GDA senior, Evan Fincher, delivered a speech on the significance of Christian education in his life at the 2023 All in His Time Banquet. He expounded on the ideal qualities that Gloria Deo Academy aims to instill in its students. Thank you, Evan, for sharing your school experience. 

GDA Impacted My Life

Gloria Deo Academy is a tremendously large part of my life. In fact, I live in the school for most of the year. I have been a student at GDA since 1st grade and people have seen me pop up all over the place. I have been in the band for over 7 years, I am on the cross country team, I did archery for a long time, and I did okay in speech and debate. The point is as a student GDA is where I have been for a long time, and I can tell you the sincere difference it has made for me. You know some people would rather forget the 12 or so years they spent in school, but not me. I will keep the memories I have with this place for as long as I can. So let me share the three major reasons why I would choose this school again if I were given the option. 

Reason #1: The GDA Teachers

The first reason would be the teachers. Now my mom taught junior high science at our school for years so there is no way she would let me forget to give credit to the faculty. In my experience it is the teachers that make Christian education what it is. Without the hardworking, creative, and caring teachers a school is just an empty building. All the teachers are passionate about their classes and work to instill that passion in each of us. From learning science with Mrs. Barankovich, government with Mr. Ray, to even lovely calculus with Mrs. George, each teacher not only shares book knowledge but also deeper understanding of their subjects. What really gives them my respect is the sacrifices they make for the students. Trust me when I say no one becomes a school teacher for the money and our school is no exception. Every teacher I have had wanted me to succeed and do well. They work long hours, give up their freedoms, and deal with intense stress all for the sake of their students. I can’t stress it enough. To Gloria Deo Academy’s teachers their students are not just batches of placeholders, they are their mission.

Reason #2: GDA’s Mission

Now that leads me to my second reason, which is what that mission is. Christian education is different because it has a purpose behind it. There is a solid goal that our school desires to reach every day. To find what it is just look at our mission statement.

Gloria Deo Academy partners with parents to educate students in a historic biblical worldview through a rigorous classical curriculum. The goal of GDA is to develop ethical and wise individuals who will impact their community for the glory of God through service, leadership, and character.”

Every student here has said this statement thousands of times and only when writing this speech did, I finally observe its meaning. The goal that this school strives for is forming students who have exceptional character, initiative, and understanding, not just good test scores and grades. I have come to understand that these traits are important because they decide what we use our education for. There is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, my favorite president, that says “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” When each student reaches the end of their education, we will all begin to wonder what we’re going to do with all the knowledge and lessons we have learned. Will it be for ourselves? Will it be for nothing? Or something bigger? Our teachers want us to become world changers. They want us to be able to use all our years of hard work to not only survive in the world but also change it.

Reason #3: Who I Am

Finally, my third reason for why I would choose this school again is who I am now. To give you some background I am very skeptical and untrusting by nature. Cheap magic tricks and faulty logic do not convince me very easily. It took me a long while to buy into a God who commands the universe and at the same time loves me infinitely. I was an arrogant and hopeless student who would not have been given a second chance at any other school. But the teachers I have been so blessed by have guided me patiently and expertly. It is because this school answers questions and gives us the skills to do our own investigation that no student is left in the dark. I am the product of that fact. A kid who had no reason to care and no thought about the world outside himself was given direction. And as a senior I’m about ready to take that direction to places I hope I could never have imagined. 

The Student GDA Seeks to Create

So, to finish I want you to know that the reason GDA succeeds is that its students see more than just the blank results. Test scores, grades, and even abilities do not reflect the value of a true student. Those who will truly make a difference in the world are the students with character and selfless leadership. That is the student Gloria Deo Academy seeks to create, the type of student the school has helped me become.