The king's subjectS

Reflections by the People of TKA

2020 Yearbook Dedication

Dear TKA,

This year, the yearbook staff proudly introduces to you our theme: Beneath the Surface. In a society that focuses on outer image, we wanted to remind everyone that people are more than they appear. Beneath the Surface represents delving deeper into what we see on the outside. The classmates that surround you each have unique traits and characteristics that will only be revealed upon a closer look. Our hope is to bring to light the importance of looking past the facades we put on daily. 

Our theme verse this year is 1 Samuel 16:7, which says, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." We chose this verse to emphasize how God loves us for who we are at our core. It is a good reminder to us that we need to look beyond physical appearances, beyond actions, and beyond words. We need to take time to get to know each other because we are all unique and valued just because God made us. We all have inner beauty, and by looking Beneath the Surface, we can see each other the way we were made to. 

When you look out over an ocean, it's very beautiful, but hardly compares to the beauty beneath the surface. Diving below the waves, entire ecosystems flourish in balance with one another. Each creature is necessary for keeping their habitat alive. At The King's Academy, every student is valuable and essential to our ecosystem. As students and staff members, we define what the ecosystem looks like. So while we may look like an ordinary school at first, when you look beneath the surface, everything comes alive.


Yearbook Staff 2019-2020

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Monday June 22 at 10:05AM
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Class of 2020 Graduation Speech

Good morning, and thank you so much for joining us today.

I started to think very hard about what I might say two days ago. To be honest, I’m not very qualified to give you advice. In fact, I’m not actually quite sure how I made it here, and I’m not sure what I will do next in life. And I believe that you shouldn’t try to follow the path that I took, the path I will take, or anyone else’s path. Each of us is preparing to embark on unique adventures that we cannot imagine right now. So don’t try to plan too far ahead. After all, this year showed us that we can never really know what the future holds.

This was not the senior year we were expecting. I know for many, this was not the high school experience you were expecting. Maybe you didn’t get into the college of your choice. Maybe a medical condition prevented you from playing a sport you loved, or from going to school. Perhaps you struggled with addiction. Or, you lost a loved one. And this year, we were looking forward to our last service trip. We were looking forward to our last performance or last sports season. We were looking forward to spending time with our friends. All of this was put on hold.

More than once, we were diverted from the paths we had originally planned for. Yet through all of these unexpected occurrences, we have grown stronger. Our class has grown stronger. We have gone from being people who just went to school together to becoming a tightly-knit family that the other classes look up to. We’ve grown stronger not in spite of these difficulties, but because of these challenges. Each unexpected trial we have encountered has allowed us to connect with new people and to acquire new sets of skills.

As we head to new places, let us embrace these challenges. Don’t limit yourself with a set of expectations for the future. Don’t try to be like others. Don’t even try to be who you think you are. As we progress through life, we will change. Our goals and life direction will change. In fact, it is the uncertainty of the future that allows us to appreciate the present. The future is constantly changing. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, and don’t think too hard about what you could have done. Instead, anticipate the amazing things God will lead you to do in the future.

Class of 2020, I love you. Over the past years, each one of you has become family to me. And over the past few weeks, I’ve realized how much all of you have been such an influential part of my life. I’ll really miss this class. Family and staff, thank you for everything you do. Thank you for sacrificing your time and energy for us. To all my teachers, the lessons you taught me in the classroom I will remember for a while, but the lessons you taught me outside the classroom I will remember forever. Thank you.

Finally, remember that only God’s love is truly unchanging. So wherever you go, rely on His love for stability and for comfort. Our class has come a long way, and I can’t wait to see what all of us will accomplish. It has been a privilege to be a part of this family. Thank you all for the honor of speaking today. Congratulations, Class of 2020. God bless you.

-Darren Chin, Class of 2020 Valedictorian

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Monday June 15 at 11:46AM
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The Importance of Being Dad

“To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” - Oscar Wilde

The play from which this Oscar Wilde quote hails, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” is required reading for TKA high school students as well as for students across our country. I’d like to take some literary liberties and apply this idea to the role we play as fathers and to show the importance of the role well-played in the lives of our sons and daughters.  Let’s face it: For anyone who has been a father for more than a day realizes, it is a relational role that is joyous at best and heartbreaking at worst. And it’s the highest calling to which a man can be God’s representative in the lives of the children in our care.   

