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.
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.
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.
The GAC Athletic Department is happy to announce that Newton Babb has been named as the new Head Boys' Lacrosse Coach.
Baseball advances to the third round of the playoffs, track and field hosts the 3A Sectionals meet, and more on this edition of news and notes from GAC Athletics.
Both the Varsity Boys and Girls soccer teams traveled to McEachern High School to compete in the AAA State Finals. The Boys Soccer team clinched the state championship, and the girls soccer team finished as runner-ups.
In February, two GAC seniors, Daisy Strine and Andrew Hathaway, had the chance to interview Atlanta Braves historian Carolyn Serra at Truist Park. Strine and Hathaway created the news package as a piece for Black History Month. The feature, which aired during GAC’s student broadcast, Live @ 1575, highlighted Hank Aaron’s legacy both on the field and off.
On April 27th, the GAC community gathered to congratulate 16 student-athletes on officially signing with their respective colleges and universities. Families, coaches, and friends assembled in the Long Forum to celebrate our Spring signees.
The Varsity Baseball team clinched their second consecutive region title on Friday night. This week in athletics we have a multitude of playoff events as well.
Today we celebrate alumna and Gwinnett native Elise Karinshak '19, who was recently named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar, earning the highest and most prestigious award of its type for the fields of mathematics, engineering and the natural sciences. She was among only 417 undergraduates selected from 5,000 applicants across the nation.
The GAC Athletic Department is proud to announce that Karyn Arnold is our new Head Cheerleading Coach. Our athletic leadership team has been so impressed with Coach Arnold’s love for cheer and desire to develop the girls in the program.
The athletes and coaches at GAC continue to excel both on and off the field. Over the past week, several accolades have been awarded to members of the GAC Athletic community, along with a multitude of victories on the field.
The SWGC presented their third Character Award to Greater Atlanta Christian’s Madeline Facteau. The award was created to recognize outstanding students whose attitude and actions embody the organization’s mission, passion, and commitment to excellence and community action.
This season, the GAC Mock Trial program expanded to two separate teams so that more of our high school students could experience the competition. We participated in twelve (12) total trials this season, a record for the school.
For the third year in a row, the Varsity Girls Basketball team has reached the state championship game.
The 2021-2022 Varsity Swim and Dive Team traveled to the State Championship meet at Georgia Tech.
Seniors Josh Fulton, Kaleigh Addie, and Jaci Bolden all reached career milestones this season on the court for the GAC Basketball program.
Seniors Will Hardy and Addison Nichols decided to continue their football careers and signed with the University of North Carolina and the University of Tennessee respectively.
Varsity Volleyball head coach Coach Vanderpol's dedication to her team on and off the court earned her the honor of being named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association 30 under 30 list. This award highlights Coach Vanderpol as one of the top coaches in the nation.
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.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Rachel Vanderpol, the GAC Varsity Girls Volleyball team won their first state championship in program history.
GAC Flag Football introduces 4th, 5th, and 6th grade boys to the game of football. Coaches emphasize learning the key fundamentals to every player, while also having fun.
GAC Seniors Marilee Karinshak and Molly Pritchard use their passions for soccer and education to make a difference in the lives of students in Africa.
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.
Last summer, Elise Karinkshak '19 was a Research Intern at the Stanford University Social Media Lab. The prestigious internship was part of a National Science Foundation-funded program at Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information.
Autumn Clark, a student at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC), is a gifted athlete who has worked tenaciously to develop her talents. More than a year ago, she suffered an injury which, sidelined her for a while — but not for long. She powered through her rehab and had returned stronger and more determined than ever. Peachtree Corners Magazine (PCM) connected with Autumn to discuss her athletic commitments, her recovery process and what she’s looking forward to in her bright future.
"Let's teach children to celebrate their differences and to embrace the Imago Dei within each other. Let's free them from the burden of hate by showing them Christ's love." - Dr. Aaron Howard
To be sure, Thomas Lowman has been especially good for Greater Atlanta Christian’s boys lacrosse team since being moved from his normal position on defense to the long stick midfielder position at the beginning of his sophomore season in 2019.
Please join us in congratulating the GAC Class of 2021 Valedictorian Darlene Nguyen and Salutatorian Parker Hallock.
The Spartans won the Class AAA state title, their fourth in the past six seasons, with 128 points to hold off Region 5-AAA rivals Westminster (116) and Sandy Creek (109). It was their second straight championship in AAA, winning in 2019 before the 2020 season was canceled.
Congratulations to the talented GAC Mock Trial Team for advancing to the state final rounds of the Georgia statewide competition for the first time in school history!
GAC Senior Darlene Nguyen, of Duluth, was recently named a Georgia STAR student, a recognition program sponsored statewide by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the Georgia Chamber, and the Georgia Department of Education.
The Spartans won the girls title at the Gwinnett County Track and Field Championships at Peachtree Ridge, giving their longtime coach his first Gwinnett County title. The Class AAA power finished with 86 points to hold off AAAAAAA teams Brookwood (75) and Peachtree Ridge (68). Buford (60.5) and Archer (58) also finished in the top five.
