From Good to Great: Project 25 at Maranatha

Academics is a major pillar of emphasis for us because Maranatha is committed to a disciplined and excellent educational environment. The latest in our efforts towards academic excellence is Project 25, an initiative designed to take our ACT college entrance exam achievements to new heights.

Nationally, the average ACT composite score for the Class of 2017 graduating seniors was 21, with the Kansas average ACT composite at 21.7. The Maranatha average composite score was 23.4 — a commendable achievement that puts MCA students in the top 7.4% in the state.

MCA’s Project 25 aims to shift the average higher, up to 25. “We are going to reach new heights with our Project 25 program,” says Janet Fogh, Maranatha Head of School. “This is a significant goal! Last year, just four school districts in Kansas scored a composite 25 or higher, and we aim to join those schools.”

Maranatha Christian Academy - Project 25 - ACT Exam

The comprehensive Project 25 plan carries MCA through May 2022, examining every grade level and element of curriculum, aligning our Scope and Sequence vertically, to ensure a top-tier ACT score when students reach high school, strengthening the core mastery and helping to prevent gaps in knowledge. The plan began with research, identifying a unified set of standards for curriculum alignment. We’ve selected Kansas’ College and Career Readiness Standards for our curriculum alignment at Maranatha.

Next, we identified the national assessment to use for benchmark data. The ACT ASPIRE Test has testing components available for grades 3 through 12 — which will provide data on the learning progress our students are making as they relate to the same standards they will later be evaluated by when they are competing for university admissions and scholarships. “Our desire is to ensure our students are on track for the future they are dreaming of and preparing for,” says Mrs. Janet Fogh.

Our plan continues with identifying “power standards” for each grade level, working through a curriculum adoption process and enhancing test preparation strategies. But we can’t take our scores to new heights alone. We need the help of the community to make it happen. We invite you to prayerfully consider making a meaningful gift in support of our Project 25 initiative.

We need your help to offset the expenses involved in raising this academic bar. Your donations will allow us to purchase ASPIRE tests and testing resources, complete our curriculum scope and sequence, equip our teachers to develop lessons based on the new standards, acquire supplementary resources and so much more.

Project 25 is just the latest in Maranatha’s pursuit of academic excellence. “In the last few years, we’ve been blessed to be able to add an Intervention Specialist to the Elementary School to work with students who have learning differences or need additional assistance,” Mrs. Fogh says. “In the Secondary school, the Dual Enrollment program has grown to include the opportunity for students to earn 26 college semester hours of credit while still in high school. Students who take advantage of this program have the opportunity to begin their college careers perhaps as a sophomore, saving valuable monies and time, or allowing students to work towards a double major within the standard four-year timeframe. This school year, we have added a MCA Honors Graduation opportunity that aligns with the Kansas Regents Scholars’ program which opens scholarship opportunity doors.”

“In the 43-year history of our school, we’ve seen great strides in the academic pillar of Maranatha, and we launch Project 25 to propel our academics from good to great!” Mrs. Fogh smiles. “With an increase in our average ACT composite score over the years ahead, it will enhance the university scholarship opportunities for our students and continue to open doors of admission to some of our nation’s most competitive universities.”

To make a gift in support of Project 25, please contact our Main Office at 913-631-0637. Thank you for coming alongside us in this meaningful endeavor.

Maranatha Matters Fall Edition

Maranatha Matters

How faith is at the heart of our Cinderella production

Everything we do starts with scripture. Faith is woven throughout Maranatha, from the classroom to the field. Christ is the center of our upcoming Cinderella musical.

Rehearsals started in September, with the show debuting November 9, 10 and 11. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or by contacting the Maranatha office. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students. Family pricing is also available.

“We’re pretty excited about the play,” says Ted Hanlon, teacher at Maranatha. Among many duties, Mr. Hanlon teaches a study skills class, coordinates bus transportation and directs high school shows.

Cinderella musical - Maranatha Christian Academy - Faith is the focus of our theatre program

Cinderella is unique in how the whole school is involved. High school and junior high school students play key roles, like the typical shows. “But of course in Cinderella you have the mice, a dove and a cat, which lends itself to a cast including elementary kids. It’s exciting to involve the whole school,” Mr. Hanlon says.

