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.
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.”
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.”
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!”
With a scripture-first posture, armed with Biblical values, the thread of faith is woven throughout every aspect of Maranatha. Junior high and high school students have many opportunities to encounter Christ, including chapel services and Prayer Emphasis Weeks. “We’re trying to raise up Godly leaders who will impact their worlds,” says Duane Cilke, chair of the Bible Department at MCA. “Maranatha students are learning how to be influencers for Christ.”
An important part of the weekly rhythms at Maranatha is the chapel service. “We’re trying to give students the opportunity to grow in a Christian environment,” Mr. Cilke says. “We want them to love Jesus and live in obedience to God’s word, so we’re providing opportunities where this can happen.” Grades 7 through 12 participate in this service each Wednesday.
The service begins with pledges to the American Flag, the Christian Flag and the Bible, and continues with guided worship from the Worship Team. “The Worship Team is a group of student musicians who get together and lead worship time at the beginning of every chapel,” Mr. Cilke says. The group is composed of vocalists and instrumentalists, and the worship features the keyboard, guitar and drums or bongoes.
Next, a guest speaker shares a message with the students. This semester’s chapel theme is Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit. Speakers share about one of the Fruits of the Spirit, one of the principle aspects of Maranatha (Wisdom, Character or Service), or their own testimony. The speakers range from pastors to businesspeople.
Once a month, the chapel service concludes with a discipleship meeting. Junior and Senior students are selected to be leaders of these discipleship breakout groups, in which they discuss a topic and a verse of scripture. “After discussion, they focus on life application,” Mr. Cilke says. “It’s a focus on how they can live out that scripture in their everyday life.” The discipleship groups are designed to create connection and foster community throughout the junior high and high school students.
Once a semester, Maranatha students engage in a special FOCUS day — that’s Faithful, Obedient, Christlike, United and Serving. This day of intentionality has a special emphasis, like conversion stories or international testimonies. The first FOCUS day of the 2017-2018 school year took place on September 8. Students in grades 7 through 12 participate in this special day.
The September 8 FOCUS day, which included a special assembly, centered on a New Beginnings theme. “New beginnings aren’t always easy,” Mr. Cilke says. “This day is an opportunity for students to realize their heritage and explore the blessings they have.”
FOCUS days are part of a larger Prayer Emphasis Week each semester. “As a school, we spend time praying for specific subjects each day,” Mr. Cilke says. Subjects can include the school, the nation, churches, families and more. Every day during Prayer Emphasis Week, homeroom teachers lead their class in prayers.
“God changes us through spiritual disciplines, and during Prayer Emphasis Week, we’re trying to give our students the opportunity to grow in this way,” Mr. Cilke says. “Everything we do permeates from the preeminence of Christ.” Prayer Emphasis Week is another opportunity for students to engage with Christ.
Ultimately, all these activities combine to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to live lives of reckless abandon for Jesus, Mr. Cilke says. “Everything we do is about total commitment to the Lordship of Christ. It’s not just theoretical, but practical and intentional. Worship and prayer create an environment where students can be encountered by Jesus.
Yard Signs are available now!
The metal sign is 18” by 24” tall, has a special coating to make it more weather resistant, and comes with a 5’ metal post and hardware for mounting. You can see one in person in the Secondary office.
Purchase your yard sign to post in your front yard for $100. Come to the Secondary office. Please make checks payable to MCA. Cash or checks accepted.
We hope every Maranatha family will show their School Pride and proudly display one in their yard. Go Eagles!
At Maranatha, we’re family. Together, we educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform the world for Jesus Christ. Join us in welcoming Maranatha’s newest educators to our family!
Name: Kjirsten Abkes
Teaches: 10th and 12th grade English and Yearbook
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mrs. Abkes: At home in Olathe with her family (and new baby!) doing plenty of home renovation projects. Or, you’ll find her outside enjoying the outdoors and running the trails.
Most excited for: “Getting to know my students and fellow faculty members,” she says.“I’m also really excited for the books we will be reading in class this year — they’re some of my favorites!”
Name: Whitney Chudy
Teaches: 7th through 12th grade Spanish and Bible
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mrs. Chudy: Church or home — with her husband working in their church plant in Olathe, or fixing up their house in Gardner, Kansas.
Most excited for: “I’m excited to see Maranatha students grow spiritually, personally and academically.”
