Hilton Head Christian Academy announced Thursday night it will be moving locations to Bluffton. When Hilton Head Christian Academy opened 38 years ago, the majority of the students were from the Island, but within the past few years, that’s changed.
“About a year or two ago, we had that tipping point where now we’re in the 50 percentage off-Island,” said Headmaster Doug Langhals, “We have made the announcement that our vision is to move out to Bluffton…. The vision is know Christ, make Him known, but the mission is to do that through the resources of arts, athletics and academics, and so obviously this would give us the potential to continue to grow all of those areas.”
And they plan to do that with more than twice the amount of space than they have now.
“The reality is we have 27 acres out there, we have 13 here so we have a lot of opportunity out there,” Langhals said, “The big one we’ve been highlighting for people is a 21st century education. Really taking education away from just the normal classroom that you see that existed 50 to 100 years ago, 20 desks staring at a white board to an education where its much more collaborative, problem based learning and all of those things and do it from a Christian perspective.”
The plan for a 21st century education is an education based on the kids’ interests and passions, he says, and a lot of parents are on board.
“We’re very excited. Right now I drive about 40 minutes in the morning just to get them to school, round trip just about an hour, hour 15 minutes. And then in the afternoon its a little quicker its about a 30 minute drive to the school and then 30 minutes drive home… so when you tally it up, its a couple hours of driving a day,” said Amy Healy, an Okatie resident who has two children enrolled at Hilton Head Christian Academy.
Mike Strum lives in Bluffton and says even that commute can be intense.
“The worst part of Hilton Head Christian Academy for us has been the commute, which can sometimes, based on a crash or a traffic jam can be an hour, most of the time its 30 minutes… so for me its gonna be maybe 5 minutes,” Strum said.
Strum started his child’s education in Bluffton’s current private school, Cross, but worried that he’d have to change schools eventually since they only go up to 8th grade. That’s why they moved him to Hilton Head.
Cross Schools Director of Development, Vicki Burris, says that when students complete 8th grade with them, they either go into the public school system or to Hilton Head Christian Academy, but they don’t see the move as competition, except for football, of course.
“We are excited about having HHCA join us in Bluffton,” said Burris, “This area has experienced tremendous growth and will continue to do so and we see HHCA as a partner in serving the community from a spiritual and academic standpoint and look forward to welcoming them to Bluffton.”
Both Strum and Healy say the drive has always been worth it for them, and a shorter drive is only an addition to the school.
“It’s such a great community, the teachers truly love the kids they really are invested not only in their education but in their life as Christians,” said Healy, “That’s why we have done the drive and continued to do the drive and would continue to do the drive even if the school wasn’t moving.”