Westside Christian Academy prek – 12 classical christian school

Giving Tuesday | Nov 30

Rich & Cher Thomas
WCA family for nearly 20 years, Rich served on the Board from 2008-2019, Cher served as the Capital Campaign Coordinator from 2017-2018 and has substitute taught since 2018.

Rich & Cher Thomas

Rich & Cher Thomas WCA family for nearly 20 years, Rich served on the Board from 2008-2019, Cher served as the Capital Campaign Coordinator from 2017-2018 and has substitute taught since 2018.

Linda Kuyper
Teacher 1998-2002, Substitute 2013-Present, Board Member 2012-2021

Linda Kuyper

Linda Kuyper  Teacher 1998-2002, Substitute 2013-Present, Board Member 2012-2021

Linda Kuyper | My name is Linda Kuyper and I have been asked to share with you my sweet journey at Westside Christian Academy. 

In 1998, I graduated from Cedarville College (now known as Cedarville University) with an education degree.  My husband and I got married in the summer of ‘98 and established our roots in Cleveland.  Upon graduating, I started teaching at a brand new classical christian school that was only two years old, known to many of you as Westside Christian Academy.  I was quickly introduced to the classical model of teaching.  I taught fourth grade for one year and second grade for three years before leaving to start our family in 2002. 

When I initially started at WCA in 1998, the classical method of teaching was new for everyone.  It was a new concept that the founding board members, teachers, and parents were still exploring.  It was different and not a familiar method of teaching.  In addition, we were unsure of what it actually looked like in the classroom.  However, the founding board members were clearly led by the Lord and committed to this method and the outcome it would produce.  I don’t quite know if they knew the full impact that WCA would have on hundreds of children and families (including mine) that would later walk these halls. 

In 2007, we enrolled our oldest daughter, Abby, into kindergarten at WCA.  We later enrolled our two other daughters, Emma and Molly, in the years that followed.  Over the years, my husband and I have had the privilege of watching our daughters grow through this program.  We have seen the depth of their studies that has trained their minds to think biblically and critically.  We have been a part of discussions at our dinner table that have warmed our hearts because it evidenced an understanding and application of their learning.  We have seen laughter over teaching styles and discussions conducted in the classroom that have brought them joy.  My husband and I have participated in many parent-teacher conferences in which we have physically seen the love and insight that each teacher has had, and continues to have, for our daughters.  We have witnessed the mission of WCA in action on volleyball courts and teams as our girls have competed in extracurricular sports outside WCA.  THIS is what we are equipping their hearts and minds to do…to be able to leave these walls, with our guidance, and apply the very truths they are learning on a daily basis.  We have witnessed what they have learned at home, church, and school come together to form a piece of the tapestry that God has already planned for them…a beautiful weaving of three cords involving home, church, and school.

Through the years, I have had the opportunity to serve in many capacities at WCA, including teacher, parent, volunteer, substitute teacher, and board member.  I have had the privilege of watching this start-up school embark on a journey that involved a curriculum that most of its community had no idea about and see it develop to what it is today.  The continual shepherding of our daughters’ hearts, the deep level of learning, the integration of biblical truth in everything, the godly role models, and the academic excellence pursued continue to be used to shape the young ladies that are in our family…even beyond graduation.  

This journey hasn’t been without its struggles, but God is faithful.  We can trust Him.  We can trust Him with the lives of our children and strive to walk in obedience as we intentionally shepherd their hearts and minds toward what is True, Beautiful, and Good.  We have been so thankful for the ways in which WCA has helped us do that and it’s through God’s grace that I can share the impact that it has had on our family’s life.  To God be ALL the glory!!

Rebecca Urry
7th Grade class of 2011, Kindergarten Aid ’19-’20, 2nd Grade Teacher ’20-Present

Rebecca Urry

Rebecca Urry  7th Grade class of  2011, Kindergarten Aid ’19-’20, 2nd Grade Teacher ’20-Present

Rebecca Urry | Westside Christian Academy is a place that I consider home. Whenever I walk through the doors, it’s similar to walking through the doors at my parents’ house. There is always a warm greeting and it is a place filled with the people whom I love. Way back in the year 2002, the Lord called my family to WCA. Little did my parents know that this place would have a tremendous impact on our family. My parents enrolled me in kindergarten during the second quarter of that school year. Within my first few months of being at WCA, the Lord was knocking on the door of my heart and I answered. I can vividly remember that day. 

I was sitting in the Chapel pews and Pastor Dunn was sharing a message about living with God in Heaven. As a five-year-old, I was terrified of not being with my Creator, so I knew that I needed to do something. At the end of Chapel, Pastor Dunn told us (students) that if we wanted to rest in knowing that we will be in Heaven, then we should go talk to our teacher. After Chapel ended, a few of my classmates and I went up to our kindergarten teacher right away and told her we wanted to live with Jesus in Heaven. At that moment she prayed with us. I will never forget standing in the hallway and praying with my teacher and peers while the rest of the class was doing free play in the classroom. 

