OUR founding

Tim and Beverly LaHaye founded Christian Unified Schools of San Diego in 1965 as an alternative to the secular curriculum that was being introduced in California’s public schools.

the catalyst

When Tim and Beverly LaHaye moved from Minnesota to San Diego in 1956 to pastor Scott Memorial Baptist Church (now Shadow Mountain), they enrolled their children in the California public school system. As their children were heading to high school, they learned of concerning new state legislation which would introduce secular curriculum that violated their biblical beliefs about marriage and family issues.


The LaHayes researched the new material and were alarmed at the content. They did all they could to raise awareness of the new program with local pastors, the leadership team at Scott Memorial, and other Christian parents. Tim also spoke out against the legislation at multiple school board meetings, but to no avail.

It was clear there needed to be an alternative for families wanting their children to be educated from a traditional biblical worldview, but private Christian schools were unheard of back then. Someone needed to do something, and Tim and Beverly felt called to spearhead the effort with the help of other Scott Memorial members.

“God moved on our hearts to where we could not rest until we did something about it.”

Play Video
Co-founder Beverly LaHaye presented her memories of the beginnings of Christian High School in an address to the teachers.

god's provision

Starting a new school district is no small undertaking! In addition to a facility and teachers, California required all schools have a gym and a field for outdoor games. So Scott Memorial Baptist Church provided the facility, classrooms, and a new gymnasium as a venue for sports and drama. A nearby elementary school provided a field in the afternoons for physical education. Excellent godly teachers were recruited and a Scott Memorial missionary on furlough (and a former high school principal) agreed to serve as the first CHS principal.

The doors officially opened in the fall of 1965 for 46 students in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades with a robust curriculum, an art class, a laboratory, a performing chorus, a drama production, a student council, and even a yearbook!

In 1967, the first graduating class voted not to wear traditional caps and gowns, but rather tuxedos and long white dresses with red roses for the girls. These 15 graduates started a tradition that sets us apart to this day in beautiful, God-honoring graduation ceremonies.

christian vs. public education

Our forefathers built our nation on biblical principles and did the same when they formed public education in 1789, saying that it must be made up of three components: Religion, Morality, and Knowledge. They believed that religion was the basis for morality, and if religion was removed, morality would soon collapse. If morality was removed, knowledge alone would be dangerous. Noah Webster, our nation’s first federal education bureaucrat said, “Education is useless without the Bible. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating our youth of America in the principles of Christianity.”

That all changed in the early 1960’s when the U.S. Supreme Court focused on cleansing the public schools of religion, ruling that they were to be secular. And just as our forefathers predicted, morality crumbled when religion was removed. Without the foundation of Scripture, children are taught that there is no absolute truth.


Our children are our greatest treasure and teachers have a captive audience of their malleable young minds for several formative years. Their education is a critically important part of shaping them into the person they will be for the rest of their lives.

The most important difference between Christian and public education lies in the environment for learning and growing, and the worldview and intent of the educators.

This Christian school is, to me, like holy ground. All you teachers and family are standing on holy ground because God ordained this. It wasn't Tim and Beverly. It was God's doing. - Beverly LaHaye

faith. tradition. truth.

Since our inception in 1965, Christian Unified Schools of San Diego has been committed to:

  • Provide an environment that is not only physically safe, but emotionally and spiritually safe as well.
  • Equip and nurture the whole child—mentally, socially, physically, spiritually and morally.
  • Acquire deep and personal knowledge of Christ and His Word.
  • Achieve the highest levels of Christian scholarship and learning.
  • Partner with families to produce young men and women who are productive members of society and equipped to pursue God’s best for their lives.


    Christian Junior High School opened in 1968, and Christian Elementary opened in 1974. By the early 1970s, the original campus of Scott Memorial West at Madison Ave. and Oregon St. in North Park was bursting at the seams. Christian Jr./Sr. High School was growing, Christian Heritage College had also been established on the campus, and the church was running three tightly-packed morning worship services every Sunday. 

    Move to El Cajon

    The church had initially purchased some property in North Park on the rim of the hillside overlooking the freeway and stadium, with a vision for a large complex that would give them room to grow, but the city council denied them the building rights to develop that property. In time, a Catholic girl’s school on 66 acres of land in a quiet corner of El Cajon came up for sale. Once the church leaders toured the property, they realized it would be perfect to meet all the needs of the ministry.

