After nearly 20 years of existence, one would think most people in the Cincinnati area would have heard of Miami Valley Christian Academy.

Not so, says Paige McElfresh, director of admissions for Miami Valley Christian Academy. “People still find us by accident,” she says.

The school, located at 6830 School St. in Newtown, opened in 1996 with five kindergartners and six first-graders, says McElfresh. Miami Valley Christian Academy will have 335 students enrolled in preschool through 12th grade for the 2015-2016 school year, she says.

So why don’t more people know about the school? “I think it’s because of our location,” says McElfresh. “We’re kind of hidden off the road, so we’re not just on the main drag. People are continuing to find us by accident.”

But it’s no accident that colleges are starting to notice the quality of Miami Valley Christian Academy graduates. “We’re hearing from colleges on how impressed they are when they have Miami Valley students enrolled in their colleges,” says McElfresh.

“We have colleges that are looking at us and saying, ‘We want Miami Valley students as part of our college,’” she says. “Our students are successful in big state colleges as well as private Christian schools. So that helps with scholarship money, etc.”

Part of the reason Miami Valley Christian Academy students are so successful at colleges and universities is the school’s strong academic program, says McElfresh.

“Our students’ average ACT scores are 26,” she says. “Our high school seniors are getting into the top three colleges of their choice, so we offer a great academic program here.”

Another reason Miami Valley Christian Academy students are so successful in post-secondary institutions is the values that students learn while attending the private, non-denominational, Christian school, says McElfresh.

“Not only academics are very, very strong here, it’s the spiritual piece that makes us so unique and special,” she says. “We offer a Christ-centered environment, academic excellence, we have a great family community and we really practice and make sure that our students have Godly character development.”

Miami Valley Christian Academy officials are also in the midst of developing a sports complex next door at Newtown’s Short Park.

The complex will include a stadium with an artificial turf field for football and soccer, a track, a baseball facility, a softball field, basketball courts, a playground and an extended walking track, says Robert Vilardo, Miami Valley Christian Academy athletic director and head football coach.

The complex will be built with private donations and a portion of the complex may be completed in time for the 2016 season, says Vilardo.

The school’s football teams now practice on a field at Short Park and play their games mostly at Turpin High School, with some games played at Anderson High School, says Vilardo.

A recent agreement with the village of Newtown will allow the school’s teams to play its home games on the sports complex at Short Park. The community will also be able to use the facility.