Relationship Building. Spiritual Development. Leadership Opportunities

The benefits of a boarding school education are substantial, but from what our students and parents are saying, these are the Big Three.

Relationship Building

GCA offers strong academic and extracurricular programs taught by highly qualified faculty, but one thing that sets GCA apart from other schools is that faculty and students spend more time together outside of the classroom. These connections with staff create natural mentoring moments that help students grow and mature.

Not only do students develop close bonds with faculty and staff, but they create long-lasting friendships thanks to the fact they do everything together—attend classes, eat meals, hang out at rec, spend time in the dorm, attend worship services, play sports, etc.

In a world where digital interaction is too often the main mode of connection, people need human interaction. According to a Pew Research survey, 60% of teens say, “they spend time with their friends online every day or almost every day, compared with 24% who spend time with their friends in person with the same frequency (not including school or school-related activities.” What does this mean for the future of our kids’ relationships?

Boarding students consistently talk about the connections they make at GCA. “I have created more relationships than I would have even guessed. Not just with my peers, but with staff. I am confident that I have formed bonds that will last me even after my high school career,” said Maleah Edwards, a four-year senior.

Parents of boarding students value those connections, too. “I appreciate GCA being a second family to my children. They have been shown so much love and support. The Christian faculty and friends have made a great impact on my children to help them grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally,” said Vernice Smith, parent of an alumnus from 2023 and a current student who will graduate in 2025.

All this time together means that students learn important conflict-resolution skills. Living together in such a close-knit community encourages dialogue, acceptance, and problem solving. In a world characterized by division, GCA fosters togetherness, even when people don’t see eye to eye.

“Dorm life lets the kids learn to be independent early in their lives, be more responsible, be able to live among different kinds of cultures and upbringings of others, and help them find themselves,” said Merry Lacson, a parent whose daughter will graduate in 2024 and whose son graduated in 2015.

Spiritual Development

Like most Christian schools, you’ll find that devotionals and prayer are a common practice in our classrooms, but the difference at GCA is that students are encouraged to take responsibility for their relationship with God and make it their own. No longer living with their parents, students are encouraged to think for themselves and to develop their own walk with God.

“The teachers and staff on this campus are not just here to teach. They are here to share the amazing message of the gospel. They are here to come alongside these young people and share life with them. They desire to show them what Jesus means to them and how amazing a life lived with Him and for Him can be,” said Dawn Self, a current parent who also has two children who already graduated from GCA.

The spiritual influences are even more positive and profound in a boarding school setting where the interactions occur with greater frequency and students are engaged in a greater number of spiritually focused activities.

“There’s no telling where I’d be if I had stayed in public school with my middle school friends. I know their negative influence would’ve held me back. My friends at GCA have helped me grow closer to God because He is a part of every aspect of life at GCA,” said Clancy Phillips, class of 2024.

Leadership Development

“When I look back, I notice some very visible differences within myself. For one, I’m more confident,” Maleah said.

This is not a surprise when you realize the countless leadership opportunities available to students at GCA. First off, every student has an on-campus job and is taught responsibility in the workplace.

Beyond work, students assume leadership roles as class or student association officers who are responsible for planning class events, fundraising activities, banquets, and so much more. Furthermore, due to the integral relationship with the GCA Church, students serve in children’s Sabbath School classes, on the AV team, and with the food ministry program, to name a few positions.

These opportunities empower students and encourage them to invest in their church and school. Time and time again, they rise to the occasion, grow in their capabilities, and increase their confidence.

Not only do students grow in peer leadership, but they grow in self-leadership. From doing laundry, and going on town trips, to staying on top of schoolwork and managing their weekly responsibilities, students learn important time management skills that will serve them in college and beyond.

“GCA is an excellent preparation for college, in an environment set up like a small college, yet students have the protection and oversight you want for your child between the ages of 14 to 18,” said Sally Garrido, a mom of two sons currently attending GCA. “This school fosters opportunities for students to grow and mature as they are encouraged, rewarded, and supervised in ways that allow them to safely explore their potential and passions.”

Still Relevant. Still Playing a Key Role in Transforming Lives

To some people, boarding schools seem like a thing of the past, but GCA continues to grow with the times, and we feel that a boarding school education is more relevant than ever in today’s society.

It is our responsibility as parents, church members, and educators to nurture our children’s relationship with God and prepare them to lead through love in a world that is increasingly chaotic. By cultivating healthy relationships, keeping God at the forefront of all we do, and empowering students to lead, in a safe environment, we are giving them the best opportunity at successfully launching into adulthood and making a difference in this world.