Grace Chris­tian Academy needs fund­ing to con­tinue

The Covington News - - LOCAL - KAYLA ROBINS

A Cov­ing­ton pri­vate school is in des­per­ate need of fund­ing to buy the property it sits on or face an even steeper Plan B or C.

Grace Chris­tian Academy (GCA) needs to raise $50,000 be­fore July 31 to buy the 7 acres on the I-20 ac­cess road it uses as home af­ter the pre­vi­ous owner, whom it leased from, went into fore­clo­sure.

New­ton Federal took over the property on June 4, 2013, ac­cord­ing to the New­ton County Tax As­ses­sor’s Of­fice. GCA Founder and Ad­min­is­tra­tor Thom Allen said he was no­ti­fied in Au­gust – af­ter the school year had al­ready started – that a $50,000 down pay­ment was re­quired to al­low him to stay on the land. While Allen said New­ton Federal worked with the school to al­low them to com­plete the stu­dents’ year, the dead­line is quickly ap­proach­ing.

“It’s at an ideal lo­ca­tion away from the road, which is a pri­or­ity for the safety of the chil­dren,” Allen said.

Allen and his wife, Emma, started the school in 1980 in Cony­ers be­fore mov­ing to Cov­ing­ton 16 years ago and to its cur­rent lo­ca­tion seven years ago. The fully ac­cred­ited K-12 pri­vate school en­rolled 75 stu­dents in the 2013-2014 school year.

As of Fri­day, June 20, GCA has raised $8,551 on its web­site, Par­ent Katie Can­non also started a Go­ crowd-fund­ing site for the cam­paign.

“All we need is 2,000 people giv­ing $25 and it’s there, we’re done,” said Allen’s son and GCA Prin­ci­pal Tim Allen. “We just want to get the word out to as many people as we can.”

Tim Allen said it would cost more to move to a new lo­ca­tion – which would likely be an­other lease – than to buy the property they are al­ready on next to Walker Trans­mis­sion, which lets the school use its field for sports and other ac­tiv­i­ties. How­ever, if the down pay­ment can­not be ob­tained by July 31, that will have to be their next op­tion.

“It’s gonna take some people in this com­mu­nity work­ing to­gether,” Tim Allen said.

He said the school has al­ready re­ceived money from as far as Wash­ing­ton, Texas, North Carolina and Cal­i­for­nia. Alumni are dis­persed all over the coun­try and world, he said.

“The aca­demic prod­uct is ab­so­lutely there,” Tim Allen said.

GCA’s six-per­son Quiz Bowl team has gone to the na­tional cham­pi­onship five of the last six years, tak­ing the tro­phy home in 2012 and 2013. The aca­demic team has placed at the ACE Re­gional Stu­dent Con­ven­tion for at least a decade, Tim Allen said, and won sec­ond place in aca­demics and third in ex­hibits at the ACE In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent Con­ven­tion this year with seven stu­dents out of 139 schools and 12 coun­tries.

He cred­ited the Ac­cel­er­ated Chris­tian Ed­u­ca­tion (ACE) Cur­ricu­lum, also known as School of To­mor­row or the PACE sys­tem, and a teacher-to-stu­dent ra­tio of less than 1-10 as a rea­son for stu­dents’ suc­cess. He pointed out Con­gress­woman Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, chair of the Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence, grad­u­ated from an equiv­a­lent school with the same cur­ricu­lum. Rodgers is in charge of com­mu­ni­cat­ing the party’s mes­sage to the Repub­li­can cau­cus.

“This com­mu­nity needs this in­sti­tu­tion,” Tim Allen said, “for the gifted kids and those not quite reach­ing aver­age.”

He said the school size and cur­ricu­lum al­lows teach­ers to work in­di­vid­u­ally with the stu­dents at what­ever level each child is at across all sub­jects.

“We don’t have to ex- clude our­selves to just the gifted kids,” Tim Allen said.

The Allen fam­ily said any ex­tra funds re­ceived be­yond the $50,000 goal will be used for mort­gage pay­ments.

“Time is of the essence,” Tim Allen said. “We need ev­ery­one. There are no small do­na­tions. By faith we be­lieve God is go­ing to pro­vide this, and it is our job to get the word out.”

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

GCA stu­dents with Con­gress­woman Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Prin­ci­pal Tim Allen to her left.

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