History of Grace Christian Academy
We know that the Bible says the following about children:
* Children are a gift from God [Psalm 127:31]
* Children are capable of praising God [Psalm 148:12 -13]
* Children should be instructed in the ways of God [Deuteronomy 31:12 -13; Proverbs 22:6]
With these scriptures in mind, Grace Christian Academy was conceived in 1995 as an outreach program of Hillside Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Al Alemany. Grace Christian Academy is a nondenominational, nonprofit, nondiscriminatory Christian school whose goals are designed to offer the average and above-average child Christian training along with a solid academic foundation in the basic fundamentals of learning.
1996 - 97
During the first year of operation the Lord sent nine students to GCA. Also during the first year, GCA became a legal private school and according to Mr. Rod Helder, Director of the NC Division of Non-Public Education, the first private school ever in Bryson City, NC.
1997 - 98
During the second year of operation, the Lord began to move us toward an experience that wil go down in the history of this school as our most remarkable years of service to the Lord. In order for you to have some idea of the magnitude of the Lord's faithfullness and how fast the Lord moved to build a Christian school in Bryson City, here is a brief sketch of the year 1998.
The Lord opened the door for the purchase of a prime piece of property valued at $100,000 for only $40,000 in Bryson City but only under the condition that a Christian school would be built.
- On February 25, 1998, the Lord supplied not only the $40,000 for the land but also $2,218.47 to begin the building fund.
- On March 10, 1998, the Grace Christian Academy School Board signed the papers to purchase the land. Then the Lord put the School Board in contact with Maranatha Volunteers International, Inc., an organization that takes on building projects all over the world. Most of it's members are retired people who volunteer to do the labor on projects.
- A proposal was written and hand delivered by Mr. Bill Clark, our project coordinator, and Mr. Don Kirkman, an architect for Maranatha, helped us design the school.
- May 2, 1998, the School Board was informed that Maranatha had approved unanimously to assist in the building of a Christian school in Bryson City. The project was approved for the Spring of 1999 which would give time to petition the Lord for the $200,000 needed for building materials only.
- By faith, GCA aacepted the challenge of supplying all the materials for building the school, and the housing and feeding of all the workers from Maranatha. By the end of June there was about $80,000 in the building fund.
- On July 14, 1998, Mr. Clark called to see if the building of GCA could be "bumped up" to October 1998 instead of Spring 1999. A group of Maranatha volunteers were in Maryland and were going to Texas and wanted a project in between the two places - hence, NC would be ideal.
1998 - 99
- Three days after GCA began its third year of operation, Pastor/Principal Al Alemany and a small group of men from Hillside Baptist Church began to prepare the foundation for the 12,000 square foot building.
- The school was closed from October 1 - 18th, so that every person would be available to meet the needs of the Maranatha workers - 30 strong from all over America. Not only did they come to build, but made donations toward the purchase of materials to complete the school. Thank you Lord for Maranatha Volunteers International!
- There was work, worship services, singing and fellowship during those two weeks that will always remain in the hearts of all that were involved in the project. When Maranatha Volunteers International left, the shell of the building was completed but now began the most tedious part of any building operation - the finish work. The laborers were few, but the Lord continued to bless the project. During the Spring and Summer of 1998, there was an urgency to complete the building and move the school into the new building. This was accomplished by the Lord's people, one week before the school year began in August, 1999.
1999 - 2000
- The fourth year of operation for GCA began at the new facility on 498 Arlington Avenue.
- On October 3, 1999, one year from the time Maranatha Volunteers International came to help build GCA, a dedication service was held and an invitation was sent to all who participated in the project to come and see the finished school. Principal Al Alemany stepped forward and began his dedication message with this statement: "The main purpose of man is to GLORIFY God, and that is also the main purpose of GCA." This statement will challenge us into the next century!