To the class of 2019: Congratulations on your tremendous accomplishments; we pray for God to continue to illuminate the path in front of you as you begin the next chapter of your life. To the class of 2031: Pursue your dreams, be open to new ideas, and follow where God leads you!
The Senior Sidekick program at GRACE is one of our beloved traditions. Members of the kindergarten and 12th grade classes do monthly activities throughout the year culminating in a graduation-themed cap and gown photo session!
In January 2018, GRACE received a $60,000 grant from the Christian Education Charitable Trust (CECT), a branch of the Maclellan Family Foundations. Earlier this month, Mr. Bradley submitted the summative grant report to the CECT. Please take a moment to review report excerpts below and learn more about the exciting progress made possible through the vision and work of several staff members, GRACE parents, students, and the generosity of the CECT.
The CECT grant allowed GRACE to reach the overarching goals of moving Computer Science program ahead more rapidly than the budget allowed, as well as achieving the projected objectives from the initial proposal. The stated objective benchmarks and results:
Increase student participation in STEM and Computer Science related courses.
Student participation increased from forty students at the time of the proposal to ninety-nine students in the spring of 2019. We anticipate that number to increase for the 2019-20 school year.
Students will build ten computers, five to outfit the lab and five to donate.
Students built thirteen computers, surpassing the initial goal of ten. Five of these computers are being donated to local charities: the North Carolina Men’s Baptist Organization, Thrift2Gift, and the Salvation Army.
Expansion of the technology lab, including a connection to the media center.
Facility improvements included the relocation of a wall, the creation of a sliding doorway to connect the media center and technology lab, and a complete renovation of the storage and student workplaces within the lab.
Improve visibility to the community, including hosting three onsite events.
Instead of hosting three large events, the technology team and administration decided to host one large showcase event and several small events featuring outside speakers.
The GRACE Tech Expo featured a roundtable discussion with three local technology leaders (a lead programmer at EPIC Games, a World Wide Lab Director for Cisco, and a software developer at Role Model Software), student demonstrations of class projects, and several hands-on opportunities for visitors to utilize various technologies, such as flying student-programmed drones, driving robots, playing student-designed games, and examining the student-built computers. There were over 150 attendees to the event, not including the student participants.
Additionally, through the course of the year, the school hosted eleven speakers from local businesses, including a patent attorney, system analyst, project manager, web developer, and a GRACE alum who is graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Computer Science.
As you can see, the grant served as a catalyst to several aspects of our computer science program. For pictures and a detailed overview of the grant project, please visit the “GRACE is Granted” website. Looking ahead, we will refine current classes and add additional courses to the computer science program, creating a unified curriculum reaching from Transitional Kindergarten through senior year. We will also build upon the partnerships created with outside organizations and local companies to increase opportunities for our students. Lastly, the successful implementation of the grant monies enables GRACE to apply for future grants through the CECT.
In conclusion, there are many people who made the grant application and implementation possible including: Mark Bianchi, BJay Brown, Michael Bryant, Cathy Cole, Melanie Dunning, Nathan Ennis, Randy Fox, Brian Garrett, Mandy Gill, Paul Hutton, Dave Katz, Lisa McCarthy, Jonathan Mitchell, Dana Morrison, Buddha Nepal, Daniel O’Brien, and Karen O’Conner.
Congratulations to GRACE seniors Diana White and Ashleigh Williamson for being finalist for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Diana and Ashleigh are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide to achieve this status out of 1.6 million juniors who took the 2017 PSAT/NMSQT. Less than 1 percent of all high school seniors nationwide qualify for this distinction and even fewer go on to be named finalists. Diana and Ashleigh will now continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million.
Congratulations also to GRACE senior Katherine Matthes for being named a Commended Student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers for the 2017 PSAT/NMSQT.
GRACE students had a successful day at the ACSI Math Olympics. All of the GRACE students did their best and represented our school well; we are proud of all 36 of our students. A special shout-out to the following students who placed in the top five of their grade/category:
Have questions about pursuing a career in engineering or technology? Meet with the experts to learn about career opportunities.