GAC is proud and inspired by so many women who make a big impact in this world. Here are just a few Spartan female role models who are living out their purpose and serving others.
God. USA. Sports. These three things say a lot about fierce competitor and devoted follower of Christ, Ashley Van Ryn. While a GAC student, Ashley competed in volleyball, basketball, track, and softball. After graduating in 2004, Ashley attended the University of Central Florida on a softball scholarship. Remarkably, today Ashley is an accomplished member of the USA Women’s National Team for the sport of handball
After falling to Westminster in their previous two matchups, the GAC Varsity Girls Basketball team faced the No. 1 seeded Wildcats again in the Region 5-AAA Championship Game. With the Region Tournament being hosted in the Long Forum, the Spartans had home court advantage.
Every year our community looks forward to celebrating Black History Month with a special, student led Black History Month Chapel. The theme this year was "Take You To Church" and the event included worship led by the chapel band, dance performed by the GAC dance team, an interview between Director of Inclusion Charles Edwards and his godmother and a powerful message by Pastor, Gospel Artist, and former GAC Parent, Charles Jenkins.
While most business owners faced great uncertainty and disruption when the pandemic hit in 2020, it’s all BrightStar Care franchisee Chris Jackson has known.
Chris opened his home health care agency in Greeley, Colorado shortly before COVID-19 hit the U.S., yet he has found a way to become one of the leading agencies in the network of BrightStar Care franchisees. He credits the team around him for being able to launch his agency and consistently build momentum throughout 2020.
It is more important than ever that we provide a safe space and dedicated time for our students to come together for their annual spiritual retreat. Our high school students met in fellowship and worship to celebrate and discuss their faith.
On February 5th, the GAC Varsity Boys and Girls swim teams competed in the AAA-A state championship meet at Georgia Tech. The GAC Girls finished in second place with 219 total points, while the GAC Boys finished in 2nd place as well with 260.5 points. The GAC Boys finished in fourth place last season.
Congratulations to our outstanding Middle School students who participated in the American Mathematics Competition. The MAA’s American Mathematics Competitions (MAA AMC) program leads the nation in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation of problem-solvers. The competition had over 300,000 students participating annually from over 6,000 schools. Led by Dr. Laura Markert, our Spartans had a strong showing.
The GAC Varsity Wrestling team advanced towards the Elite Eight of the Class AAA State Duals on January 23rd. This team accomplishment was also met with an individual accolade as well as senior Tyler Garrett notched his 100th varsity win during the competition. Tyler became only the 15th Spartan in school history to achieve this feat.
Although this Christmas season on campus is unique, we want to continue to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus through the arts. We hope you enjoyed the GAC Virtual Christmas Card that was sent to all of our families.
The GAC community outdid themselves this year, rising to the challenge of providing canned food to the hungry in a bigger way than ever before. Already a community leader in the can collection, this year GAC collected a record 27,000 cans of food to contribute to the Salvation Army Can-A-Thon food drive.
The show must go on! GAC Dance Department joyfully presented the third annual Nutcracker performance recently, although modifications were in place to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Kudos to our GAC Middle School theatre ensemble, which recently performed “The Velveteen Rabbit” and was awarded Best Play in the Virtual Georgia Theatre Conference. This play, based on an award-winning book written by Margery Williams in 1922, tells the sweet story of a stuffed rabbit’s desire to become real through the love of its owner. Several of our middle school students received awards for their performances.
The Nutcracker is a seasonal favorite and a GAC Christmas tradition. We were delighted to continue this tradition and enjoy our middle school and high school dance elective classes as they performed this joyful holiday classic ballet. Set to Tchaikovsky’s familiar and exciting score, The Nutcracker featured colorful and lively characters, beautiful dancing, and eye-catching costumes. New characters and costumes are introduced each year, and this year did not disappoint!
The GAC community has recently been delighted with outdoor concerts given by students within our Fine Arts community. Students and families alike have enjoyed and appreciated this creative solution while COVID-19 safety precautions are in place. These performances took place over the past week in the new GAC Park under twinkly lights and a gorgeous setting sun.
This week an unusual email with a video link was sent to Greater Atlanta Christian School’s Athletic Director and Football Coach, Tim Hardy. Standard protocol is to delete an email from an unknown sender and never click on an included link. But something prompted Coach Hardy to investigate more.
GAC High School Theatre students performed “The Misanthrope,” Moliere’s classic comedy about manners, for the community this past weekend.
Greater Atlanta Christian School celebrated Homecoming on October 16th with an inaugural Homecoming Parade, football game, and half-time festivities. “Homecoming is an important part of school life and most traditions need re-tooling in 2020. The parade brought our full K2-12th student body enthusiastically together while being safely separated outside,” said GAC President Dr. Scott Harsh.
In celebration of World Teachers' Day we'd like to celebrate and honor all of the teachers who are inspiring and shaping young minds at GAC and beyond. The success of GAC students has always relied on our outstanding faculty, who are second to none around metro Atlanta. They are true heroes this year, and we are grateful for their hard work, determination, wisdom, and passion for their subjects and students.