After 27 years of fatherhood, I find myself still wondering if I’m giving it my best at being Dad.  Am I fulfilling this role in our sons’ lives in such a way that honors God and enhances the lives of the sons with which He’s blessed us? Am I getting through to them? Am I leading them in the right direction?  And why is it so difficult at times to communicate to them about...well, anything?? 

What does it mean to strike the natural pose, to live out the life of being Dad? We can answer that question by first asking, “Why is it so frustrating at times when we’re seeking to do our best?”  We’re great professionally. People listen to us. Goals are accomplished. The mission moves forward. Whence the challenge with the “natural pose” of being Dad? 

Well, we can see things that our children cannot fathom.  We know about the long-term consequences of poor choices in critical areas of life.  We know the heartache inherent in adolescence, and we often want to help our children avoid unnecessary hurt.  We want them to learn vicariously from our mistakes. SOMEONE needs to learn from our often bungled approach to our teenage life! And as professionals, we can lose our identity as a father as we get wrapped up in the daily pursuits of life.  The result is that we can be overcome with personal frustration, exasperation, and often a feeling of hopelessness as we seek to grapple with the very real challenges of parenting teens in this 21st century.

So let’s define the role of being just Dad.  After all, that’s what our children desire most of us as fathers - only to be our human selves, expanding waist, graying hair and all. They’re not interested in our exploits as young men. They don’t really care about our financial status (unless they need money for a night out with friends!).  Nor are they terribly interested in our achievements in the office or on the job site.

Then what ARE our children looking for when it comes to Dad?  Here are my findings over nearly three decades of experimentation: 

  1. AVAILABILITY ON THEIR TERMS - Our children need us to varying degrees throughout our lives, and that begins with making ourselves available to them as a source of counsel, as a fan at their sporting or performing arts events, or just as a family member seated at the dinner table on a nightly basis.  Really, it’s our presence that is most necessary and desired, even subconsciously in a teenager’s life. I remember as our sons were growing, one of them, in particular, would rarely interact with us around the house. But, he would always enter the room where my wife and I were seated, briefly linger, and then return to his regularly scheduled activity in the family room.  My being present was enough for him; he just needed to know I was around and engaged in family life. Don’t discount the role of availability and presence in your childrens’ lives. 

  1. BALANCE - In a world of myriad and powerful influences in our children’s lives, that of Dad still reigns prominently. Our sons and daughters thrive in a home that values a balanced approach to living; they long for the harmony that comes from a dad who lives his life in balance.  His life is not all about work or leisure or home repair or church business. It’s about living joyfully in the home, balancing our responsibilities while remaining present in family life. Our time, talents, and treasures are appropriately meted out for the overall well-being of our family, specifically of the children in our care.

  1. FAITHFULNESS - Our children will thrive under the example of a father faithful to his family and to his word, even to his own hurt (Psalm 15:4).  Faithfulness on our part provides the security and trust our children need to thrive in their individual life situations while living under our roof and, more importantly, when they venture out on their own as students, professionals, spouses and parents. 

We are called to cultivate a climate of growth in our home...growth in family relationships; growth in our children’s awareness of the world around them; growth in their unique skills; and growth in their relationship with God their creator and savior.

As we lead the life of an available, balanced, and faithful steward, we will begin detecting signs of cultivation and growth in our home.  We will find contentment. We will recognize our higher purpose in life. And we will find that the natural role of being Dad is a less difficult pose to hold and more joyous than we had ever thought possible!

Jack Ferrante
Junior High Principal

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Tuesday February 11 at 12:35PM
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A Message to TKA Students and Alumni “God’s Will for Your Life”

As you leave TKA and move into young adulthood, you may inevitably find yourselves faced with more and more increasingly significant major life decisions. If you were raised in the Christian faith, you might have grown up with Jeremiah 29 being (over) quoted to you:“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

An accidentally narrow misinterpretation of this verse can make it sound like there’s only one right Will of God for your life. This may lead to fear and apprehension about “missing God’s will for your life” or making a misstep and then somehow having blessings withheld or, worse, curses and disaster brought down upon yourself. You may fear that if you “get it wrong” you’ll somehow make a shipwreck of your life.

