Archive for September, 2014

Building Athletes With Character

by Kevin McGinley, Athletic Director

In our sports-crazed culture where athletes are idolized and winning is often emphasized more than character, the HCA athletic program has a distinct purpose:

To develop life-long followers of Christ who demonstrate His character, conduct, and compassion while competing with excellence and determination.

This primary purpose fuels all we do in our sports program.

As an extension of the school’s academic mission, the HCA athletic program partners with families to disciple our student-athletes while training them to compete with skill and all-out effort that never quits. Win or lose, we want to make sure we are fulfilling our purpose and representing Christ to the world.

Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?” We might also say, “What does it mean to win a contest and yet forfeit our witness for Christ?” While winning is one of our main goals, it is not our primary purpose. Our primary aim is the development of our student-athletes as disciples of Jesus Christ who exemplify who He is both on and off the court or field.

To this end, our coaches emphasize not only the physical development of our players, but also their spiritual development. Through prayer, team devotions, and mutual encouragement, our student-athletes are exhorted to grow more like Christ every day. They learn self-discipline, teamwork, selflessness, determination, endurance, integrity, sacrifice, responsibility, and many other character traits that will serve them well in athletics, and in life.

Our sports program offers a unique opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s love and share the gospel with those who do not know Him. Of the 14 teams in our high school league, there are 8 public schools. Of the 15 teams in our middle school league, there are 8 public schools. Every time we host one of these schools, or travel to their site, we have the amazing opportunity to show them what Jesus is like. We may be the only Bible they ever read.

We need everyone to contribute to the fulfillment of our purpose, not just our coaches and players. We also need parents and fans to model good sportsmanship, respect, and love wherever we go. They will know we are Christ-followers by our love. Let’s make sure we aren’t caught up in the world’s culture that sacrifices character for the sake of a win. Together, let’s create a culture of Christ-like character, conduct, and compassion, that shines His light to everyone around us.


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What Academic Excellence Means at HCA

by Dr. Stacy Loyd, Academic Dean

We live in a community that offers many educational opportunities. Each school has specific characteristics and strives to provide specific learning experiences for students. Our specific vision at Heritage Christian Academy (HCA) is to equip and nurture each student to be a servant leader with a biblical worldview who will impact the world for Christ.

As we partner with parents to accomplish this vision, we believe that it is our responsibility to purposefully plan for teaching and learning that is “academic excellence.” We understand that true academic excellence is not characterized by a specific scope-and-sequence or test scores. Three distinctives color the learning experiences for HCA students and make us a unique school in Fort Collins:

  1. Learning that honors God’s principle of individuality.
  2. Learning that holds students to the I Corinthians 10:31 standard.
  3. Learning built upon truly relevant content. . .God’s Word.

Academic excellence at HCA begins with planning instruction that teaches students God’s principle of individuality. Knowing and valuing that each student is created in God’s image, the learning objective is for students to see ever more clearly that their Creator has a unique plan for them. We are inspired to equip them with all the skills, knowledge, and wisdom they need to passionately pursue His individual plan for their lives.

Academic excellence at HCA is characterized by curriculum, expectations, and relationships that hold students accountable to the I Corinthians 10:31 standard: “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Academic excellence requires students to practice scholarly habits and provides students with opportunities to glorify God with their academic activities. Whether it is preparing for a math quiz, engaging in a class discussion, or reading a novel, doing school to the glory of God requires students to practice Christian self-government and fully commit to completing each learning task for God’s glory.

Academic excellence at HCA is characterized by truly relevant curriculum. Because students need to be prepared for jobs that don’t yet exist and be equipped with skills that have yet to be defined, academic excellence must be characterized by relevant curriculum. The most relevant content for students to master as they train to be servant leaders for Christ is God’s Word. Academic excellence is teaching the each student to think Biblically and guiding them as they develop a Christian worldview.

Our school shines out among the schools in our community because of our three important pillars: authentic faith, academic excellence, and a nurturing environment. But we understand that our key distinctive is to be a school where students are taught the foundational truths for developing an authentic faith in the only One who defines excellence.

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The Heritage Family

by Joe Packard, HCA coach & Bible teacher

In the fall of 1999, I walked away from winning a college team national championship that my teammates and I has dreamed of feeling empty and alone. I had friends, and together we had success, but I longed for a sense of satisfaction and family.

Today, I walked into a building where I get to teach junior high students the Bible and coach high school students in cross country, basketball, and track and field. I watch my preschool son receive a hug and a prayer from his teacher every day. He smiles so big every time. Last night, as I rushed home from practice, dinner was waiting for me on the hood of my car. A school mom had made a delicious meal that lasted us two nights. My wife was floored.

Last spring I huddled up a group of probably 70 people or so, right after we won our 2nd consecutive state title in boys track. The girls were state runner up as a team that same day. I had them link up in a giant circle. I stood in the middle, and slowly spun around, trying to take it all in. I knew the names of every family member, not just athletes but brothers, sisters, and parents. It gave me a sense of satisfaction and family beyond words, and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced outside my own home or in just a handful of times at my church. I wept tears of real joy.

But the best part of this place, of what I’ve experienced at HCA, is the real work of Jesus Christ in young people and their families. I’ve seen miracles; ask me about them anytime. I’ve seen students and families rescued from darkness and despair. I’ve seen lives transformed and healed. I’ve watched kids grow into genuine difference makers in this world. That’s why my son goes to preschool here, why I teach here, why I coach here. Because Jesus is made much of here, and he turns right around and makes much here.

I receive regular emails from student athletes, coaches, and parents around the state of Colorado. They may reference the exceptional effort our athletes exerted in competition or the sportsmanship and class we showed in victory or defeat. But most often, they reference something different. They often reference a genuine display of unique and refreshing Christian character in a world where many claim Christ but don’t leave his impression on others. Heritage Christian is making a difference, all over the place, in all kinds of lives, in the Name and Spirit of Jesus Christ.

I weigh a good deal more than I did back in 1999. But I walk taller, prouder, stronger because I bleed Heritage Christian green and get to be a small part of such a great place everyday. I have the support and encouragement I need from a school community that functions like family. I see, experience, and share success AND fulfillment. And the source of it all is a Great God who graciously invites us to walk with him.

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Choosing New Books Wisely: “The Little Grey Men”

Written and Illustrated by BB (Denys Watkins-Pitchford)

In 1942, according to the author, there were only four gnomes left in Britain; now, one supposes, there are none. In this epic tale, the last gnomes of Britain, three tiny brothers, decide to go on a quest to find their missing brother, Cloudberry.

I agree with book reviewer Saeida when she shares that “You are reduced to their tiny size as you read, so that you flinch when a small woodland creature comes crashing through the undergrowth toward you. The story is interesting enough on its own, but the descriptions of the flora, fauna and faerie, along with the magical illustrations by the author make it perfect” (

The Little Grey Men is one of the early novels of prolific naturalist writer Denys Watkins-Pitchford, who wrote under the pseudonym B.B.. The book is a lovely tribute to the vanishing English countryside and, thematically leans more toward the author’s naturalist interests than toward wee-folk fantasy. The naturalist’s world view is evidenced in the detailed descriptions of the charming setting and as he shares that the gnomes are worshippers of an ancient wilderness deity which dramatically appears during this adventure tale.

The Little Grey Men lends itself well to the read-aloud format (excellent audio version available) and may inspire young readers to read the sequel Bright Stream.

Recommended as a read-aloud for HCA listeners first grade and older and as an independent read for third grade and older.

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