“The performing arts gives students an outlet to get involved,” Mr. Hanlon says. He points to the edge that the smaller Maranatha environment gives students. “It’s really an advantage to our smaller school — kids have plenty of chances to get plugged in. Students can do drama and play football at the same time, or play their favorite sport and participate in the band. Kids aren’t divided into groups, and that’s a real advantage for our kids.”

Mr. Hanlon has the support of a team in his directorial efforts. Betsy Morken, Maranatha history teacher, is the Cinderella assistant director. Mindy Moritz — not only a professional dancer and actress, but an MCA alum as well — is the Cinderella choreographer.

Cinderella is just one of several productions at MCA throughout the year. Previous productions have included classical plays, junior high spotlights, one-act plays and more.

Serving God over serving self can be a challenge for all of us — but through performing arts, students learn the joy of glorifying Christ. “God endows us with different gifts and talents, and as they return those talents through their performance, students give God the glory,” Mr. Hanlon says.

“When you step onto that stage, or into an audition, you leave your ego at the door,” Mr. Hanlon says. “Scripture says, do all things as unto the Lord. We emphasize that and the kids realize that. The focus is not on being the star and having the spotlight, but on the talent that God has given you.”

Corporate Partners: Family Tree Nursery

Our Corporate Partners are a critical part of our Maranatha community. These generous Corporate Partners provide financial scholarships for students whose families otherwise would be unable to afford a quality Christian education. Eric and Lorrie Nelson, owners of Family Tree Nursery, share why they became Corporate Partners and how they support MCA through the annual poinsettia sale fundraiser.

Family Tree Nursery, with locations in Overland Park, Shawnee and Liberty, is a full line garden center and nursery. “We offer products to make any homeowner a successful gardener and plant lover,” Lorrie says. “We also offer tools, lawn care products and home decor along with our annual, perennial, seasonal plans and nursery stock.”

Family Tree Nursery - Corporate Partner - Maranatha Christian Academy - Shawnee KS

More than 100 passionate horticulturists are part of the Family Tree Nursery team. “We don’t just sell plants — we know how to grow them!” says Eric Nelson, grower and owner of Family Tree Nursery.

Eric and Lorrie Nelson first became familiar with Maranatha Christian Academy as members of the onsite congregation at Maranatha. They’re proud MCA parents. “We believe in the mission and philosophy of MCA and know from experience that kids benefit from a Christian environment at home, at church and and school,” Lorrie says.

“MCA is more than an educational facility,” Lorrie continues. “It’s a caring community that goes beyond the walls of the classroom. It all has to do with the Spriting and heart of the people who follow after God with all their hearts.”

Poinsettias - Poinsettia fundraiser Kansas City Maranatha Christian Academy

In addition to their commitment as Corporate Partners, Family Tree Nursery also partners with Maranatha as the provider of poinsettias for the annual poinsettia sale fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds from purchases of the festive and beautiful Christmas plants goes right back to support Maranatha Christian Academy, ensuring we can continue to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform their world for Jesus Christ.

Don’t wait to order your poinsettias! Sales run from October 31 through November 16. To purchase your poinsettias from Family Tree Nursery in support of Maranatha Christian Academy, order online or by calling the Maranatha main office.

Head of School Janet Fogh Radio Interview

Head of School, Janet Fogh, had the privilege of speaking to Fox News Radio in Kansas City about MCA!
Listen HERE 

The Homecoming difference at MCA

The Homecoming tradition is a meaningful one at so many high schools, and MCA is no exception. Maranatha students receive a Kingdom-focused education in a family environment — and so Christ is the center of our Homecoming celebration as well. Explore how we do Homecoming differently at Maranatha.

“While I’ve enjoyed many homecoming celebrations over the years, there were some things about the Maranatha Homecoming that were so unique and special,” says Janet Fogh, MCA Head of School. “The entire week was full of festivities but it was the school and family spirit that most touched me.”

The week began with school spirit-themed dress days. “One day, the theme was ‘Dress like a Teacher day,’” Mrs. Fogh recalls. “My favorite was a group of students and one teacher who dressed up like Mr. Thompson, one of our Bible teachers and the varsity men’s basketball coach.” These special days are designed to foster camaraderie among students.

On Thursday evening, the MCA family enjoyed two exciting volleyball games — victories for both the Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. “Those in the stands ranged from preschool students to grandparents, cheering for our ladies as they served, bumped, set and spiked the ball,” Mrs. Fogh says. After the game, everyone headed outside for a Spirit Rally. The Rally was a chance to honor not only athletes, but teachers as well, showcasing authentic community. “The spirit band playing festive songs brought a lot of energy to the night! The rally culminated with the lighting of the bonfire. The band played, and the parents, students and staff celebrated as one.”

