I almost don't even know where to begin without writing a novel about how our children's hearts have grown, biblical principles becoming ingrained into their daily walk, and our family finding new and like-minded families at GCA. We have a seventh grade daughter and a fourth grade son at GCA. We moved to the area from Maryland last summer and after an in-depth research and investment into the Christian schools Hampton Roads has to offer, we agreed whole-heartedly that GCA was the place for us.
We have a very docile, shy, insecure and quiet son who was very stressed and worried about not only the move to a new area and away from his friends, but a new school as well. Allow me to add that we also got married last year just before moving (a second for us both) so the stress/pressure of blending a family in a new unknown area affected us all, but it affected our son the most. He had decided within the first week that he would not socialize with any classmates, make friends and just do whatever necessary until he could go home. With the keen eye of Mrs. Martin and communications between she and I, he quickly fell into a group of boys with similar interests who then convinced him to join Little Gators because that was the "place to be" on Saturday mornings! Between the encouragement, care and support from Mrs. Martin and the coaches of Little Gators our son has become a superstar, outgoing, friendly kid who loves his school days! As a fourth grader he has Mrs. Keller who is just a godsend. No kidding, the woman should be sainted and given wings of gold and gems for her gracious heart, energy and transparency as a parent, teacher and mother! He is challenged academically and encouraged along the way to think a little bigger and keep going with his thoughts to see the outcome. He has certainly changed within the past year and without the spiritual environment of GCA, loving staff and like-minded families in attendance, I don't know that he would have come as far as he has with all of the changes in his life.
Our daughter is the epitome of the social butterfly with enough energy, sense of humor, wit and brains to knock your socks off. She, too, had a bit of trouble adjusting to the expectations of GCA in the academic arena; but once she found her bearings, she was successful. She would not have been so successful had it not been for the multitude of teachers encouraging her to reach outside of the proverbial "box" and also making time for help classes to expand upon concepts. She has had such an accepting attitude of the challenges and assignments her teachers give out. She may push-back a bit at home (what kid doesn't though, but I know that when she's in school she's in-tune with the classroom, being challenged and engaged in class and feeling as though she's a part of the GCA community, not just a warm body in a seat in a classroom. Last year, our daughter loved all of her teachers, particularly Mrs. Huber. However, this year, I do believe Mrs. Huber has been trumped by Mrs. Jewell. I honestly don't know how teachers expend the energy they do (with having family and children of their own to go home too) as is, but to be so present and engaged with 7th graders really does require a special touch. Our daughter participated in the GCA JV Football cheerleading program this year. There were a few quirks but it was certainly a learning curve for us as parents with a child in a school sport. Overall, she more than enjoyed the experience and the ability to use her gymnastic skills for something other than gymnastics.
As I stated before, we searched and searched schools all over the Hampton Roads area, communities to live in, convenience of travel for work for both my husband and I, convenience to the airport for him to up and go when necessary, etc... We live out by Virginia Wesleyan College, so not exactly close to school but the blessing has come that on the drives to school while we're all getting settled in the car on Route 64 we're reading a five minute devotional to just get their brains thinking and their hearts warmed up to God speaking to them and working through them and their teachers in that day. We couldn't ask for anything more and are so very grateful for the environment at GCA. Thank you.