Honoring the Legacy of George Knight III

Members of a small Sunday school class in 1975, led by George Knight III, had no idea what God had in store when they began to pray for a St. Louis Christian school rooted in biblical truth.

Westminster Christian Academy’s doors first opened in 1976, but long before that day God had been preparing Knight’s heart to lead this charge. His long and fruitful ministry as a pastor, educator, and churchman spanned six decades and multiple churches, denominations, and educational institutions — including Westminster. During his time at Covenant Theological Seminary, he saw a need for children to receive a Christian education rooted in the beliefs of the Westminster Catechism.

“I remember board meetings that would last well into the evenings, as we discussed when, why, and how this school might function and grow,” former board-member John Prentis recollected. Prentis was “along for the ride” during the early stages of God answering prayers for Westminster.

Knight built a founders board of educators who prayed, studied, and fundraised for the mountainous project of establishing Westminster. He worked tirelessly, deeply resolved about the necessity for young people to experience biblical education. Today, Westminster educators believe they have a responsibility to integrate a biblical worldview into every aspect of school life. This value began with Knight and Westminster’s founding board.

Jack Kramer, like Prentis, was a prayer partner during the founding stages, and has seen three generations of his family enjoy the school Knight played such an integral role in creating. In fact, his oldest daughter was a member of the first class of students to attend Westminster, when classrooms were rented from Missouri Baptist College. “George was selfless, sacrificial, and dedicated to the vision of Christian education. Westminster would not be what it is without his firmness and faith,” Kramer expressed. “He planted a seed back in 1975 that has become a beautiful forest that generations are still enjoying today.”

There are many individuals at Westminster that have fond memories of Knight. Dr. Andrew Shaw currently teaches upper school students, and was originally hired under the leadership of Knight in 1977 — the second year the school was open. Shaw reflects on the joy he experienced during the first years of Westminster. His previous role in public education left him frustrated and restricted on how and what he was able to teach students. Once at Westminster, Shaw was encouraged to teach students with the Biblical worldview that he personally, deeply believes.

“The leaders of Westminster, even in my earliest years, encouraged me to be passionate about my personal disciplines and compassionate towards my students in a Biblical way,” Shaw explained. “This school was rare in that way, and I think it still is.”

Shaw’s colleague and fellow science teacher, Tim Hall, has fond memories of growing up alongside Knight’s children. Hall’s father stood alongside Knight as another integral member of the group that formed Westminster.

“I can remember spending afternoons at the Knight’s home playing in the backyard while our father’s conversations went around and around, dreaming of our school,” Hall said. “And now, all these years later, I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach here and have my own children graduate from this place.”

Hall was a member of the first ninth grade class at Westminster when the doors opened in 1976. He remembers Knight as a very well-spoken, respectable gentleman. “I really looked up to him,” Hall exclaimed. “He spoke with deep confidence and resolution that he really wanted to make a difference in this community through Christian education.”

George Knight III went home to be with the Lord on Monday, October 11, 2021, leaving behind a legacy for which we are all grateful.

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