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Educating the Head and the Heart at New Braunfels Christian Academy

By David Boegaard

New Braunfels, Texas, is a nice-sized city in south central Texas, with warm winters and not-too-hot summers. The community is big enough to offer plenty of interesting opportunities, but still small enough that you can really get to know people. It's a city that cares about it's children. New Braunfels Christian Academy has a central place in the city, making sure that students have access to an outstanding preparatory school education that emphasizes the power of Christianity for students' lives, from kindergarten through high school graduation.

As their name suggests, New Braunfels Christian Academy (NBCA) offers a Christian education. Many of the families who place their children in the school are seeking a particular approach, says Jill White, the Elementary Principal of NBCA. "They are typically trying to follow the mandate found in the Old Testament about teaching your children when you sit down and when you rise up and when you walk through life."

Students who get a Christian education get a great education, but an education that does not just emphasize studying the creation, but also the purpose and orderliness that underlies creation. "In this way," says White, "students learn that their spiritual life and their academic life are not separated. They hopefully become more authentic in their learning, in their life, and in their worship."

NBCA aims to make kind of authentic learning into a guiding principle in the lives of their students. Sonya Vickery, Assistant Principal of NBCA, emphasizes the effect this can have for students. "We are educating our students for a higher calling in life and want to help our students understand the world through a Biblical worldview and not a self-centered me worldview."

Of course, it's hard to have a higher calling if you can't understand the world. That's part of the reason that NBCA offers outstanding academics, including both AP and Dual Credit courses. Karen Shumway, NBCA's School Counselor, describes the offerings. "Advanced Placement (AP) classes offered include English Language, English Literature, Government, US History, and World History."

The Dual Credit courses are offered in conjunction with Colorado Christian University, says Shaumway, and includes courses in "College Algebra, British Literature, US History and Government." If students receive sufficiently high scores on the exams for these courses, they receive college credit.

And NBCA goes further to encourage outstanding academics. "Students who are gifted have the ability to compete in academics, athletics, and the arts," says White.

The school also intends to create new programs to support average to gifted students who are falling behind. "Our goals are to offer these in one-on-one settings as well as small group settings, notes White. "One of the programs we are planning on putting in the program is not offered anywhere between Dallas and Houston."

But ultimately it is the intimacy and care that NBCA provides that may most set them apart. "We are still small enough to have a very family like atmosphere," says Vickery. "We get to know each and every student and their families." With the wide array of courses and extracurriculars, not to mention the Christian leadership, everything at NBCA can feel right at students' fingertips. "I think our children love the feeling of security that comes from being in a small school environment," says Vickery, "and the ability to participate in a variety of activities right on campus that they might not have in a larger school."

And it is not only the students who feel privileged to be able to be at the school. Teachers, too, get a unique educational environment. "Teachers at our school are blessed to get to teach the subjects in such a way that we meet or exceed state standards," notes White. "But they also get the privilege of showing the character and nature of God through the subject at hand."

For parents who share in the Christian faith, New Braunfels Christian Academy is a unique school offering great academics, guidance toward Christian purpose, and a warm environment. "In the children's own words, they feel like this is home," says White. "They feel a love at our school and they feel safe."

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