    Features of the new property included a small hilltop chapel, dormitories, and a larger hall to hold church services in, all of which experienced extensive renovations to remove the Catholic icons and statuary. Additionally, there was a small, park-like graveyard with walkways, grass, and trees. The sellers of the property relocated all of the remains of the nuns and priests buried in the graveyard, leaving behind only the quiet parklike setting that the school went on to use as a space for student lunch time, cheer practice, drill team practice, pep rallies, and graduation ceremonies. When the Worship Center was built in 1993, the graveyard became the school’s softball field.

    Play Video


    As President of Christian Unified Schools, Pastor David Jeremiah is passionate about bringing Christ into the center of all we do. Along with Superintendent Bob Ruhlman and other leaders, he casts and holds the vision for the schools’ continual growth and improvement, year by year. The goal is for students to acquire deep and personal knowledge of Christ and His Word, achieve the highest levels of Christian scholarship and learning, and accomplish the eternal purposes for which God created them.

    graduation traditions


    The first Christian High School graduation ceremonies were in the sanctuary of Scott Memorial Baptist Church in North Park. When the school moved to East County, the “graveyard” provided a beautiful outdoor location for several decades of graduates. Since 1993, the Worship Center of Shadow Mountain Community Church has been the ceremony’s venue, also hosting moving-up ceremonies and promotions for sixth- and eighth-grade students.


    The first graduating class was given the choice between wearing the typical caps and gowns worn in most high school and college graduation ceremonies or wearing tuxedos and white dresses. After much discussion, the class voted (not unanimously) in favor of the option that would set them apart.

    The girls wore white gowns and all carried red roses (also voted on by the seniors), and the boys wore black tuxedos. The graduation ceremony was a meaningful, God-honoring reflection on what God can do. This tradition carries on to this day.


    The Alma Mater was written by Beverly LaHaye, with music by Lynda Bussing. In 1993, during the first graduation in the Worship Center, “Benediction” by Timothy J. Meaney was introduced as the recessional. The lyrics were perfect for the occasion.

    a god-given vision

    It was a God-given vision. You (faculty & teachers) carry that same vision every day when you meet with those students, every class that you teach, and every contact that you make with these students. You're carrying on the vision that God gave to us so many years ago. Don't take it lightly. It's very precious.
    - Beverly LaHaye


    “Christian Jr/ Sr High was a family to me that helped me cope with the loss of my husband and income. Thanks to the friends there, I had a job and help raising 2 daughters. I will be forever grateful for friendships since ‘87 that are ongoing today.” – MAP

    “Our dad died of cancer when my younger sister was a sophomore in high school. I was married and living in the east, but it was always a comfort to me to know she was a student at CHS during this time of her life. Also, I made life-long girlfriends at CHS that I’m still in contact with!” – SAHD

    ATHLETIC memories

    For all the wonderful benefits of the new campus on Greenfield, the one thing lacking was a gymnasium. Teams played at neighboring schools and community gyms, but in the 1980s the district purchased a temporary blimp-like structure for PE classes and practices. Students quickly christened it the Gymdenburg

    Often warm inside, an air-conditioner was added to keep the interior nice and cold during games, which occasionally had to be called early when the condensation made the floor so wet and slippery that it was no longer safe to play. In the early 1990s, the Ryan Athletic Center (RAC) was built to provide a wonderful new venue for indoor athletics and PE classes.

    victory in sports

    From the beginning, athletics have been a huge part of the Christian Unified experience. The very first students at Christian High enjoyed flag football, basketball, and volleyball, and cheerleaders painted their megaphones and put together make-shift uniforms. Today, 25 sports represent Christian High School across San Diego County, regularly meeting with success as they strive for excellence.

    faculty hall of fame

    Many lifetimes of service have been dedicated to educating children in the ways of the Lord. We honor those who have invested twenty or more years teaching or in administration on our Faculty Hall of Fame.


    • Winter Banquet
    • Junior/Senior Banquet
    • Huck Finn Day
    • Junior Unity Day
    • All School Retreats
    • Senior Retreats
    • Seniors in Togas
    • Mr. CHS
    • Medieval Day
    • Senior Pranks

    christian unified's beginnings

    Transcript of Beverly LaHaye’s Address to CUSSD Staff
    March 2020

    First of all, I want to say that yes, Tim and Beverly started this school, but it wasn’t Tim and Beverly. It was God’s school. God laid it on our hearts. And so I like to refer to it as God’s Christian School. He just used Tim and Beverly to get the ball rolling, and that’s what we did. Well, when they asked me to speak about how the school system started, I, we’re going to go way, way back, you know, we’re talking about so long ago that some of you weren’t even born yet. I won’t ask your ages, but I have a feeling that we’re going before you were here. 