Maranatha Christian Academy - Volleyball game Homecoming - Christian school Johnson County KS

Friday evening was a doubleheader featuring both football and soccer, with alumni as special guests. “As the alumni came in, it was wonderful to learn about where they are attending college or what they are doing now. Lots of great stories!” The pre-game held special meaning for Mrs. Fogh, when the football team carried the large, redwood cross that the late Mr. Fogh had made across the field. “That was especially meaningful because the football team has embraced this new tradition with such enthusiasm. My husband, Dale, made this cross because of his deep love for the Lord Jesus and his desire to make Him known and a part of students’ lives. I know God is honored and Dale is blessed every time our students carry the cross onto the field.”

The evening continued with more family traditions. “At halftime, cheerleaders from elementary through high school performed a joint routine in matching uniforms, a lovely picture of a family celebrating together,” Mrs. Fogh says. “After the game, our football team prayed on the field with their opponents, an unusually wonderful sight.”

Between the football game and soccer game were the Homecoming festivities. The marching band kicked off the celebration. “I had the honor of welcoming everyone, opening in prayer and welcoming our alumni. As the alumni stood all over the stands and everyone applauded, there was a wonderful sense of school spirit,” Mrs. Fogh says. When Homecoming Court nominees were announced, their parents were honored as well. “To see the parents recognized in a speech their children had written was truly special. What these young adults have learned in honoring their parents is priceless!” The evening concluded with the soccer game, playing for quite a crowd in packed stands.

Saturday night was the Homecoming dance in Kansas City, the culmination of a festive and Christ-centered week. “The young ladies and gentlemen were dressed so nicely. The students danced happily and with so much energy. Watching them do line dances was a blast!” Mrs. Fogh smiles. As the music slowed down, the students danced so nicely together with such class. Near the end of the night, a dozen or more parents came to see the dance and visit. In very few schools would it seem so normal to have parents come and enjoy the dance and visit together – more evidence of the family atmosphere at Maranatha.”

Maranatha Christian Academy - Football game Homecoming - Christian school Johnson County KS

The last two songs of the dance were a great celebration of the MCA community. “The students all spontaneously assembled on the dance floor, got in a big oval and embraced side to side with their arms around each other’s waists. They swayed and sang all the words to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and they just beamed. The last song was about being together again in the future. The students stayed in their oval, held each other and even took out their phones as they swayed to the music so their lights on their phones shone all over the room. The feeling of family and school spirit was so wonderful!”

Five Bible verses to encourage your child in co-curriculars

At Maranatha, we equip students to pursue excellence for the glory of God – including in co-curriculars. Co-curriculars enrich student learning through art, music, sports, service and more. Through these activities, students can grow in their knowledge of God and their identity in Him. Here are five Bible verses to encourage your child in co-curriculars.  

Colossians 3:17 | Do all things for the glory of God.

Encourage your child to root his or her co-curricular goals in glorifying God. Co-curriculars are a marvelous opportunity to practice this mindset. Pursuing activities with humility and a heart of gratitude honors the Lord.

Mark 12:31 | Love your neighbor as yourself.

After loving the Lord with all of our hearts, loving our neighbors is the second greatest commandment. Whether it’s in sports practice or in the art studio, encourage your child to put their fellow students before themselves. Help them discover practical ways to support their peers, especially those who they would not consider their close friends.

Proverbs 3:5 | Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.

Our world glorifies human understanding and achievement. Through co-curriculars, your child can exercise trusting in Christ. Students can surrender their activities to Him, with the knowledge that He does all things for our good. Encourage your child to grow in trust of Him through His Word.

How to encourage your child in co-curriculars | Maranatha Christian Academy

Philippians 4:19 | God will meet all your needs

Students learn valuable life skills through education and co-curriculars, including time management, problem solving and decision making. When your child feels overwhelmed, as we all do at times, encourage him or her to bring everything to God. Pray with your child for strength and faith in Christ.

Matthew 10:31 | You are more valuable than you will ever realize.

Co-curriculars are excellent activities to grow in knowledge of God. But they aren’t everything. Remind your student that God loves us because we are made in His image. Encourage your child that they are loved by God, no matter what activities they do in life. It is not about our performance. It is about His love for us.

