This year’s theme is “Pursue Peace & Holiness,” and parents of Foundation Academy students heard how the private school is achieving this goal at the 2023 State of the Academy. The Jan. 12 meeting celebrated “all that God has blessed us with,” said emcee Brad Bales.
Bales spoke of the four aspects of the school: faith, academics, fine arts and athletics.
“We’re celebrating what we have and what’s to come,” said Pastor Tim Grosshans. “To be Godly, you have to show it, not talk about it.”
One way the school is achieving this is through Thomas Hudson, the new Bible teacher on the Tilden campus. Hudson told parents he has been impressed with their children and their high level of respect. He also invited parents to visit chapel time to witness the students unabashedly praising God.
Carol Grosshans, vice president of education, held a Q&A with three fathers, Christian Vozza, Steven Pitts and Larry Fellure, asking them questions about the school’s three campuses, their children and their faith-based education.
Pitts frequently attends chapel time with his daughter, and he said both enjoy the experience of praising God together.
“We knew as soon as we walked on the campus … this was the place we wanted to be,” he said of his impressions of the school. “It’s a great place (with a) family atmosphere.”
Fellure said his daughter loves music, and he loves knowing she’s enjoying the arts and glorifying God at the same time.
His daughter is a Legacy Lion, having started her education in the pre-K program.
“We were first drawn to Foundation Academy because of what the school offers … and knowing she could participate all the way from pre-K to senior,” he said. “(We liked) knowing we were going to have a consistent environment for her to learn.”
Vozza said his family was looking for a strong Christian education when it discovered Foundation Academy.
“Being part of the growth in the school is very exciting to us,” he said.
Fellure’s daughter is a junior, and he said the senior services team continues to be engaging with her, recommending courses, offering letters of recommendation and providing opportunities at the school.
“Engage in your children’s education and encourage your child to do whatever they want to do,” Fellure said to parents. “There are so many opportunities at Foundation, whether it be athletics, fine arts. … When you allow your child to do what they want to do, it allows them to (hone in) on their talents.”
Vozza’s children, who are just beginning their academic journey as first- and third-graders, recommended FA because of its intimate learning setting.
“The state of Foundation Academy is stronger than ever,” FA President Dave Buckles said. “Over the last nine years we’ve grown over an average of 8% a year. We are at capacity because we protect our class size.”
First Baptist Church Winter Garden has been in existence for 135 years, pursuing peace and holiness, Buckles said.
“Isn’t that why we’re here — to help others see the Lord,” he said. “Our goal at Foundation Academy is to help young men and women to find their way in the spiritual world but also in their spiritual life.”
This is achieved in many ways, he said — through Godly teachers who shape the minds and hearts of students every day, spiritual inventory tools, and various learning platforms.
Growth continues to present challenges at the school campuses, but several construction projects should provide some relief.
“Lakeside is near capacity, and our Plant Street campus is at capacity,” Buckles said. “We’re going to be at or near capacity in almost every grade in this upcoming school year. … I met several perspective families here tonight. How are we going to manage this growth? … We’re going to be building a cafeteria, and we have a 40,000-square-foot classroom project.”
“We have to raise $2 million for the $4.5 million project, and right now we’re only $250,000 away from reaching the $2 million goal,” he said.
Buckles recognized several groups during the evening. He praised the fundraising team that brought in almost $300,000 to set up classrooms at the Lakeside campus with furniture and equipment. He thanked the Athletic Booster Board, Fine Arts League, PAWS groups and the Moms in Prayer group.
“These ladies … they pray for our campus weekly,” Buckles said. “They’re on every campus, walking the hallways, putting scripture on lockers. … I can feel the covering that you ladies provide with your prayers.”
He said he’s grateful for the Foundation Academy School Board.
“I couldn’t do what I do without those folks,” he said. “Talk about somebody who loves this school. Your School Board loves this school.”
Buckles shared what the money in the Foundation Academy Fund purchased too.
“The funds impacted students and teachers and staff and campuses (through) spiritual development, FCC radios, tuition assistance, professional development, facility improvements and a new robotics room.
“At the end of the day, I get to be a part of this … the prize of being a school of excellence,” Buckles said.
The evening concluded with a performance by Malachi Markham accompanied by the Foundation Academy Praise Band.
“Help your student know they are a child of God … so they will know that they are who God says they are,” Buckles said to parents.