    We had just become residents of California. We had lived in Minnesota prior to that. And Tim and I were both involved in the local public school there. Tim was on the school board and I was the substitute teacher while I was raising my children. And then we moved to California, came to Scott Memorial Baptist Church in North Park and we enrolled our children in the California school system. And of course, we were all very interested in the school system, but we’d never been involved in the California schools. We didn’t know what it was going to be like. 

    So we started investigating. During that time, we were busy working in our new church. We were thrilled to be here in California and meeting new people and starting new programs at the church and really digging in our heels, and then one day the news began to report about a new program that was being introduced to the public schools. It was called the SEICUS program, and we were not familiar with this. Minnesota didn’t have this SEICUS program. So we begin to check into it and find out what was it, what was, this new program they were introducing? 

    It all started back in the early 1960s and the California Board of Education made it well-known that it was going to be part of the educational system and it would be grades K through 12. SIECUS stood for Sex Information and Education Council of the United States. It was going to be spread throughout the whole United States eventually. But California was the test case. 

    In our investigation, we found that SIECUS was founded by Dr. Mary Calderone, the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood. That gives you a little idea of where she’s coming from. And as we studied the material, we were appalled at the advanced sexual material that they were trying to bring into the school system and teach the children of all ages. Tim was so concerned about this, and as we studied it more, we felt that God was moving our heart to do something. So we began, Tim began to talk to other local pastors and say, aren’t you concerned about this? Your children, your churches are going to be taught this in the public school. And we found one pastor who was right along with him, Orval Butcher from Skyline Church, and he was very concerned. 

    SEICUS was having meetings with the parents to introduce them to this wonderful new program, they thought. And so at one of their meetings, Tim asked if he could address the council. As a local parent, he would like to speak. And because he was a local parent, they allowed him to speak. And it was very clear how he stood on the SEICUS material that was very harmful for young minds and too advanced, and he opposed it as a parent of children enrolled in the public school system. I have to say after several meetings and heated discussions, the council very clearly told my husband that his ideas were not acceptable and they were prepared to proceed with their plan, which they did, and we still have it today–only it’s worse today than it was back then. And you know all about the current situation with the sex education, but this was the first introduction of sex education in the public schools. 

    We were disappointed. Tim was concerned deeply, and Tim and I spent a lot of time praying, Lord, what do we do? This is not acceptable. We don’t want our children to be learning this kind of sex education, which we found was what they were presenting. And one day Tim said, you know, if they’re not gonna change, if they’re not going to reschedule their program, then we’re meant to start our own school. Well, that was the beginning. God had laid it on our hearts, and Tim’s particularly, and we came to the decision that they were not going to teach our children or the many children in our church whose parents also disagreed with it. 

    And God gave us a calming, the verse “Be still and know that I am God.” We needed that. 

    I’ll tell you this was a moment when we were so disturbed and we could see children in our church were going to be taught this radical sex education. And God said, be still and know that I am God. He was in control. Well, we spent many months and I’ll say even a few years investigating the details required to start a private school. You know, private Christian schools were not heard of back then. And for us to think that we could start a private Christian school and especially in California. Uh, so we thought we better present this to our congregation, which we did. We called the church family together, laid it all out, told them about SEICUS and they were angry about the sex education program and then we would present to them the possibility if we could work it out, with God’s help, a Christian school. 

    At that first meeting, we had 10 of our leaders in the church with us and we presented to them and then they took a vote to see how they felt about us. It was not unanimous. Nine, yes, one opposed. Oh, but then Jesus had 12 disciples and not all of them were unanimous either. So we thought if God could move ahead with his disciples, God was saying to us, go ahead and do it and which we did. And we found that it’s interesting that that one negative vote later on after the school had started, became one of the certified teachers at our school. And she came to us and told us that she was the one vote and she said, “I’m so glad you didn’t pay attention to my vote because this is a wonderful opportunity for young people.” So the one vote turned into a very strong yes vote. 

    We found that California’s requirements at that time were quite simple. All California required to start your own private school is you need to have a gym and you need to have a field for outdoor games. Well, Scott Memorial was located at Madison and Oregon, in North Park, and we were in the process of building our own gymnasium for our youth activities in the church. So we had the gym taken care of and then God provided the playing field. If you know the property in North Park, there was no field there at all but two blocks away from that location, there was an elementary school that had an adequate field, and they finished using their field by two o’clock in the afternoon. So they allowed us to send our students down there and use the field. The gym classes had to run for two blocks to get their exercise, which was an excellent part of the program. 