Name: Kenan Brown
Teaches: 9th and 10th grade World History, Geography and Bible
Outside of Maranatha, you’ll find Mr. Brown: In the Midtown neighborhood of Kansas City.
Most excited for: “I’m looking forward to helping the students learn and grow in both their Christian character and academic success.”
Get to know the rest of our Maranatha family by visiting our staff and teacher page. Curious about how your child can become part of the MCA family? We welcome new students throughout the year. Reach out to us to coordinate a visit >>
Maranatha pairs Biblical standards with excellent academics, so students grow into people of character. We exist to educate, nurture and train students for Godliness and excellence, so they’re equipped to transform their world for Jesus Christ — and college prep is a critical aspect of MCA education. We’re pleased to host the annual Kansas City Area Christian College fair on September 25, where students can connect with a wide variety of colleges.
At the secondary level, Maranatha students experience a college preparatory course of study, and they have the opportunity to earn college credit through one of several collaborating colleges. More than 95% of each graduating class enrolls in college.
The annual Christian College Fair will feature more than 30 religiously-affiliated colleges and universities. Students can meet representatives from the following schools:
- Bob Jones University
- Calvary University
- Central Christian College of Kansas
- Colorado Christian University
- Concordia University, NE
- Dallas Baptist University
- Dordt College
- Evangel University
- Grace University
- Hannibal-Lagrange University
- Heartland Christian College
- Hesston College
- John Brown University
- Manhattan Christian College
- MidAmerica Nazarene University
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Missouri Baptist University
- North Park University
- Northwestern College
- Oklahoma Baptist University
- Oklahoma Christian University
- Olivet Nazarene University
- Oral Roberts University
- Point Loma Nazarene University
- Southern Nazarene University
- Sterling College
- Tabor College
- Trevecca Nazarene University
- Trinity Western University
- Union University
- University of Northwestern – St. Paul
The fair will be held September 25, 2017, at the Maranatha Christian Academy/North Campus Gym (15000 West 63rd Street, Shawnee KS) from 6 – 8 pm.
Christ is the focal point of everything we do at Maranatha, including our Student Council. From serving their peers through events to make sure every MCA student feels welcome, Student Council members are practicing servant leadership throughout the year.
“The Student Council sets a spiritual tone for our school, and these students set the standard for leadership through service to their peers,” says Kevin Bergerhofer, Director of Facilities and MCA. He and his wife Cheryl, the kitchen coordinator at Maranatha, advise the Student Council students. Kevin and Cheryl have three children: one is a current MCA student and two are MCA graduates.
The Student Council, affectionately nicknamed “StuCo,” is composed of upperclassmen officers and grade representatives starting in seventh grade. The StuCo works on a number of events and activities each year, even before school officially starts. The students help at the Discover MCA event, meeting potential Maranatha families. They coordinated a high school ice cream social to kick off the school year, complete with swimming, volleyball and a worship service.
To facilitate the transition from elementary school to junior high, the StuCo members also help at seventh and eighth grade orientation. “It’s easy for students to be apprehensive going into the junior high years, and the StuCo members are able to help them,” Mr. Bergerhofer says.
On the first day of school, StuCo members personally welcomed every MCA student, greeting them warmly with songs and cheers. “The StuCo members make sure each student knows how happy we are to have them back!”
After the school year has launched, StuCo’s next activity is organizing the international student mixer. For some MCA international students, this is their first time to the United States; for many, it’s their first time in Kansas. The StuCo members accompany international students to an athletic activity (this year, it’s a volleyball game), and then on a tour around town afterwards.
Homecoming is also an exciting Student Council activity. From the spirit days to the Homecoming Pep Rally and Bonfire to the Homecoming Dance, the students organize every aspect. The students emphasize attendance, unity and faith throughout each event. “Some students say that they’re not going to the dance because they don’t have a date,” Mr. Bergerhofer says. “Last year, to emphasize unity, the StuCo had a ‘dynamic duo’ theme, so students could feel comfortable going with a buddy, downplaying the couples aspect so everyone feels welcome.”
Much of the Student Council work throughout the year is done behind the scenes, Mr. Bergerhofer says. “Much of their servant work is done where the rubber meets the road, setting up before and cleaning up after events. Lots of these things the other students may not see, and the StuCo is working in servanthood without a lot of fanfare.”
“Each and every year, I’m amazed by the talent God gives us in Student Council,” Mr. Bergerhofer says. “He provides the right students at the right place and at the right time to serve their peers. It’s a blessing for my wife and me to work with them!”