For the last two years, the campus of Georgia-Cumberland Academy (GCA) has been a maze of earth moving equipment, cinderblocks, and chain-link fences. When the school year began August 2019, the sights and sounds of construction were replaced by beautifully realized facility additions. The extra space afforded by the new student center, four classrooms, 17 staff offices, alumni center, cafeteria, gymnasium, and wellness center is greatly appreciated by the growing student body. All of these improvements were made possible by the generous financial support of faithful donors to the “Continuing the Mission” campaign.
As beautiful as the new facilities are, the activities going on inside are the main attraction. The addition of new classrooms provided space needed to set up a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Center, funded by Dennis and Tami Starkey. The STEM Center features two 3D printers, a laser engraving machine, and circuitry equipment that builds coding and engineering skills. The center is open to students every day, and has been used for class projects in such subjects as geometry and art.
“We can contribute to the curriculum of every subject with the equipment we now have available,” said Shannon Scott, who oversees the center.
The Starkey family, whose two grown children are both GCA graduates, were motivated to donate funds for STEM education because of a desire to create an environment of academic excellence for Adventist students.
“We want the joy and satisfaction of seeing the kids of the Adventist Church have the opportunity to obtain a high quality education in a Christ-oriented atmosphere,” the Starkeys shared. “We serve a God Who is most excellent. It is only right to honor Him with excellence in our facilities, academics, and spirituality.”
Across campus in the new student center, the Goodman Family Prayer Room is a haven for students and staff seeking spiritual refreshment. The thoughtfully designed space provides a place to connect with God in the midst of often busy days on an academy campus.
The Goodman family were inspired by their daughter, Kayla, to give specifically for the Prayer Room. Kayla, a recent GCA graduate, was a strong spiritual leader during her four years at the school, where she started a thriving prayer ministry. The Goodmans want all who enter this sacred space to allow God and His love to become the center of their heart and life.
In addition to donations for new facilities and programs, GCA has been fortunate to receive funding for scholarships and endowments from a number of sources. Endowments are funds that are invested in perpetuity, and the interest earnings are used to fund various programs or scholarships.
Keith and Linda Hieb have established one such endowment. The Clough-Hieb Endowed Scholarship Fund provides tuition assistance to students based on financial need. The students must be passing all their classes, and be working to help defray the cost of a GCA education. This, along with more than 30 other endowments and scholarships, helps to provide assistance to many students who would otherwise struggle to obtain an Adventist education.
“Our whole family had the opportunity to attend Adventist schools, and we are strong advocates of Christian education,” said Keith Hieb. “All four of Linda’s children graduated from GCA and we are very impressed with the school and its leadership team. We believe that academy is a great time to influence and shape young people, and we’re inspired to establish our endowed scholarship for worthy students.”
The gifts of generous individuals enable GCA to continue providing a quality Christian education to several hundred students every school year. These generous gifts come in many amounts, from seemly small donations to large contributions. That is the beauty of giving — every penny adds up in pursuit of the greater goal. The ministry of giving is open to everyone, and every gift can make a difference in a student’s life.
“I have no regrets about attending GCA,” said Aleah Clarke, Class of 2019. “The people who I once saw as strangers, I now see as family. Thank you to the donors and staff for the best two years of my life.”
is the marketing assistant at Georgia-Cumberland Academy in Calhoun, Georgia.
Georgia-Cumberland | February 2020