Mrs. Chambless' 3rd grade class proves that in person and remote collaboration is possible through our innovative DTEN technology. It's exciting to watch teachers and students thrive in this new learning environment.
We’ve got exciting news! GAC received an 89% AP pass rate for 2020, meaning that 89% of our students received a score of 3 or above on their AP exams from last spring. This exceeds the national average for the vast majority of AP classes.
The event provided the opportunity to commemorate lives lost to police brutality while making a vocal and united call for change...Hunter McIntosh ’23 stepped to the microphone, noting that the expansive crowd he saw before him demonstrated that this is a time of unity at Elon. He offered insights to members of the White community, explaining that there is a difference between sympathy and empathy. “Empathy is showing up, showing you care, showing you will be here for us as we struggle,” McIntosh said.
When Hans Brechbuhl, a senior at Texas A&M University and a member of the Corps of Cadets, learned about damage in East Texas and Louisiana caused by Hurricane Laura, he knew it was time to jump into action.
GAC alumni Chuck Efstration (Class of 2001) authored and helped to pass Georgia’s new Anti-Hate Crimes Act, which received national attention this year and was recently signed into law. Georgia previously had been one of four states without a hate crime law.
Classroom seating might be more spread out and look different these days, but the rigorous, intentional academic GAC experience remains the same. Spartans, we're so proud of the way you're moving through this transition with such positivity and courage.
Greater Atlanta Christian School is one of the first K-12 schools in the country to incorporate DTEN technology.
Across Metro Atlanta and the rest of the country, controversies and worries continue to build about whether schools should reopen for in-person learning in the fall, or continue with at-home, on-line learning
Greater Atlanta Christian School rising senior, Haotian (Bob) Yu, has been selected for the 2020 All-National Mixed Choir. Bob entered GAC as an International home-stay student his freshman year and quickly gravitated to the offerings in the Fine Arts Department and onsite private music lessons.
The seal on the new world of competitive swimming in the United States has been broken. On Friday morning, Spartans Aquatics, based out of the Greater Atlanta Christian School in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, held what is believed to the first USA Swimming sanctioned meet in the Eastern US since the nation began reopening from the coronavirus pandemic.
Synchronous Learning is the new initiative being implemented for the upcoming school year at Greater Atlanta Christian School, beginning August 10th. Smart cameras, directional microphones, and interactive white boards will enable “at-home” students to be more fully integrated into their normal schedule's real-time classroom, and with their teacher and classmates.
When classes at the Greater Atlanta Christian School went on hiatus in March, few faculty members thought the disruption would last more than a few weeks.
“Then we were told we weren’t coming back,” recalled Lisa Chase, the school’s lead environmental teacher. “All I could think about was how kids were going to be spending more time in front of their computers, without athletics and other activities to get them outside.
GAC has a legacy of growing leaders, and I’m excited to share several leadership advancements for the 2020-2021 school year. Each of these leaders will help take GAC forward in significant ways.
May 8th had special meaning for the seniors from Greater Atlanta Christian School. It was their official last day of classes, and the administration wanted them to have a special memory-moment. One of GAC's end of year traditions includes a Senior Walk-through of the Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and High School buildings, ending with a buffet of donuts. A campus parade was a way to have that experience under social distancing provisions.
The ELC Prize Wagon has been on the move since school went to online learning at Greater Atlanta Christian School. Every week, teacher Lisa Chase, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) specialist, has used her car to deliver prizes to her K4-5th grade students spanning from Braselton to Alpharetta, Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, Norcross and nearly every edge of the 13 counties the school draws its students.
Perhaps one of most difficult things to gauge with students is their mental well-being. Even without a worldwide medical crisis requiring schools to shut down suddenly, many factors can cause stress and anxiety in children. And having to look for those signs through a computer screen can make the challenge that much more difficult for school professionals.
It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, and teachers from Greater Atlanta Christian School will receive virtual, hand-delivered, and mailed surprises throughout the week. Teachers and staff will be surprised daily with a special treat at their home, including blue-light blocking glasses, hand-decorated cookies, River Street Sweets bear-claws, hand “clappers,” student-created thank you videos, and special delivery appreciation yard signs.
Greater Atlanta Christian School’s student broadcast “Live @ 1575” made quite an impression with the Georgia Scholastic Press Association. They brought home the General Excellence Award and the “All-Georgia” award which honors the best overall Student Broadcast in the state. The Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA) was founded in 1928 and is the official organization for high and middle school journalism programs. It serves to assist and encourage quality publications via instruction and contests.
During these days of virtual education, Greater Atlanta Christian School’s pre-school teachers brought some reality to their annual Fairy Tale Day. GAC’s pre-school classes had a Saturday morning Zoom Fairy Tale story time complete with Frozen's Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendelle. Afterwards K3 Teacher, Alicia Wood, made special deliveries of Fairy Tale goody bags, carefully assembled and safely presented to each of her students.
