Grand Rapids Christian High School

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Coordinates: 42°55′16″N 85°37′19″W / 42.921°N 85.622°W / 42.921; -85.622

Grand Rapids Christian High School
2300 Plymouth Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506
School type Private
Founded 1920
Superintendent Thomas De Jonge
Principal Randy Morris
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 927
Language English
Color(s) Columbia blue (Pantone 292) and black
Team name Eagles

Grand Rapids Christian High School (GRCHS) is a parentally-controlled, private, Christian secondary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1920, "Christian High" is a member of Grand Rapids Christian Schools and Christian Schools International. The school was first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1925–26—one of the first six high schools in Kent County to receive that honor. GRCHS is also a member of the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools.



The history of Protestant Christian secondary day school education in Grand Rapids, Michigan dates back to the founding of Calvin College and Seminary in 1876 and its seven original students. In that year the Christian Reformed Church in North America (a denomination in the Dutch Calvinist, or Reformed, tradition that had broken off from the Reformed Church in America) adopted a six-year curriculum for ministerial training. The first four of these years were spent in the Literacy Department and the last two in the Theological Department.

In 1894 students who were not pre-theological students were admitted to an expanded curriculum comparable to that of a present-day high school, and thus the school became a preparatory school or academy. In 1900 the curriculum was further broadened and made more attractive to students interested in teaching or in preparing for pre-professional courses in the universities.

By 1906 the Literary Department, which provided the four years of college preparatory and two years of college work, became known officially as John Calvin Junior College. The two-year college in time became the four-year Calvin College, awarding its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921. In 1920 the preparatory department stopped admitting new students with the opening of Grand Rapids Christian High School, and 1924 was the last year for college prep students at Calvin College and Seminary.

Grand Rapids Christian High School continued at its Franklin Street, S.E. location until 1964, when in response to demographic trends, the school was divided by the Grand Rapids Christian School Association into two new high schools, Central Christian and East Christian. Central Christian High was established at the previous Grand Rapids Christian High campus on Franklin Street, and a new campus on Plymouth Avenue, S.E. was built for East Christian High.

When realization set in that the baby boom had ended in 1964, the two new high schools merged in 1972, and the reconstituted Grand Rapids Christian High School utilized both the Franklin Street and Plymouth Avenue campuses. When the Franklin Street campus was sold, Christian High housed its tenth grade at the former Seymour Christian Junior High School on Nevada Street, S.E. for two years until facilities were expanded at the Plymouth Avenue campus. In 1988, Grand Rapids Christian High was expanded again to accommodate the ninth grade.


School Colors: Columbia Blue and Black

Nickname/Mascot: Eagles

Fight Song: "Cheer, Cheer for Our Christian High" - Tune: Chorus, Notre Dame Victory March, written by Michael J. Shea (public domain in the United States)

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Grand Rapids Christian High School also has a number of extracurricular activities for students. In 1978, the Senior Madrigals directed by Merle Mustert won the Michigan State Championship. Their Science Olympiad team has done well at the state level for the last few years, placing fourth at the 2008 State competition and second in the 2009 State competition, resulting in their participation at the national level in 2009. Their forensics team is a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association[1], which placed fourth in Class A in 2008. Because of lower enrollment, the school was moved into Class B for the 2009 season; they placed first in the class. They were then moved back up to Class A for the 2010 season and placed 2nd at the 2010 State tournament. In 2011, the team was moved back down to Class B, where they took second place again.

The Science Olympiad and Forensics teams enjoy a friendly rivalry, which culminates in an annual kickball game at the end of the school year for bragging rights. The Science Olympiad team has won this game three of the past four years, including a thrilling 12-8 victory in extra innings this year (2015).

In addition the GRCHS multiples have garnered many state runner-up titles and a state championship in 2004. In 2011, GRCHS won first place in the one-act competition with "Kiss me Kate", their first win in this venue. In 2012, GRCHS repeated as champions with the performance of "Dancing at Lughnasa", and in 2015, they won first place again with "The Tempest".

Notable alumni[edit]


Main entrance to Eagles Stadium
The new Eagles Stadium
Concession area at Eagles Stadium
Packed house for the stadium opener Sept. 14, 2007

Grand Rapids Christian High School is a member of the Ottawa-Kent Conference athletic league and also competes in statewide competitions of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association, and the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association.

After GRCHS was divided into two high schools in 1964, the new Central Christian Eagles joined the Grand Rapids City League immediately for the 1964–65 school year while the new East Christian Panthers were independent for a year before entering City League competition in 1965–66. The Central Christian and East Christian football teams played as independents from their first years in 1967–68 through their last seasons in 1971–72. The reunited Grand Rapids Christian High began participation in the City League in 1972–73, with the football team starting league play a year later in 1973–74. To help overcome the fierce rivalry between the Central Christian and East Christian communities, the reconstituted Grand Rapids Christian High competed under Central Christian's Eagles nickname and East Christian's Columbia blue and black school colors.

Grand Rapids Christian Schools announced a $25 million Get Healthy fund raising campaign in 2006. Part of the plans for this campaign called for the construction of a new wellness center and north gymnasium and a new athletic stadium to be built on the site of the old stadium. The stadium was completed for the start of the 2007–08 football season while the Quest Center (North Gymnasium) opened a year later.

In 2007 arrangements were finalized for the Grand Rapids City League high schools to join the Ottawa-Kent Conference beginning in the 2008-09 school year. Grand Rapids Christian High School joined the Ottawa-Kent White Division which included East Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Creston, Grand Rapids Northview, Greenville, and Lowell high schools.

For the 2012-13 school year the Ottawa-Kent Conference rearranged the divisions, but Christian remained in the White. However, fellow members became Jenison, Caledonia, Lowell, Forest Hills Central, and East Grand Rapids. The Eagles have a fierce rivalry with East Grand Rapids.

State Championships (all MHSAA unless noted)

  • 1938 - Boys Basketball - Lower Peninsula Class B
  • 1966 - Boys Basketball - Class B (East Christian Panthers)
  • 1966 - Boys Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Class B (East Christian Panthers)
  • 1979 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Class B
  • 1980 - Girls Track & Field - Lower Peninsula Class B
  • 1997 - Girls Basketball - Class A
  • 1998 - Boys Soccer - Division 2
  • 2001 - Girls Track & Field - Division 2 (MITCA)
  • 2001 - Boys Soccer - Division 2
  • 2002 - Girls Team Track & Field - Division 2 (MITCA)
  • 2003 - Coed Equestrian - Division C (MIHA)
  • 2005 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2
  • 2006 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2
  • 2007 - Girls Track & Field - Division 2 (MITCA)
  • 2010 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2
  • 2012 - Boys Track & Field - Division 2 (MITCA)
  • 2012 - Baseball - Division 2
  • 2012 - Football - Division 3
  • 2013 - Boys Golf - Division 2
  • 2013 - Baseball - Division 2
  • 2013 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2
  • 2014 - Boys Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2
  • 2014 - Girls Cross Country - Lower Peninsula Division 2

External links[edit]

Unofficial Athletics Websites