Whitefish Christian Academy, A launch pad for students to soar
Students at Whitefish Christian Academy in the Flathead Valley of Montana are on a mission to achieve moral, academic, and physical excellence through a Classical model of education that introduces them to the greatest thinkers, musicians, and leaders of the Western world.
Greeting students at the entrance of the school each morning with a firm handshake and words of encouragement is Colonel George Bristol, a 38-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, who serves as Headmaster at the academy. With a background in infantry, reconnaissance, intelligence, and special operations, he would seem an odd choice to be working with young Montana children, but Colonel Bristol is mission-focused, and he sees this mission as perhaps the most important in his life.
“WCA is a community of families, children, and teachers who share passionately in our pursuit of goodness, beauty, and truth,” explains Bristol, who has a degree in English Literature from Presbyterian College and a Master of Science from the Naval War College.
Whitefish Christian Academy is a Pre-K through 11th grade school with a 30-year track record in forming critical thinkers who excel in the marketplace of ideas and become successful leaders in their chosen fields. There are currently 147 students enrolled at the school. All grade levels are significantly ahead of the national average, with 2nd through 8th grades testing, on average, 3.5 grade levels ahead based on scores on the Stanford Achievement Test.
“We have an outstanding School Board that works hard to ensure that no family is turned away because they cannot afford tuition,” explained Colonel Bristol. “Many of our families make tremendous sacrifices to pay tuition to provide their children with the outstanding character and academic formation offered at the school.”
Colonel Bristol says that several families at the school would not be able to afford tuition without ACE Scholarships.
In describing what it means to families to know that the ACE Scholarship will follow their students through their elementary and high school education, Colonel Bristol says that it offers them a “cool, dry place,” a term used by those serving in Special Forces to convey a place of safety and security.
“Jake Penwell [State Director] works hard to communicate to schools, parents, and students that they are worth whatever it takes to get them into the program,” said Colonel Bristol. “The lifeline offered by ACE often makes the difference for families between keeping their kids here or having to leave the school.”
Colonel Bristol says that teachers and staff at the school are dedicated to strengthening the leadership skills of all students at the school, especially those who may be struggling for any reason.
“We have a special place in our hearts for students who feel like they do not fit in, or who struggle in class,” continued Colonel Bristol. “We take them under our wings, get them to the launching pad, and fly with them for as long as it takes for them to soar on their own.”
“I have experienced many hardships and lost close friends while defending the freedom and opportunities we enjoy as Americans,” said Colonel Bristol. “God has truly blessed me by allowing me and my family to live in this beautiful place, and to be a part of a school where the families, students, and teachers inspire me every day.”
For more information on Whitefish Christian Academy, visit www.whitefishacademy.org