Congratulations to Parker Hallock ’21 who was selected for Georgia's Governor's Honors Program in Communicative Arts. The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program is highly selective with thousands of students competing for approximately 640 spots in eleven categories.
Through a dynamic screening and interview process, the Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals with extraordinary leadership potential. Over 17,000 nominees are considered from 10 cities nationwide, with only 719 chosen. The Posse Foundation provides a full tuition leadership scholarship.
Last week, the GAC seniors received a special delivery, via a unique delivery system: a GAC mini-bus. With a ring of the doorbell, the surprise of a graduation yard sign and carefully wrapped package with the cap and gown appeared on doorsteps throughout the multiple counties represented by the 172 seniors.
Back in London, a fourth of the population would die of the plague between 1665-1666. It was one of many outbreaks during the 400 years that the Black Plague ravaged Europe. But today, we’ve all benefited from that outbreak. Isaac Newton returned to Cambridge in 1667 with his theories in hand. Within six months, he was made a fellow. Two years later, he became a professor—not bad for a man in his twenties. We have all been improved by his time alone during a pandemic.
Congratulations! You and your children have almost completed the third week of online learning! As you know, it has been quite an adjustment to go from our traditional learning model to this uncharted digital territory. I am so proud of our accomplishments, and it is with this in mind that I want to share some insights and suggestions for continued success going forward. Digitally spending time with your kids every week, I have observed students expressing issues with focus, attention, and motivation. The following few suggestions will definitely help alleviate these issues.
The Coronovirus-19 pandemic is not something any of us wished or planned for, and its potential to disrupt our lives is already felt. As a community, we are pulling together to make the most of this time. Even so, things at home look, feel, and run a little differently. We’ve put together a few helpful tips for you to implement at home. Reply to this email and let us know which ones you are implementing and how they’ve worked for you. If you have pictures, share them with us on social with #GACfamilychallenge.
Congratulations to the entire cast of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and Director Kristy Winkes for three Shuler Award Nominations in the following categories: Overall Production; Direction - Kristy Winkes; and Lighting Design - Kristy Winkes and J.D. Cooper. GAC also earned seven honorable mentions. ⠀
When a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic brings entire economics to a halt, what are businesses and organizations to do? For Greater Atlanta Christian School, this has meant pivoting to its robust online learning platform. Launched two years ago, GAC’s online Ethos School is now being adapted to support the current need for online learning for GAC’s 1600+ student body. Having this experience, GAC is well-positioned to give its students and faculty a competitive advantage: full digital learning capability.
Our elementary school students win the prize for “cheerful” giving, that’s for sure. While working and playing and even fundraising, they enjoy themselves! Since 1982, GAC has raised money for the American Heart Association, led by GAC P.E. teacher Kristy Shelton. This year, students raised over $41K to fight our nation’s number one cause of death: heart disease.
GAC is proud to announce that fifth grader Ryan Pi's story won first place in the fifth grade division of Duke University’s Talent Identification Program Talent Search Writing Contest. With more than 900 students participating in the writing contest this year, this is an outstanding accomplishment.
As a state champion and Harvard commit, GAC Senior Chloe Fair consistently proves that she’s a force of strength, talent, and perseverance. And one to watch and beat this upcoming track season.
“Music embodies the words we can’t express. It comforts us during our deepest tragedies and fuels us during our greatest triumphs. More importantly, it unites us. Black History Month is not just for African Americans. The music you will hear today is woven into all of our lives” shared Simone Roberts, GAC’s Student Leader of Unity, who then proceeded to further describe the reason for the day’s special chapel assembly.
GAC hosted 2,000 students and parents on Sunday from independent schools across metro Atlanta, as well as admissions representatives from 85 colleges and universities nationwide, for the 2020 Atlanta Invitational Case Studies Program (AICS). This was a unique opportunity to meet with college admissions officers to learn first-hand how they make decisions.
Imagine your child in an AP Human Human Geography course with students from China, Rwanda, and California. Imagine them having access to a wider variety of course options and the flexibility to pursue time-intensive passions, while remaining connected to a greater community of teachers and classmates. This type of global education is now a reality for many students through GAC’s online educational platform: Ethos School.
We welcomed education expert Dr. Tim Elmore to campus this week for our Parent Speaker Series event. Sponsored by our GAC Parent Association, this series is one of the ways that GAC helps parents raise their children well. And it’s safe to say that parents walked out of Dr. Elmore’s session feeling a little more confident than when they entered, especially when it comes to their Generation Z children.
GAC devised the Ethos School to address more than just the problem of student schedules. It also makes it feasible to offer advanced courses to small groups. At the same time, the program provides options for world-wide students with similar issues of scheduling or accessibility to take classes through GAC.
Ten GAC High School students traveled to Athens over the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend to participate in the prestigious JanFest, one of the oldest and largest high school band festivals in the Southeast. Hosted by the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, JanFest welcomed 2,000 students onto campus for the 70th Annual January High School Band Festival. This four-day event is open only to invited musicians who represent the most accomplished among their high schools across the state of Georgia and the Southeast.
