Corey Waters, Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Christian Academy, quotes a Bible verse to explain Cornerstone’s philosophy on education.
“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” Proverbs 11:1
This perfectly summarizes how Cornerstone, a private school for ages preschool to eighth grade, views its responsibility to its students. Waters explained, “If we only focus on academics but fail to reach their hearts, we create highly educated but spiritually weak students, but on the other side, if we focus solely on making spiritual giants, we take the risk of creating academically anemic students. So, we focus on both.”
Waters is just the man to find that balance with students. As Director of Admissions Natalie Lange says, “He truly is the heart of CCA. He contributes so much to who we are by being our campus minister and leading daily chapel, teaching our middle school Bible classes, implementing middle school leadership, organizing service-learning trips, and doing outreach.”
In his 10-year tenure at Cornerstone, Waters lists his responsibilities as teaching Bible;
ministering to staff, students and their families; directing and supervising outreach activities; organizing service projects; and preaching daily chapel services.
“I feel this position is designed for me,” he said. “The Lord used all my experience and training of church work and school administration to tailor make me for CCA. I have a BS in Pastoral Theology and I was a pastor in Dover, Delaware. Since my church was small, I was bi-vocational, working at a small Christian school as the principal and high school Bible teacher. In 2010 I felt the Lord calling me to Texas to be closer to family. In May of 2011 I found Cornerstone and I love it!”
Waters has been in the unique position of being a part of rapid change over the last decade. “My first few years we were considered the little school that wanted to, then we became the little school that could, and now we are one of the leading private schools in the community,” he said. “It has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice as well as a desire to grow as educators and believers. But I believe the Lord has been with us all the way.”
The mission of the school is to strive to teach students “Skills for Life and Faith for Eternity.” Waters said, “I believe our desire to educate at a high level and create an atmosphere where Jesus Christ is first and foremost sets us apart from other schools. We push our students academically and encourage their walk with Christ.”
At Cornerstone, Bible class is a major part of the curriculum, and Waters describes daily chapels as “the highlights of our days. Students and parents come and worship together, singing and dancing before the Lord. It is a time when our kids hear a message about God in a practical way and are encouraged to live for Him.”
Cornerstone also leads yearly service-learning trips for middle school. “Our service trips take students out of their normal surroundings and give them the opportunity to serve others. We have traveled to Florida, Louisiana, and parts of Texas to serve with children’s group homes, churches, and other non-profit organizations. It is the highlight of the year for the students,” explained Waters.
Like most private schools, Cornerstone offers smaller class sizes, academic rigor, and opportunities for kids to get involved in activities they might not stand a chance of participating in at a larger school. Waters shared how the small, private school atmosphere has impacted students. “We help kids find who they are and discover hidden gifts and abilities by providing opportunities for them. One year we were attending our annual academic meet in Abilene, Texas, and one student was not sure what he wanted to do so we convinced him to try extemporaneous speaking. Well, he did not win but he discovered a love and a talent for debate. He went on to high school and began competing and winning on a debate team. He is now in college, and public speaking is an intricate part of his degree. Another student who we gave an opportunity to lead in chapels and House Group leadership has gone on to be a strong leader at his high school. We also have a 3rd grade girl who was so shy and wanted to sing for our CCA Got Talent Show and we encouraged her to try out and she blew us away! She recently told me that that opportunity helped her find her calling in life!”
Waters feels it is important to have a place like CCA with its caring environment to shape children’s foundation before life builds on it. “Yes, we are good for families who desire smaller classroom size, academic rigor, and excellence. But our emphasis on Christian values and a relationship with Christ is such an important part of who we are.”