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GAC is a great school.

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Within our many award-winning programs in academics, athletics, and fine arts, your child has the freedom and opportunity to explore new paths and fully realize individual strengths. Please explore our website to learn more about our school and the opportunities available for your student - and 
for your entire family - to be a part of this vibrant, connected school community.  

*GAC evaluates mid-year transfers on a case-by-case basis. Should you need immediate placement for your student, GAC can help you navigate through available options. Please call the Admission Office at 770.243.2273 or email Admissions Director Mary Helen Bryant. 

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GAC Welcomes Director of Spiritual Life

We are pleased to announce the addition of Justin Bagwell, who will join us beginning in August in a new role as Director of Spiritual Life. Justin brings nearly 20 years of experience in student ministry to the GAC family.

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GAC's New Head Strength & Conditioning Coach: Sean Manuel

Sean Manuel has been hired as GAC's new Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. Formerly the Director of Strength and Conditioning for UNLV's Football Program, Coach Manuel brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to GAC. 

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News & Notes: A Spring Sports Wrap-Up

A recap of all of the latest events at the conclusion of the spring sports season, including the Varsity Girls Track & Field team finishing 3rd at state, several accolades for both lacrosse teams, and an Elite 8 finish for the Varsity Baseball team.  

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Alumni Student

"Financial aid is not just some sort of umbrella where funds are applied to buildings or renovations. It goes directly to a student--a student like me."

2018 Graduate

Dr. Scott Harsh

"Over the past year, GAC has taken an incredible leap forward. The vibrancy and engagement in our face-to-face classes have never been stronger. We believe in a personalized learning experience for each student, and that belief drove us to adopt new learning modalities for our students. GAC Sync and Ethos options, which you’ll read about in the pages to come, provide important new avenues for learning and engagement. Our faculty are pushing the boundaries of education, and our students are thriving because of it!"

GAC President 

Dr. Russell Holzgrefe, 2007

"This is a chance as alumni to give back to everything that made us who we are and help that next generation of GAC students."

Spaces Where Students Thrive

Lower School Complex

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We're delighted you're interested in GAC!

Choosing the right school for your child is a big decision. We're here to answer your questions and help you navigate the admissions journey. 

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GAC Art Teacher Commemorates Life of Student  by Finishing his Sculpture

GAC 3D art teacher, Tim Baker, was recently looking through the art storage room on campus and uncovered an unfinished sculpture by former student, Christo Heotaky. From the class of 2007, Christo was in a tragic motor accident in 2005 at just 17 years old.

GAC 3D art teacher, Tim Baker, was recently looking through the art storage room on campus and uncovered an unfinished sculpture by former student, Christo Heotaky. From the class of 2007, Christo was in a tragic motor accident in 2005 at just 17 years old. 

When Tim found his piece, he remembered Christo’s original goal for the stone carving was for it to be a lion head. So, he felt a calling from The Lord to bring the vision to fruition, while leaving Christo’s handmade chisel marks intentionally untouched. 

When it was finished (in its perfectly unfinished way), the Heotaky family was invited to campus to hear the story of “Christo’s Lion” and to take the precious sculpture home where it belonged. This was the family’s first visit back to campus since the accident - 15 years later, almost to the day. 

With a warm welcome back, President Scott Harsh, High School Principal Shane Woodward, Tim, and others reconnected with the family. Tim shared the story of how the carving came to be and they all reminisced about favorite GAC memories. As an extra thoughtful detail, the wood base mounting the sculpture was made from an art table Christo used in class. 

Today, “Christo’s Lion”, created by both his namesake and Tim, now sits proudly on display in the entryway of the Heotaky family home.       

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GAC Trailblazers: The Manley Family

As GAC opened its doors for the first time in 1968, Nilas and Ellen Manley took a step of faith and enrolled their two eldest daughters Debra and Cathy. In the years that followed, all eight Manley children joined the GAC family, with seven eventually graduating from GAC. Both Ellen and Nilas went to work as involved, dedicated parents, supportive of young GAC with their time, wisdom, resources, and energy.

