From Challenging Vision to Eternal Value
Photo by Tammy Rosenfeldt
On October 15, 2017, exactly 30 years after the initial meeting where the concept of a Christ-centered academically excellent school in Northern Cincinnati was born, the Beshear family was recognized at the dedication of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy’s newest building, The Beshear Family Welcome Center.
The story begins in the fall of 1987, when a small group of families met in a Northeast Cincinnati home to dream, discuss and pray about the possibility of starting a non-denominational Christian School with excellent academics, a full complement of athletic and fine arts opportunities and an integrated Biblical studies curriculum that would help students grow in their faith and fully prepare them for college and beyond.
Ron and Mary Beshear were among the families who attended that meeting on October 15, 1987. As they listened to friends and neighbors cast a vision for Christian education, they – along with many others – became involved in a project that would affect not only their lives, but impact the lives of their children, grandchildren and thousands more. That vision became known as Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA).
After that initial meeting, the Beshears – along with Jane and Paul Trenz, Martha and Carl Lindner III, Cindy and Jim McVey, Joan and Ray Conn, Sally and Jim Fennell, Carol Lindner, Clark Sarver and Marie and Richard Johnson and several others – put their time, prayer, research and resources into the pursuit of this new Christian school.
Though worthy and admirable, this project was much bigger than the families actually understood at the time. Very early on, Ron clearly remembers Carl Lindner Jr. placing his hand on his shoulder and sharing, “Ron, you know this isn’t going to be easy.” While Lindner knew the journey was going to be challenging, his generosity and matching gifts over much time showed that he, too, believed in the eternal value of this great undertaking.
In 1988, a 25-acre parcel of former farmland in Northeast Cincinnati was purchased as a campus for the new school, which opened its doors in 1989 for 165 pre-K through grade seven students under the leadership of Richard Johnson.
Today, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy has graduated nearly 2,100 students, maintains an enrollment of 1,300 students and the school has expanded to a 45-acre campus in Northeast Cincinnati, in addition to an urban campus in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. True to the initial vision for a fully accredited non-denominational school, CHCA has earned numerous academic Blue Ribbon designations and accreditations, and a vibrant, diverse student body from over 40 zip codes, four countries and 150 different churches.
The Beshears say that the full complement of extra-curricular activities available to CHCA students is beyond anything the original founders imagined. CHCA offers everything from athletics, theatre and visual arts, to robotics, aquaponics, entrepreneurial studies, international exchange programs and so much more.
“Sharing the mission of CHCA has been a life-long mission for the Beshears,” says Anne Venters, CHCA’s Development Director. “For 28 years, they have been ‘all in’ in every aspect of the school – from sharing the mission with others, to philanthropic giving, to campaign planning, to volunteering in the classrooms – they have truly done it all. They have been fearless, faith-filled philanthropic leaders passionate about the mission of CHCA!”
Below is a brief overview of just a portion of their involvement in CHCA:
- CHCA Founding Committee (1987-1989)
- Ron Beshear, Board of Trustees (1988–1994, 2006-2009)
- Mary Beshear, Board of Trustees (1997-2003)
- Numerous Board Committee Positions including Executive, Education, Advancement and Campaigns
- Campaign Leadership raising $112,000,000 since the school’s inception, including the recent Light the Way Campaign, raising $10,000,000 for Innovation Spaces and Programming
- Numerous Event Chair Positions from Fundraising to Large Scale Community Events
- CHCA Graduates: Ben ’97, Robin ‘04
- Grandchildren Enrolled at CHCA: Logan ’29, Campbell ‘32
What the founding families and the many others who came alongside the core group started just 28 years ago is now a flourishing school where students find their place and discover their unique gifts each day. We look forward to seeing how the story of CHCA will continue to unfold.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Beshear Family Welcome Center is located at 8283 E. Kemper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45249. For more information, call 513.247.0900 or visit www.chca-oh.org.