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Visit both campuses until 8 pm. It’s a great chance to see what makes Maranatha unique.
At Maranatha, we are committed to fostering Christian character in every student, just as you would for family. We strive to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform our world for Jesus Christ.
With a scripture-first posture, armed with Biblical values, the thread of faith is woven throughout our academics, athletics and in every facet here. Learn what it means to be part of the Maranatha family on August 1.
After six years of faithful service, Superintendent Mark Schultze is saying goodbye to Maranatha Christian Academy. As Mr. Schultze completes his time at MCA, we celebrate his dedication to our teachers and staff commitment to our students. Please join all of us at MCA in thanking him for his work in our community.
Before his time as Maranatha Superintendent, Mr. Schultze worked in operations and management at American Century Investments. He spent 20 years with the company, the last 10 of which were with the marketing and web teams. “I was blessed to spend those last 10 years working under a Christian man who modeled great leadership,” he recalls. “I also go to lead professionals in marketing whose jobs were not part of my own background — writers, designers, IT, coders, developers. As God was preparing me for this job at Maranatha, he knew I had no history in teaching, but gave me the confidence to come in and lead.”
Meanwhile, outside of his work at American Century, Mr. Schultze was getting more and more involved in the MCA community. “From bringing my daughter here in fifth grade, then coaching girls’ basketball to joining the Board and becoming Board Chair, God was continually prompting me to become more engaged with Maranatha,” he says. Mr. Schultze accepted the Superintendent role in the fall of 2011.
He has a wide variety of fond memories from his time at MCA. “Education is a people business, so all of my highlights during my time here center around people. I’ve been blessed to witness kids reach new points of revelation about who they are, who God is, their own talents and their abilities,” he smiles. “I’ve also been grateful to have led a team of very dedicated teachers and staff, and I’ve enjoyed watching them accomplish some good things.”
A highlight of each year happened when teachers returned from the summer. “The first thing we do when the staff comes back for the start of the school year is a time of worship,” Mr. Schultze recalls. “We sing, we have devotions and the team gets to share how God has been working in their lives. It’s a wonderful time that I will miss.”
Most importantly, Mr. Schultze will remember how MCA’s commitment to putting faith first makes it a special place. “When the accreditation team came in, I was most delighted that they said we were outstanding in teaching a Biblical worldview and keeping that at the center of our teaching,” he shares. “We strive every day to do this, and so to have that team make note of our efforts was very rewarding.”
After his departure from Maranatha, Mr. Schultze will work on his home inspection business. “It marries my building repair background with my experiences in education and business. This work will put me out there to practice what I have been encouraging our faculty to teach our students: that all aspects of our life, everything we do, should be done for the glory of God.” He also looks forward to giving of his time as a volunteer to organizations he’s passionate about, including the nonprofit A Bright Future for Kids.
“I am leaving Maranatha physically, but the school will always be in my heart and my prayers,” Mr. Schultze says. “The need for Christian education has never been more important, and as I hand off my duties, I am praying for God to richly bless MCA and to do above and beyond anything that we can imagine.”
With children home from school, summer is an ideal time for new routines and rhythms. It’s time to visit family, travel, participate in activities, spend time together and much more. Here’s how to make the most of this precious season for your child and help your student grow
First and foremost, summer is a great time to bring faith and spirituality into focus as a family, building a habit that will last into the school year. “Summer is the best opportunity to be intentional. As a family, spend time each week discussing what each person is doing in their spiritual walk. Encourage reading, and encourage your child to pursue an activity that allows them to live out their faith with others, like a Christian youth camp or a mission trip,” says Mark Schultze, Maranatha Superintendent.
Summer is a great time to take a family visit to a museum or a planetarium.
Integrating learning into summer activities requires intentionality, but can be worthwhile for a child. “Pull out their homework from the past year and look through a few of the questions they missed on a test or a quiz,” Mr. Schultze says. “This can be a helpful way to refresh their memory and get them ready for the new year.”
Without the regularity of the school schedule, it can be challenging for students to retain what they learned in the past year. “One way to prevent this learning loss is to enroll your child in an educational camp or college program targeted at the topic where he or she may struggle,” Mr. Schultze says.
A less structured but still beneficial option is to bolster learning through online resources. Khan Academy, for example, offers free guided lessons on a wide variety of topics from math to the arts and humanities. “Lessons don’t need to be burdensome to be effective. You can use these tools to simply refresh what your student learned that year,” Mr. Schultze says.
Summer is not only a good time to review learning, but also to help students build relationships. “Making sure your children are doing something socially gives them the opportunity to enjoy connecting with their peers,” Mr. Schultze says. “Vacation Bible School through a church or even an activity through the local parks system can be great.”
