Opened 25 years ago by a pair of women who felt the need for a Christian school in Lee’s Summit, Summit Christian Academy has grown from a quaint spot that held 32 children at First Assembly of God Church to its modern perch on nearly 40 acres.
The school at 1500 SW Jefferson begins a new academic year today with an enrollment of 725 students and 25th anniversary events already on the calendar.
“A lot of us knew we wanted a Christian school but there wasn’t really one close at all,” said Lori Schlotzhauer, who co-founded the school with Lisa Seley. “Once we connected, we made it work. Parents came in, we got teachers and we figured it out.”
Seley and Schlotzhauer were among those on three buses filled with former and current staffers who took part in a tour Aug. 14. The participants traveled from the site of its first enrollment fair at the Bank of Lee’s Summit to First Assembly to a former campus at Christian Triumphant Church followed by a trip to the Lee’s Summit Community Church, which is adjacent to the current school property.
“We didn’t have a clue,” Schlotzhauer said of opening the school. “We were so focused just on getting started. We had a small group of parents, some teachers and we were doing all of those beginning things. We were just moms.”
Jane Stiglic was the first teacher at SCA. She retired from the elementary building two years ago, but the historical campus tour brought back treasured memories.
“It was absolutely fabulous,” Stiglic said. “My heart has not left this school even though I’ve been retired two years. Probably one of my greatest wishes was that the teachers now could meet the founders. I knew who they were and what they were like, so I was glad for that. I’ve had a ball today.”
Current third-grade teacher Elizabeth Schmidt graduated from SCA in 2008. After college she came back to teach at her alma mater.
“I applied at a lot of different places but when I applied here it just felt right again,” said Schmidt, now in her third year as a teacher. “I loved that I was coming back to the home area. It’s crazy cool. I never thought it would happen, but God allowed it to happen.”
The school has plenty of activities planned this year to celebrate its anniversary. Linda Harrelson, head of school, said homecoming will highlight the fall activities, and a special theater production in the spring will boast an eclectic cast.
“This is going to be a celebration year,” she said. “We’re fortunate. We’re growing and some of the opportunities that we are wrestling with is how to keep growing and go to the next level.
“We’re going to do a big celebration at homecoming and bring our alumni back. Later in the school year some of our staff is writing a musical based on our history. It’s called ‘SCA: The Musical’ and it will be performed for our parent audience.”