Valley Christian Schools (VCS) in Chandler, AZ announced it has received a $3 million gift, the largest cash donation in the 40-year history of the organization. The transformational gift was made by a Legacy VCS family with 10 grandchildren at the school. A Legacy family is one that includes at least two generations of students that have attended the school.
The gift was made as part of the recently announced VCS Impact Fund, the second phase of the school’s Secure the Future campaign. The donor family worked alongside VCS leadership to direct the gift toward the building of the Trinity Theatre at the Valley Impact Center. This Center will serve not only as a large gathering space on the school’s high school campus, but will be well-equipped to produce worship and performing arts events. The Valley Impact Center will serve as the spiritual and worship arts hub for the school’s three campuses, used daily for high school academics and regularly for performing arts, staff development, chapels, and worship. This facility will not only serve VCS students at every grade level, but will also serve other community and strategic partners.
During the Heritage 1,000 Campaign, families from the Valley Christian community gave $1,000 at a time to
the school to help build this campus.
More than 20 years later, these names still stand engraved in the hallway between the front office and Barnes Hall, as a thank you for laying the foundation of a Top 50 Christian high school in the nation.
Lanes at the Kuiper Track
Opened on the east end of campus in 2001, the recently-named Kuiper Track plays host to the state champion and nationally-recognized boys and girls track & field teams. One of the finest all-weather tracks in the state, Kuiper Track is known for its quick times and comfortable running.
When it was resurfaced in 2011, a number of donors stepped up to make sure that the track would be a constant reminder of the Trojans’ unparalleled success not only in Arizona, but in the nation. The Trojans have won a state-high 29 state track & field championships since 1985, including a national record 15 consecutive state titles between 1996 and 2010 for the girls program.
The track is named after hall of fame track & field coach Dan Kuiper. Kuiper is one of the state’s all-time winningest coaches in any sport. He stepped down as head coach in 2014 to serve as the school’s administrator.
In 2015, Benson Field and Kuiper Track were featured in a New Balance commercial starring Dustin Pedroia, Jenny Simpson and Kenny Mayne.
The first building on the school’s Chandler campus, the Bradley Gym was built in 1997 as a gift from former Tempe mayor Elmer Bradley to Valley Christian High School.
The gym has seating for more than 530 guests plus temporary seating options and is the home court for the Trojan volleyball, basketball and wrestling teams. The facility also hosts chapels, numerous school events, junior high games, and tournaments. In addition to the main court, the building also features three locker rooms, a training room, state-of-the-art weight room, cheer room and athletic offices. Lining the walls of the gym are the Trojans’ 65 State Championships and 32 State Runner-up finishes.
The 408 square foot mural of a cross and Trojan helmet, shield and sword breaking through the gym wall with the picturesque Superstition Mountains in the background is an iconic feature of the gym. When game time comes it is hard not to notice the home-court advantage as the lights dim. The in-game experience is equally impressive and features current game stats, passionate Trojan fans and students and some of the top cheerleaders in the state.
Mom’s Pantry Pavilion at the Softball Field
Located on the corner of Galveston and 56th Street, one of the state’s finest fields serves as a gateway to the Valley Christian campus.
In 2014, the school took the next step toward completing the Growing the Vision Campaign and the school’s master plan by building the Trojan Softball Field. Sparked by the first softball field on a Valley Christian campus in history, the Trojan softball team broke in the field with not only a win in the opening game, but a no-hitter. The team made an unprecedented run to the state championship game, finishing runner-up in an extra-inning affair.
An anonymous donor began the giving with a $100,000 donation, nearly half of the total bill for the project. Additional gifts came from local businesses through banner sponsorship, alumni and community members through brick purchases, and a sizeable gift from local food bank Mom’s Pantry.
Once the parking lot, storage facility, and concession stands are built, we are excited to welcome guests to Mom’s Pantry Pavilion.
Another anonymous donor donated the state-of-the-art scoreboard at Trojan Softball Field in right center field, dedicating it to long-time Valley Christian teacher, coach, and statistician Al Nelson. The facility also provides additional parking for special events at the school.
Beach Volleyball Courts
We were very honored to dedicate our new beach volleyball courts on campus in March 2018 at a ceremony before our home opener. More than 100 people turned out to join in the dedication of the courts and watch the Trojans sweep River Valley, 5-0.
Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from the Plummer family, we immediately had a top 3 beach volleyball complex in the state and the best complex for division 2 schools. This donation covered the absolute best quality sand, fantastic equipment, excellent construction, high quality shade structures, and most importantly, on-campus courts.
Valley Christian High School was founded in 1982 by Jim Carpenter, Guy Davidson, Richard Hatfield, Harold Molenaar, Michael Tucker, and Steve Yarbrough, each of whom continued their work on the Board of Directors for a number of years.
We are forever grateful to these six men for identifying the need of a Christian high school in the East Valley so many years ago.
Opened on the east end of campus in 2001, Benson Field plays host to the Trojan football, soccer and track & field teams.
Named after longtime teacher and the first football coach in program history, Bernie Benson, the field is quaintly tucked between the main campus, neighboring homes and the railroad tracks. The opening of the field in 2001 was played in front of an overflow crowd despite a downpour of rain and was televised live across the state as the Arizona High School Game of the Week. The first play saw Trojan star Quinton McCoy take the opening kickoff for a touchdown and a quick first score on the new field.
In 2015, Benson Field and Kuiper Track were featured in a New Balance commercial starring Dustin Pedroia, Jenny Simpson and Kenny Mayne.
