Western Christian School began educating high school youth in 1945. Founded by the Mennonites, the school was known as Western Mennonite School until 2017 when our name was officially changed to Western Christian School.
In 1945 the State of Oregon passed the School Attendance Law, raising the compulsory school age to sixteen and ultimately impacted families coming out of World War II. The Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference proposed the establishment of a Christian school in the district out of its desire “to properly balance the course of study with Bible knowledge and spiritual development in a strong Christian atmosphere”. Holding strong to that very vision, Western Christian School has grown to serve students grades K through 12 and is enriched by denominational and cultural diversity.
The first year of classes at WMS were held in the Bellevue school building located between Sheridan and McMinnville, Oregon. The next year, the school opened where it is currently located, seven miles north of West Salem on Highway 221. The original 12-acre campus was donated by the first School Board President, F.J. Gingerich. Later, it became a 45-acre campus (its current size) with the purchase of additional wooded-acres.
Over the next 45 years, Western added a gymnasium, dormitory, administration building and chapel on its campus. The school expanded its education program in the 1990s to include a middle school and in 2000 added sixth grade. In opening its doors to a broader age range, the campus grew with the addition of more classrooms and parking areas. In 2018, elementary grades were added as the vision grew to serve more families with Christian education for their kids.
Western’s past and present’s focus has always been to provide a Christ-centered education that equips our students for a life of faith and service.