Ralph Bullard Training Facility
Eighteen years ago when our current gym was built, Mr. Ralph Bullard wanted to name it the “Jim Elliot Memorial Gymnasium.” Why? He wanted current and future generations of coaches and young people to remember and understand that athletics is about training the character and conscience of young people—young people who will use character forged on the athletic court to become warriors for the faith in every arena of life. Mr. Bullard knew that the exemplary Christian character of Jim Elliot would serve as an extraordinary example of what CHA would like to see God develop in the lives of young people. CHA’s Board of Trustees now believes that by naming the new gymnasium the “Ralph Bullard Training Facility,” we will again be holding up the life of an exceptional individual—an individual who himself benefited from athletic training, who coached young people in multiple sports, and faithfully trained coaches at CHA for many years. The need for an additional gym cannot be overestimated as it is desperately needed for CHA to continue to carry out its vision of “Training American Christian leaders for every sphere of society.”
Mr. David Holmes
One of the core values of Christian Heritage Academy and one of the desired outcomes in the lives of our students is the development of Christian character, and athletics is one of the primary arenas in which that character building is accomplished. Athletic programs require extensive facilities. The most needed facility on our campus is an additional gymnasium which, in the words of Mr. Troop Bullard, Secondary Headmaster, and Mr. Clint LittleJim, Athletic Director, will be a “game changer” for all of our students, elementary and secondary alike.
CHA’s Christian philosophy of athletics has been a distinguishing feature of CHA since the early years of the school. Mr. Ralph Bullard was an athlete and a coach before he became a teacher and administrator. Mr. David Holmes, in a presentation to the CHA faculty, noted that Mr. Bullard was “branded by, not only the Gospel, but also by the value of athletics as a platform to spread the Gospel and to teach and develop Christian character in young people.” When God saved and radically changed Ralph Bullard in his years as a high school athlete, he was “branded with the idea that Christ should be at the center of athletics,” and that idea became part of his life and ministry both before and throughout his ministry at CHA.
The CHA Board of Trustees voted to pursue the building of an additional gymnasium, to be named, with Mrs. Starley Bullard’s blessing, the “Ralph Bullard Training Facility.” The facility will make possible multi-court volleyball tournaments, junior high and varsity practice sessions in multiple sports, additional elementary and junior high P.E. space, practice sessions by club volleyball teams and elementary basketball teams, elementary activity days, space for the fall festival, and much more. The board and the school administration believe that this facility will be a fitting tribute to Mr. Bullard’s godly influence in the lives of hundreds of student athletes over the four decades of his ministry.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF RALPH BULLARD
Mr. Ralph Bullard began teaching in Edmond Public Schools in 1962. He taught biology and physical education and was the assistant coach for varisty football and basketball, and head coach for varsity track. He also began the first Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter for Edmond Public Schools.
In 1966, he received a federal grant related to Sputnik to pursue and earn his master’s degree from Oklahoma State University. It is even in these early years that you can see the influence of a true teacher. He extended his influence inside and outside the classroom. He loved students and desired to influence their lives. He was a lover of learning.
Coming to CHA in 1973, Mr. Ralph Bullard continued his love of learning through the study of the Principle Approach. He worked with many talented educators at CHA to develop CHA’s Master Teacher Program for the advancement of training educators in the American Christian Philosophy of Education and the Principle Approach.
In 1986, he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution. He was in many ways a “showman.” His whimsical humor and love of learning permeated a room. When he taught, he came to life. The classroom was his stage. He loved to tell stories and laugh. He loved to read The Nickel That Laughed every year to the elementary students and remind them of the importance of missions.
Mr. Ralph Bullard’s most lasting influence will be on the lives of every teacher and student that he taught. Mr. Bullard saw each student as a vessel that God could use, and he wanted to help do his small part to help them accomplish their purpose in life. It was always about the person, never about the grade, trophy or accomplishment.
His example as a Christian husband and father was recognized in 2006 by the Oklahoma State Legislature in the House Concurrent Legislature 1059 for his example of forty-seven years of marriage and forty-five years of service in Christian education. Mr. Bullard achieved this and so much more. While all of his accomplishments are impressive, he was never one to boast.
For those who lived life with Mr. Ralph Bullard on a daily basis, it was his detailed voting guide, love of reading history, stories of our nation on the sixth-grade government trip, and his teaching of Rudiments to the students and faculty which have had the greatest influence. It is his “unseen” impact which permeates the lives of all those who have graduated from Christian Heritage Academy and continue to live pure, right wrong, speak truth, and serve the King.
CHA athletics made an indelible impression on the trajectory of my life, how I operate as a professional and to some degree, how I strive to raise my two boys. My time under coaches like Coach Merrell, Coach Bullard(s), Coach Pulliam and others, taught me more about character and reflecting Christ in all that we do. Whether we were experiencing great success of State Championships or deep frustrations with losses, unfair calls or missed opportunities, we do not control our circumstances, the other team, nor the referees or umpires. We control how we respond. We do so with the knowledge that the other coaches, players and fans are watching our response, which may be the only opportunity they have to see Christ in such a situation. If you ask my boys what does Dad say to them every day, they’ll tell you in unison, “you control how you respond.” Thinking back, this philosophy is a direct result of my time in CHA athletics.