Kuiper Track is one of the finest all-weather tracks in the state, known for its quick times and comfortable running. Resurfaced in 2011, the track is a constant reminder of the Trojans’ unparalleled success not only in Arizona, but in the nation, when it comes to Track & Field.
The Trojans have won a state-high 29 state track & field championships since 1985. The girls program won a national record 15 consecutive state titles between 1996 and 2010. The track is named after hall of fame track & field coach Dan Kuiper. Kuiper is one of the state’s all-time winningest coaches in any sport, and was twice named the National Track Coach of the Year. He stepped down as head coach in 2014 to serve as the school’s administrator.
Honey Bear’s BBQ
The Smith family and Honey Bears BBQ have been a fixture of the Valley Christian community since 1998. They have graduated six children from VCHS, beginning with Mark Jr. in 2002 and including Santana 2003, Shamara 2005, Shamesha 2007, Shanel 2009, and Sabriya in 2017.
Although the Smith family is often recognized for their athletic prowess, the Smith’s generosity is not limited to the athletic program, but has included fine arts events, community events, the Valley Christian auction, and numerous other events over the past 19 years. Mark and Anna were recognized with the Director’s Award in 2003, given by the Board of Directors in recognition of outstanding service to Valley Christian High School. Honey Bears BBQ has provided meals for more than 1,500 graduates since 1998, as well as countless families, friends, and often even opponents.
To recognize the Smith family, Valley Christian High School has installed a permanent banner above the snack bar in the Bradley Gymnasium lobby, which stands as a testament to their generosity and service.
In the front office, we also honor the recipients of our annual “Director’s Award,” given for outstanding service to Valley Christian High School. Each year, the Board of Directors presents this award to a family who represents the generosity of our community, especially through gifts of time and talent. These families do not necessarily put in the highest number of hours, but embody the spirit of generosity that has made Valley Christian High School such a pillar of the East Valley.
Browse through the names of Director’s Award winners, and certainly you’ll see names and families that you recognize. Thanks to all of our families for their service to VCHS, and especially to these families for their steadfast support!
Barnes Assembly Hall
Barry Barnes was the Bible teacher and spiritual life director (of sorts) for many years at Valley Christian High School. Barry had a profound effect on students because of his outpouring of love to them. He had a deep love for the Word of God and imparted it to students in a very special and relatable way. He was never ashamed of the Gospel and boldly proclaimed God’s word. For His years of service, our Assembly Hall was named after Mr. Barnes.
These days, Barnes Assembly Hall is referred to just as “Barnes,” but it has acted as a venue for numerous events over the years. Once called the “Cafe-Chape-Torium,” Barnes serves daily as the lunchroom, and once served as the venue for Chapel each week. Extravagant sets are designed for the spring play each year in Barnes, and the wrestling mats make their way out each winter afternoon for our Wrestling program. Open Houses, community events, and countless other events are hosted each year in “Barnes.” As of 2016-17, Barry Barnes is acting as the Chaplain/Counselor at Chandler Christian Academy, one of Valley Christian’s outstanding feeder schools.
Broek Athletic Complex
Created in 2012 to honor former athletic director Marlin Broek’s 29 years of service and dedication to Valley Christian and the athletic program, the Broek Athletic Complex comprises all of Valley Christian’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Visitors are greeted to the complex by classic signage near the baseball field and gymnasium.
One of the original teachers at Valley Christian in 1982 and the athletic director until 2012, Broek developed the Trojan athletic program into one of the top in the state. Under Broek’s leadership from 1982 through 2012, Valley Christian athletic teams won a staggering 60 state championships, fifth-most of any high school in the State of Arizona during that time. In addition to the 60 state championships and 115 region titles, the athletic program has been awarded numerous honors not only for overall quality, but also for sportsmanship and for the support and success of the women’s athletic program.
Broek was inducted into the Chandler Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Jimmy Cottrell Sports Performance Room
Connected to the west side of the Bradley Gymnasium along with the coaches offices and cheer room is the Jimmy Cottrell Sports Performance room.
The state-of-the-art facility is named in remembrance of 2004 Valley Christian graduate James “Jimmy” Cottrell, who passed away suddenly in 2006. A bronze plaque adorns the entrance to the weight room and reminds current Trojan students and staff of Jimmy’s legacy and dedication to Christ. In addition to sports performance for our athletic teams, weight training classes are also offered for course credit at Valley Christian and are held in the facility.
When it opened in the early 2000s, the Arizona Republic called it the finest high school facility in the state and rivaling that of many small-colleges. On the walls encircling the weight room are pictures of past championship teams, school records and murals depicting Valley Christian spiritual, athletic and academic life.
Board of Directors
In the front office, we recognize the 70+ Board members in VCHS history. The Board’s purpose is to ensure that Valley Christian High School fulfills its mission statement: that students know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, live like Him, and prepare academically, physically, socially and spiritually, enabled to make a difference in the world. The Board seeks God’s wisdom and guidance that His will be done at Valley Christian High School (2 Timothy 3:16), oversees the strategic affairs of the school, supervises the Administrator, and ensures the welfare and continued operation of the school.
The Valley Christian High School Board of Directors governs with an emphasis on: biblically-based integrity and truthfulness in all methods and practices; strategic leadership; clear distinction of board and Administrator roles and responsibilities; collective rather than individual decisions; future rather than past; and proactivity rather than reactivity. To do its job effectively, the Valley Christian High School Board of Directors utilizes policy governance and follows an annual agenda that includes, but is not limited to monthly meetings, monitoring the Administrator’s job performance, and a systematic review of bylaws and board policies.