In 1966, five men began discussing and praying about the need for a local Christian school. Five years later, their dream came true when Colorado Springs Christian School opened in Temple Baptist Church, which later became Pulpit Rock Church. Tuition was $40 per month.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, CSCS has seen over 10,000 students pass through its doors and 3,228 graduates. The school now has 1,150 students – including some in Woodland Park and Westcliffe – 130 staff and an $8 million budget. Tuition costs between $6,500 and $9,700 per year.
The class of 2021 graduated 71 students, who won more than $5 million in college scholarships to attend some of the nation’s top secular and Christian colleges. Many graduates attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, a mile to the east, and some now work there.
CSCS is one of 3,000 American schools affiliated with the Springs-based Association of Christian Schools International.
“The bottom line is that our students can go where they want to go and their education will get them there,” said Roland DeRenzo, superintendent and energetic CSCS CEO, who dreamed of playing Major League Baseball before “God had a different plan. .” He has been in school since 2000.
Shaping minds and hearts
The motto of CSCS is: “Excellent education. biblical point of view. Lifetime service.
The goal is students who are trained and transformed, who love God and want to serve the world.
“Brain research indicates that you can’t just pour facts into people’s heads,” says DeRenzo, who also consults with other schools. Godly education requires a safe environment, dedicated teachers, whom he calls mentors, and an emphasis on intellectual and spiritual development.
“We emphasize the intellectual side of learning, but it’s empty without the heart. We help each young person see the gift that God wanted them to live.
In the CSCS 50th Anniversary Newsletter, DeRenzo said, “We live in a world that has become dangerous, violent and hostile to what we believe. To impact this culture, we need to stand up, stand out, and be counted.
Students have the opportunity to use their donations for on-campus and off-campus service projects. CSCS students take part in the annual big autumn clean-up in the Cragmoor district.
“We encourage students to be servant leaders, not isolationists,” he says. “We are not a monastery. We want to propel our graduates into the community. We train good citizens who will contribute to the common good.
New emphasis on science
The Bible teaches that God created the cosmos, but Christians disagree on how he did it. CSCS teaches a creationist approach to a student body that includes young Earth creationists who believe the cosmos is less than 10,000 years old and those who believe it is billions of years old.
“They are confronted with the different beliefs about the age of the Earth so that they are informed,” DeRenzo said.
This year, the school launched a new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) option for high school students.
“We teach science from a biblical worldview that says we experience the majesty of God when we study the universe,” says teacher Christie Wingo, who has worked as an aerospace engineer. “We want our children to explore, look and think critically.”
Recent courses have focused on flight mechanics, simple robotics and computer programming.
Such programs are expensive to fund, a constant challenge at CSCS, which had nearly 1,400 students in the 1990s, at a time when there were fewer competing educational alternatives. The school receives no federal dollars, but its 501c3 nonprofit, the Lion’s Foundation, provided $100,000 in grants to help offset tuition in 2021-22, a figure DeRenzo is trying to increase. And a local family has donated over $15 million to help CSCS with various construction projects.
“Unfortunately, the economic barrier is still there,” he says. But he insists that financial challenges will not interfere with CSCS’s mission.
“Much has changed in the past 50 years, but CSCS continues to provide excellent Christ-centered education. We give all the glory to God for that.