HCA recognizes that formal schooling is less a mechanical, scientific equation and more a cooperative, personal nurturing of individual lives. This is why creating a school culture that supports learning, friendship, and love – a Christian Environment – is one of HCA’s three guiding principles. Education research has verified what personal experience indicates – that a safe, welcoming school environment increases student achievement and personal satisfaction.
What is a Christian Environment? A school’s environment is a complex phenomenon that begins with first impressions of campus, individual encounters with teachers and other students, and continues with how policies are implemented and enforced. A Christian Environment is one that takes its lead from Christ’s own example and from the principles for living found in God’s Word. We want the experiences that a child has at HCA to help develop his heart toward God, not away from Him.
Why do we believe in a Christian Environment? Whether its philosophy of education is admitted openly or not, every academic institution does in fact own a philosophy, guiding its leaders to include certain elements they consider helpful and to exclude certain other elements they consider harmful. The administration and teachers at HCA hold a Christian philosophy of education which guides not only the formal policies and functions, but more importantly, the casual interactions and life connections with students, parents, and the public. We do not believe that a Christian spirit of love and excellence can replace the work of regeneration in a student’s heart, but that it will prepare the heart’s soil to more readily receive both academic and eternal truths. Famous American statesman, Daniel Webster, affirmed the importance of Christian principles when he wrote, “whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens”.
How do we create a Christian Environment? HCA’s policies and expectations for both staff and students are built off of Christ’s own summary of God’s law – love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-31). Behavior that violates these two principles is prohibited in policy, lovingly corrected in practice, and avoided in our personal life example. Likewise, behavior that puts others and God ahead of self is encouraged in policy, praised in the classrooms, and modeled by the teachers.
What are the effects of a Christian Environment? The results of this kind of school culture are widespread and positive. Students are free to study hard, push their limits, and develop their talents without fear of bullying, discrimination, or favoritism. Parents are secure in knowing that their children will be taught, disciplined, and corrected in love. Teachers are able to focus on inspiring growth and learning without constant interruptions or resistance. We see from both precept and experience that when a man pleases the Lord, he can make even his enemies to be at peace with him (Prov. 16:7).