A Jan. 27 open house

Banks Christian Academy is 30 years old — and what a ride it's been.

The private school was created in 1983 by four families with "a desire for affordable Christian Education," said Karen Daskalaskis, BCA's office assistant, and has endured and thrived for three decades.

BCA has had several emanations. The school — which now employs seven full-time teachers and enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through ninth-grade — was first located at Blesthaven, a retreat center on Strassel Road just outside Buxton.

Later, the school moved to a farm on Woolen Road in Banks "where kids had recess in the barn or riding horses," Daskalaskis noted. Classes were held for a year in various homes in the Banks area, and in 1988 moved into renovated space inside the old Jim's Supermarket in town. Classes were also held at the Legion Hall in Banks and the Banks United Methodist Church.

In 2000 the academy moved to its permanent location, the former Buxton Elementary School on Northwest Fisher Road.

The school's rural location, high level of community involvement and small class sizes have all contributed to its popularity, Daskalaskis said. Enrollment peaked from 1988 to 2000, "when we were more centrally located in Banks," she added, at an average of 132 students. Today, with class sizes limited to 18 in first- through fourth-grade and 24 in fifth- through ninth-grade, average enrollment is 80 to 95 students a year. Tuition is $3,500 a year.

"The school's mission of affordable high quality education has not changed," noted Daskalaskis.

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