The remainder of my time at WCA was spent growing in my relationship with the Lord. Each teacher the Lord put into my path passed on nuggets of wisdom about following Jesus. I cannot put into words my appreciation for the time teachers spent praying for and with me, shepherding my heart, and playing a crucial role in my faith journey. That is why I came back to WCA. I knew there had to be a way to give back to the Lord what He had so graciously given to me. 

The Lord instilled this desire in my heart my freshman year of college. I was in an ED 100 class and my professor asked my class, “what is your dream job?” Confident in my answer, I raised my hand and said; “Westside Christian Academy, it was the school I attended as a child.” My professor looked at me and told me I was crazy for wanting to teach at a private school because “those kinds of teachers do not make a lot of money.” I did not let her opinion get the best of me because I knew the Lord would bless me for my obedience to His calling. After four years of undergrad, the Lord finally opened up the door for me to work at WCA, and here I am today, one of Westside Christian Academy’s second grade teachers. As I look back at the past three years I have spent at WCA, I am beyond blessed by the relationships I have developed with parents, students, and colleagues. The Lord is using this school to do a mighty work to expand His Kingdom. As my family says, an investment in WCA is more than just monetary; it is an eternal investment in the hearts of students. Thank you for your faithful donations!

Eric Johnson 8th Grade Class of ’08, Service Technician at Boiler Specialists, a 2nd generation family owned business started by Eric’s grandfather. 

Brent Johnson 8th Grade Class of ’09, Air Force Academy Class of ’17, Current USAF Pilot.

Ryan Johnson 8th grade class of ‘05, graduated from Ohio State as a Mechanical Engineer and works at TS Tech in Columbus.

Susan Johnson has continued as a faithful substitute since her youngest graduated 8th grade in 2009. Susan’s husband Rob served on the board from 2006-2010 and again from 2014-2018.

The Johnsons

Eric Johnson 8th Grade Class of ’08, Service Technician at Boiler Specialists, a 2nd generation family owned business started by Eric’s grandfather.
Brent Johnson 8th Grade Class of ’09, Air Force Academy Class of ’17, Current USAF Pilot.
Ryan Johnson 8th grade class of ‘05, graduated from Ohio State as a Mechanical Engineer and works at TS Tech in Columbus.
Susan Johnson has continued as a faithful substitute since her youngest graduated 8th grade in 2009. Susan’s husband Rob served on the board from 2006-2010 and again from 2014-2018.

Eric Johnson | The years I spent learning at Westside Christian Academy helped set me up for success later in school and life. The classical education curriculum that was taught challenged me to think critically and to figure out the “why” instead of memorizing facts and just doing enough to get to the next grade. The teachers cared about my success in the classroom and supported me with a learning experience that I will never forget. Growing up, I was always excited about history class and learning about all of the people and civilizations that have lived before me and what their lives were like. What made WCA unique was how the history lesson was connected to the timeline and lessons of the Bible as the stories and events in the Bible happened in real places that we still can see today. Learning the ability to think on my own and draw conclusions prepared me well for my journey after WCA. Looking back at my time there, I am thankful for all the teachers and staff who fostered the open and supportive learning environment for kids year after year because they believe in the collective mission of the school. That environment laid the building blocks for the foundation of who I have become, which only emphasizes the importance of what WCA has to offer to families today.

Brent Johnson | Just the other week my wife Catherine and I were talking about our thoughts on primary education and what we would look for in schools if we were to have kids. Looking back, it’s clear that eight years at a school like WCA is one of the greatest gifts my parents could have given me and one that has impacted my life in countless positive ways. The educational foundation built at WCA has set myself and many others up for success in high school, college, and beyond; however, there are many private and even public schools that can foster academic success, so what makes WCA special? It is a classical Christian education where the faculty love and edify each and every student with biblical teachings, seeking with all their hearts to cultivate foundations of virtue and wisdom in Christ. I have seen personally how those inextricably connected principles of faith and classical education prepare students to face the world with a rational Christian worldview and stand firm against all that the world is ready to throw at them. WCA is a true gem on the west side of Cleveland for these reasons and many more, and I pray that God will continue to be faithful and provide the means for it to continually change the lives of every student that walks through its doors.

Susan Johnson | Our family has been a part of the WCA community for about 20 years. Each of our three sons attended WCA through 8th grade and then transferred to an area high school since the Upper School had not yet started. After their graduation, we remained connected to WCA, and I continued working as a classroom substitute. This has given me a unique perspective in seeing students move through the grades, watching them grow in wisdom and stature. I see the uniqueness of each child being molded and shaped, with their strengths developed in ways that honor and serve the Lord.

As our secular culture focuses their eyes towards the latest ideology, we as followers of Jesus Christ continue to focus our eyes on the One who broke cultural norms and calls us to be set apart for Him. The students of WCA are being trained to be set apart in integrity, honesty, critical thinking, respect for others including parents and teachers, and a solid work ethic. This will translate into strong family and community leaders, as well as valuable employees, all within the framework of a strong biblical worldview.

Our family will always be grateful that we chose to make sacrifices so that our sons could attend WCA to experience and grow from the foundation of a classical Christian education.