As we enter into the new year, we are thrilled to announce that GAC Seniors, Gabriel Uribe and Lizzie Joiner, have been named "20 Under 20" in Atlanta INtown and Reporter Newspapers, respectively. Both publications annually recognize youth in the area who make a difference in the community through volunteerism and philanthropy.
For the Christmas holiday season, the GAC School of Ballet gave many the gift of a beautiful performance. Not just to their parents, grandparents, friends, and classmates here at GAC. Middle School and High School dance elective students performed for Meadowcreek Elementary School, Village Park Senior Living Center, the Winship Cancer Center, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Egleston during the month of December.
GAC is thrilled to announce that Kaitlyn Williams, Trey Dixon, and Camille Hollier have been selected and featured as “20 Under 20” in Peachtree Corners Magazine’s December 2019/January 2020 edition. This honor celebrates Peachtree Corners students ages 19 and younger who have impacted the community in a significant way through leadership, and/or personal achievements.
After graduating from GAC, Jordan enrolled at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He commits to creating a positive impact in his community through his entrepreneurial ventures, and has since published several books as a college student.
Congratulations to our Middle School One Act play cast! "Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook" received third place at the Middle School Georgia Theatre Conference. This was an ensemble-driven play with a focus on collaboration.
Buckhead Art & Company occupies a large, bright showroom in the Shops Buckhead Atlanta. Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors flood the space with light, illuminating bright white walls and cement floors covered in paint. A substantial array of works line the walls in a variety of styles from abstract to figurative, framing a set of plush couches in the center of the space. Behind a raw wood desk is a friendly face: owner Katie Jones.
Do you remember the wonder you felt as a child? When a cardboard box held endless possibilities and each star in the sky fired your imagination? We often associate wonder with childhood because it is a feeling of looking at something for the first time. Humans were created for wonder, and our teachers in our Village and Elementary School want students to experience it every day, particularly with their STEAM curriculum.
September is National Literacy Month, and GAC has a great role model in its 18-year-veteran Media Specialist Ms. Bonnie Baker. A voracious reader, she read 42 books over the past summer alone and has read 5,000 of the 14,479 titles in the Liles Media Center to date. (She keeps a spreadsheet to track her progress). Ms. Baker has one piece of advice for students who want to know her secret: “Don’t have screens nearby!”
AAt a K-12 school, younger students often spend their days looking up to the older students, aspiring to be like them one day. So when 5th-grade Spartans were invited to a special “meet and greet” session with GAC’s best High School visual artists, they were delighted. Together as a class, the young artists toured the Art & Design Center, the building where the most serious and talented visual artists take classes.
GAC Varsity Baseball players had the chance of a lifetime this winter: to play baseball with kids from the D.R., getting to know them on their home turf. The D.R. is known for a few things, but its love of baseball cannot be surpassed.
Middle school math classrooms here on the GAC campus look and feel differently than most classrooms around metro Atlanta. Instead of “sit and get” instruction, worksheets, and silent practice at their desks, GAC students are fortunate to have a completely different experience.
How are we preparing our students for life beyond the four walls of the classroom? That’s a question GAC educators ask themselves often. It’s also the reason why experiential learning is always the goal here. But some subjects lend themselves more easily to these opportunities than others. For example, how can our teachers connect an AP statistics class to the real world?
My philosophy and the reason that I coach is very relational. Which I know a lot of people say, but I take it really, really seriously in building relationships with these students. Because you have a handful of very talented athletes that will continue to play after high school, but on the other hand you have another set of athletes that when they’re done, they go to college, and you only have four years to hopefully make them a better person while you have them.
GAC Middle and High School kicked off the 2019-20 school year with a renewed sense of purpose during their Spiritual Retreats.
“In eighth grade, I don't know, something clicked. I started playing and really enjoying what I was doing. Then I started getting noticed by the coaches and I was realizing I was not a bad player. That really helped my confidence in football and I decided to stick with it.”
When you consider how to help the thousands of homeless individuals living in Gwinnett County, do you think of slime? Neither do we. But GAC’s Anna Hardy, an 8th grader at GAC this year, connected those dots last summer and raised $1,800 for others.
Bryant-Strother is an enticing mix of speed, strength and smarts. At The Opening, a national combine that uses four metrics for a cumulative score, he had the No. 1 ranking in Atlanta and was No. 13 in the country.
GAC sophomore Ivy Lee is headed to Carnegie Hall in New York City for the second time this year to perform. She recently placed 2nd in the Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition. That win comes with an invitation to play at the winners recital in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on November 3. Ivy plays flute and piccolo in the GAC Symphonic Band and the GAC Marching Spartans.
GAC had a wonderful start to the school year this morning as faculty and students from pre-first to seniors gathered in the Long Forum for a time of worship, reflection, and celebration.
“Ali is the type of athlete that every coach needs in their program. She is a strong leader and captain and sets the tone for our gym by pushing each athlete to be the best they can be,” says Coach VanderPol.