Trey Tipton, Class of 1997
I am so thankful for my years at CHA where I was given opportunities to develop not only physical strength, but also mental, spiritual, emotional and relational strength as I participated in athletics. The lessons I learned about working hard, never quitting, never complaining and working as a team have been crucial during every chapter of my life. The sports themselves gave me a chance to try new things. They taught me how to take risks. They taught me that I can do hard things. They taught me that I can do some hard things better than others (volleyball much better than tennis!). They gave me confidence when I faced other new settings later in life, whether it was in Spain twenty years ago where I was the only non-native speaker in my master’s degree program, or in Mexico last fall where I took my brain-injured son for stem cell therapy. I learned courage, and I overcame fears in high school sports. I depend on the same strength daily in very different life circumstances. I no longer play competitive basketball, volleyball or tennis. I no longer do back handsprings across the gym floor in a Crusader cheerleading uniform. As an adult, most people don’t. But they do carry on in every chapter of their lives the lessons learned from their participation in school athletics. I certainly do. For this I am forever grateful.
Julie (Cornelius) Haller, Class of 1993
How has CHA athletics had an effect on my life? Anyone that was a part of CHA years ago cannot answer that question without mentioning Mr. Ralph Bullard and Coach John Merrell. I appreciate how tough they were on me, in school and in sports. My only year to play CHA basketball was 7th grade. There was no one to coach the team, so Mr. Bullard took the job. We were strictly taught the fundamentals of the game. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is Mr. Bullard telling us, “Forget that you’ve heard that practice makes perfect. That is completely wrong. What makes perfect is perfect practice”. I have tried to remember that in being an employee, a husband, and a father; though I have failed many times. I try to not just go through the motions but to learn the “perfect” or correct way to do something and practice it that way. From a young often rebellious kid, who was in the office for swats too many times, to the dad with kids who now attend CHA, there really are not enough words to express the impact CHA made on me. I hope this new facility, named after Mr. Bullard, will be as much a blessing to future students and parents as our football field and Jim Elliot Memorial Gym have been to me as I’ve watched my own children in sporting activities.
Chris Vinyard, Class of 1989
WAYS YOU CAN GIVE
We have chosen an 18-month campaign to assist families in making their best, sacrificial gift. With an 18-month pledge, please consider making a 10-20 percent down payment (or more, if you are able); the remainder can be spread over the 18-month pledge period, choosing the frequency of payment schedule that works for you.
Most commonly, donors make cash payments using a check, EFT or automatic bill pay. You may benefit from such payments with a charitable deduction on your tax return.
Stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares that have appreciated can have an immediate impact on our campaign and create an income tax deduction for you based on their current value.
You may donate to the campaign by making Christian Heritage Academy the owner and beneficiary of your insurance policy.
Corporate Matching Gifts
A matching gift program provided through your employer or board membership may allow you to increase the value of your gift. Please inquire at your place of employment before you make your gift.
Planned giving is the process of carefully selecting the best method and asset for making a charitable gift. Such a gift can enable you to take full advantage of the tax laws to accomplish your financial and charitable goals.
Phases 1, 2 and 3 have already been funded. We would appreciate your support as we move from phase 3 into phase 4.
Donations & Commitments of $2.3M in order to break ground and move forward with construction. We have already received more than $400,000 in donations!
As a former coach, Mr. Ralph Bullard understood the value of athletics in a school. He taught a Christian philosophy of athletics. A Crusader should prepare, practice, and play to win every game. He taught that there was a much more noble cause, a higher calling, than just winning on the scoreboard. The end goal was to be a good testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ in all that we do. This philosophy has been demonstrated on fields and in gymnasiums across the state of Oklahoma for over 40 years. These proposed facilities could easily allow up to 5 hours a week of more practice time without lengthening the school day. I am honored to participate in this worthy project that has Mr. Ralph Bullard’s name on it.
John Merrell, CHA Football Coach and Athletic Director (1983 – 2015)
CHA athletics were a major influence for good in my young life, I strongly believe that my coaches and teammates impacted me in ways that will be everlasting. What a tremendous blessing to have coaches approach athletics from such an intentional Christ-centered perspective. It has long been a prayer of mine and my wife’s that our three children attend CHA and have the opportunity to be discipled by CHA teachers and coaches. I know from firsthand experience that this is a tremendous ministry, and I pray that God will have favor on this plan and this building so that the generations ahead can bear fruit to the testimony that Mr. Ralph Bullard taught us, Christ is the Lord.
Paul Bryan, Class of 2001
Christian Heritage Athletics was monumental in influencing the development of my Christian character! Growing up, athletics was an important part of my family dynamics. Having a father who played professional baseball and started CHA’s baseball program, he knew the importance of athletics and the opportunities that athletics bred to mold Christian character. I was fortunate to cheer for Mrs. Merrell and play basketball for Mr. Troop Bullard. They taught me hard work, commitment, self-discipline, intentionality and loyalty. They listened and counseled using every aspect of athletics — blessings or adversities — to point us to our Heavenly Father. Knowing firsthand the investment it takes to have a program, and having been a part of a successful cheer and basketball program, I am forever grateful, forever changed, and forever a coach because of the influences through Christian Heritage athletics!
Cara (Toney) Alsup, Class of 2001
CHA’s impact on me is one that will last my entire lifetime. As I have become a mother, it is something I reflect back on as a spiritual marker in my own personal life, in particular the athletics at CHA. Yes, we won many games and I learned so much throughout the competitive moments of the sport, but the lasting effects of my coaches’ words resound in me to this day. The encouragement to memorize scripture on a weekly basis, the Godly correction on and off the court, and the pursuit of righteousness will forever impact who I am. I knew this was the school my husband and I wanted my children to be a part of, and to pursue their athletic career through.
Laynie (Naylor) Snider, Class of 2001