As GAC opened its doors for the first time in 1968, Nilas and Ellen Manley took a step of faith and enrolled their two eldest daughters Debra and Cathy. In the years that followed, all eight Manley children joined the GAC family, with seven eventually graduating from GAC. Both Ellen and Nilas went to work as involved, dedicated parents, supportive of young GAC with their time, wisdom, resources, and energy.  

In 1977, Nilas was named to the GACS Board of Trustees, becoming the first Black Board member. He continued to serve with great dedication until 1998. For decades, Ellen dedicated herself to GAC, working as the first administrative assistant to the Elementary School principal and also doing a great deal of volunteer work to improve GAC. Together, they and their children shaped GAC with their deep commitment to Christ, and toward deeper inclusion of the full family of God.

Today, 52 years after their first steps of faith, the Nilas and Ellen Manley Plaza has been named in their honor and memory. Many people influence our individual and collective lives and purpose; then a few make a lasting impact.  In the first decades of GAC, the Manleys were difference makers. They were deeply engaged in virtually every aspect of GAC’s emerging culture and mission. Whether in a class or at school functions, from arts to music to athletics, you’d find yourself with one or more of the Manley children, or gathered in a parent function or spectator crowd with their steadfast Mother and Father. Their children, now adults, also made their own positive marks on GAC. 

After serving in the Air Force and a veteran of three wars, Nilas and Ellen raised their family in Atlanta. They believed deeply in their God-given responsibility to raise their children with great faith and high caliber learning combined. From their personal commitment to advance their children, to engagement in board governance, the Manleys helped further GAC’s focus on faith and learning. And all of GAC was made better.  

Leading the Way in Faith, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Civil Rights era was a time of great tension, and often schools were the battleground. Well after Brown vs Board of Education (1954), school systems found ways to maintain institutional racism and segregation through the 1960’s and 1970’s. Tragically, many private and Christian schools were established as “segregation academies,” either publicly or quietly acknowledging their central goals. In another landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared school-sponsored prayer unconstitutional in the case of Engel v. Vitale (1962). GAC launched during that time with the purpose to provide a “quality education in a Christian environment” with one the core goals of being a racially integrated school,” remarked Jesse Long in his book The Early Years. Leaders then believed they couldn’t be otherwise and still be Christian.

Nilas and Ellen both thought that education should support their faith and further Christian diversity, so they invested their lives in it.  That also meant taking the leap to become personally engaged early with their children’s school. Nilas helped with fundraising. Ellen joined moms leadership and service groups like L.A.C.E. (GAC’s Ladies Association for Christian Education).  And year after year, brought more of their eight children into the GAC family.  Chris Manley (‘85) remembers his parents’ “Intentional and faith driven lives...lives
of impact and service.”  

The Manleys led in church progress too. Dr. David Fincher, GAC Chancellor, remembers “My first church home in Atlanta as a young adult was Moreland Avenue Church of Christ, one of the very few integrated churches in Atlanta then. I was shepherded there by a handful of elders--including Nilas Manley.  As I came to teach and then serve as an administrator at GAC, there again as one of my leaders was board member—Nilas Manley.  Mr. Manley was one of my “bosses” everywhere I went: in my spiritual growth at church, in GAC decision-making. His always gentle, wise guidance affected me in just about every aspect of my young adult Christian life and work.” Cathy Manley Cooper (GAC, ‘73) remembered that “Our parents provided needed strengthening for GAC, and we were up to the task. But that task was always first and foremost that we are children of God, co-heirs with Christ and that the color of our skin was simply our outer shell. Yes, it brought and still brings more than its share of challenges. But we were created by an all-knowing being who knew that we would strive to help others see beyond our outer shells into the persons of our very being and the amazing spirit residing within.”

