October 1987: A small group of families meet in a northeast Cincinnati home to dream, discuss and pray about the possibility of starting a school. Two criteria are foremost in their minds: that this school be a Christ-centered extension of their homes and that the curriculum offered be such that students would have the training necessary to enter the country’s finest institutions of higher education.
1988: A 25-acre parcel of former farmland in northeast suburban Cincinnati is identified as a campus for the new school. Today this land, which was home to grades PK to 7 under one roof, is now the middle school campus (grades 5-8).
September 1989: Under the leadership of Richard Johnson, the school’s first head of school, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) opens its doors to 165 students, preschool through grade seven.
1990: Dr. Bill Balzano is named CHCA’s second Head of School.
1992: The Edyth B. Lindner Elementary School is built just down the hill from the main campus to house pre-kindergarten through grade four.
1994: The first ever Celebration dinner and auction is held at CHCA’s middle school, entertaining 430 guests and raising $185,821. Celebration will go on to become an annual tradition, raising nearly $2 million for CHCA since its inception.
June 1995: CHCA graduates its first class of 29 students, who hear an address from commencement speaker Elizabeth Dole. Graduates of the Class of 1995 go on to attend schools including Emory University, Boston College, Northwestern University, Ohio State and Wheaton College.
1995: A second campus of 20 acres at the corner of Kemper and Snider Roads becomes home to a freestanding high school and surrounding complex of athletic fields, tennis courts, and complementary buildings.
1996: The Board of Trustees presents a proposal to the Otto Armleder Memorial Trust to establish a downtown elementary school, citing the need for an academic program that would bring CHCA’s unique blend of academic excellence and focus on Christian faith to under-resourced families in downtown Cincinnati. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy is in turn awarded $7.3 million from the Armleder Trust to purchase and renovate the historic Crosley Square Building at the corner of 9th and Elm streets. In addition, the Carl Lindner Family establishes a scholarship fund in the amount of $5 million to supplement tuition income during the start-up years for students at the Armleder School. CHCA’s Otto Armleder Memorial Education Center would open its doors in August 2000.
1997: Edyth B. Lindner Elementary School is designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
1997: Karen Hordinski, CHCA’s first staff member dedicated to outreach, forms the Outreach Student Leadership Team with 17 students who work on generating community service opportunities for students benefiting the homeless, elderly, disabled and more. In 1999, the name is changed to Student Organized Service (SOS); by 2009, there are 51 SOS leaders who plan about 25 different projects, many of which are ongoing (recurring weekly or monthly) throughout the year.
October 1998: Sophomore Audra Falk wins the first of three consecutive Girls’ Tennis Division II Singles State Championship titles. The team, coached by Lynn Nabors-McNally, also garners the first of their back-to-back-to-back Division II Team State Championship titles.
April 1999: CHCA’s middle school and EBL Elementary sustain major damage when a tornado (with wind speeds up to 260 mph) rips through Cincinnati. For the rest of the school year, the 340 fifth through eighth grade students attend classes in the high school’s gym and Lindner Fine Arts Center.
Read the Cincinnati Enquirer story.
August 2000: The Otto Armleder Memorial Education Center opens its doors to 102 students, serving students pre-kindergarten through grade four. Today, the Armleder campus serves 150 students grades PK-8.
September 2000: The middle school is named a Blue Ribbon School.
January 2001: The high school engages in the first Winter Term experience, a two week period in which every freshman, sophomore, junior and senior participates in alternative learning experiences. Some students travel for service or learning opportunities, some stay in Cincinnati to serve their community, and others stay at CHCA for cooking classes, PSAT prep and more.
May 2001: Senior tennis player Jason Zimmerman wins the Division II Singles State Championship title.
2001: The high school becomes the 3rd CHCA school to earn the Blue Ribbon School designation.
2002: Earl Edmonds is named Interim Head of School.
October 2002: Freshman Jillian Ducro and senior Shaden Dowiatt win the Girls’ Tennis Division II Doubles State Championship title.
January 2003: The five-year Campaign for Lasting Change is kicked off, seeking to raise $15 million to endow the Armleder School’s Student Scholarship Fund. Thanks to numerous corporations, families and individuals who contributed (including a $5 million match by the Farmer Family Foundation), the goal is met in May of 2008, ensuring a long future for Armleder.
July 2003: Randy Brunk, M.Ed. is named CHCA Head of School.
May 2005: Sophomore Steven Havens wins the Boys’ Tennis Division II Singles State Championship title. In fine arts news, CHCA wins the Best Orchestra Cappie Award for the high school theatre production of Seussical: The Musical.
March 2006: Carl Lindner, Jr. donates an additional $16 million to the Armleder School, enabling the school to expand its offerings to include scholarships and programming for a 7th and 8th grade.
May 2006: For the second year in a row, CHCA wins the Best Orchestra Cappie Award for the high school theatre production of 42nd Street.
Fall 2006: CHCA kicks off its most ambitious capital campaign to date, with the goal of raising $7 million by June 2007. The Promise Campaign would go on to exceed goal and raise $8.5 million for building enhancements to EBL Elementary, the middle school and the high school, as well as additional endowment funding. At the end of the campaign, almost 600 parents, grandparents, alumni and friends will contribute, evidence of the entire CHCA community’s desire to invest in the future of the school.
October 2007: CHCA celebrates its first Founders’ Day, twenty years from the month that the school’s founders first gathered to plan the school. At the same time, CHCA’s motto is changed from “Learn and Serve” to “Learn, Lead and Serve” and the Core Values, Mission and Vision Statements are relaunched, commemorating the ideas of the school’s founding families while positioning CHCA for the road ahead.
May 2008: Armleder graduates its first 8th grade class. CHCA also wins three Cappies (Cameo Actress in a Musical, Kelsie Pignone; Male Dancer, Taylor Strosnider; and Best Orchestra) for the high school production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.
June 2008: Sophomore Andrew Wallace, junior David Curtin and seniors Nick Williams and Kyle Neyer win the Boys’ Track and Field 4x800m Relay State Championship title.
September 2008: SoaringStart Preschool opens within EBL Elementary with one full class of three-year-olds and one full class of four-year-olds.
December 2008: The high school is named Martha S. Lindner High School in honor of the commitment and heart of the Lindner family for Christ-centered academic excellence.
Winter 2009: The school celebrates the completion of all Promise Campaign projects, including the Middle School Fine Arts Wing, EBL Elementary Science and Language Enrichment Labs, High School Performing Arts Addition, High School Science and Academic Wing, and almost $1.5 million in additional endowment funding.
May 2009: CHCA graduates its largest class ever, with 116 students in the Class of 2009 receiving their diploma.
October 2010: Armleder School celebrates its Tenth Anniversary of being “A Light in the City”.
Today: CHCA has grown into one of the largest nondenominational Christian schools in the country serving a total of approximately 1,430 students in grades PK3 through 12 at the North Campus and PK3 through grade 8 at the Armleder Campus. CHCA has earned a reputation for excellent academics, competitive sports, superb fine arts and a full complement of extracurricular activities.
Listen to the video
at the left, as Martha and Carl H. Lindner III share their experience as one of the founding families of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and their dreams for the future.
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