News from CAK
The concept of a “Christian education” is often misunderstood. The term “Christian education” is too often heard to mean “anti-intellectual,” “anti-science”, or “ideological”. Many believe that a Christian education is an attempt to avoid hard topics or controversial issues, and rather than doing the hard work of education, we instead simply slap an out-of-context Bible verse onto an issue and move on. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, when done properly, a Christian education is everything that a standard education would be . . . plus more. A Christian education does not take things out of the curriculum, but instead adds an additional valuable piece to the educational experience.
A good education encourages students to learn to think through the filter of many different disciplines, to learn to see a problem through many different lenses. When, for example, a new issue arises, we ask “what does history teach us about this topic? Have we been here before?” We ask, “has such an issue been examined in some way by the great literary giants of our world?” Or we ask, “can this problem be solved using the logical and mathematical critical thinking skills I have learned?” We can ask, “can this problem be understood through the lens of the social sciences, and is there a psychological or sociological reason that we respond the way we do?” We can ask the hard questions of philosophy, whether a topic is orderly, true, or consistent.
Yet in most educational models, the questions cannot extend to include questions of faith and our religious practices. But in a Christian education, we can ask one more question that our contemporaries cannot ask: “what does our faith say about this issue?”
A good education teaches us that most problems in our world are complex, and we often find different answers to our questions based on the particular lens we are using at a given time. Yet in most educational settings, we are forbidden to use one of our deeply valuable lenses—the lens of our faith. When that lens is brought to bear, we do not ignore all of the wonderful insights we might gain from biology, or psychology, or history, or literature, or the arts; rather, we add to it.
In the end, a Christian education teaches us that all truth is God’s truth, and that we need not be afraid of truth that comes from any of the various disciplines we might study because truth, if it is truth, will always hold up under scrutiny. So in a Christian education, we can embrace the best that science has to offer; we can drink deeply at the great fount of literature our world has produced; we can embrace the arts. And once we finish all of that, we can also go one step further, examining our learning through the lens of our faith, thus revealing even more of the picture of truth and beauty in our world.
So what is the Christian education difference?
It is an education that is more than what is afforded in different settings. A Christian education does not limit our study of science or history or math or music, because God’s truth can be and is revealed through any of those great fields of study; rather, a Christian education embraces all of those fields and goes further to ask yet another set of questions: how does this truth fit into a world that is created and ordered by God? How does what I am learning in these other fields fit into God’s redemptive story of history? How might I take what I am learning and help make this world a little more like the Kingdom of God that Jesus envisions? How can the knowledge gained in any of these great areas of study help me to love those around me more effectively? These are the sort of added-value questions that make a Christian education different and superior.
“What good is it that you have faith but don’t show it with your actions?” - James 2:14
For the third year in a row, CAK students, parents, and staff traveled to Montreal, Canada to work the Renaissance Church. The group of 34 spent time in service around the community including working in a kitchen at a shelter, helping pastors run the Jean Baptist festival, sorting clothes at a local ministry store, handing out coffee to bring a smile to travelers, and more.
"A highlight of the day was observing the differences in church services: French vs English - observing God work in different venues and cultures and languages, but they all clearly loved Jesus." - Jonah
"I went to the shelter today and made 236 beds then fixed dinner for 200 people. When we finished preparing the food, we went out and saw a long line of men waiting to be served. I realized they are here because they need help and we contributed to offering them help." - Brooke
"1 Corinthians 13:1 reminds me if I could speak all the languages of the earth and of angels but don’t love others, I am only a resounding gong or clanging symbol. The emphasis isn't on whether we can speak French or English but it's about our love. I hear God speaking to my heart to remember that love is patient and kind, it does not envy, it does not demand its own way." - Tracie
This is a high school trip lead by Gloria Murff, Christa Bennett, Lindsay Oaks, and Charli Thomas. John Stauffer, Micheal Ayres, and Tracie Woidtke served as chaperones. These students and graduates did an amazing job of serving all week!
Interested in attending CAK? Visit our admissions page.
"The idea was simple enough," says Christian Academy of Knoxville Class of 2019 grad Christian Cate, "get some people together and teach the kids a little baseball, have some devotionals and snacks, and have fun. Little did I know how impactful this project would be...for the kids, the volunteers, the inner city neighborhood....and for me."
