Grace City Church in Wenatchee has announce plans to open a private K - 12 Christian School in Wenatchee starting in the Fall of 2024.

Garden City Academy will initially operate in the King's Orchard Church of Christ at 1610 Orchard Ave. in Wenatchee.  Grace City Pastor Josh McPherson said King's Orchard church founders constructed their building with the original plan of starting a Christian school one day but never realized that goal.  The two organizations have reached agreement on a lease to start the Garden City Academy there.  The buildings will remain the home of King's Orchard Church with a new pastor moving to Wenatchee soon to lead the congregation.

King's Orchard Church of Christ in Wenatchee Google images
King's Orchard Church of Christ in Wenatchee Google images

A capital campaign will be unveiled in the coming weeks for future operations and a permanent site or school campus.

McPherson said the plan to start Garden City Academy began about three years ago.  But he attributes the commitment as a mission "as a church leadership team, we came to the point where we didn't think we could say seriously that we love and support the family if we weren't providing some means by which to help the family educate their children, but not just educate their children with twos and fours and numbers, in fact, but educate their children within the parameters in the environment, a set of values that many Christian parents hold dearly"

As McPherson and his team talked about the challenge of starting a school and visiting more than a half dozen Christian schools in Washington, the economic realities were discouraging he admits.  Most notably, the hurdles private and Christian schools must overcome without school choice and state tax dollars following children to the school of their parents choosing.

He says a turning point came after a conversation with the grandmother who had homeschooled five of her own children.  "She said you can't not build a school because my children don't have the framework, the energy the time to homeschool you know if they wanted."

McPherson believes "We're not in a single income world anymore. both parents are working and we need alternative options for parents who want to pursue that with an educational institute. That shares their values and so that grandma's passion really kind of sat in my soul and I thought okay, well, it may not work, but we've got to at least try."

Garden City Academy will offer tuition-based enrollment to anyone, whether they attend Grace City Church or not.  McPherson says the school will operate as a distinctly  private Christian school "that allows us to have the freedom to educate children freely, which we're grateful for,  not sure how much longer we'll have that right. But while we have we're going to we're going to take advantage of it."

The curriculum is designed to give children a working framework to be logical, common sense, rigorous thinkers.  The goal at Garden City Academy will be to help parents  wanting to raise robust thinkers who are equipped to think, discern, reason and succeed as a logically thinking adult

"So let's not read a textbook that tells us what to think about Karl Marx. Let's read Karl Marx. And then let's talk about his worldview through the lens of logic reason, common sense, the irrefutable evidence of history and how it's worked in other nations and the biblical foundation of truth"  --Josh McPherson on Garden City Academy curriculum

Garden City Academy has hired Ryan McKelvie as Headmaster, a familiar name from his stint with the Wenatchee Wild Hockey team before moving with his family to Colorado.

McPherson says the GCC leadership team learned McKelvie's family wanted to return to the Wenatchee Valley and the opportunity to lead Garden City Academy seemed a perfect fit.

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo
Get our free mobile app

McPherson says statistics show there's over 15,000 school aged kids in the Wenatchee Valley and about seven Christian schools. The capacity is less than 1,000 children Garden City Academy projects there is more desire in the community than currently provided.

" We're just trying to jump in in the stream and be one of these Christian schools offering an alternative. We're just trying to throw our hat in the ring and provide more opportunities for more kids and more parents than what they currently have. And so the dream is big and we'll start small and see where it goes."

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