By Marsha Bartulec – Erie, Colorado … Vista Ridge Academy kicked off the new school year celebrating in-person classes, an expansion of early childhood education options, and 36 new students.

In response to growth in the community and demand for early childhood education, Vista Ridge Academy expanded its early childhood education program by adding an additional room, creating a dedicated preschool (3-year-olds) room, and a dedicated Pre-K (4-year-olds) room.

After parents dropped off their children, the parents attended the annual boo-hoo or yahoo breakfast. The name of the event represented parents’ feelings toward the first day of school, parents may feel sad to drop off their students, hence boo-hoo, or they may be excited to drop off their pupils, hence yahoo.

Brittany McLachlan, school board member and parent of a kindergartener, is thankful her son can be in-person learning this school year. “We hope our son learns to be brave and be kind. We want him to show Jesus in all that he does and have the best time ever learning new things,” said McLachlan.

Brenda Garcia, a new parent at VRA of a fifth-grader and seventh-grader, is thrilled to have her daughters attend Vista Ridge Academy. “I wanted my girls to try something new. We like the environment, and everyone is really nice,” said Garcia.

After breakfast, the day continued with a dedication prayer service on the soccer field. Teachers and staff were introduced, followed by Herbert Hernandez, Chapel Haven pastor, Geoff Patterson, lead pastor at Boulder, and J. Murdock, associate pastor at Boulder, who led in the prayer of dedication for the school year.

Patterson is excited about this school year. “The staff has done an amazing job getting everything prepared, especially with the addition of new classes, and moving into rooms that weren’t used shows innovative thinking and skill on the part of the leadership. The facilities here are just fantastic. The field and the building are in such good shape and kept up so well. It is a good representation of what a Christian school ought to be.”

Students are happy to be back in school. One student in the first and second grade classroom said, “I love this school! It’s way better than I expected. I can’t wait to come back tomorrow.”

Sandy Hodgson, principal, agrees. “We look forward to learning together with our students and families and pray for God’s blessings on another great year.”

Vista Ridge Academy has 101 students enrolled for the academic year.

–Marsha Bartulec is vice-principal for administration at Vista Ridge Academy; photos by Rebecca Murdock, Marit Guild, and Shondra Cizek