At CAK, students are required to complete a 40+ hour Capstone project meant to help them find their calling for service through Christ Jesus. For some students, turning a passion into a calling falls together to make something beautiful ...something impactful ...something bigger than oneself.
And that is exactly what occurred last summer for Cate, who at the time was a rising senior at CAK.
"I decided to take my love of baseball to the inner city here in Knoxville," describes Cate. His desire was to bring baseball to kids who had not had the opportunity to play before by founding a free one-week camp through Wesley House.
Fifteen volunteers worked beside him, including several professional coaches from area schools, who were all dedicated to helping the players succeed in their own skill set. In preparation, Cate noticed the field he wanted to use was in bad shape, and the expertise needed to fix it was beyond his capacity. So, he petitioned the city to fix up a local neighborhood field.
The day before the camp was to start, Cate arrived at the field to paint lines on the dirt, and was shocked to see that the neighborhood kids had already discovered the field and were happily using it! It was then that he realized how seemingly small steps lead to big changes. Kids who previously had no place to play now have a useable field.
“I have decided to do the camp again, and build on the work we did last year,” said Cate. This summer, he is directing another camp for 25 elementary aged kids served by Wesley House from June 17 to 21.
"We provide the equipment, snacks, shirts, hats, everything," Cate says. "Last year we were also able to give each kid his/her own bat, glove, ball, bag, snacks, and a comic Bible to take home."
If you would like to help, here is a link to the projects Go Fund Me page. If you are interested in attending CAK, visit our admissions page.
At Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK), community service in the name of Jesus is infused into the heart of our curriculum. Students learn how small acts lead to bigger acts, eventually leading to a 40-hour Capstone project their Senior year.
One project that really brings that full circle is our Water Walk for H2O for Life, an organization that works with rural schools in developing countries to bring clean water and resources to enable children to continue their education and stay healthy. Our 6th graders took this on as their project this year, and researched the global water crisis to make informative videos and inspirational posters. In math class, they worked to demonstrate certain statistics concerning the water crisis. They planned and carried out two elementary school chapels.
On May 9, 2019, we held a Water Walk on the CAK Track to bring this message home as well as to fundraise for H2O for Life. Our 6th graders facilitated activities for the elementary school students. We had three stations:
- Art: Students decorated bookmarks that will be given to the children at Nasaruni Academy as gifts this summer.
- Walking: Students walked the track carrying water jugs, trying to make it 100 meters. In countries like Kenya, children sometimes walk about 60 times that amount to get to water!
- Games: The 6th graders facilitated two games including a sponge relay and an obstacle course.
Students also raised funds for H2O for Life by purchasing t-shirts to wear during the Water Walk and by doing chores to earn their own money to give back. CAK teachers tied this into their Bible lessons about giving back to others in need.
But it doesn't end there. Last year, CAK's Melissa Davenport began a mission trip to Kenya, and a second group will return this year. These high school students are interested in careers in the medical field, and will visit Tenwek Hospital to shadow doctors, observe surgeries, go out to rural medical clinics, and visit schools. Our mission team will visit Nasaruni Academy and bring the bookmarks our elementary kids created at the Water Walk and help dedicate the water projects that CAK is helping to provide through this fundraiser.
Good job, Warriors! You are helping to change the world!
Originally recorded by Sara Baker in the 1999-2000 CAK Historical Calendar
The year was 1987. No one knew why the Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) faculty meeting had been called. It wasn't on the schedule and there weren't any major events coming up. There was less joking around than usual as the teachers waited for the meeting to come to order.
In one of his toughest jobs as headmaster, the newly appointed Steve Camp had to face the teachers and tell them that the next payday might be late or that the checks might be smaller than usual. It was not a decision he took lightly.
Earlier in that same year, CAK had faced some difficult financial decisions. The relatively new school couldn't get the accreditation it needed without a gym. And without accreditation, student enrollment would not grow enough to provide the things the school needed to stay open. So, in order to break this vicious cycle, the board and administration decided to step out in faith and stretch finances to build a gym.
