In the spring of 1979, a nucleus of parents led by Pastor Don McMillan of First Baptist Church in Richland met to discuss the possibility of starting a Tri-Cities area Christian school. Pastor Mac (as he was affectionately referred to) served the Lord as pastor at First Baptist Church for 25 years and had a vision for a Christian school that would benefit children throughout the Tri-Cities academically and spiritually. The school began in the fall of 1980 with approximately eighty students under the leadership of Mr. Dale Phillips, the first principal.
As the school expanded, classes met in Sunday School classrooms at various churches around the Tri-Cities and even rented rooms for a time from Richland School District in the Spaulding school building. In 1997, a group of praying moms asked God to provide a building that Liberty could call its own. The Spaulding school building, which had been mothballed by the local school district, had a fire break out, destroying the north wing of the campus. LCS had previously approached the district to purchase the property, but the price was simply too high.
Now with the fire, Richland was ready to sell. God works in amazing ways. Even though extensive renovating would be required, Liberty now owned a school building on a beautiful 19-acre campus in the heart of Richland.
In the fall of 2000, K4 through sixth grade held their first classes in their very own school. It was a day of great rejoicing, but there was still much to be accomplished to complete a secondary wing. Three years later, the entire school, K4-12, was finally housed on the same campus. A brand new science lab was provided through a grant from Battelle Laboratories. However, it was through the sacrifice and dedication of hundreds of volunteers, parents, and Golden Grandpas that Liberty Christian School was now ready to take on the future. It was the fulfillment of many prayers and strategic planning by the board.
One part of the building remains to be renovated. The old cafeteria is a large space currently used for storage and maintenance.
During the early 2000s, Liberty experienced growth until the nationwide economic recession brought in a season of challenges. Through much prayer, effort, sacrifice, and by God's grace, the school weathered those storms. Enrollment stabilized for the 2012-2013 school year after a loss of several hundred students. Since that time, the school has had an enrollment that has fluctuated annually between 380 and 410 students.
During a time of unexpected quarantine, the Liberty board and administration quickly decided to pursue all of the requirements to open for on-campus in-person, physically distant classes for the fall of 2020. Our mission is to provide a biblically-based education, marked by academic excellence, in a nurturing atmosphere. Spring of 2020 demonstrated to our staff that online learning was not sufficient in educating the whole child: academically, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Our school has been held in-person and unshaken since the last week of August 2020!
While our entire community has been unable to do much in the face of the government restrictions on gathering indoors, we have students on our waitlist at all grade levels, and due to space limitations, our facility is unable to accommodate any more students.
The Lord has led us through 40 years of ministry and we are excited about where He will lead us in the next 40. A little bit of unfinished business from the original vision for the LCS campus is the Old Cafeteria. We are referring to it now as our valley of dry bones as it’s explained in Ezekiel 37, and God has positioned LCS to start the work of putting sinews and muscle and flesh on this area of campus and have Him resurrect it for the benefit of our students!
The old cafeteria will become the new Fine Arts Wing of the campus, with the ability to set up three classroom spaces or open it up for performance space. The kitchen will be modified to provide for our food prep and lunch program (lunches will continue to be eaten in classrooms). An additional instructional and activity space, bathroom facilities, a student coffee shop area, and a food court are also planned. Covered hallway space connecting the gym, secondary wing, and fine arts wing are strategically placed. There is also space for maintenance and janitorial supplies and storage.
Donor relationships, grant proposals, and next year’s fund-a-need are all key resources we will be seeking. God blessed us with over $125,000 in seed funding through the generosity of supports through the 2021 Patriot Auction Fund-A-Need Appeal.
We will be sharing some further breakdowns of the phases and timelines as they develop. We are committed to moving forward with the project without encumbering LCS with any further debt.
Here is a rough breakdown of the funding needed to complete this project:
*Fine Arts Wing Remodel and Expansion = $2 Million
*New Parking Lot = $135,000
*5-Classroom Addition on Elementary Wing = $925,000
*New Field House = $540,000
*TOTAL for all Projects = $3.6 Million
Please pray along with us and pitch in with your time, treasure and talent as opportunities arise to accomplish this project for our student and their future!
LCS…Preparing Global Ambassadors
This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones, “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.“ Ezekiel 37:5
Transitioning into the Development & Marketing Coordinator position here at Liberty mid-year was quite a challenge. However, the Lord's grace remains faithfully evident through donations and the financial provision as last school year ended. Our auction raised over $105,000 and the 2018-2019 fiscal year Patriot Fund total exceeded our yearly goal. I'm forever thankful that His hands are in the middle of my work, and I give the honor to Whom it's due.