Lasting Accomplishments. Yet Seldom Easy

Though there was a deep desire by many for GAC to be inclusive and diverse, that didn’t mean acceptance by all, nor an easy path. Growing through adolescence is challenging, no matter what. Going to a new Christian school added to the complexity of teen life. Tony Manley (GAC, ‘76): “This was the mid to late 1960s, and it was not-so-good a time to be a black male teenager living in a black community but going to a private (predominantly) white high school. This was a turbulent time not only in our public society but also in the church. I thought I wanted to go to public school, but Dad wanted me to have the best there was to offer and told me so more than once… No it was not always easy, but with my parents behind me and many of the leaders at GAC, I persevered.” 

Mary Manley Rice (GAC, ‘74 ) points to the racial strife of our current times, and a hurtful time her parents experienced: “These past two months have been very difficult nationally. The atmosphere [today] is so charged as painful realizations are made. (GAC’s founding President) Jesse Long took a stand against a racial slur toward my parents in the 1970s by another student’s father at an Appreciation Dinner. Jesse called the father and explained GAC would not tolerate that type of behavior. David Fincher recounted the incident at my mother’s funeral. David clarified GAC’s stance for inclusion and equity for all. I appreciate what GAC represents and [the] work it is doing.”

Yet the Manleys were not looking for the “easy” road.  Cathy saw that resolute commitment in her parents. “They saw a purpose worth pursuing in a godly and caring fashion,” she offered. “I would say that my parents led a providential life. Dad and Mom were not the type of people to just give up when things got tough. They were raised in families where backing down was not an option. There was always some way to get things done. I’d like to think that they passed that trait on to us kids.”

Impact and an Enduring Remembrance

After a life of service, Nilas Manley passed away in 2009. Ellen continued caring for others as loving mom and grandmother until her own homecoming to God in 2019. Dr. Fincher was asked to conduct Ellen’s funeral and recalls “It was my honor to recall my time with the family on the GAC campus. Even with eight children, the Manleys gave generously of time, talents, and financial resources to the school. Their children were truly special and beloved. And that says something about the parents who shaped them. The Manleys were equal partners in causes for God, and they taught me and others so much. Both because of the Manleys, Jesse’s full commitment, and  GAC’s young board of that time, inclusion of the full family of God is built into GAC’s DNA today.” 

Current Chair of the GACS Board of Trustees, Fernando Nasmyth said, “Hearing stories about the Manleys from those who knew them well is a testament to their deep faith in God and their service to our country.  Their love for their children was evident in the sacrifices they made to ensure that they were nurtured in a loving community of faith. Nilas and Ellen are a lasting example for all of GAC, and for that we are eternally grateful.”

With Ellen’s passing, discussion began in late 2019 about a lasting GAC remembrance of the Manley’s legacy, among some Trustees and administrators. Through the years, there have been several honorary namings of parts of the campus for significant difference-makers, such as Hollis Smith, Clif Jones, Jimmy and Jean Jones, H.A. Fincher, Jackie Bradford and others.   

As a result, at the next Board meeting in the Fall of 2020, the GAC Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming of The Nilas and Ellen Manley Plaza. In the heart of campus and adjacent to GAC’s newly expanded GAC Park and Fincher Student-Family Center, the Manley Plaza is a hub of activity and is used daily by students from kindergarten through high school. It is the central outdoor walkway between today’s Combee Elementary Complex and the Middle and High Schools’ cluster of buildings. Appropriate signage with a brief biography is now being designed, with a dedication day planned for early 2021. 

Jim Combee, GACS Board Chair Emeritus, was glad for the opportunity to recognize long time partners. “I’ve known and respected the Manley family for many years, first serving with Nilas on the Board of Georgia Agape and also the GACS Board of Trustees. This honor of the family is well deserved and I’m delighted that this memorial has come to life.” 

Naming of Manley Plaza: A Gathering Place for All 

“I’m so thankful for Nilas and Ellen Manley—their exemplary family, and exemplary commitment to GAC and Christian education that is the essence of our mission,” says GAC President, Dr. Scott Harsh. “While we are proud of their early leadership, along with others, we see so much more that needs to be done. Our commitment to ensuring an authentic “place at the table” for all of God’s family is more resolute than ever. And you will see the heart of the Manleys in our intentional steps ahead.” 

