One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. – Psalm 145:4
Trinity Christian School was founded in 1953 under the name Christian School of Wilkinsburg. The school was begun by the Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) under the leadership of the Rev. Calvin Knox Cummings. He and the church elders saw a need for providing a highly academic day-school within the framework of a Reformed Biblical perspective. After years of prayerful consideration and research, the school began with 49 kindergarten students housed at the Covenant OPC building on Graham Boulevard. “It was a small idea that grew into something big,” stated Carlton Smith, son of one of the founding Covenant OPC members John C. (Jack) Smith. Smith was too old to attend the school when it was opened, but he contributed to the school as a teenage volunteer. “I was 14 or 15 years old and learning to do auto body work when the school bought a bus. I painted that white bus behind the Covenant OPC manse,” reflected Smith, now retired and living in South Carolina. The bus was used to transport students to the Graham Boulevard school location. By 1960, enrollment reached 140 students in kindergarten through 6th grade. The school then added a middle school and celebrated their first 8th grade graduation in 1969. In the 1970s the school relocated to Mulberry Lane in Penn Hills. The name ‘Christian School of Wilkinsburg’ was then changed to Trinity Christian School in 1977. The campus was again relocated to the former Thad Stevens School, during which time a high school was added in 1979. The first high school class, which included 9 students (see photo below), graduated in 1983. After the consolidation that resulted in the creation of the current Woodland Hills School district, Trinity purchased the former Forest Hills Middle School building in 1989. The dedication of the current school building occurred on January 20, 1990. The dedication plaque, still hanging in the school lobby, states:
This facility is dedicated to the glory of God with grateful recognition to the countless individuals who generously gave their time and talents in its acquisition and renovation.
Middle schoolers love to debate, and they have much to say. We have witnessed two 8th graders arguing whether or not teenagers should get an allowance for chores, and a group of 7th graders debating which is better: Marvel or DC Comics! Teachers make the most of this adolescent passion by incorporating debate skills in the classroom. This year, we took it to a whole new level by conducting a two-week collaborative unit: Pandemic.
The Pandemic Theme was woven into each lesson plan of the day. Pandemic literature meant reading Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. Pandemic history explored how governments have responded to rapidly spreading viruses. Pandemic science focused on diseases. The Biblical worldview was also examined, specifically the Church’s response to pandemics such as the Black Plague and AIDS.
Our special guest, microbiologist Robert Edgar, spoke regarding God’s reign in all areas of our lives--from minutest cell to the expanse of the universe. Mr. Edgar not only discussed the science aspect of pandemics, he also explained that the greatest pandemic of all is our own sin. In the midst of studying pandemics, it was good to reflect upon the fact that the Lord is in control and will make all things new. How wonderful that Jesus is the Healer and Redeemer!
Our unit culminated with a formal debate. The topics included: ethics of stem cell research, social media use during crisis, and government’s role in a pandemic. Every student contributed to the debate team: researching platforms, composing speeches, forming rebuttals, and writing closing remarks.
The collaborative unit was rewarding, evidenced in the quality of the students’ debates. We plan on continuing this new tradition of a two-week themed study, so stay tuned for an announcement of next year’s topic!