By William Croyle
TAYLOR MILL - Calvary Christian School opened in 1973 with about 60 students. Thirty years and 806 graduates later, there's a waiting list to get in.
The 672 students in preschool through 12th grade and the 53 faculty and staff members kicked off the 2003-04 school year Friday by releasing more than 700 balloons to celebrate 30 years in education.
The school was started at Calvary Baptist Church in Latonia by the Rev. Galen Call. Though still associated with the church, the school moved to its current location in Taylor Mill in 1975.
Address: 5955 Taylor Mill Road, Taylor Mill.
Founded: 1973 as part of the Calvary Baptist Church of Latonia.
Faculty and staff: 53.
Average class size: 24.
Information: (859) 356-9201.
"We sensed a need for the children of our church and the children of Northern Kentucky to have an education with a Christian world-life view," said Call, now the pastor of Los Gatos Christian Church in Los Gatos, Calif.
"I have to confess - it's surpassed the vision I had for it."
Call said the school started with just two or three grades the first year, with classes conducted inside the church. The school grew by a couple of grades each year, concluding with the addition of the high school grades in the late 1970s.
Administrator Don James, in charge of the day-to-day operations since 1986, has witnessed many changes over the past 17 years.
"We've seen growth in numbers, almost doubling the 360 kids we had when I started here," James said. "We were once a smaller family and are now a larger family, so we've had to adapt."
Over the past three decades, the private, nonprofit institution has developed a reputation of academic achievement, which attracts students from across the Tristate.
Mickie Thompson has two children at the school. They fight the rush-hour traffic to make the 30-minute commute from Union each morning.
"There's hardly anybody who drives less than a half-hour to get there," Thompson said. "I really like the atmosphere. The parents are very close-knit and the teachers are so dedicated. It's a great school."
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