How much farther would you be in your career if you had discovered what you wanted to do earlier in life? How would it have impacted your time in college? For GAC, these questions have led to the development of a unique opportunity, the Summer Fellowship Program, which provides students with real-world experience in an industry of their choice. Students gain valuable insight into careers under the guidance of mentors who are invested in their development.
Greater Atlanta Christian star Jasmine Jones, a two-time Daily Post athlete of the year, earned another major honor Thursday when the rising senior was named the Gatorade Georgia Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track. Jones is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, which is announced later this month.
As employers require more and more work experience from entry-level employees, where does that leave students who are fresh out of college and new to the workforce? GPAs and extracurriculars don’t carry the weight they once did, and students must consistently do more to get a leg up. To fill that gap and ensure that our graduates gain the valuable experience they need, GAC’s Community Relations and College Counseling teams have partnered together to create the GAC Summer Fellowship Program.
Hosting an international student forms one family out of two.
While school nurse Kristen Wilson was palming warm foreheads and administering inhalers to Elementary students, back at home there were two Crock-Pots slowcooking dinner for her family. The newest addition, Zhang '18, was an active six-foot teenager who ate like one.
This week, GAC hosted a national conference for its teachers and Ethos partner schools on Neuroeducation: Teaching Models Informed by Neuroscience. This conference featured Dr. Mariale Hardiman, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Education.
For the Little Laxers (1st -2nd grade), it’s a toss-up between their coaches: Varsity Girls Lacrosse players Annie Kilpatrick '19 and Kearston Dixon '21. The Elementary girls’ lacrosse program chooses two Varsity lacrosse players to coach the young team. By the end of the season, both athletes had helped coaches produce compassionate athletes ready for the next level, both on and off the field.
The Prefect System might sound like something straight out of a Harry Potter novel. In actuality, it’s GAC’s new leadership program comprised of student leaders from the senior class (selected during their junior year) who possess a high degree of commitment to the school’s values and ideals.
Wednesday was College Signing Day and everyone is excited for what the future holds for these students. But are they ready? That is the big question and the motivation behind why GAC invests considerable resources into developing the best AP Program in Atlanta. GAC is tied for the top Atlanta private school to have the highest AP pass rate at 84% in 26 AP courses.
Chris Hinton '19 became the fifth Spartan honored with a place on the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster. (Since the writing of this article, his brother Myles '20 became the sixth to earn this honor.) The High School bowl game selects only 90 out of the 1.2 million football players in the nation. His Spartan predecessors have ventured out into the full scope of possibilities, including winning the 2019 NCAA College Football National Championship title to playing professional football.
Two recent Greater Atlanta Christian School alumni have been chosen to captain the U.S. Naval Academy football team for the 2019 season. Captains are elected by a team vote, and for the first time ever, 4 co-captains were chosen. GAC graduates Paul Carothers of Flowery Branch (Class of 2015) and Ford Higgins of Peachtree Corners (Class of 2016) are seniors at the Naval Academy and will lead the team side-by-side, just as they did while they were Spartans.
GAC Theater Director Kristy Winkes won a Shuler Award for Best Direction at the 2019 Shuler Hensley Awards. This award underscores Ms. Winkes’ incredible skill in directing GAC’s tour de force performance of Les Miserables. The 70-person cast included students from K-12, making it the largest to date.
Quantifying things is right up Elise Karinshak’s alley. In fact, you could say that she’s an expert at it. This senior earned a perfect score on her ACT, a 5 on her AP Calculus exam (one of many AP exams she’s aced), is a National Merit Commended Scholar, and was selected as a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
It’s admissions season but it’s very unlikely that students are filling out their school applications, at least not to Admissions Director Mary Helen Bryant’s knowledge. But some students defy the norm. Enter senior Chandler Dula. As a fifth grader, Chandler had his sights set on GAC and so he did what any exceptionally driven, go-getter would do: he filled out his own application.
To get a top score on an AP exam — a 5 on the 5-point scale — is a significant achievement that often enables students to get college credit. To get a perfect score is a rare occurrence. Out of over 300,000 students around the world who took the AP Government exam last May, only 113 got every answer right. Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Georgia boasts two of these students: Jack Hollier and Victoria Huynh.
The reminders on Jackson Willyerd’s wall at home aren’t something you would expect of a high school student. Most of them sound like the pep talk of a mature adult: “Don’t be afraid of work that has no end (loving, hunger, thirst, injustice).” “Will it matter in 5 days? 5 months? 5 years? 5 decades?” “Did you make someone else’s day better?”
An organization’s culture is not something that can be imposed or something that is born from a strategic plan. It comes from within and is as natural as breathing. For GAC, an innate part of its culture is the spiritual community that has defined it from the very beginning when a visionary group of men and women gathered together to pray over the undeveloped land. Today’s grassroots efforts among faculty, staff, and students to meet, pray, and meditate on God’s Word demonstrates that this commitment to spiritual community goes beyond Bible class and chapel.
Each year, GAC students have the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Greece to work alongside Hellenic Ministries, an organization that serves refugees in the area. For most, this is an incredibly meaningful experience. For senior Katie Williams, the trips she has taken to Greece since her freshman year inspired her to create an entire AP art portfolio based on the experience of the refugees she met.