For older students, Mr. Schultze recommends building life skills by encouraging teens to get a job. “Doing a job makes school lessons come to life, and teaches kids how to interact and apply what they have learned in school — everything from hard skills like math and reading to the spiritual and character development,” he says.
Jobs can be either inside or outside the home, as long as the student has a chance to practice responsibility and trustworthiness. For younger children, a “job” can be as simple as helping with yard work or a special project around the house. “Students get to experience doing work to the glory of God.” Some students may enjoy a “job shadow” experience where they get to explore a day-in-the-life of a career that interests them.
While many students find it tempting to spend their days in front of the TV or computer, Mr. Schultze recommends helping your child unplug for a bit. “Go outside, explore God’s creation in nature, take a family visit to a museum or a planetarium,” he encourages. Another way to spur creativity and fun is reading and book discussions as a family. Choose a title that’s appropriate based on your child’s age and discuss the book together around the dinner table. This shows children that learning never stops.
Finally, Mr. Schultze emphasizes, keep the summer season balanced. “As with so many things educationally, do it all with moderation,” he says. “The whole summer shouldn’t be consumed with activities. Make sure to provide space to rest, and keep a good portion of the summer unstructured. When children have the chance to play and have fun, they can develop their God-given curiosity and really grow.”
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Chenaye Sutton recalls a beautiful moment in a Maranatha kindergarten classroom. The Elementary Assistant Principal was working in her office across the hall from the class when she heard beautiful music. “I was sitting at my desk working and I heard the children just start singing worship songs!” she remembers. “The kindergarteners were singing ‘I’ve Got the Joy in my Heart’!” At Maranatha’s Christ-centered kindergarten program, scenes like these are common. We strive to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence in our kindergarten classrooms.
The kindergarten teachers lean on Luke 1:80, the child learned and grew strong in spirit, Mrs. Sutton explains. “The kindergarten year is a huge milestone for children — spiritually, physically, mentally and socially,” she says. “It’s so important for these young children to have a strong foundation to grow in Christ. The Maranatha kindergarten teachers do a really great job of developing the whole child. Everything we do is about knowledge and faith, and teaching God’s wisdom is the ultimate goal.”
Academic excellence in the kindergarten classroom is rooted in faith at Maranatha. “Our kindergarten teachers work diligently to give our students a storehouse of spiritual treasure. Our children learn all the disciplines, and academics are important to us. But through it all, we’re presenting Biblical truths.”
Mrs. Sutton points to the integration of nature into the classroom as just one example of the faith focus. “When a teacher brought in caterpillars and the children got to observe from the caterpillar stage to the butterfly stage, the children were just enamored,” she says. “The children are gaining that understanding of who God is, how the world was created and who created it.”
This becomes particularly significant in teaching children how to treat each other, Mrs. Sutton shares. “At the kindergarten level, this is their whole world! So we’re helping them learn how to work together, how to play games together, how to communicate with each other and how to care for each other well.
In many kindergarten classrooms, technology is a key focus. But Maranatha teachers don’t rely purely on technology to accomplish their goals, Mrs. Sutton shares. “I love that our teachers don’t depend solely on technology, but they use it as a supplement for their learning. We vet every app, every item and every tool. The use of technology is structured so it enhances what they’re learning in the traditional sense. Technology is important, but never the priority,” she says.
“Because we have high standards and expectations both spiritually and academically, we’re constantly moving forward and trying new things for our students,” Mrs. Sutton says. Maranatha maintains a low student-to-teacher ratio in kindergarten classrooms so every student’s individual needs can be met. If a student isn’t meeting objectives, teachers step in immediately to make a plan for student success.
“As our children are learning and growing, we’re guiding them in God’s wisdom as well,” Mrs. Sutton smiles. “Our kindergarten teachers are always working to keep God as the center of the picture, bringing their classrooms to life.”
On May 20, 2017, we celebrated our graduates at the Maranatha commencement ceremony. This year’s graduates are ready to impact their world for Christ! As we congratulate the newest Eagle alumni, we explore some of our graduates’ accomplishments and accolades. Here’s the Maranatha Class of 2017, by the numbers.
$1,377,676 total scholarship dollars awarded to students in the Maranatha Class of 2017: Maranatha is committed to a disciplined and excellent educational environment, and our graduates join a group of truly accomplished alumni. Scholarships were awarded from organizations and colleges across the country, honoring students’ excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community.
28 students in the Class of 2017: At Maranatha, we’re family, and students enjoy a tightly-knit atmosphere and community. With a low student-to-teacher ratio, we remain committed to fostering Christian character in each and every student.