Back to that fateful staff meeting, the gym was now in place, and the school looked poised for a good increase in enrollment the following year. However, in the meantime, there simply wasn't enough money left in the bank to pay the mortage or the teachers.
So, CAK did what they had learned to do from the beginning: they prayed. The board prayed ceaselessly for God to provide the funds. Parents were called to pray in prayer groups or individually. Faculty organized a prayer day for the high school and middle school.
The payday was not late and the checks were not reduced! God is good!
Prayer, the Bedrock of CAK
Other historical examples of answered prayers recorded from CAK's minutes from committee meetings, budget proposals, and other documents:
- 1960s prayer need: Several women from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church began praying for a Christian school in Knoxville.
Prayer answered: 1977 CAK opened in Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church with 96 students grades K-6.
- 1980 prayer need: The CAK family began praying for land for CAK to build a campus of its own.
Prayer answered: In 1982, a piece of land that CAK could afford (because the family who was selling the land wanted it to all remain intact instead of subdivided) became available on Dutchtown Road.
- 1988 prayer need: CAK had an enrollment of 370. They needed 30-40 additional students in order to balance the budget.
Prayer answered: In 1999, CAK had an enrollment of well over 800!
- 1989 prayer need: Families prayed that the entire CAK school would be together on one campus instead of meeting at several different church facilities.
Prayer answered: In 1999, the entire campus moved to Dutchtown Road
- 1989 prayer need: Prayers went up for students with special learning needs, specifically that they would have their needs met through their teachers and tutors at CAK.
Prayer answered: 1999, CAK has one of the premier academic centers in the Christain school community.
- 1989 prayer need: Churches represented at CAK would continue to stand for Christ in our community.
Prayer answered: Records in 1999 show that most of the churches represented at CAK have grown tremendously. We have no evidence of churches represented at CAK that have grown cold or dead during this time.
"God always met our needs. We prayed through a lot of situations. I would not trade my time at CAK for anything. They were some of the best times of my life." ~ Mike Pappas, former CAK teacher
Interested in attending CAK? Schedule a campus tour today!
First submitted by Sara Baker for the 1999-2000 historical moments calendar
In the early 1980s, Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) was meeting on church campuses, but students, parents, and staff desired a campus of their own. One member of the development committee felt particularly drawn to a specific Bible verse:
"Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land." ~ Psalm 37:9
The committee continued to pray, and look, but most of the land for sale near Cedar Bluff was far too expensive for CAK to consider. Then in 1982, a 27-acre tract of land became available on Dutchtown Road. Better yet, it was affordable! The committee recommended the purchase, and fundraising began!
In a letter dated February 2, 1983, Mr. Van Schuyver reported on several touching examples of how people sacrificed to help:
- Several middle school students made pins, selling them, and giving proceeds to the building fund
- A grandmother took care of a family of children over a weekend, and instead of accepting pay, she asked that the money be given to the CAK building fund
- A widow who had no formal contact with the school, but who knew it only by its reputation, gave a very generous gift after learning of the immediate plans to build
- Another woman, who worked hard all her life to assist in the education of her children and grandchildren, donated a substantial amount to "help assure the children of others would have a quality Christian education"
After the land was purchased, it was discovered that it had been in one family for years, handed down to each new generation as an inheritance. The family wanted the land to remain intact rather than being broken up for building lots, which is the reason they sold it to CAK at a price the school could afford. Thus, the school did receive an inheritance from the Lord fulfilling Psalm 37:9!
That spring, children, parents, and teachers gathered for a picnic on the new school grounds to celebrate the fulfillment of a long-held dream. No one could have imagined the 77-acre campus, multiple programs, and over 900 students that CAK has today. God is, indeed, able to do far beyond what we imagine!
“From Dust You Came, and To Dust You Shall Return.”
Part of what makes Christian Academy of Knoxville unique is that we have students from over 140 area churches, and we are independent and non-denominational. So, we get to learn from one another.
Some Christian denominations participate in Ash Wednesday, and some do not, but all students in Mrs. Oaks Freshman Bible class got to learn about the tradition on Wednesday.
Those who wanted to participate wrote down something they wish to give up for lent in order to grow closer to God. They then burned those papers and the ashes were placed upon their foreheads in the sign of the cross.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
All students and staff who wished were also given the opportunity for the imposition of ashes today during the lunch hour. This was not required of anyone.