Greater Atlanta Christian School picked up 8 Shuler Award nominations for its recent Les Misérables performance. This is a record number of nominations for the school with a rich tradition of excellence in theatre production.
GAC’s Concert Choir had the honor of being selected to perform "Lux Aeterna" with the New England Symphonic Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in New York City this year. Students were delighted to perform on the same stage that has hosted some of the best musicians in our country’s history. Students led by Dr. Marcus Miller put in many hours of practice to be “performance ready” for this special day.
We were so glad to have GAC graduates back “home” on campus for the day on Friday, March 22. Our Alumni Speaker Series event, hosted by the Alumni Relations Office, provides current GAC juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity to hear from fellow Spartans about life after graduation, college experiences, and their chosen careers.
Our JV Math and JV Academic Teams both finished as state runner-ups after competing against the largest schools in the state earlier this month. For the Academic Team, this was their third consecutive top-2 finish. Congratulations to team members Jane Lee, Andy Jiang, Derek Fan, Joel Lee, Rose Gambrell, Lynn Sim, Ivy Comery, Darlene Nguyen, Hanna Harmon, Rohan Makim, Thomas Witherspoon, Gia-An Maynard, Vincent Huynh, and Sophia Nguyen.
Senior Victoria Huynh and Teacher Mary Lynn Huett were recently honored at the Gwinnett County’s annual STAR Student and STAR Teacher recognition luncheon. This honor comes as a result of Victoria earning the highest score on the SAT and being in the top 10 percent of her class.
Children who love to read will many times begin writing stories and creating fantasy worlds at a young age. This was the case for GAC junior Navya Sarikonda. As a child, she was a voracious reader, which her father credits to the Accelerated Reading Program beginning in Lower School. Her father recalls her in the first few years of elementary school consuming books faster than she could check them out from the Henderson Media Center.
Karen Cherry, 4th grade teacher, shares what gets her excited about applying STEAM to her classroom curriculum and why it's important.
Victoria Chyrack helped close out Black History Month in a big way. This senior felt motivated to organize GAC’s first ever I Have A Dream Chapel. From "Feeling Good" with the trombone back up, to a choral rendition of “It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day” to “September” by the GAC Band, the assembly was one of the most moving this year.
Mock Trial students know this to be true: you don’t leave this group unchanged. Through practice and preparation, students become more polished, confident, professional, and able to speak publicly. Whether they will go on to pursue a career in law or not, they are better for the time they spent on the Mock Trial team.
For Valentine’s Day, students at GAC wanted to reach beyond the walls of the school and show their love to the homeless in Atlanta.
Last Tuesday, in the high school chapel, the first annual Chinese New Year Celebration began featuring performances of traditional Chinese dance and song from our own International Students.
GAC students in Meredith Baker’s enrichment class have taken on a special project this semester. They have engaged with the Memory Project, a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers, art students, and solo artists to help cultivate global kindness by creating portraits for children around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, war, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.
Did you know that students who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop an alcohol dependency? Perfectly timed with this weekend’s Super Bowl event, former NFL football players spoke to GAC high school students on Wednesday about this statistic, urging them to take a pledge of alcohol and drug abstinence.
When you ask a question, you never know where the answer will lead. That becomes very apparent in talking with the students in Derek Wilson’s Capstone course. Students in this rigorous post-AP class take on the most challenging course available at GAC, one that prepares them to think and work as college students. They are required to think creatively, going beyond summarizing research to finding their voice and making their own discoveries in the process.
Art teacher Tim Baker and Spanish teacher Mark Boyd both serve in the Georgia Army National Guard on active duty. At least once a year, both men are called to one of many different populations to protect and serve. “This allows me the opportunity to be with a group of guys who are grounded, they all serve,” said Sergeant Major (known at GAC as Mr. Baker.)
Puerto Ricans had already lived through the infrastructural stress left from Hurricane Irma mere weeks before Hurricane Maria struck with the strength to incapacitate the entire US territory. With the failing of the entire electrical grid, inoperable water systems, and the eradication of thousands of houses, the Category 5 Hurricane left almost none of the 3.3 million population unscathed in some way. As donations flood the island from all directions, the need for additional manpower must does the same.
Everyone could use a little inspiration. For the teachers and students at Meadowcreek Elementary School in Norcross, Georgia, sometimes that inspiration comes in the form of GAC Middle and High School students who take the bus across the street to serve in their classrooms. It’s neighbor helping neighbor, as both GAC and Meadowcreek students benefit from the partnership that has spanned many decades.
Time is something that is constantly on Savannah Mitchell’s mind. There’s the time she wakes up in the morning to make her 5:15 training practices; the time she needs to stay alert to do well in her AP courses; and the personal best times which she trains hard to beat. For this senior, you could say that time is everything, and something she never wastes.
The Christmas story is one many GAC students can recount by heart, but the musicians at last night’s Christmas at GAC performance told the story through scores and verse, weaving together the rich art of sound with scripture read by High School Principal Shane Woodward.