2,240+ hours of community service completed. Voluntarism and community service is one way we develop Christian values in our students. High school students are required to serve each year, and most go well above and beyond their requirement as they grow into people of integrity.
17+ State Championships received during the Class of 2017’s high school years: Faith is the focus of our athletic program, and on the field, our students get to practice the integrity they’re learning in the classroom.
300 roses given by graduates to people who impacted their lives: A highlight of our Commencement is the Rose Ceremony. Graduates give a rose to anyone in the audience who made a difference in their lives, from teachers and staff to parents and grandparents. Family is at the heart of everything we do, and the Rose Ceremony is a truly meaningful time for soon-to-be alumni to say thanks.
Countless memories: MCA graduates share so many special memories together. Bible studies and devotionals, cheering on our Eagles at games, performing in the band, serving together on mission trips, celebrating their achievements on the senior trip and everything in between . . . our graduates share a special bond built through years of Christian community.
1 Maranatha family: At Maranatha, we are committed to fostering Christian character in every student, just as you would for family. With a scripture-first posture, armed with Biblical values, the thread of faith is woven throughout our academics, athletics and in every facet here. Congratulations to the Class of 2017! We can’t wait to see how you transform our world for Jesus Christ. We’re proud to have you as part of the Maranatha Christian Academy family.
Strong Christian family is at the center of everything we do. We foster Christian values in our students, raising them up to become people of integrity. Being a family means coming together and rising to the occasion — and the Maranatha family recently did just that in acquiring our new strength and conditioning equipment. It all started with just one parent noticing a need and stepping forward to make it happen.
As a longtime volunteer and coach, this parent knew of MCA’s need for new weight room equipment. Over the years, he had been able to witness the strong impact of Maranatha coaches and the drive of MCA students in their athletics. But he soon saw the limitations on PE teachers, coaches and students because of the lack of space, quality and quantity of strength and conditioning equipment.
Having prayed about the strength and conditioning equipment, this parent dove in when he became aware of an opportunity. As Immaculata High School in Leavenworth was closing its doors, the school offered Maranatha the chance to purchase its nearly-new weight equipment at a great discount. Much of the equipment was only a few years old and in great condition.
As soon as he heard about the available equipment, the parent got to work. “When he became aware of the phenomenal opportunity to update our weight room, this parent saw the need, stepped forward to communicate it to the parents and rallied the troops,” says Kelly Wilde, MCA Community Relations Coordinator. “It’s an incredible blessing to have parents who are willing to step forward and take on that volunteer leadership in different areas.” The parent sent emails, made personal asks and, ultimately, encouraged everyone to pray for this opportunity.
What happened next was a testament to the dedication of Maranatha parents. In just three weeks, parents came together and donated several thousand dollars above and beyond the price of the weight equipment! “This allows us not only to cover the purchase of the equipment, but to cover upkeep and maintenance and be good stewards of this investment,” Mrs. Wilde says.
The new equipment includes multi-station universal machines, squat racks, free weights, a leg press sled, storage racks for the weights and new industrial-strength floor mats. Students in Maranatha summer sports camps are already putting the new investment to good use, just weeks after the purchase.
“This is a great example of the greater MCA family rising to the occasion,” Mrs. Wilde says. “Parents saw a need and stepped forward, and their actions back up their words about supporting Christian education and supporting Maranatha. Their dedication helps to make Maranatha what it is with our well-rounded student body.”
This recent accomplishment echoes the dedication of all MCA parents. “The parents of Maranatha are very committed, and all our parents have a strong desire for their children to have a sound foundation of a Christian worldview at home, at church and at school,” Mrs. Wilde explains. “They know this works best when parents are deeply involved and supporting in whatever way they can. That really is what makes Maranatha a family.”
Every class and activity at Maranatha pairs Biblical standards with excellence, and our Music Department is no exception. “There are so many elements of music that help students grow,” says Steve Gordon, chair of the MCA Music Department. “Music builds self-discipline, and music requires that you not only improve your own skills, but that you always listen to and listen for others.”
Music is an excellent way for students to practice being part of the Body of Christ, Mr. Gordon says. “Making music in an ensemble parallels what it looks like to be in the Body of Christ: you’re no more important than anyone else, and yet, no one can play your role for you,” he explains. “You have a unique purpose. If you can function in a music ensemble, you can function in the local church.”
Furthermore, music has far-reaching benefits academically. Students who participate in music consistently perform higher on college prep exams like the ACT, and sharpen their skills in both math and in english. “Students not only have fun making music and gaining musical skills, but they build confidence in themselves and learn the importance of being prepared, practicing and collaborating with their peers.”
