Brethren Christian High School
|Brethren Christian Jr.
& Sr. High School
21141 Strathmoor Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
bchs.net • firstname.lastname@example.org
An ever-expanding register of statistics and honors verifies the remarkable accomplishments of the students at Brethren Christian Junior & Senior High School. Nearly 95 percent of them advance directly to higher education following graduation. They consistently score more than 100 points above state and national averages on college SATs. Nearly 32 percent are enrolled in Advanced Placement classes. They just earned their school one of only five Achievement Awards annually conferred by Arts Orange County, the official arts council that rarely gives the award to individual schools.
Their jazz bands are so smokin’ hot that they’ve been invited to jam at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Their theatrical productions play to packed houses and win award after award from major performing arts organizations, including the MACY’s Childress Award in 2010. Fully 88 percent of the students are enrolled in instrumental music, choral music, drama, and/or fine arts classes. Their 26 athletic teams compete in nine CIF sports, with recent championships in basketball and volleyball. Their Varsity football, under the leadership of former NFL player Pat McInally – the only NFL prospect to achieve a perfect score on the Wonderlic intelligence test – is looking more formidable every day.
In short, this is a school whose nearly 400 students make a considerable mark in almost every endeavor involving academics and the arts. Yet if you asked students or parents what makes 65-year-old Brethren Christian, Orange County’s only independent non-denominational evangelical Christian junior-senior high school, so special, you’ll probably never hear a thing about all those awards and statistics.
Instead, you’ll hear about how every student fits in somehow. You’ll hear about how Katie, who’d never played tennis in her life before she came to Brethren, is now a senior ranking high in a tennis league including exclusive private schools. You’ll hear how Justin, who could barely whistle as a seventh grader, is already excelling in classical and jazz groups, and he’s only in 11th grade. You’ll hear comments on the happy lack of social cliques and negative peer pressure. Most amazing, you’ll hear kids in junior high, arguably the most difficult years of adolescence, tell how much they like going to school and love their teachers. Don’t believe it? Read the reviews at the esteemed school-search clearinghouse greatschools.org.
“I think we do so well because we are truly a Christian school,” says Janine Ransom, Director of Advancement at Brethren Christian. “There’s an underlying current that we do all things ultimately for the glory of God, and therefore pursue excellence and admire excellence.”
She speculates another key to the students’ unusual harmony is having sixth through twelfth grades on the same campus. While the junior and senior high schools operate separately, junior high students have the opportunity to take advanced academic coursework. The younger kids look up to older students as role models, and older students take their roles seriously, because they were once themselves those younger kids.
“We partner with parents with the understanding that they are the authorities in their child’s life. Our students come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some are from overseas, but most are from families living within a 30-mile radius of the school,” Ransom says. “We’re in a quiet neighborhood only a mile from the beach and about 20 minutes from most Orange County locations. It’s been said we’re a little bit ‘Mayberry,’ in a good way. There’s a welcoming attitude here. It makes for happy, well-rounded students comfortable achieving great things because they’re all doing it together.”