In the world, many families use co-curricular activities to define their identity. At Maranatha, we encourage co-curriculars to discover our identity in Christ. To learn more about MCA life, click here.



Corporate Partner CST Sweets: Supporting the ministry of Maranatha

At Maranatha, we’re a family — and our Corporate Partners are a critical part of our community. The generosity of Corporate Partners provides financial scholarships for students whose families otherwise would be unable to afford a quality Christian education. Cary and Tracy Shiner, owners of CST Sweets, share why they became Corporate Partners and what MCA means to their family.

Meet the Shiner family: Cary and Tracy have three children, CJ, Savannah and Taylor, all of whom are graduates or current students at Maranatha. Tracy taught Spanish at MCA for more than 10 years, and this year is a part-time teacher, teaching computers at the lower elementary level.

A very sweet company: CST Sweets — named for their children’s initials — is Cary and Tracy’s gourmet toffee and biscotti company. They founded the company in 2003 and put it on hold while the children were young. “We officially started the company up again in 2015,” Tracy says, selling year-round with a special focus on the Christmas season and a presence at local holiday shows, including the Holiday Boutique at the Overland Park Convention Center. Not sure which treat to choose? Tracy’s favorite is the dark chocolate espresso toffee. “It’s a great pick-me-up!” she smiles.

Maranatha Christian Academy - Shiner Family - CST Sweets - Corporate Partners

The Shiner family

Their Maranatha decision: When deciding how to educate their children, Cary and Tracy looked for a school that would cultivate a Christian worldview in their kids. “We wanted to partner with a school in raising our children. Raising them with a Christian worldview is extremely important to us,” Tracy says. With their oldest now in college, they’re seeing the lasting impact. “It’s made a big difference in college, in him knowing how to stand up for his faith. We are just thankful that he is grounded in his faith, and I attribute lots of this grounding in his Christian faith to Maranatha.”

Why they became Corporate Partners: “Praise the Lord, we’re at the point with our company where we want to give back,” Tracy says. “Maranatha has blessed our family tremendously, not only in the Christian education for our kids, but the school has touched our lives personally and as a family in so many ways. The solid Christian education has been so important for our children, and Maranatha has also guided us in our own personal walks with the Lord. We have lots to be grateful for and we want to bless Maranatha because of how they have blessed us.”

Maranatha Christian Academy - Shiner Family - CST Sweets - Corporate Partners

Why it’s important for businesses to support Maranatha: “Businesses want to thrive and grow, and as Christians, there’s no better way to do that than to partner with a cause that you find meaningful, whatever avenue that might be,” Tracy says. “Partnering with Christian education is a way we can benefit the community and the Kingdom of Christ.”

Building brand awareness: Since CST Sweets’ relaunch is relatively recent, Cary and Tracy are eager to spread the word about their company. Their MCA partnership has helped introduce CST Sweets to new and prospective customers. “We’re pretty new, and have gotten lots of affirmation and confirmation that our products are delicious. People are praying for us and for our company, and that’s a huge blessing and a huge gift.”

CST Sweets’ continued commitment: Cary and Tracy remain engaged Corporate Partners because of the impact Maranatha has had on the Shiner family. “Maranatha has a special spot in all of our hearts, and we want to give to those we care about the most. We hope to be involved in whatever way the Lord opens doors for us . . . Maranatha is like our extended family!” Tracy says.

No gift too small: To prospective supporters, Cary and Tracy encourage becoming part of the Corporate partners program. “It’s not about what we do here on Earth, but what we are doing for Eternity. No contribution is too small. We’re just a small business ourselves, but it’s important that we do what we can. Every little bit helps, and giving back is very gratifying.”

MCA graduate Anna Hoduski completes race for equality for the unborn

Earlier this year, we shared about MCA graduate Anna Hoduski and her race across the country in support of equality for the unborn. She discovered her pro-life passion as a fifth grade student at Maranatha, and that passion has fueled Project If Life. With more than 1,700 miles run and 800 miles biked, Anna and her team are nearing the finish line. Their 15-month missions trip will culminate October 15, 2017, at the Lincoln Memorial, where they will share their message.

Project If Life launched July 23, 2016, in Kansas City. Anna, along with her sister Sarah-Marie, brother Nick and college friend Megan, ran from Kansas City to California. They shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ and advocated for the unborn every step of the way. Over the course of their journey, they have shared their pro-life message at 60 venues.

