A Brief History of Columbus Christian School 1976-2001
The East Columbus Christian School began in the hearts and minds of our minister and his wife, Bob and Janet Work. The first planning committee consisting of Velma Goin, Jim and sandy Holland, Patti Meek, Kathy Murphy, Bill McCoy, Gerald Perry, Donna Rueff, and Chuck and Linda Schreiber. Even before this working committee, a former minister, Robert Jones, had planted a seed for a school.
In the fall of 1976 a kindergarten class opened the school. Velma Goin taught that first class of thirteen students (with one student added during the year). Students were Jason Brewer, Amber Duncan, Kirt Fiesbeck, Cassandra Lane, Jennifer Meyers, Susan Nichols, Tim Salmons, Tony Sherman, Andrea Sheets, John Baron Snyder, Sue Ann Tekulve, Michelle Weddle, Holli Wilson, and Patrick Zaharako. of those fourteen students, eight graduated from the sixth grade in 1983. The curriculum taught was A BEKA, a Christian curriculum with reading, writing, math, and Bible being the most important subjects taught. Judy Jackson volunteered as an aide to help with reading groups during that first year.
The following school year, 1977-78, proved that the community was interested in Christian education. The school grew to two kindergartens, first, second and third grades with sixty-five students enrolled. A school board was formed to lead the school in the community’s newest Christian school. The 1978-79 school year added fourth, fifth, and sixth grades with 159 total students. During the first three years, Mr. Bob Work served as the principal and Dixie Yeley did the secretarial work through the church office.
In the 1979 school year a principal, Val Khunes, was hired because the school had grown so much it was too much for the minister to handle along with the church. Along with two kindergartens, two first grades, two second grades, one third, one fourth, and one fifth and sixth grade combined class, and a music class was added. Enrollment rose to 166 students.
Teachers during the very beginning years:
Velma Goin taught kindergarten from 1976 to 1986. She also served in many other capacities including Principal during her service to the school.
Jeanett Foster - Kindergarten, First Grade
Barbara Moore - Kindergarten
Elizabeth Brooks - First, Second, and Third Grades
Jody Harris Fitzgibbon - First and Fourth Grades
Becky Williams - First and Fourth Grades
Shirley Shoopman - Second and Fourth Grades
Donna Rueff - Third and Fifth Grades
Kathy Ellis - Fourth and Sixth Grades
Jeanne Chandler - Music
Judy Jackson - Aide
The 80’s included many different changes in the school. Enrollment changed yearly with a high of 166 students and a low of 74 students. The principal changed to Mr. Ron Newlin, and many teachers came and went. In the 1982-83 school year, the C.P.T.A. (Christian Parents and Teacher Association) started a basketball program. Boys’ and girls’ teams were formed and of course cheerleaders were needed to cheer on the teams. The teams played in the Bartholomew County P.T.O. League. The 1982-83 year also saw the beginning of fundraising programs.
The 1983-84 year showed interest from other Christian Churches, which led to the consolidation of the school with Garden City Church of Christ taking an active role in the school leadership. The name of the school changed with the consolidation to Columbus Christian School, Inc. which remains to this date. Other notable happenings that year were the introduction of hot lunches and a sixth grade class trip at the end of the year. Dorothy Coon was hired as a teacher’s aide. She became the school secretary in 1986 and is still serving the school in that position.
In the 1987-88 school year, Jack Campbell became principal and Robbie Shaw was added as a teacher’s aide. Robbie is still with the school as a secretary. Janice Lemmon was hired as the kindergarten teacher, and in 1994 she became the principal and still serves in that capacity.
The 90’s continued with growth, struggles, and proved the school was the Lord’s will. From the 1994-95 enrollment of 71, the school increased each year. The enrollment from 2001-2002, is 381 at the time of this printing.