The GAC of the 2020’s has built new pathways to an even more inclusive and godly community. Yet some people had to be the Trailblazers. Nilas and Ellen Manley embraced that call with their life and children. Their godly dream for GAC will go forward.  

"I am always so very proud to share with others that I attended this great school and that my family integrated its halls, although it wasn’t until many years later that I realized the significance of that work. The firm foundation that was set for me and my siblings propelled us on and further defined us as children of God.” - Cathy Manley Cooper '73

Pictured here are: Debra (Manley) Irons (‘71), Cathy (Manley) Cooper (‘73), Mary (Manley) Rice (‘74), Nilas (Tony) Manley (‘76), Norma (Manley) Baker (‘80), Connie (Manley) Amado (‘83), Chris Manley (‘85), Joseph Manley (attended GAC for 3 years).

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“NFL Sunday” Features GAC Alumni for Veterans Day

Four Carothers siblings graduated from GAC and all attended the Naval Academy. The oldest, LT Michael Carothers (GAC Class of 2008) led the way and is currently a Naval Aviator serving as an Assistant Operations Officer onboard USS John C. Stennis. He married a GAC alumna, Brittany (Nolan) Carothers (Class of 2008) and they have a daughter, Nora.  LT Matt Carothers (Class of 2011) also married a GAC alumna, Paige (Tisher) Carothers (Class of 2009) and have twin sons, Collier and Knox. Matt is a Naval Submarine Officer serving as a Navigation Instructor and Assistant Operations Officer at Naval Submarine Base Trident Training Facility Kings Bay. ENS Paul Carothers (Class of 2015), recently married Madison “Maddie” Godleski, and is serving Hawaii as an Information Warfare Officer. He was Captain of the USNA Football Team.

GAC wishes all the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces a happy Veterans Day. We thank you and your families for your service to our country.

If you are a football fan, you may have seen the Fox Sports “NFL Sunday” show broadcast from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) this past sunday. The show honored several midshipmen including GAC’s own Jessica Carothers, Class of 2019. If you missed the segment, the link is below. It is something you will want to watch.

Jessica shared her connection with her father, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service who was killed in the line of duty, and the pride of carrying on the family tradition in the Navy.

What makes this a unique GAC story is that four Carothers siblings graduated from GAC and all attended the Naval Academy. The oldest, LT Michael Carothers (GAC Class of 2008) led the way and is currently a Naval Aviator serving as an Assistant Operations Officer onboard USS John C. Stennis. He married a GAC alumna, Brittany (Nolan) Carothers (Class of 2008) and they have a daughter, Nora.  LT Matt Carothers (Class of 2011) also married a GAC alumna, Paige (Tisher) Carothers (Class of 2009) and have twin sons, Collier and Knox. Matt is a Naval Submarine Officer serving as a Navigation Instructor and Assistant Operations Officer at Naval Submarine Base Trident Training Facility Kings Bay. ENS Paul Carothers (Class of 2015), recently married Madison “Maddie” Godleski, and is serving Hawaii as an Information Warfare Officer. He was Captain of the USNA Football Team.

Michael shared, “God really has brought us all a long way and blessed us with beautiful families and friends. We would NOT be where we are without the sound structure and guidance provided by our GAC family.”

It is an honor when a GAC graduate is accepted at an elite Service Academy, but to have four siblings attend is unheard of and a true blessing. The United States Naval Academy is one of the most highly selective universities in the U.S., with the Class of 2024 having a 9% acceptance rate. In addition to having a strong academic record, students must also receive a Congressional nomination and pass a physical test to receive a prestigious appointment. As the undergraduate college of our country’s naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

When we reached out to Jessica, currently a Plebe (freshman at USNA) she said, “Tell the GAC teachers that they are all so incredible and that I said hello. I am so thankful for their love and support and everything they’ve done for me which all helped me get to where I am today! I miss them all. It was a blessing to be able to attend GAC.”

We express our gratitude to the Carothers family and our other GAC Veteran families.

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