King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

King's Garden

I promised this to Jason, who said Tiffany wanted to hear about private schools. So here's my experience.

I went to King's Garden through 8th grade. Now known as King's Schools, it is a non-denominational Christian school in what's now Shoreline. I don't know if my parents considered it in choosing where we moved. Shortly after moving to Richmond Beach I was enrolled for kindergarten at King's. I still remember the teacher's names from elementary. Most of them anyway, although I barely remember much else. Mrs. Flugstad for kindergarten. Mr. Kelly for 1st. Mrs. Omdahl for 2nd. Mrs. Staatz for 3rd. I think Mrs. Kennedy for 4th, but this is kind of fuzzy. I had two teachers that year. 5th was Mr. Kelly again; he was now teaching a different grade. And 6th was Mr. Champoux.

King's was a rigid school. They use corporal punishment, although I can only remember once being paddled there. What I remember of the incident in 1st grade is that it was for talking during class. Someone was trying to get me to give them an answer to a question and I wouldn't, but the teacher heard me talking and paddled me anyway. Both me and a kid named Jeff Van Ness (?) got punished at the same time. They took us to another room across the hall for our paddling. Jeff cried. My mom and step-dad were pretty liberal with the paddlings, so I was used to it and this didn't chasten me. I was pissed though cause I didn't think I deserved it.

The school was big on reading writing and arithmetic fundamentals. Lots of rote copying in early grades. Up through 2nd grade we could do reports simply by copying encyclopedia articles. I don't think the methods were particularly effective, but the one thing they offered over the public schools was focus. You could be sure the school would work its damnedest to make sure you kept up. In my case that wasn't so difficult, as I took to reading like a redneck to takes to dentures. Reading was my escape to a better life.

The drawback of it being a Christian school was thye didn't take too kindly to some notions of science. I remember in 6th grade we had a section on the origin of species. Our book pushed the idea that dinosaur fossils were a work of the devil to confuse us. It made the case against any form of evolution.

The school had it's televangelist tendencies as well. It never started a giant TV friendly church. That wasn't their style. The school sits on the grounds of an old tuberculosis hospital which the government auctioned off years ago. The founder of the school, Mike Martin, claims he walked the entire grounds barefoot in order to consecrate the place and win the auction. My recollection is that he supposedly won the auction with $1 when the phone lines didn't work and the other bidder could not place his bid. Anyway, I'm glad they never really went into televangelism. They've done a lot more good by doing other things. They run World Concern, a charity, Seattle's two largest Christian radio stations, KCMS and KCIS (formerly KGDN), and apparently now a third one. They operate King's Schools, and have added a school in Kitsap County and taken over another school in Shoreline. Also on the grounds there are a several retirement and assisted living homes. I am not a proponent of their religious approach, but their hearts are in the right place.

The coolest thing about the school was the tunnel system. The portions of the old grounds that were part of the tuberculosis hospital itself are criss crossed with tunnels to take people from one people to another. We weren't allowed in most of them, but the main one between the elementary and high school we were. The elementary school was in a building for the sick patients who couldn't walk. No stairwells. Long ramps between floors for wheelchairs. The high school was the hospital's administration building. The band building was above a corner of the tunnel where it turned en route between the elementary and high schools. The woman who gave piano lessons for a fee had her space in a small alcove in the tunnel. You shut the door and the piano didn't get to bother anyone. I remember lots of sticky stars for learning piano pieces.

The computer lab was stocked with Apple ][ computers and was in a stone building half buried in a hillside on 200th and the edge of the campus. I never got to take a computer class, but I hung out there as much as the teacher would let me. I got the bug there. I played with them and made them do my bidding. And I knew that's what I wanted to do. 22 years later, I am still with it and still get the same thrill.


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