By Morgan Bryce
For 40 years, Opelika’s Trinity Christian School has sought to provide its students with a classical-style, Christ-centered approach to education and learning.
An extension of Trinity Presbyterian Church, the school has seen exponential growth since its founding in 1978.
Following is a brief history and details of the school as it enters its 41st year of operation.
“Teaching all subjects in the light of God’s Word”
According to TCS Principal Larry Cornelius, the school was the idea of the church’s charter members, who wanted to provide an educational outlet for parents who wanted their children to receive a quality education taught through a Biblical basis and worldview.
During the next five years, plans came together and the school officially opened its doors in 1978.
Starting with one teacher, four rooms and a handful of students, the school saw steady growth and eventually served children from kindergarten to the 8th grade. As demand increased, careful prayer and consideration led the school administration to add a high school, which was established in 2001.
From 2005-2007, TCS “celebrated the dedication of a new eight classroom addition and state-of-the-art science lab, and … dedicated a new parking lot, computer lab, playground, and soccer facility,” according to a post on the school’s website.
Cornelius, the school’s band teacher and principal since 2014, said that the school’s teaching methods are based off the “trivium” method, a three-part curricula that is broken down into three parts: grammar, logic and rhetoric. Commonly found in medieval universities, the trivium method was used to teach the “great thinkers and artists of the Renaissance, Reformation, and early American historical periods.”
Adopted by the school in the early 2000s, the method has been a very effective learning mechanism for students, according to Cornelius.
“For example, kids really love to memorize when they’re young, so we pour lots of facts into them when they’re at that grammar stage, which is very natural for them. We sing, chant and memorize a lot and they love that,” Cornelius said. “They really enjoy and love to show off what they can do.”
Besides providing a stellar education, Cornelius said his faculty and staff strive to instill a deeply rooted appreciation of God’s love and truths into their students.
“The thing I hear most from the community about our school is that we’re fulfilling a common vision for parents in this area, that we’re providing an which they feel comfortable sending their child here, and that we’re consistent with our teachings here. We’re not contradicting or giving them mixed messages on God’s truths, which are evident through any history or mathematics lesson they may take,” Cornelius said. “We believe that the Bible very clearly teaches that education is the responsibility of the parents … we’re not seeking to take the place of parents, but stand in the gap for them.”
“A big family”
The atmosphere, experience and people of the school hold deep meaning for TCS alum Gracie Rudd and School Administrator Sharon Williams.
Rudd, a 2017 TCS graduate and the school’s current receptionist, said she values the lessons gleaned from her years as a student.
“All the teachers just want the best for you and want to do everything that they can for you. It’s not just about teaching a subject for them, they want to get know to you and how they can help you do better in life and grow in your walk (with the Lord),” Rudd said.
Williams, who first joined the school in August 1981, said she has experienced abundant personal and professional growth during her 37-year tenure.
“My life has been so enriched by being here. To see and be a part of raising up the generations of young men and women being taught and equipped to go in the world and be a salt and light as Christians (is very meaningful),” Williams said.
Expansion is a looming subject for the school, according to Cornelius.
With a student body of 230 and 33 total faculty/staff members, Cornelius said they are in the pre-planning stages of the process of making additions to the school, which will include discussion of building the school’s first-ever gym to host sporting events and physical education classes.
“We’ve had 47 percent enrollment growth during the last five years, so the numbers are hopefully a manifestation or representation maybe of a deeper work that the Lord is doing in the school and allowing us to really partner with these families to raise these children and nurture them for His kingdom,” Cornelius said. “The book of Jude tells us that we need to raise up our children to be contenders for the faith, and by God’s grace, we plan to keep doing that for another 40 years.”
For more information, visit www.tcsopelika.org or call 334-745-2464. The school is located at 1010 India Road.
Turn to B14 for photos of a typical schoolday at Trinity Christian.