Independent schools and Christian schools have debated for years over what makes a school truly great. Some contend that a great school is all about the environment—exposing children to a grand experience where they are loved, have nurturing experiences, and learn along the way. Many others argue that a great school’s most important task is to produce academic results. Graduates enter the world with knowledge, skills, and an ability to succeed at the highest levels.
At Calvary, we believe that a great school must pursue both a family environment where students are loved, encouraged, and developed to pursue the perfect plan that God intends for their lives, as well as a rigorous academic environment where students are challenged to achieve ever-greater levels of academic knowledge and application. Calvary firmly believes that these two goals are not mutually exclusive.
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."
Upper School Experience
At Calvary, upper school is a time when students have the opportunity to expand their interests with a wide variety of programs and activities.
Calvary Day School partners with Chick-fil-A and Coca Cola to be a part of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy and their Impact through Action program. Calvary joins 20,000 students in over 30 states in this yearlong program. Students meet once a month to begin developing and honing their leadership capabilities to be leaders in their schools, communities, and the world. Each semester they design and implement an outreach service project that makes a difference in our community. The Leader Academy gives each of these students an opportunity to grow in their personal faith while serving others. 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
The Calvary Day School chapter of the National Honor Society has some of the brightest students in our school, but what is often overlooked are the four pillars that are evaluated for a student to be chosen for membership in NHS.
Those four pillars are scholarship, character, service, and leadership. Each leader not only holds a specific role during meetings but also leads a committee that provides service and guides their fellow members in leadership within and outside of NHS. One way in which our students step out of the mold is by how they are leading in word and deed. They speak about the importance of service and how we do not do it to be seen but to use our talents and gifts for others and most importantly for God. Students complete hours of service not to fill out a form but to bring glory to God, who sees and knows all that they do. They encourage their fellow members to act with good character and stand up and away from peers who are not making decisions that exemplify good character.
Most of our student leaders are involved in Bible studies and in youth groups. They´re allowing others to pour into them through mentorship and learning opportunities, knowing the value of these extra hours amidst their busy schedules. Academics are extremely important; however, we truly believe in the importance of developing the whole student and equipping each of them to fulfill God’s plan for their lives.
Throughout one’s time in high school, there are many ways for students to be involved, but how many students truly take the opportunity to tackle leadership roles that take them out of their comfort zone? When we take a closer look at the people who impact our world in a positive manner, those people are leaders in some capacity. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a speaker in front of thousands or holds a political position. Leaders take on many shapes and forms, and so many times the truly effective leaders who make the most impact on lives are the ones who are behind the scenes. Student Ambassadors are group leaders for our new students that come into Calvary. Student Ambassadors are to be an extension of Christ’s hand to those who feel left out, scared, and unsure of the new surroundings they have been placed in. It is more than just New Student Orientation and giving tours - it is the hallway, the lunchroom, and even the weekends. This is a fairly new program but we have seen great success with our new students quickly becoming part of the Calvary family thanks to our Student Ambassadors.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” This verse from Proverbs expresses the focus of Calvary’s newly formed Student Life Committee. These student leaders recognize that a focus on excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts is good, but it is a powerful spiritual focus and a positive social element combined with educational excellence that turns good into great, building the type of family that Calvary has become.
The Student Life Committee is a group of motivated and hard-working students who have come together with the specific purpose of building and maintaining Christ-centered community among the students.
They help organize and lead chapels, and along the way, are learning the art of building worship services through corporate prayer and an intentional focus on bringing the Calvary family into the presence of Christ.
They are learning advertising, marketing, and business skills as they plan such monthly activities as Capture the Flag, Trivia, A Black Tie Affair, Ropes Course trips for each grade, and other events to engage and bind our student community.
They serve on the planning committee for bigger events such as Spiritual Emphasis Week, the New Year’s Eve trip to Universal and Island of Adventure, as well as our Spring Break trip to Ridgecrest.
They organize service events, fundraisers, and opportunities to simply allow Calvary to be Christ in our community. They plan luncheons, design t-shirts, create stickers, and recruit other student leaders who are willing to learn how to serve.
These are really great kids who desire to bring positive change to our school and are taking action to see it happen. I see them doing great things here already: today the school; tomorrow the world.
There are so many important facets to a well-rounded education, and I believe that travel experiences are a key component. It is so critical to provide students an opportunity to see history, culture, and science come off the pages of textbooks. In a 2013 article in the Huffington Post, Karen Rodriguez explains the many benefits of student travel: “You will learn so much more than you do from a textbook, or from a class lecture, or from taking test after test with minimal sleep. Through travel, you have the opportunity to see first-hand the things you’ve learned, to put into practice the skills you’ve acquired. You gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart.”
Calvary Upper School students are given many opportunities to travel with their peers and mentors. As students go through their middle school and high school years we highly encourage all families to make travel a priority. Impress upon your student the need to see the world outside of our city - even to experience the great history and culture of our great city. Going and doing makes life more meaningful. God’s creativity and love for beauty is so evident throughout our world; let’s not see it just on a page in a book or on a screen.
Calvary is a college preparatory school. Core curriculum requirements, leading to an academic seal diploma, are listed below. The Guidance Department assists students with course selection. 27 credits are required for graduation. The credit required for graduation are as follows: