Christ the King Academy crowns 30 years in Poulsbo

POULSBO — Christ the King Academy head of school DeAnna Henning said she equates the growth of her school to that of a child.

“It was born and nurtured,” she said, addressing a crowd of some 50 people in attendance at the school’s 30th anniversary May 7. “It has gone through some teenage years but God has brought this school through all of that.”

Despite what she called “highs” and “lows,” the school has persevered for three decades, most of which in its present location at the Christ Memorial Church complex. On Friday night, CMC pastors and CKA administrators marked the school’s longevity with an evening of memories as told by many of the alumni in attendance.

Through the years, different aspects of the school — from the dress code to its use of technology in the classroom — have changed dramatically. But there was a central theme during the night that CKA’s founders, current educators and parents of students say hasn’t changed one bit.

“The thing I’ve seen stay the same is the consistency of the school,” said Trish Tougas, who has been involved at the school for 10 years since her children began attending CKA. “The positive atmosphere stays the same.”

This quality revolves around a religious message that helps CKA students become tomorrow’s leaders, Henning said.

“The vision of this school is Christian-based, Christ-centered learning,” she commented. “They learn to follow the Lord, serve their community and be prepared for the world.”

Henning, who started as a music teacher 15 years ago at CKA, said that being an educator at the school is also rewarding in different ways from its public counterparts.

“(CKA teachers) earn 70 percent of what a public school teacher makes,” Henning said. “It’s in their heart to teach a Christian education.”

Tracking down students who’ve attended the school during the past 30 years has been by no means easy, Henning added.

“Trying to find everybody is the most difficult thing,” Henning said. “When they graduate in ninth grade, its more difficult to get all of their new information.”

The school’s history began with pastors looking to establish a Christian school on the Kitsap Peninsula. The first year of operation, the school met at Island Lake with only 37 students.

After opening in 1974, Duane Sabin, one the original pastors, approached Al Munger of Christ Memorial Church in Poulsbo. The North Kitsap School District had auctioned off its former Poulsbo Elementary School space and Munger and Sabin decided to bring a new Christian-based education there.

The amount of grades taught at Christ the King has fluctuated over the years. Through its first 10 years the school educated students through 12th grade, only to cut back to its present ninth grade graduation level in 1984. Enrollment has also jumped to more than 200 students in the past; today it rests at about 120 from grades kindergarten through ninth.

Parents of students at the celebration also commented on how their children have been able to stay close with friends they made while at CKA. The bonds have become unbreakable, said Debbie Jergenson, whose three daughters each attended the school.

“We’re really dedicated to CKA through the highs and through the lows,” she said “(My children) have made lasting friendships here even though the school only goes through the ninth grade.”

Poulsbo City Councilman Dale Rudolph was also on hand for the celebration. Rudolph, whose kids attended CKA, was taught in the same schoolhouse building when he went to Poulsbo Elementary School in the 1950s, before the North Kitsap School District auctioned the building off.

“When it started, it was a single house school room,” Rudolph said. “The fact that it has survived 30 years is a testament to the school.”

Senior CMC Pastor Mark Pearson also spoke at the 30th event. Pearson, who began at Christ Memorial in 1977, said the school has helped shape countless lives of those who’ve attended CKA.

“If this school wasn’t here,” Pearson said, “We wouldn’t be the people that we are now.”

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