This fear can cause you to lose heart and to balk at moving forward; it can cause you to allow anxiety and indecision to overwhelm and then paralyze you regarding pulling the trigger on any major life decisions. Or, it may make you vulnerable to abdicating responsibility for your decisions and mistakenly letting others make them for you. Even worse, out of fear and confusion and shame, you might back away from your relationship with the Lord. But “doing the will of the Lord,” finding success in life as a human being, is all about actively cultivating your relationship with God.

How you face into major life decisions sheds light on your faith and how you understand God. It may even reveal what’s at the heart of what you truly believe about the Lord and how He relates to you. When you fear missing “God’s Perfect Will,” it may be coming from a place of viewing Him as a cruel taskmaster, or someone who is critical and quick to pass a harsh judgment on you and your choices. Sometimes you feel like He’s playing hide-and-seek, but He’s not. And He is not a harsh taskmaster.

But, He’s not a dictator either. Part of growing up into a mature faith and “adulting” well involves making wise decisions and then owning them. You are not a slave and you are not a victim. You are an agent, and you have been given the ability and the opportunity to bathe your decisions in prayer and to “co-create your destiny with your Creator.” You have the capacity to make wise and good decisions that will truly set you up to thrive, and God expects you to exercise godly judgment and your God-given free will to do exactly that.

“Doing God’s Will” or “Living Out God’s Will For Your Life” is not reflected in your resume; it’s reflected in your character. It’s expressed in your ongoing lifestyle choices, in both your big life decisions as well as the small daily lifestyle decisions you make.

Regarding your big life decisions, are you pursuing whatever you are pursuing for the right reasons, the godly reasons? And by godly, I mean “Kingdom first.” What are your motivations? Are you keeping God’s priorities first in your life? Are His values your values? Do you trust Him? Are you doing your best to figure out your design, to discover and define who you truly are, and then with courage and compassion, are you living it out? Or are your grand pursuits “misoriented”? Do you have a tendency towards people-pleasing? Is there fear? Are you possibly striving to be someone you are not, someone you think you should be, or who someone (be it parent, professor, or culture) tells you that you should be? Are you seeking wealth or status or importance rather than success as a human being, as a child of God? Or are you relatively unconcerned with “Doing God’s Will” because you have left Him out of the equation?

The good news is that your anxiety about making good decisions and living a life pleasing in God’s sight is proof that you care about what God thinks and wants. It’s evidence of your love for the Lord, and of your deep desire to work with His Holy Spirit and not against it.

So, are you “living out God’s will for your life”? Well, do you live with a conscious need for the Lord? Do you deliberately choose to live your days in a loving partnership with Him? Do you trust that He is Who He says He is, and that His expressions of love towards you are unconditional and everlasting? Are you living within His loving limits, not to earn His favor but so that you will truly thrive? Are you allowing His words to instill in you a sense of peace and courage that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”? Are you learning to relax in His arms and to stop trying so desperately to perform, to “get it right,” to essentially rely on yourself to be your own salvation?

God’s will for your life is for you to love God and to love your neighbor, and the truly good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He expects you to do all these things imperfectly. But you must do it in the context of the affectionate personal relationship that only you can have with the Lord. His will is for you to trust in His love that will never let you go, and in His grace that is sufficient in every way.

Even if you fear you are “on the wrong track” or that “you’ve sinned” or that “you’ve made a terrible mistake,” please remember that God is not only merciful and forgiving, but He is also infinitely creative, and He is making all things new. He will work all things together for your good. I teach my Bible 7 students to repeat to themselves, “No matter what happens, no matter what I do, God’s heart towards me is always good.” Do you believe that?

Finally, no matter how closely you walk with God, in certain seasons you may not know exactly what He is doing in your life. Remember the intimacy with God that Moses enjoyed: “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Moses boldly asks to see God, but sometimes even Moses only gets to see where God has been, not what He is doing in real-time. God tells Moses, “And it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” (Exodus 33:22). Sometimes we feel like we can’t see what God is doing; He may purposefully “cover us” so we don’t see Him as He’s working. That’s when we must choose to walk by faith, and to be still and know that He is God. In due season, and as the mysterious ways in which the Lord works are often most clearly understood in retrospect, we will be able to see where He has been.

Seeing where God has been builds our faith, and that faith leads us into the hope and that future that Jeremiah speaks of. Keep walking with God over time, the best you can, so that you can look back to see where He’s been at work. Keep God in your life, “for it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him” (Philippians 2:13).