Highlights from Maranatha’s Music Department
In its debut year, the Symphony of Sound allowed students across the Music Department to showcase their musical abilities and talents. All ensembles who were preparing for upcoming music contests performed during the special showcase, including junior high soloists, the high school choir, junior high band, a high school jazz ensemble, a small boys’ barbershop ensemble and an a capella vocal ensemble.
In January, junior high students competed at the Prairie View Festival. “Our choir and ensembles all received superior ratings,” says Mr. Gordon. Eight soloists, as well as the junior high choir and band, participated.
Senior high students competed in contests at the end of March and in April. At the Solo and Ensemble Content in Atchison, nine of 17 performances received the highest marks possible, with other performances earning high scores as well.
Twenty Maranatha students competed in the State Contests in April, receiving near-perfect ratings. Seven soloists and two vocal ensembles participated, both singers and instrumentalists. Eight of the nine events earned the highest marks possible, and the remaining event was just one point shy of a top score.
In addition to small ensembles, students from the Music Department traveled to the Large Ensemble contest in April. The full concert band and full concert choir participated in this significant event, with both groups receiving superior ratings as well.
Furthermore, the Junior and Senior High bands prepared this spring for their outstanding performances for the MCA community. They each held concert and award evenings in May, and their music created a festive environment during the May 20 Graduation.
These recent accomplishments simply add to the legacy of excellence within the Maranatha Music Department. Twice in the past six years, the band has been selected to play for the prestigious Music Educators Association Convention in the state of Kansas. Just three bands are selected each year. In 2018, the choir will travel to New York City for its third performance at world-renowned Carnegie Hall. The students will perform the Easter portions of Handel’s Messiah on Easter Sunday. The band also travels every four years to Washington, DC, to perform.
This year, students were able to grow musically and in their character. “Music helps our students build community and connection,” Mr. Gordon says. “When we make music together, something knits our hearts together, and we practice being part of the Body of Christ.”
The year was 1986 when Galen Wagner began his Maranatha career. Since then, more than 900 students have passed through the doors of his classroom, all of them impacted by his passion for the Gospel. As Mr. Wagner completes his final year at MCA and prepares to retire, we celebrate his commitment to our community and dedication to our students.
“I love teaching,” Mr. Wagner says. “In the 31 years I’ve spent here at Maranatha, I’ve never had a bad day.” Mr. Wagner is chairman of the Bible Department, and has taught in the Bible Department for 20 years after teaching fifth and sixth grades for his first decade at Maranatha.
“What I’ve always loved most is teaching the Scriptures to the students,” he smiles — and that’s always been the core of his focus as an educator. “We begin every class with prayer and we invite God into our classroom. If we saturate our students with God’s word, that sets the foundation for how they perceive life and how they approach life.”
Mr. Wagner has taught more than 31,000 hours of classes taught at MCA, reports Mark Schultze, Maranatha Superintendent. “He has certainly modeled for our students a life of dedication and service to Jesus,” he says. Mr. Schultze points to Mr. Wagner’s nearly 20 mission trips to Russia and Italy to train pastors, as well as his faithful continuation of teaching as a cancer survivor.
In 2012, Mr. Wagner was awarded the MCA Apple Award for Teacher Excellence, and this year, he received the Career Service and Achievement Award from ACSI (the Association of Christian Schools International). But the defining moments of his career have always been moments when he is mentoring students, Mr. Wagner says.
“I’ve enjoyed the personal relationships I’ve gotten to build with students over the years, and I’ve been blessed in that respect,” Mr. Wagner says. “One particular year, there was a group of eight young men, and we met once a week after school to pray and share a relationship. Those young men have really stepped up and grown in their faith.” The group graduated nearly 10 years ago, but Mr. Wagner still stays in touch as their mentor. “They are all doing great, and it’s just been a joy to have been part of their lives.” Mr. Wagner has many similar stories, and he reflects with much gratitude on all the students he’s gotten to teach.
Mr. Wagner may be departing the classroom, but he plans to remain as engaged as ever in learning. “I’m going to retire to a life of learning,” he shares. Mr. Wagner plans to continue working on writing his own translation of the New Testament, from Greek to English. He looks forward to reading and playing music as well.
Teaching runs in the Wagner family: Mr. Wagner’s wife is also in education, and she will retire this spring too. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Wagner look forward to spending time together, as well as with their grandchildren.
“It has been a blessing to do what I love to do: to teach the Scriptures to students who love the Lord, alongside teachers who are also called to this mission, and with all of the parents headed in the same direction,” he smiles.