“Maranatha did not just teach their curriculum from a Christian worldview, but taught me the importance of possessing and developing a Christian worldview myself,” Anna says. Maranatha is not only an integral part of Anna’s life, but central for her family as well: all Hoduski children are MCA alumni, and Anna’s father Mr. Hoduski is a beloved Maranatha teacher.

Anna Hoduski - Maranatha Christian Academy graduate - Project If Life

At Maranatha, we’re family — and we’re proud of the accomplishments of every Maranatha graduate. Support Anna Hoduski and her team with prayer as they prepare to speak in Washington, DC. Prayerfully consider contributing to the team’s mission, giving financially to support travel for the Hoduski family, hotel and food expenses and the speaking permit for the Lincoln Memorial. Donations, as well as greeting cards for the Hoduski family, can be delivered to the Secondary Office by October 11.

Maranatha exists to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform their world for Jesus Christ. Anna is just one example of our graduates who stand strong in their faith and boldly share their Biblical worldview. We’re proud of the example that so many graduates set for today’s students. Please join us in cheering for Project If Life as the team approaches the finish line!

How students learn Biblical principles at MCA

At Maranatha Christian Academy, everything we do starts with scripture. Faith is woven throughout MCA, from the classroom to the field. So when it came time for new Head of School Janet Fogh to deliver her first Chapel message to students, she looked to her own Christian upbringing. At the core of Mrs. Fogh’s message were just 12 words: 12 words that, when combined, can be guiding principles for a fruitful life.

The inspiration for Mrs. Fogh’s 2017 message has its roots in a school of a different kind — the 1958-1959 school year at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Lieutenant General Garrison Holt Davidson, who was the Superintendent of the Academy, delivered a lecture to the Corps of Cadets on leadership. He shared nine words: “Be Considerate,” Lead by Example” and “Make Quality a Habit.”

“He spoke about how these principles were important to them as future military officers, as future husbands and fathers, and in general, as a life motto,” Mrs. Fogh explains. At the time, he told the cadets that there was one final portion that he would share with them in the future. Then, in his address to the cadets of the Class of 1960, he added those final three words: “Continue to Grow.” This last phrase was the culmination of what is now known as the Twelve Words.

Be Considerate

Lead by Example

Make Quality a Habit

Continue to Grow

These twelve words have great personal significance for Mrs. Fogh as well: as a young child, she was taught these phrases as the family motto. “My father was one of those cadets who heard Lt. General Davidson’s teachings and he embraced these words as his own personal motto,” Mrs. Fogh shares.

“As situations arose and we faced life together as a family, the truths of God’s Word were amplified through those Twelve Words,” she continues. “As we read Bible stories, we’d talk about which principles were evident in the actions of the Bible characters. These twelve words became guiding principles for our lives.”

Maranatha - Students learn important principles during worship at Maranatha Christian Academy

Mrs. Fogh extended the theme of Twelve Words in different ways in each chapel. “The foundation of the Twelve words comes directly from Biblical examples and we talked about these in the Chapel messages,” she shares. She highlighted Bible stories where these principles shine — for example, when Jesus washes His disciples’ feet in John 13 and we see Him “leading by example.”

To further commend members of the MCA community who exhibit these Twelve Words, Mrs. Fogh awarded a newly minted Maranatha Academy Coin. “Military members are occasionally presented a special coin as a token of special thanks, for accomplishing a tough mission or in recognition of their heroic or significant acts,” she explains. “I want to use the model of a military coin to give special honor and recognition to those who are exemplifying one or more of these principles found in the Twelve Words.”

How students learn through worship - MCA Maranatha Christian Academy

The first set of coins were awarded to high school students on this year’s Worship Team, as well as teacher Bryan Burdette. “Coach Burdette is constantly looking for ways to disciple the young men and women in his classes and on his team,” Mrs. Fogh says.

“It is my hope that this motto and the Biblical examples of these principles will become a personal motto for our students, staff and the Maranatha family as a whole,” Mrs. Fogh says. “Joining the students and staff in worship is wonderful! There is a purity of worship demonstrated when a youngster is so obviously connected to the heart of their Father. It’s a blessing too often taken for granted to see young adults worshipping and praising the Lord together corporately. These young adults are our future and we are a blessed people!”