This morning, as students arrived at the Academy for G.O.D., the anticipation in the air was palpable. Students hurried down the sidewalk, charting a new path together, as they made their way to their long awaited new school building. As they found their new classrooms, students exclaimed, “whoa!” and “awesome!” as they took note of every detail. From the expansive decks lining 2 sides of the building, to the fancy new water fountain, they celebrated it all.
The significance of having such a space is perhaps best understood in context with the growth experienced in the last 2.5 years, as the Academy has quadrupled its enrollment. Each semester since opening in August of 2013, Academy faculty and staff have faithfully and flexibly met the needs of the growing student body. When the student body doubled by the end of the first year, they outgrew the initial facilities quickly. A portable building was rented, space was reworked, and reworked again. As enrollment quadrupled, new needs arose and new solutions were enacted. Always thankful to the Lord for the increasing responsibility that comes along with increased enrollment, and always making the absolute best of what facilities and resources were available, the administration and teachers, along with parents and volunteers, worked together, and the Academy flourished.
Now, the square footage of the outdoor decks alone nearly matches the square footage of the initial Academy building. The new building has 10 classrooms, and enough space for up to 200 students. It is complete with an assembly room, large enough for the entire student body to gather, with a row of bookshelves waiting to be explored, and a gleaming STEM room that awaits hours of exploratory education, outfitted with sinks, a dishwasher, and linoleum flooring for easy clean up. The initial Academy building, which sits directly adjacent and connected by one of the decks, now houses 2 kindergarten classes and a dedicated space for tutoring. The combined space being used this spring semester is nearly 7000 square feet, and it is being used well!
By mid-morning, the hall was quiet. Surprisingly quiet, really. The eager chatter of anticipation and excitement subsided and idyllic scenes of education could be seen through the window of each classroom door.
In the auxiliary classroom, kindergarteners played interactive games for indoor recess. A couple doors down, Mr. Reese read aloud to students who sat with rapt attention. A little further down, Mrs. Moore’s class was deeply involved in a collaborative writing project. Across the hall, the 7-8 year old class prepared for a tour of the building, and were eager to report their favorite things so far: “We have a really big classroom!” “Our cubbies are a lot longer!” “People worked really hard to make it for us!"
Principal Betsy Johnson greeted students as they came through the doors this morning, and said, “We’re just really, really excited! It’s hard to believe that we are actually finally in our building. We are extremely thankful to the Lord for all of the favor he has shown us. The teachers have all been working really hard to make this happen so we’re really excited to see all of the students and be all in one place!”
Josh Kurtz, manager of the Academy for G.O.D. building project, wrote this reflection after seeing the building full of students this morning:
“This morning, while performing finishing touches, I had an opportunity to see the students' excitement as they entered their new school for the first time. Watching the teachers lined up at their classroom doors, eagerly greeting their students into their new classrooms became an emotional moment for me. The Lord has been faithful in assisting us to now have a facility we can use to educate these wonderful students. Although there were many challenges associated with the project, the doors are open and the students are learning.
I'm so thankful for the help of dedicated parents, teachers and volunteers who believe in the work we are doing and have contributed time or resources toward this project. We appreciate you so much!
In Genesis 1-2 God creates an environment that allows for human life to occur. The Garden of Eden was more than a home for Adam and Eve, this garden was an environment that was set up where God could walk with them and educate them (Gen 3:8-9). It was an environment where Adam and Eve could sit under the teachings of our Lord in peace. I'm grateful to have contributed to a project where these kids can learn about that same God.
This facility is not our main project, the kids are. This facility will assist us in educating these precious students who we pray will become dynamic representatives of the Lord.”
At every turn today, the building was already bursting with the evidence of the good work being done at the Academy for G.O.D. Teachers’ eyes sparkled, and even overflowed with tears of thanksgiving. Students were eager to talk about more than the new building- giving great detail to the “awesome language arts activity” they did, or to share a hilarious kids YouTube video during transition between classes. The first day in the new building was exciting-- and truly a gift from the Lord. It was a special day, and yet, somehow, simply another exciting day at the Academy for G.O.D.
Written by C.F. Edwards