CAK is one of the best decisions we've ever made
We sat down with Pastor Jason Hayes from Shoreline Church to find out why he chose Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK) for his son, Hayden. Jason went to public school himself and admits he never considered private education. But for his son, Hayden, it was important for Jason and his wife, Carrie, to consider all options as each of their three children are uniquely and wonderfully made. Read their full story, in their own words, below.
Why did you make the switch to CAK from public school?
We are actually big supporters of our local public schools. We are fans of many amazing families, teachers, and faculties that fill them. In fact, I (Jason) went to Farragut from elementary through graduation. My mother also taught at Farragut Primary for many years. Thus, we never even considered a private school. But, as we headed towards Middle School for Hayden, we began to wonder if something different might be best for him.
Was there anything specific about CAK that influenced your decision to come here?
Although many people may not identify with it, Hayden has Tourette Syndrome. And while he doesn’t bring attention to it, he has to battle each and every day to function just like every other teenager. Diet, supplements, skeletal adjustments, and functional neurology are all common aspects of his life. Hayden also excels academically (despite his parents). In light of both these realities, we decided to explore what an experience that featured smaller class sizes and a bit more specialized education would look like.
"It’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made."
What grade was Hayden in when you decided to make the switch? And did his grade level factor into your decision at all?
He began in 6th grade. It just felt like the beginning of Middle School was a natural opportunity to start in a new environment. We weren’t (and still aren’t) making a decision for all of our kids. Nor were we making a decision for Hayden’s entire future. That was paralyzing. Instead, we’ve been making a decision for one kid for one year at a time. With that said, it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Tell me a little about his past school experience (before CAK)?
As I mentioned earlier, it was positive. As a pastor in our community, we’ve worked hard as a church and as a family to build a lot of meaningful relationships in our local schools. As a result, I think Hayden always felt connected, loved, and supported by his teachers and faculty.
Has CAK lived up to your expectations? Was there anything that pleasantly surprised you?
Yes. What’s been most notable to us is the obvious effort to develop and grow students into balanced, well-rounded individuals who can thrive during these formative school years and then into the rest of their lives. The clear focus by teachers to prioritize the spiritual formation of each student has also really stood out to us.
How has CAK helped Hayden thrive?
Hayden has absolutely flourished academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually. CAK isn’t solely responsible for that. But, it’s been a big part of it. And for that, we’re super grateful!
What advice would you give families who are considering CAK?
If you are possibly in a situation where you think another option might be worth considering, do it. There’s nothing to lose! Also, maybe you were like us and never thought you could afford it. Certainly, there is a very gracious discount for children of pastors, but we’ve since learned about the thousands upon thousands of dollars that CAK gives away in general assistance to other families all across our community, too.
Are you involved in the CAK community as parents? In what way?
Yes. I am an Assistant Coach for the Middle School baseball program. Carrie has played in the annual tennis tournament. Carrie and I have contributed to the Warrior Fund and the Warrior Athletic Club. I also served as one of the parent representatives in the search process for our future Middle School principal. And, finally, I was honored to officiate the funeral of Dr. Perryman and then to share with the faculty the following morning.
For Hayden: What do you like best about CAK?
“I like the wide range of extracurricular opportunities. I participate in baseball and tennis, which are just a few of many options. I also enjoy the academic approach in how I am taught and what I have been able to learn. Lastly, I enjoy the many families and friends at CAK and how everyone feels welcome.”
If you are interested in learning more about CAK, we'd love to have you schedule a school tour. Contact our admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org