Our donors not only met our Patriot Fund goal but provided money for this year's Fund-a-Need project, a new phone system, which was installed over the summer break. We are so grateful for each and every donor who has sacrificially supported us financially, as well as those who sacrificially give their time.
Our fundraising events play a huge role in how we bridge our tuition income and operating expense gap. But our donors are not the only part of our community that can make a significant contribution.
Tammy Mattoon has served on the auction committee for several years now. Part of her volunteer position is to help facilitate the procurement of donated items. Tammy, each year, approaches several businesses to inquire about potential donations. After three years of only receiving baskets from Gesa Credit Union, 2019 was different. They donated a beautiful basket and sponsored the event!
Being my first Denim & Diamonds auction, the evening of April 27th was a bit of a whirlwind for me. I remember not necessarily knowing what to do as all the pieces we prepared were now in motion. I sat back, tried to take it all in, and made observations of potential improvements for years to come. After I introduced myself and closed the night, two gentlemen from the Gesa table pulled me aside and asked to speak with Jim and me. They began to tell us about how their company is passionate about schools, educators, and students and would like to partner with Liberty.
Flash forward to yesterday, August 15th, 2019. Gesa hosted co-branded debit card reception announcing the total awards for the participating school districts. Richland School District raised just over $43,000 and Kennewick $42,000 through Gesa's Affinity Card program. Mr. Cochran and I, along with a table of other staff and faculty representing Liberty, accepted a $2,000 award for the launch of our partnership with Gesa starting this fall. Soon, you will be able to request a co-branded debit card at any Gesa Credit Union branch. This card will not only create visual awareness for the community, but Gesa donates back to Liberty every time each card is used.
There will be more details to come, but for now, I am beyond thankful for every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, alumni, staff, and beyond whom choose to continually come together in unity with their individual giftings making Liberty what it is today. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.
Here's to braving new heights this 40th year!
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us" - Ephesians 3:20
UPDATE: The cards are now available at any of the 18 Gesa locations. It is absolutely free to switch your card.
Development & Marketing Coordinator
Why Liberty? Because Liberty is my home. I came to liberty in 5th grade, after moving here from Gresham, Oregon. To be quite honest, when I first started school here, I was terrified. At the Christian school I previously attended, there were five kids in my entire grade. 5. So when I realized that there were 40 at LCS, I was incredibly nervous. But thankfully, not too long after school started, I felt comfortable, not only because the students were friendly, but the overall atmosphere made coming to school enjoyable. Throughout my years at Liberty, not only was I growing closer and closer with my peers, but my relationship with Christ was flourishing as well. The spiritual renewals, class retreats, chapels, and Bible classes kept me constantly engaged with the Lord, and I was at a point in my life where I could always feel the presence of the Spirit. There was not a time where I didn’t have someone to talk to about my spiritual or personal problems, and I was always able to find someone to pray with or pray for me. But as my eighth grade year came to an end, I decided to transfer to a public school.
The reason why I decided to leave was because my parents and I were convinced I needed to expand my horizons and be out of school where there were more athletic and academic opportunities, the bigger campus, and to meet new faces. We all believed that I needed to see the ”real world,” in order to properly prepare me for college. My first two years of high school were quite a breeze. I was just getting used to the new environment, and figuring out where I belonged. My life was so consumed with people and sports that I hadn’t even noticed how quickly I was growing apart from Christ. I found myself praying only when I needed something, and on Sundays, I didn’t feel like going to church was necessary. I struggled to make God a priority, because I had been an environment where the Spirit of Christ was nonexistent.
For 3 ½ years, I settled for that. Here and there, I would ask my parents to pray with me because I wanted to kick-start my faith again. Right after I recited a prayer for the Lord to speak to me, the hope of hearing His voice immediately flushed out as soon as I went back to school. Being surrounded by people who lived every day without the love of Christ made it easy for me to forget what mattered most in my life. It took me nearly 4 years of high school to realize that I was lost. Just a couple weeks ago, I woke up with a sudden realization that something needed to change. I was emotionally drained from feeling empty inside, but not being able to explain what was causing me to feel that way. I decided to sit down with my parents and tell them exactly how I felt. They told me to pray about it, and figure out what I really needed. After praying about it and weighing out the pros and cons of coming back to Liberty, I decided that I needed to come home. Being at Liberty has served as a building block in my life, as it has sculpted much of who I am today. I realize that my years at Liberty were the ones where I found myself the most spiritually connected, and that is because LCS is a community. A community is a group that shares a common interest, and here, that interest is our passion to follow Christ.
So here I am, back home again. I want to thank my parents for supporting my decision, and I want to thank my Liberty family for being so welcoming to take me back. And above all, I want to thank the Father for guiding me home.
January 29, 2019