Therefore, in these words, may you find rest for your souls. You are finding your way, and we (the TKA teachers and staff) are so proud. We love you, the Lord delights in you, and He will be with you all your days.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

Brenda Rosé, Spiritual Life Department
Bible 7 Teacher

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Wednesday January 29 at 11:27AM
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TKA Robotics Leads to Expansion of Engineering Program

TKA is expanding opportunities for students to pursue engineering, within the curriculum and through co-curricular activities. What started with a few parent volunteers shepherding students interested in robotics in an after school program led to the creation of two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics teams (MidKnight Madness and MidKnight Mahem) plus engineering and robotics courses offered as electives in the junior high and high school curriculums. Moreover, TKA has plans to build a STEAM building with a state-of-the-art “makerspace,” a place where students can design, experiment, build, and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering, and tinkering. To make this vision possible, God has been faithful in providing passionate mentors who are committed to exposing more students to the wonders of robotics and engineering.

TKA Robotics Teams Thrive Under Skilled and Dedicated Mentors

Betsy Atler was determined to bring robotics to TKA so her sons could continue to pursue their passion, and other students might discover a new interest as well. She knew there would be a demand, and indeed, it proved overwhelming. Thus, Atler recruited TKA parent and engineer, Randy Andrews, who has been a mentor to TKA’s robotics since it began in 2014. Both have remained committed to building TKA’s robotics program, even though their children have graduated from TKA.

A proud electrical engineering graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, Mrs. Atler is currently a Design Controls Engineer at Intuitive Surgical, Inc., who brings fifteen years of marketing and engineering experience from working at Intel. She explains her commitment to robotics: “Robotics programs demonstrate to students what real-world engineering is all about: diagnosing issues, solving problems, selling ideas.”  Mrs. Atler’s dedication to improving many aspects of The King’s Academy experience resulted in an invitation to serve on TKA’s School Board, where she has been a member since 2012.

Mr. Randy Andrews fondly recalled that as a child, he always liked taking stuff apart and trying to make things that worked. As a young adult, he studied mechanical and electrical engineering at MIT. His freshman advisor at MIT was legendary, Woodie Flowers, one of the co-founders of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). Mr. Andrews went on to work at Hewlett Packard's corporate research lab doing robotics. He is the founder of Douloi Automation (1991), where he currently works full-time creating motion control technology.

Mr. Andrews is passionate about “using the creative aspect of God's image that's been given to us,” and having a "Genesis experience where a thought becomes a real creation and a breath (expressed as software with lots of typing) places a humble kind of life into that creation." While mentoring students in robotics, he sees students “move from being tentative and cautious to having the courage to take the initiative and exercise leadership.”  He has enjoyed witnessing the evolution of student robotics competitions. The trend is for the devices to do more on their own as well as being driver-controlled. This robot autonomy requires much more software programming, so students learn both mechanics and software.  “It is a marvel when it all comes together and works! When it doesn’t,” Andrews says, “students must become detectives and problem solvers.” His sense of wonder is evident in the enthusiasm he displays for coaching robotics. In 2017, at the NorCal Regionals tournament, Mr. Andrews won the Compass Award for his outstanding guidance and support. 

This fall, a new mentor on the scene, Annette Lane, began teaching Robotics Engineering and Programming to junior high students, as well as Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Introduction to Engineering Design to high school students. Mrs. Lane earned her BS from the University of Puerto Rico and has extensive knowledge and expertise in robotics and engineering. A long-time industry professional with fourteen years at IBM, Mrs. Lane developed the Valley Christian technology curriculum and then started VC’s robotics program in 2004 with two junior high FIRST robotics teams. After retiring, with fourteen years of service at Valley Christian, Mrs. Lane got a call from Mrs. Atler, whom she had met through robotics competitions. In fact, when starting TKA’s robotics, Mrs. Atler sought out Mrs. Lane as a mentor. Mrs. Atler informed her that TKA had been praying for a robotics/engineering teacher. God had answered prayers!

Mrs. Lane is inspired to “bring kids to Christ through robotics” and to “teach students organization, business, teamwork, focus, graphic design, inventory systems, machine shop and more, so they can have a career in whatever field they choose.”  She stresses to students that “excellence is never achieved, only pursued. The goal is to get better every day. In Christ, we achieve perfection only when we die.”