Peter Knepley (Lead Programmer at Epic Games)
Dave Katz (World Wide Lab Director at Cisco)
Amanda Pouget (Software Developer at Role Model Software)
6:45-8:00 Interactive Stations
Race a Raspberry Pi Car
Create LED light shows with Raspberry Pi
Program and drive a robot
Fly a drone
Makey Makey games and challenges
We are pleased to partner with the NC Science Festival to open this event to the public, and we can’t wait to show off what technology we have been learning this year and discuss where this learning can lead!
On Saturday, February 9th, thirteen GRACE high school students competed in the ACSI Regional Speech Meet, designed to help students develop techniques to speak audibly, articulately, expressively, and with poise and confidence. Students demonstrate their ability by delivering a memorized poem, speech, or passage. Participants do not compete against one another, rather, they are judged against an established set of criteria. Congratulations to the following students on their accomplishments:
In addition, Lee Robinson was recognized for excellence at the awards ceremony.
* Connor Woodworth also placed 4th in the Spell-Off event for grades 5-8, so he and the other participants in 1st- 5th place will go on to the ACSI Southeast Regional Spelling Bee in Atlanta on March 16th.
GRACE is a certified school for international students which means we have been accredited and certified by the US government to be able to do this. To further assist us, we partner with an organization called New Oasis who recruits students from China. This organization is used by many of the independent schools in our area and has a reputation of doing an excellent job of vetting students and giving them excellent support while they are here in the US. We will limit the number of international students to 10% of our high school population and our desire is for international students to join the GRACE student body in 9th or 10th grade and return each year until they graduate.
At GRACE, we have the opportunity to welcome these students and share the Gospel with them as they learn about the US and live in our culture. Our students have the opportunity to learn from our international students about different cultures and become global citizens themselves.
As we begin to plan for the 2019-2020 school year, we will need host homes for these international students and invite you to consider this. If you are unable to host, could you help us spread the word? Do you know someone who would be a great host family and be blessed by this experience? If so, please let us know!
A host family must provide:
Transportation to and from school (must live within 10 miles of school)
A separate bedroom (may share a bathroom)
Parental supervision of a young adult eager to work hard and learn about American culture
A host family will receive:
An amazing cultural experience
A monthly stipend of $1,100 from New Oasis
Ongoing academic and social support from New Oasis
A mutually rewarding experience
Some common questions and clarifying answers:
“How long is the host family commitment?” Although the student will most likely be an incoming freshman or sophomore, attending GRACE for 3–4 years, the host family commitment is for one school year, with the student returning home during summer breaks. Many host families do create deep and lasting bonds with their exchange student and look forward to having them back after summer break, but we only ask for a one-year commitment. Also, if you do need to go someplace without your exchange student, it’s not a problem—one of our respite families can step in for short-term hosting.
“Won’t the exchange students want to be with someone their own age?” Not necessarily. New Oasis has had great success with empty nesters and families with small children. These home environments can provide a restful safe haven where peer-related anxieties to perform/behave/speak in very particular ways are less demanding.
“Not knowing the student makes me a little uneasy.” New Oasis does a great job vetting their applicants and only accepts students who can excel academically and socially. Beyond this, a lot of time and energy is put into matching students and host families by interest. But even after a match is made and the exchange student has selected you based on your profile (created from your application, references and home visit), you will begin communication with your exchange student before their arrival, and both parties have to be on the same page and feel at peace about the arrangement.
Thank you so much for taking the time to think and pray about how you can help us find wonderful families that can share the love of Christ in tangible ways through the hosting experience. On a personal note I, Mandy, have had a wonderful time learning about culture and being blessed by students who have lived in our home through the years!
GRACE Christian School participates in the annual ACSI Creative Writing Festival. Finalists for the ACSI event are selected from among entries submitted to our school level event. The GRACE and ACSI Creative Writing Festivals provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their writing abilities and skills. This student activity is not a competition but rather a program geared to help students improve their creative writing abilities. Students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate. For a full list of rules and guidelines, read 2019 Creative Writing Festival Guidelines.