US Army Capt. Amber Grimsley and daughter Corianna at Flint Hills Christian School

U.S. Army Capt. Amber Grimsley and her daughter Corianna, a fourth grader at Flint Hills Christian School, dance as part of the school’s kick-off to National School Choice Week. Several other members of the military and first responders joined the school Monday morning for the Pledge of Allegiance.

With a 30-foot American flag draped above them, more than 150 students and staff at Flint Hills Christian School and several members of the military and first responders, many of them parents of students, recited their way through three pledges Monday morning.

At the Christian school, the students start each day with the Pledge of Allegiance, the pledge to the Christian flag and the pledge to the Bible individually.

But Monday’s celebration was special. They were celebrating the start of National School Choice Week, and just like the week that highlights parents’ ability to choose between traditional, private, charter, online or homeschool education, the presence of military and first responder personnel was intended to show the children that they can choose their own careers as well.

“Having soldiers and first responders join in our celebration shows our students just how important options are in education, and that’s exactly what we are — an option,” school principal Josh Snyder said.

After the pledges, Snyder led the school in a short prayer, and the children invited the uniformed adults to join them in a dance. U.S. Army Capt. Amber Grimsley danced with her daughter Corianna, a fourth grader at the school.

“I think it’s good to teach the kids that they do have choices,” Grimsley said. “They don’t have to follow their parent’s path or a path that somebody might tell them they have to. They get to explore and see what’s good for them.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Dennis Coleman, who has two children at the school, said it was important to show the children that college isn’t the only option after graduating from high school. He said he chose to send his children to the school for its quality of education and Christian values.

“As parents, we can send them to Sunday school, church or Wednesday night services, but to me, it’s a cool experience that I didn’t get to have when I was a kid, sending them to Christian school,” he said.

Snyder said 35 churches are represented at the non-denominational school, which helps contribute to a diversity of perspectives.

“We understand just how important the decision is to select the right school,” he said. “We are a private Christian school that is rigorously academic but 100% non-denominational.”

The school’s festivities continue later this week with decorating contests, a pep rally and an open house Thursday afternoon.