Among the many prized private and public schools in Spring Branch, Houston Christian High School sits on a 45-acre campus where leadership development programs give students a foundation for their futures.

The school has been serving Houston-area students since 1998 and remains committed to its faith-based teaching. The beautiful and pristine campus consist of state-of-the-art classrooms, fine arts facilities and sporting complex with training center, each offering access to programs that lay the foundation for leadership and academic excellence.

But the jewel of the high school is The George and Barbara Bush Center for Leadership and Scholars (BCSL), housing the largest collection in Houston of mementos and other possessions from the first the late President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. The exhibit is a tribute to their story of lifelong service and leadership — the principles that are the foundation for the center.

This BCSL is more than the museum-like display. It works in line with an honors college that includes Distinguished Scholars and Passport to Lead programs, which work to create and enhance leadership skills that encompass the example set by Bushes through character.

According to former student body president and alum Ellie Ashby, “Through these classes, they have integrated amazing concepts. They have taken communication; they have taken service; they have taken collaboration and put them all together in this amazing package,” where each component tells the story of the president and first lady’s good works.

The BCSL curriculum reads more like a collegiate program. Scholars master research and communications that culminate in a written thesis and oral defense. Students are exposed to entrepreneurial discovery and opportunities through business planning and writing product presentations.

The International Student Leadership Program explores how other high-profile leaders from around the world accomplished their work. Future leaders are encouraged to develop their own leadership philosophy and conduct case studies.

As an extension of the BCSL, every Houston Christian High School student participates in the Passport to Lead Program. Its courses develop knowledge through the “five C”s: courage, character, calling, communication and culture. Students completing the program are recognized with a leadership distinction on their diploma at the conclusion of their four-year journey.

Houston Christian High School caps its enrollment at 525 students in grades 9-12 to stay committed to its 9:1 student/teacher ratio and make entrepreneur classes effective.

Sixty-eight percent of students participate in fine arts and athletics. And why not? The Harrell Family Strength and Conditioning Center features a 7,200-square-feet weight room, 55-yard sandpit, 30-yard paved hill, indoor turf area, full-length football field, quarter-mile track, slide board, speed chains, battle ropes and more.

Student athletes have the opportunity to develop their leadership  in sports like baseball, football, softball, lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, swimming and cheerleading, among others. There is also an effort to offer programs to young athletes with summer camps for rising grades 5-8. The summer camps take place May-July in football, softball, baseball, basketball, volleyball and lacrosse. There is also a K-4t volleyball camp.

As part of the regular school year, fine arts opportunities include an award-winning theatre program, a black box theatre said to be the largest in the city and the Brown Family Dance Center.

The Center is home to the DOXA advanced dance group. Performing and visual arts offer development of creative talents and interests. Removing the limits for creativity and participation, Houston Christian fine arts students regularly tour throughout the city, the country, and other nations.

“The real charm of our school is the intimate campus feel similar to a small college,” said Katie Gassett, director of communications and marketing. “Students expressed the real difference is to have faculty and staff who are there to answer the hard difficult questions about faith.

“Faith is interwoven into all aspects of our school, turning to it to encourage and support community,” she continued. “They are encouraged to reach their full leadership role without waiting. There are real life success stories even pre-graduation. Currently we have students who are entrepreneurs and one that owned a candle company since the 5th grade and donates the proceeds to cancer research.”

Graduates of the leadership program have attended top-tier universities like Duke, Brown, Harvard and George Washington. Many enter the armed forces and excel in leadership roles.

Reaching beyond the Spring Branch Management District, Houston Christian High School students come from 73 ZIP codes and the school provides financial aid to qualified students.

Families interested in exploring the campus and its programs should schedule a visit during which a potential applicant shadows a student with similar interests.

Click here for a video tour.

Houston Christian High School
2700 W. Sam Houston Parkway North
Houston 77043

— by Jessika Leal