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Grace Christian Academy eyes start

SoVaNow.com / January 30, 2014
Starting a new school can be a daunting proposition, but Dave Cline, associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church, sees it as a mission of his church.

“We’ve been discussing this project since October of 2012,” he says, noting that church leaders actually started mapping plans for the school a year and half ago. Last October a committee met and decided to go forward with the opening of the Grace Christian Academy in September 2014.

Cline says the vision for the school is to provide an environment where students, faculty and staff embrace the Gospel and live biblically centered lives demonstrated by walking in the Spirit, imitating Christ and glorifying The Father.

He feels strongly that studying the Gospel and training students to carry out their work is a responsibility for parents. “We feel the church needs to help those parents and we can offer a unique opportunity for them.”

He explains that a large part — at least half — of the church’s congregation consists of young families and the church has gained a lot of support from parents for the new school. “We did a survey on Facebook and quickly receive 50 responses to our plan,” he said.

To start out, Cline says Grace Christian Academy plans to have six classes of students in grades K-5. Each class must have a minimum enrollment of eight students in order to be financially feasible. (He hopes to have 12 members per class.) By having such a small number of students, teachers will be able to offer individualized attention while also partnering with parents.

Hiring teachers, all of whom he wants to be certified in their fields, will be a tall order and will require special persons. “We are looking for teachers who are qualified, who love to teach and who are Christians. They also must want to teach in a Christian school with the view of educating the whole child in mind, body and soul.”

The first hire for the school will be an administrator who will oversee the operation of the school — supervising teachers, acquiring textbooks and governing discipline.

The school will follow a core curriculum of English (reading and writing), math, science, history and Bible study, Cline says. Physical education will also be offered since the church has a full size gymnasium, as well as large playground areas outdoors. It also already has seven classrooms available for use with a full second floor area that can be finished off as needed.

Cline said that while the school will start off offering only six grades, the hope is to add an additional class each year.

Transportation to and from the school will be the responsibility of the parents, certainly at the beginning of operation. Cline added that school would not be in a position to offer hot lunches. “We will have refrigerators to store milk and drinks and perhaps be offer to offer special lunches from time to time as a treat.”

Enrollment applications are now being taken at the church, located at 1058 Buckshoal Road, Virgilina (telephone 434-572-1860). For those who register before March 31, a $100 discount is being offered. In addition to the early registration discount members of Grace Baptist Church will receive a five percent discount off the $3,600 annual tuition fee.

Payment plans are also included for those who want to make two payments of their tuition fees or those who may chose to pay in ten or twelve monthly installments. Also for parents who may have more than child enrolled at the Academy there is a discount.

School will open this year on Sept. 2 after hosting an open house on Aug. 28. Christmas break comes on Dec. 22.

“We’re definitely excited and looking forward to a good year as we begin this new mission,” Cline said.

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Oh mercy. Another fundamentalist academy. Bad enough dealing with the ones from Westover in Danville, who are either cripplingly sheltered or complete hellions. Then WCA has that "arrangement" with Liberty University that any WCA graduate is automatically accepted at LU.

Wish 'em luck for the folks who want this education for their children. Hope this school will realise kids have to be prepared to deal with the secular real world, because while you can distance or even insulate yourself from it, you ignore, dismiss or suppress it to your peril.

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The religious indoctrination of children is an insidious form of child abuse. Shame on this academy and the parents who would inflict this on innocent children. I hope this bad idea fails -- and soon.

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I won't go as far as to wish it failure. I'll say this to parents contemplating enrolling their kids: You cannot completely isolate them from the secular world and expect them to survive in it once they're on their own. Isolation from secularity seems to be the overarching goal of these fundamentalist academies.

Faith and belief in a higher power are good things to have and develop once you're able to consciously understand things. Blind unquestioning faith often leads to disaster, especially when it's forced on people during formative years. I've known many young people who grew up to completely reject religion after being force-fed fundamentalism. Some fortunates discovered less strident denominations that didn't try to break peoples' will in the name of a higher being- or as is often the case, the congregation's pastor.


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