In the 1997-98 school year, the school board decided to add the seventh grade to the school, with the eighth grade following the next year. Then in 1999, the student in eighth grade decided they would like to see the school offer the ninth grade. The eighth grade class asked Mrs. Lemmon about having a high school. She recommended that a student presentation be given to the C.C.S. School Board and the E.C.C.C. Elders, which they did. The school board then approved the request, as did the Elders of the church. Columbus Christian High school begain in the 1999-2000 school year. Each year a high school grade has been added. We now have a junior class of eleven students. These eleven students will be our first high school graduating class in 2003. Praise the Lord!
The Forward in Faith Program began in 1998 for the expansion of the church. The new addition has classrooms, offices for the church and the school, and a new gymnasium/multio-purpose room with stage and classrooms. The building was dedicated on July 18, 1999, and opened for the school classes in August 1999. Praise the LORD for a facility that is used at least six days a week to provide a Christian Education based on Christian principals for the students of our community.
The sports program today consists of basketball for boys and girls with a high school program and an elementary program. There is also high school volleyball, golf, and tennis. In the school year 1999-2000 the boys’ varsity basketball team won the Christian Southern Athletic Conference Championship. The following year, 2000-2001 the girls’ varsity team won the CSAC championship. Praise God!
God has blessed the school with a wonderful Chrisitan staff. The 2001-2002 faculty and staff is as follows:
Principal - Janice Lemmon
Dean of Boys - Michael Dean
Dean of Girls - Debbie England
Administrative Assistant - Dorothy Coon
Administrative Assistant - Robbie Shaw
3 and 4 Year Old Preschool - Rhonda Brown - Dorene Bowman, Aide
K-4 Preschool - Pam Rogers - Mary Boggs, Aide
Kindergarten - Joyce ACton - Beth Roth, Aide
Kindergarten - Tracy Brooks - Debbie Colvin, Aide
Kindergarten - Jeanne Langley - Kim Kennedy, Aide
First Grade - Marjorie Roberts - Tracie Grissom-Beaman, Aide
First/Second Grades - Gwen Bond - Teresa Walker, Aide
Second Grade - Pam Costisick - Marsha Best, Aide
Third Grade - Donna Phillips - Lori Anderson, Aide
Fourth Grade -Angela Kirts - Diane Wendel, Aide
Fourth/Fifth Grade - Kim Mayes - Stacy Walters, Aide
Fifth Grade - Patricia Lowe
Bible - Cindy cooper - Becky Gault, Aide
Resource - Lois Mires
English - Christine Stultz - Marty Brown, Aide
Social Studies - MaryAnn Bailey - Janet Hodson, Aide
Science & Bible - Debbie England
Mathematics & P.E., & Social Studies - Rhonda Jackson
Band & Choir - Jill Friedersdorf
Choir - Betsy Hundley
Spanish - Karen Baxter
There are many volunteers that assist with the sports programs, in the classrooms, and in many other school functions.
The challenge and excitement of starting a school with God as the principle principal. The Patriotic Program presented by the students in the early years.
Mrs. Brooks, my 2nd grade teacher was the best teacher. The friendships made at CCS are the most memorable.
Alicia (Butzer) Harrison
In 2nd grade we had Show & Tell. I brought in a large bucket full of bullfrogs which I had aught the weekend before. The lid came off! Frogs were jumpin’, girls were screamin’ and chairs were flyin’.
Amy (Myrick) Tomey
The atmosphere, teachers, end of the year prayer.
The excitement of getting a Christian School in Columbus, Being on the school board for many years. One year taking the 6th grade on the class trip to French Lick for 2 days and 2 nights.
Being a part of the many musicals.
Julia (Leaser) Apple
Chapel services, my son winning school spelling bee and my son’s sports participation.
Good friends and music class.
Dawn (Martin) Mahoney
Mrs. Sandy Barringer’s 4th grade class of 1988.
Lindsay (Jordan) Dudeck
Naming the Crusaders, playing home basketball games at Fodrea, practicing at First Christian Gym. Representing ECCS at County Spelling Bee. Lot of good friends and fun sleep overs. Having a cast put on my leg as a 5th grader in Mrs. Richardson’s class as a demonstration. I even got my picture in the newspaper.
Meg (O’Neill) Spear
Christian Education isn’t an expense but an investment.