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Academy aims ‘to reach people with the gospel’

After praying about it for three years, Grace Baptist Church members have set into motion Grace Christian Academy for grades K-5 at 1058 Buckshoal Road in Virgilina. 

Until March 31, the academy will be accepting early registration for students interested in joining them for their school year beginning Sept. 2. 

Associate Pastor and Student Ministries Director Dave Cline explained the “overarching goal” of the church is “to reach people with the gospel and train people in living out that gospel,” and Grace officials believe children are a focal point of that objective. 

“We’re trying to come alongside the parents of these children and help these children to see … basically God is the author of all knowledge,” said Cline.

“And all knowledge comes from Him, and our existence comes from Him, so we want to teach that to people. And a school is just a logical way to do that.” 

At the same time, Cline feels the academy will meet a need for the community and families in the church by providing a “well-rounded academically rigorous Christian” education that would “fill a void” in the community. 

“I’m not saying that the other Christian schools aren’t doing that. What I’m trying to say is that our school will be offering a different Christian environment because we will be teaching in a traditional setting with things like videos and work books as additions to the teachers,” said Cline. 

This K-5 experience will offer the “traditional type” classes along with Bible classes, P.E. classes both inside and outside, and Cline said they also are looking at options for art classes. 

In the future, they are hoping to offer after school art and music programs, and each year they plan to add a grade to the school. The upstairs of the building offers room for 10 to 12 more classrooms. 

Class sizes will range from eight to 12 students. 

“Since it’s small, it’s a great benefit to that. It will be individualized education. The teacher will know that child and know their parents and be able to work with the child and parent to educate that child,” said Cline.  

Lunch will be held in the cafeteria, but hot meals will not be provided. Students may bring a packed lunch or purchase microwavable lunches. 

Also, GBC is talking to an “experienced educator” that has a “good reputation in the community” about the possibility of becoming their administrator. 

“This will be a ministry of Grace Baptist, so we the pastors will be involved by overseeing it, but the school administrator does the day to day, trains teachers, works with teachers, supervises teachers, and the teachers will be able to relate to an administrator that is an academic person like them,” said Cline. 

Interested persons can pick up a packet from GBC. The packet includes the application process checklist, new student application, tuition rate chart, official school calendar, request for transcripts from and GCA Mission, Vision and Promises statements. 

In order to submit an application, the academy requests a $400 non-refundable application fee. If interested persons were to participate in early registration, the application fee will be $300. 

The $400 fee covers curriculum expenses, technology fee and administrative costs in hopes of eliminating conducting “student selling” fundraisers and reducing additional “book fees.” 

Tuition for one student at Grace Christian Academy for a Grace Baptist member is $3,420, and tuition for one student at GCA for a non-GCB member is $3,600. 

GCA offers four payment plans. If the tuition is paid in full, there will be a 10 percent discount. If it is paid in two payments, there will be a 5 percent discount. The other two options are a 10-month payment plan and a 12-month payment plan. 

“We also have a limited amount of scholarship assistance for those who need it based on financial need,” said Cline. 

The mission of GCA is “to glorify God through the discipleship of students and the pursuit of excellence in education with the Bible as our foundation and Jesus Christ as our focus.” 

At GCA, Cline said they want to foster an environment where students want to come to school, not an environment where students don’t want to come because they’re being bullied, picked on or because they think their teacher doesn’t care. 

“We want to foster an environment where those things aren’t happening. In our family handbook, we’re addressing the idea of treating one another well, and we have an honor code that we will institute,” said Cline. 

The idea of this Christian academy has been floating in the minds of Grace Baptist Church members for years. It finally came to light when deacons appointed a committee to begin working on starting the school in the beginning of last year. The committee first met in April.  

They have set their goal to open a year and half later since that first meeting with the idea they can provide a family-oriented experience that allows them to work alongside parents to educate their children.