Two farmers leaned against the tailgates of their pickups and talked of the coming school year when their children would enter those magic years. They wished they had the choice to send their kids to a Christian school. But, you see this is Northwest Kansas. The population is sparse. How could there be a Christian school in Northwest Kansas? Would enough families ever be committed to Christian education to make it work? They talked to a few more guys and a committee was formed to pursue the idea. After much prayer and seeking the Lord’s will, a meeting was announced in February 1995. This meeting would give the committee an idea of how much interest was actually out there, and if they should pursue this idea at all. To their amazement, 17 families were represented at that first meeting. The answer was definitely a “YES.” Yes, there were enough families committed to Christian education in Northwest Kansas to have a Christian School education choice.
By the summer of 1995, there were three teachers and 28 students on board. The Mingo Bible Church building was suitable for classroom space, a lunchroom, parent meetings, and school programs. The generosity of that congregation allowed for an agreement to use their facilities. Heartland Christian School officially began in September 1995.
By 1996 there were nearly 60 students enrolled and the church building was outgrown. We had to have one class in the basement of a nearby home. Something had to be done. We were able to purchase three modular classroom buildings from the Colby Public Schools. The modulars were moved to Mingo by tractors in February of 1997. Two modulars were classrooms and one was an office/classroom.
By 1998 it was apparent that Heartland Christian School needed the leadership of a full-time administrator. God graciously provided. The Board also began to pray about a permanent location for the school. On June 4, 1999, an anonymous gift of $250,000 was given to the school. It was then decided that the gift would be earmarked for a permanent location for Heartland. After months of research and prayer, a bid of $120,000 was made on the old Colby Plaza, an abandoned 78,000 square-foot shopping center, and 7 acres of land on West Highway 24 in Colby which was in bankruptcy. This property had last sold for $800,000! The bid was rejected. After more prayer and believing firmly that they were following God’s lead, in June of 2001 the board resubmitted an offer of $125,000 which was miraculously accepted. That means each square foot of the initial HCS building cost $1.61. However, the work was just beginning. One generous day, a former electrician felt led to take a sabbatical year from his current job as a spray pilot to give his time and attention fully to the renovation project. Another dad with a construction business brought in his construction crew and worked between his other jobs. Between these two men and numerous other volunteers, remodeling was completed and HCS began its first day of school at its new site in Colby on August 27, 2002. What a delight to see 56 children walking through the doors on their first day of school! New families were added during the school year, and by the second semester, there were 61 students enrolled at Heartland Christian School.
The 2003-2004 school years brought another exciting change as a high school program began with the addition of ninth grade. Another high school grade was added each new school year until the high school program was complete. As of September 2003, 68 students were enrolled from preschool through ninth grade. Another exciting addition this school year was the newly formed basketball program. One of the board members became the acting athletic director and volleyball was added to the HCS athletic program in the fall of 2004.
Heartland Christian School is a 501©(3) organization dedicated to providing quality Christian education to interested families in Northwestern Kansas for this generation and many more generations yet to come. Our purpose is unique, yet complete. It reads as follows: “The primary goal of Heartland Christian School is to train students spiritually. It is our desire to be the extension of the Biblical and educational training begun in a Christian home.” To obtain this purpose we have the following objectives: To encourage our students to reach their highest spiritual, intellectual, social, cultural, and physical potential. We see to present the truth about God, life, and the world.