Mrs. Lane’s vision for TKA is eventually to have one FIRST Lego League Team (FLL), one or two FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, and a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team. 

Student Impact

One example of the impact of TKA robotics can be found in Andrew Hartley (11th grade). Andrew secured an internship last summer with OhmniLabs (a 3D printer robotics company) after learning about it on a field trip with the robotics team. Andrew wrote his mentors to tell them about his summer: 

The skills I have learned from robotics have been extremely helpful at work, from presenting ideas to rapid prototyping and quick solutions. Communication with teammates has proven to be very important. During robotics, the meetings in which we established our objectives for the day are similar to the quick, objective engineering meeting every morning at work. My last project this summer has been designing and building a machine that can paint its own paintings. This has been my favorite project as it has required me to reach out for lots of help as I am not experienced with AI. To me, it has been a dream summer, and every day I think about how the skills we learned in robotics perfectly prepared me for my internship. I am so grateful that we have a robotics program at school, and I am very excited for another season with the team.

Another example is Cassidy French, Class of 2016. According to Atler, Cassidy was “our first business operations manager” during the first two years the team existed. She also contributed to hardware as she gained confidence. Cassidy decided to minor in IT, along with pursuing a business degree at Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ) and credited her experience with TKA robotics for that decision. 

Corporate Sponsors

The majority of the Robotics budget comes from individual and corporate donations, including company matching gifts for volunteer hours.

The following companies have provided either financial or material donations, and TKA is very grateful for their generous support:  Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Google, Douloi Automation, Adobe, Intel, LinkedIn

For More Information

To learn more about TKA robotics, including details about the design process and each season’s results, please visit the robotics webpages at  For questions email

Kriss Hayward, Director of Marketing & Communications

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Thursday January 16 at 11:03AM
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Equipping Our Students To Stand For Truth

Like it or not, one of the trending questions that confronts us in our modern “post-truth” times is: Does truth matter? The answer to this question likely varies depending on someone’s worldview—the lens through which they view the world.
The person who is a relativist will, of course, respond that everyone has their own truth. From someone committed to scientism, the answer will likely be: Of course truth matters, contingent that it can be found only through scientific means. A third perspective may emerge from a committed pragmatist: Truth matters only if it advances your goals. The youth of today might even deny that truth exists as they become jaded by polarized views, misleading news, and less than forthright leadership.
There is a parallel question that seems utterly lost in the loud voices of today’s “post-post-Christian” culture: Does Christianity still matter?
If they even return your call, those same relativists and pragmatists might confess that Christianity could matter—if it works for you, then you can believe what you want, as long as it does not harm or offend others. The response from scientism might be,"Absolutely not"—religion is a distraction from knowing and following what is true and right. Are our kids even aware of these competing worldviews? How are they to make sense of any moral controversies in society like same-sex marriage, abortion, or euthanasia?
At TKA, there is a strong value of equipping students to confidently and logically confront these worldviews WHEN they are encountered (not IF they are encountered). When they are showered with worldview input from media, social media, neighbors, friends, and university dorm-mates, we want them to be able to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3) and to live freely by knowing truth (John 8:31) instead of being imprisoned by a lie. This means they should be inoculated against worldview errors instead of being isolated from them.
When our students hear the assertion that the Bible says, “There is no God,” we want them to acknowledge this is true, but to kindly and truthfully share the full Biblical context in response: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” (Psalm 14:1). When our students hear that there are hundreds of contradictions in the Bible, they should ask those promoting the claim to please point them out, and ask for a definition of “contradiction.” When the atheist in the crowd asserts that there is no absolute truth, our students should be prepared to respond with a simple question: Is that absolutely true?
In my first career as a Marine Corps combat helicopter pilot, truth literally held the power of physical life or death. If it was true that your weapons were loaded with practice rounds, others would live. But if it was false, the results would have been tragic. In my second career as a Christian educator, the truth of the Gospel holds the power of eternal life or death. This holds consistently true while engaging in all areas of academics, athletics, and the arts. I would suggest we need to not let up on prioritizing the studies of logic and apologetics for our students so they can live freely, and be enabled to keep the fibers of truth and integrity unbroken, which assuredly are the very fibers that hold our society together.

Matt Nisbet, Director of Operations

Posted by Mrs. Kriss Hayward on Monday January 6 at 12:38PM
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