    But the real work and the much prayer really began. We called upon God’s help every single day because we needed to have qualified teachers. We were surprised to find that several in our own church family were already certified teachers. We already had sufficient classrooms. The auditorium served as a great chapel and Sunday school rooms were wonderful classrooms. The gymnasium was put to good use for our sports activities, but we had no principal. 

    We were two months from opening the school and we had no principal. Once again, we said God, if this is Your will for us to do this, and we thought it was, we’ve got to find a principal, You know, God is so wonderful. He understands our shortcomings and our stresses and all. But God provided the principal. Two months out from starting, a miracle took place. One of our missionaries from our church was home on furlough. He had been a former principal of a high school in Indiana and he was home for a year. So we approached him and said, “Guy, would you be willing to be the principal for one year while you’re home on furlough?” And he readily agreed. So now we had a principal. 

    We had our teachers lined up, we had the classrooms lined up, we had the field lined up. We were thrilled that every step of the way when we ran into a bump in the road, God cleared the path and said, go ahead, be still and know that I am God. God was in control. 

    He was just using our feeble attempts to follow his direction. 

    Finally, in the fall of 1965, we opened Christian High School. I don’t know if you can get a feeling of what happened in our hearts. We were just thrilled that God had led us every step of the way, had provided all the needs that we needed. The church approved of it. We had teachers, we had classrooms, we were ready to go. 

    And so we met with our new principal and these teachers, and it was decided that we would not start with the younger grades. We would first open the school with grades nine through eleven. It was that age group that the whole sex education was targeting–younger ones, some of them in our churches. And so we started with grades 9 to 11. And then the following year we added the senior class, the 12th grade. We had 15 freshmen the first year. We had 15 sophomores, and we had 16 juniors. So we opened with 46 students. 

    Well, we praised God for every one of those 46 students, because their parents were so thrilled to offer an alternative to the public school program. And we tried diligently to include many of the projects that the public schools would have given students such as yearbook. In fact, I have a copy here of the first yearbook, the seniors, but 1966 the first one and we had a yearbook after that. And I assume you’re still printing yearbooks. I’m sure you are. And the first yearbook was called the Patriot. I think you’re familiar with that word. And then even the very humbling beginnings and I can laugh at this. But with 46 students, we had a football team. Pastor Jerry was the one who led the gymnasium and the teams. We had cheerleaders. We had a basketball team in our gymnasium. We even had a French teacher, a Spanish teacher. 

    And the next year we graduated 15 seniors in a very glorious graduation service. I mean, we dressed those girls up. They wore white dresses and carried red roses, and they didn’t at all look like the seniors graduating from the public schools who were being fed the radical sex education program. And the men wore their suits and their ties and they looked so beautiful. 

    And of course, much later, of course, the elementary schools were added. And at one time, we had five or six different churches who let us use their facilities for the lower grades. And then of course, that was the beginning of Christian Unified Schools of San Diego. As I look back across all that, Tim and I had many days of stress. Yes, there were days when anybody came to our school, when parents pay their little money, they would have to pay the public schools were free. But when parents begin to find out about the SEICUS program and how radical it was, and as I remember the SEICUS program wasn’t nearly as radical as it is today in the public schools. It has gotten worse and worse, and it will continue to get worse. 

    This Christian school is to me is like holy ground–that all you teachers and family are standing on holy ground– because God ordained this. It wasn’t Tim and Beverly. It was God’s doing. And so as I look across this room, I am blessed to see each one of you are investing in the lives of young people, hundreds of young people over the many years and carry on the vision that Tim and I had so many years ago with God’s leadership. I hope you realize how valuable your teaching position really is in the lives of young people. 

    There are many students today who don’t have the privilege of going to a Christian school. They’re going to the public schools that are offered to them. And we’re seeing young people going downhill, lack the spiritual input, lack the values and the principles that a Christian school can give to them of putting Christ first in everything and letting God control their lives. And I get thrilled when I hear about some of the chapel services you have here that what you’re doing in the lives of young people today who are really thrown to the winds by Satan and his helpers, SIECUS being one of them. And so I pray that you don’t take that lightly. You are God’s chosen to be right where you are today to influence young people in the ways of the Lord and not the ways of SIECUS

    I think back over the what is it, 50 plus years, maybe 56 years since we first were introduced to the radical sex education in the schools and how God moved on our hearts to where we could not rest until we did something about it. And when I see what’s happening now in 2020 with the radical sex education program in the public schools—and the Christian schools are here that God started so many years ago, I am blessed. I am truly blessed. 

