GCA celebrates first graduating class, earns accreditation

May 25, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated May 25, 2024 | 7:23 am

Bradley Blakeman said he was a little nervous in August 2020 when he was one of the nine students in the inaugural freshman class at Grace Christian Academy, but he had faith that both he and the school would succeed. Now Blakeman is part of the first-ever graduating class at GCA — a non-denominational, faith-based school that recently earned accreditation.

GCA was founded in 2020 and started with just the freshman class. It has since grown to include grades pre-K through 4 and 9-12. Currently, GCA has 93 total students with 42 in high school.

GCA will add grades 5-6 this fall and already has more than 125 students enrolled for the upcoming school year. The school plans to add grades 7-8 by the beginning of the 2025-26 school year, meaning they’d offer every grade from pre-K through 12.

“The Lord has blessed us wonderfully, and we have welcomed more and more students every year,” said Head of School Chris Holmes. “We have added more teachers and sports opportunities at both the high school and elementary levels. We have recently secured full Association of Christian Schools International (ACS) accreditation for the high school, and our elementary students performed incredibly well on their standardized tests. We are very grateful.”

Homes added, “Though GCA has grown and changed in numerous ways, our mission stays the same: to glorify God by equipping our students with a spiritually and academically solid Christian worldview.”

It was the dedication to that mission that gave Blakeman comfort when he started attending GCA.

“It was scary taking such a risk with what felt like an experimental high school. But knowing the faculty, I had faith that they would do their best to help us succeed,” he said. 

Blakeman was one of the 13 seniors who accepted a diploma Friday night, marking the first graduating class from GCA.

“It’s awesome knowing that we are graduating first because we are paving the way for many other students to come through GCA and benefit from a superior Christian education,” he said.

Holmes said watching the graduation was rewarding after all the hard work put in by students and staff over the last 4 years.

“It is a significant milestone, to be sure, and it is certainly bittersweet because they will be sorely missed at GCA,” Holmes said. “We are confident that as they move forward with their lives, they are ready for these next steps.”

Holmes said one of the primary aspects that sets GCA apart from other schools is that it provides a Christian worldview education in a traditional format. 

“While we teach our students the very same subjects that can be found in most educational settings, we incorporate Biblical teaching into everything we do,” he said. “We want our students to see the world through the lens of God’s word so they can pursue excellence, distinguish right from wrong, and live for the glory of God.”

Blakeman added that GCA prides itself “not only its academics but also its acceptance of many different backgrounds into one unified body whose goal is to glorify God.”

Blakeman said that he’s grateful to have been a part of GCA’s development, as it’s allowed him to grow personally as well.

“I think I have grown in my faith, my relationship with my friends, and academically. The teachers at the school really try to nurture all parts of a student and not simply the academic side,” he said. “The school has grown most obviously numerically. We have almost 10 times our students since the first year. We have also grown a reputation as a solid school due to the familiarity of the community with our excellent teachers, many of whom have been serving in various ways around Daviess County for many years.”

On top of the milestone of the first graduating class, GCA is also celebrating earning ACSI accreditation. 

“Accreditation represents an enormous amount of work, and we are so thankful to have achieved it,” Holmes said. “We knew that not only would it enhance our credibility, but it would also provide the means for our students to graduate from an accredited institution and to receive KEES money through the school.”

Commendations given to GCA include:

  • GCA’s mission permeates everything it does.
  • GCA’s Head of School passionately oversees the day-to-day operations of the school.
  • GCA engages and networks with the community.
  • GCA highly values biblical instruction.
  • GCA has highly qualified personnel.

GCA will also be certified by the Kentucky Department of Education during their June meeting.

Reflecting on the achievements since GCA was founded, Holmes wrapped everything up with: “All I can say is that we are simply astonished at what the Lord has done over the last 4 years.”

Since its inception, GCA has operated out of Yellow Creek Baptist Church. Holmes said GCA plans to continue expanding and in time will require additional space. 

“We trust that the Lord will provide for our needs, whether that be a new location or another kind of opportunity,” he said.

GCA offers three diploma paths: standard consists of 22 credit hours; academic consists of 24+ credit hours and a 3.0 GPA; honors consists of 26+ credit hours, a 3.5 GPA, and two AP or dual-credit courses.

Beyond the classroom, GCA offers the following sports: cross country, volleyball, bass fishing, golf, and boys basketball.

The application process can be completed online here. GCA has welcomed many incoming freshmen and sophomores to “shadow” current students. This allows them the opportunity to see the campus, attend classes, meet the students, engage with the faculty, and learn more about GCA.

For more information, visit gcaowensboro.org or call 270-574-9974 to schedule a visit.  

May 25, 2024 | 12:15 am

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