GAC drama students presented The Sound of Music to a sold-out crowd last weekend! People of all ages came out in droves to see the beloved Rogers and Hammerstein musical that we all grew up singing. As the awards pile up and the word spreads about the prowess of GAC’s drama program, the shows have become more and more popular.
The idea for Southern Commercial Roof Tech came to GAC alumni Thomas Vorpahl ('92) and Brandon Barron ('92) during a family vacation. Friends since the 6th grade, they put their plan into action in 2014, opening the doors to their roofing company in a low-rent warehouse with an unyielding commitment to success but zero employees. Since then, their company has been extremely blessed, and Vorpahl and Barron want to return the blessing. They recently gifted GAC with in-kind roofing services.
Ayden Wood, a 5th grade student at GAC, has been selected as one of the winners for the Georgia Music Educators Association Composition Contest. Students from across the state submitted musical compositions that were judged by a panel of esteemed music educators. Ayden is one of 16 students recognized and is the only winner in elementary school.
Today, our GAC family celebrated Thanksgiving at our annual all-school chapel. Students in chapel classes and chapel band led the community in praise and worship, and student body president Chandler Dula offered an inspired message to all students. “One day you might know God as a protector. Another day, you might know Him as a provider or a comforter. We don’t serve a small God. He is a “big G” God and not a “little g” God,” he said.
Wednesday marked one of the biggest days of their young lives for 10 Greater Atlanta Christian School student-athletes. Years of training and discipline have finally paid off for these seniors who have obtained scholarships to continue on as student-athletes at colleges and universities across the country. This showcase of talent, determination, and commitment is something to be expected at GAC. In just the last three years, GAC has seen over 60 student-athletes commit to playing at the collegiate level.
For GAC students, service is second nature (the class of 2018 alone volunteered nearly 20,000 hours during their high school years). Each year, GAC sends hundreds of students on over 20 mission trips. Many are during school breaks which the students give up in order to serve. But what drives these students to be Jesus’s hands and feet both locally and abroad?
Some of our recent GAC graduates are making their mark at Vanderbilt University. Endowed with a love of learning and real-life skills from their time at GAC, these students see college as a welcome challenge that they are well prepared for. Says Molly Sullivan (class of 2018), “Every day, I’m thankful for the foundation that my education at GAC has laid for me and for the role that GAC played in my path to get to Vanderbilt.”
Senior Chris Hinton becomes the fourth Spartan Football player in the past five years honored with an invitation to play in the 2019 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. “Out of over 1 million high school football players, only 90 are selected to play in this game,” Head Coach Tim Hardy said.
Congratulations to the following students for being accepted into the Georgia Jazz Educators Association Jazz Bands for the 2018-2019 school year: Megan Ruder (bass), Ben McCarty, (trumpet), Aiden Mathers (tenor saxophone), Ike Ogueri (tenor saxophone), and Julian Fernandez (piano).
Fresh out of their GAC graduation gowns, class of 2018 graduates Ford Roberts and Kyle Ellis will don Ivy League football jerseys this Fall and play against each other in a Yale vs. Princeton matchup. The game will take place in the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, a picturesque New England autumn setting for two young men raised together in the backdrop of the South on the GAC campus for many years.
We rolled out the red carpet for hundreds of GAC grandparents today on our favorite day of the year—our annual Grandparents Day. Spartans of all ages toured classrooms with their grandparents, introducing them to friends and teachers. Grandparents and grandchildren together enjoyed performances including choir, band, orchestra, drama, and dancing ensembles.
The first performance of the school year, “The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank, ”proves to stun both GAC audiences and those at the Georgia Theater Conference. After selling over 450 tickets for the show at GAC, the cast won four awards for their moving performance of the show that tackles the stigmas of mental illness.
Fifth graders participated in “Kickin’ It With Kale” today in cooperation with Georgia Organics and October Farm-to-School Month. Students chopped fresh kale, tomatoes, garlic, and onions before preparing Sukuma Wiki, an east African dish served in Tanzania and Kenya.
GAC alum and former Bon Appetit restaurant editor is the host of high-stakes, global culinary competition, The Final Table.
Senior Gavin McDonnell was recently accepted into the prestigious All-National Choir of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He is one of only 12 students who successfully auditioned from the state of Georgia. Selection to the All-National choir is considered one of the finest achievements available to high school choral students in the US and Gavin has earned this honor for two years in a row.
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” - Socrates
At GAC, we understand that learning never ends. On top of the formal education and years of experience they bring to the table, our faculty are always hungry for more knowledge and training as the profession evolves. In fact, 76% of them hold an advanced degree. GAC offers the professional and financial support to make this possible for our teachers.
Katie Irwin, GAC Class of 2015, was honored as UGA's Amazing Student for this week and deservedly so! An exemplary student with an impressive resume even as a junior in college, she epitomizes the GAC student, one who is guided by faith, courageous in character, engaged in service, empowered by strengths, driven by passions, shaped by experiences, inspired by vision, motivated by mission, and committed to action.