3:20-21: “To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” To God be the glory! Great things He has done! Amen and amen.