    You know, I pray that you pick up the vision that Tim and I had. It was a God-given vision. But you carry that same vision every day when you meet with those students, every class that you teach, every council that you make with these students. You’re carrying on the vision that God gave to Tim and Beverly so many years ago. Don’t take it lightly. It’s very precious. 

    And you know, it’s my prayer that one day maybe Tim gets to look down from heaven and can see what’s happening to the school that he was so eager to start. And you know, it’s flourishing, and God is a blessing of that. And our heavenly Father may he say to you one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

    You are truly servants of God. You’re missionaries to the young people in this area every day they come to class. You are a missionary in their young lives and it’s my prayer that God will say to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 

    Dear Lord, I pray for each teacher in this room right now. Each faculty member, each one that influences young people in this school. I pray you’ll wrap Your loving arms around them and give them the same burden that Tim and Beverly had so many years ago that this is not just a job, this is a mission calling on the lives of young people today who desperately need the Christian influence. And so I pray that you’ll bless San Diego Christian Schools of all ages that today in this war torn age and we’re surrounded with disease and turmoil and questions. Lord, be still and know that I am God. The same God that helped us get the school started is the same God that will help each one of the teachers here in this room, and we commit them to You, Lord, and pray that Thy will would be done in great and mighty things. And from this school will graduate young people who will go on and carry forth the Christian message wherever you need them. And we thank you in the Lord Jesus in your precious Name I pray. Amen.”



    The students with the highest grade point averages are recognized and address their classmates during the graduation ceremony.


    has been given to an outstanding male and female graduating senior since 1976. The recipients of this prestigious award must demonstrate outstanding achievement in three areas: Athletics, Academics, and Christian Character. The athletic dept and coaches will select the recipients.


    Each year the senior class has the honor of voting in a class member that represents them as the Outstanding Senior. The Outstanding Senior must demonstrate a heart of service, Christian character, and authentic inclusiveness.


    was established to recognize the life of Brittany Wnek. Brittany will be remembered for her love of life, her tenacious spirit, and her unbreakable faith. Brittany was diagnosed in 2007 with Mast Cell Sarcoma and went to be with the Lord in 2014. She had one of only three cases in the world. The Wnek scholarship selected by the Wnek family is awarded to a female student who demonstrates the extraordinary qualities of Brittany such as perseverance, kindness, compassion, and a deep love for God and His Word. This is also facilitated by an application process that includes a personal essay.


    was established to recognize the contributions of the life of Jason Lyon. On June 25, 2015, Jason had an MRI that showed he had an extremely rare pediatric brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (“DIPG”). DIPG is an inoperable brain tumor with no cure or treatment. Jason went to live in glory October of 2015. Jason honored and glorified God and has left a legacy of Hope. The recipient selected by the Lyon family is awarded to a male student that demonstrates the extraordinary qualities of Jason: perseverance, courage, compassion and love for the Lord and His Kingdom. This is facilitated by an application process that includes a personal essay.


    It is with sadness that we share that the co-founder of our school district, Dr. Beverly LaHaye, passed away on Sunday, April 14. She was 94 years old.

    Beverly was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ all the days of her life, and God used her in extraordinary ways to make a difference in the world around her. Along with her husband Dr. Tim LaHaye, she worked to establish Christian Unified Schools at a time when Christian education was in its infancy. She had a vision to meet the need for God-honoring curriculum and teachers who modeled Christlikeness to the students in their care, and she worked tirelessly to that end.

    In addition to her influence on our school district, Beverly was also the author of many books, the founder of Concerned Women for America, and a beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was a faithful and treasured member of Shadow Mountain Community Church, where she was honored recently during the GirlTime women’s event. As the audience stood to applaud, Beverly pointed upward, giving all of the glory to the God she served.


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    research links & INformation

    Web Research Links:

    Grolier Online (includes Encyclopedia Americana)
    User ID: christianhs
    Password: patriot

    EBSCO Host Research Databases – Full-text Periodical and Reference Articles Online
    User ID: christianhs
    Password: patriot2019!

    SIRS Knowledge Source – Periodical articles online
    User ID: CA3906
    Password: PATRIOT

    San Diego County Library Website
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