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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Campus nears 30th year of service

Part 1 of a 2 part series on the campus founder. For part II of this series, read Educational advancements transform campus to read the March 22, 2006, article by Kaley Hearnsberger.

In September 1977, after much deliberation among Christian leaders in the Fresno area, the birth of a new school initiated a dedication to principled learning.

Silas Bartsch and Larry Ecklund, names that are imprinted in the foundations of this campus, voiced their vision to local pastors. Both men in independent situations, united by their same thoughts, were brought together with a common goal in mind.

Bartsch was a former Fresno Pacific University professor devoted to Christian education. One day, as he drove down Cedar and Dakota, he turned in to the Peoples Church, and shared his vision with pastor G.L. Johnson.

Similarly while fishing, Ecklund, also a previous FPU professor, envisioned the same idea for the school. He then went to his pastor and found ?divine confirmation.?

The initial motivation behind the school was to have more than one church involved. The founders desired a system of schools.

Originally named Fresno Christian Education System, the founders envisioned a multiple location school system located at different church sites.

With a multitude of affirmations from various city and church leaders, Bartsch and Eckland?s vision finally surfaced to form a Christian school.

Back when Bartsch and Eckland began vision collaborations, they faced many struggles with helping the different groups work together efficiently.

?What he felt was a right idea, he worked at it,? Nadine Bartsch, wife of Silas Bartsch, said. ?He was always charged up on new ideas.?

He sacrificed much of his time for the work he loved. His desire to listen to the opinions of others helped find a middle ground in which compromise united those with different backgrounds. His undying interest in education was shown through his passion and commitment to achievement.

?He was always trying to find a way to make things work,? Mrs. Bartsch said. ?If there was not a straight way he would go around it or above it.?

Through Bartsch?s 18 years in the Reedley educational system, he found that there was a problem with resolving the appeals by parents to make transferring schools easier.

?He was driven by the desire to provide an alternative for parents,? Mrs. Bartsch, said. ?He experienced the difficulties in transferring students at Reedley and wanted to provide Christian education.?

Bartsch?s commitment and passion to teacher education showed his commitment to all aspects of education. He constantly worked with pastor Johnson as an advisor on the school board in organizing and working through ideas and resolutions.

?He felt that the most important factor was the teachers that were hired,? Mrs. Bartsch said. ?He felt that the school should build up to 12 grades and start slowly to make room for growth.?

Mr. Bartsch died in October 2001, and is best remembered for his determination and commitment to making Christian education a success.

Ecklund collaborated with Mr. Bartsch and conversed on top of a hillside on dreams for the school.

Ecklund spent many years on the Fresno county board. He was the director of the Math and Science department at Fresno Pacific University.

He also desired quality Christian educators and sought to find those who walked what they professed. With a focus on excellence, Ecklund became involved in the interview process of the applying teachers to ensure authentic role models for students.

?He was a fun man, and he enjoyed people and they enjoyed him,? Marge Ecklund, wife of Larry Ecklund, said. ?He loved kids and loved education.?

With personal goals set aside, Ecklund surrendered to the call of God. His love for kids and God motivated the growth of the seeds implanted in the hearts of these two men.

Mr. Ecklund died June 1997 after serving the campus community for 22 years.

From vision to reality, with providential affirmations and willful workers, the school has remained steadfast to the original mission statement.

?I remember one time when Silas Bartsch came back to visit the teachers here,? Superintendent Tim Wilkins said. ?He talked about how proud he was that the essence of the school far exceeded his dreams. The very heart is still alive and well today.?

Mr. Bartsch and Mr. Eckland?s visions proved a success. The school has transformed from a 5 classroom K-6 program with 135 students to today?s K-12 with 416 students in the high school alone, and a progressing building development.

Nearly 30 years later, the school remains committed to its goals for Christian education. Providing students a ?taste of heaven? where people from different backgrounds can come together and learn to better represent Christ with knowledge.

The Feather staff welcome alumni stories, photos and other miscellaneous biographical information on the origins of the school. Please email to [email protected] or use the Send Your Idea button at the top of the left menu bar.

In order to read part II of this series, click on Educational advancements transform campus to read the March 22, 2006, article by Kaley Hearnsberger.

For more information on Fresno Christian Schools go to online at www.fresnochristian.com or contact the main office at 559.299.1695.

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  • K

    Kathy BelmontAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    He’s also one of my favorites…

    Reply
  • S

    Sheri LeeAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I’m thinking that cute little guy could be Cooper Belmont? (Looks a little bit like Chandler too…)

    Reply
  • M

    Mrs. AndersonAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Hasn’t changed a bit!

    Reply