Traditionally, the third graders at Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) present a Wax Museum each spring. It is an anticipated part of the curriculum that students look forward to when they enter into the third grade. This year is no exception. On March 8, at 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., the public is invited to the Middle School Gym where there will be 52 third graders hosting the annual CAK Wax Museum. This year’s theme is entitled “Heroes of the Faith”.
Each student will be representing a hero in God’s ministry. The students began the project by choosing a person of faith and their ministry. Next a book about their chosen person is read, and then classes with the elementary school librarian, Mrs. Toro, are presented as she guides the children through lessons encompassing concepts on researching text and organizing information to be used in their assignment.
The third graders then partner with their teachers, Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. Poland, and Mrs. Smith, to formulate speeches and material used to develop their information boards. The students also work at home on memorizing the speeches and completing the boards.
The work completed by the third graders is considered higher level learning, but they were up for the challenge and jumped into the undertaking enthusiastically. The students’ endeavors will be evident the day of the Wax Museum where they will represent such Christian celebrities as C. S. Lewis, Amy Carmichael, David Livingstone, Jim Elliot, Gladys Aylward, Lottie Moon, and many others.
The third-grade teachers all agree that this project, although tedious for the average third grader, has grown the students’ abilities tremendously. Not only are their third-grade skills refined, but their understanding of how God prepares His people to minister to others ignites their interest in their own God-given plan and where it will lead them.
The third-grade teachers along with their students would like to invite you to come to experience this exciting presentation.
Over spring break, a team of nine Christian Academy of Knoxville high school students, three teachers, and one parent are going to Chiquimula, Guatemala for a mission trip. As part of the student's training, they are doing "Saturday Serve" days, where they give back to the local community.
"This is such a meaningful experience," says trip sponsor Ms. Rogers. "I actually did this Guatemala trip as my Capstone project when I was a senior here at CAK. I hope it will inspire our students for a lifetime of giving back."
In addition to "Saturday Serve," Team Guatemala has attended bi-weekly lunch trainings as well as a Spanish church service. They will also complete a team-building ropes course before they leave.
During the trip to Guatemala, our CAK students will be going to unreached, remote villages to share the Gospel and deliver food. They will do VBS (Vacation Bible School) for local schools, and will teach English at the school that the local pastors run. Additionally, they will do many projects such as helping refinish furniture and painting a basketball court for the local children.
In Chiquimula, the pastor's family is the Cordero family, and Kevin Cordero is a CAK alum class of 2018. He graduated as our first international student last year!
Thank you to Ms. Rogers for organizing this trip. If you would like to find out more about the mission trips offered to CAK students, visit our missions page.
Interested in attending CAK? Schedule a tour today or reach out to email@example.com
Reflecting on my time at CAK, there are some specific things that really set CAK apart and make it very special to me. First, we have excellent teachers who are instilling in our students a heart for service. As you can see in the background of this picture, our teachers are modeling Jesus each and every day in what they communicate in their classrooms- statements like “be a servant” or “stand up for others” are regularly found in the classrooms on our campus. But actions speak louder than words…so they also work diligently to regularly provide opportunities to teach our students to care for and serve others- just like Jesus did. The 5th-grade students pictured below recently made blankets to send to cancer patients at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.
Another valuable part of what makes CAK so very special is the opportunity to partner with families. In some instances, this may look like sitting around a table together to determine the best way to meet the educational needs of a student or a phone call home to share the details of an important conversation that took place at school that day. It might even look like a parent coming in to serve as a prayer parent for their child’s class. Sometimes we have the privilege to partner together during chapel when family members come in to share what God has been doing in and through their lives, as seen in this photo of Rev. Mitch Townley with his granddaughter as they led worship together at chapel this fall.
And perhaps the most meaningful piece of what sets CAK apart is the community we have found here. There are many excellent schools in our area. Other places also excel in athletics, fine arts, and academics. However, there is something unique and special about being part of a community of believers coming together at a school that works to infuse our children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
CAK isn’t just the place we take our children to school, but it’s the place where we do life.
When all of these pieces come together it creates a pretty special place- a place that we are thrilled to call home!