The new Lanier Christian Academy’s campus is buzzing with activity before its first day of school — ever.
The newly formed private South Hall school, now one of the largest Christian K-12 college preparatory schools in the area, is the product of the unified North Georgia Christian School in Flowery Branch and Heritage Academy in Braselton.
Aug. 12 marks the first day of school for Lanier Christian, and President Al Gainey said it’s been great to see the new school come to fruition.
“This has been a vision of mine since about 2007,” Gainey said. “It has been extremely exciting over the last year and a half, when we really started working to bring North Georgia Christian and Heritage Academy together. It’s been an incredible ride.”
Debbie Lee, director of institutional advancement for Lanier Christian, said enrollment is reaching approximately 400 students, an increase over North Georgia’s 200 students and Heritage’s 165, combined.
“Not many Christian schools in the region are that large, and we’re seeing so much interest,” Gainey said.
Lanier Christian will combine and offer the two teaching models previously offered at the other schools: North Georgia Christian’s traditional five-day model and Heritage’s three-day university model.
The three-day model allows two days of independent home schooling. Students will be in a traditional classroom setting Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will homeschool, under the direction of their teacher, Tuesday and Thursday.
But Gainey said the school is also preparing a third model that would be online.
“We’re going to be branding an online model, and we will work on a pilot part of the program for the fall,” he said. “We’re that close. And then we’ll roll out fully in the spring as a third model, a third option for families.”
Lanier Christian will start the school year at the former North Georgia Christian campus at Chestnut Mountain Church in South Hall. But plans are in place for a new campus on Poplar Springs Road.
Gainey and Lee both said the transition has not been easy, and working on logistics to bring two schools together was a challenge. But, as Lee said, “it was worth it.”
The students were invited to submit ideas and vote on a new mascot and colors for the school. Lanier Christian played spring sports as “Lanier Lightning.”
He said students were particularly excited about the new mascot and uniforms, which include khaki slacks and dress shirts for boys and skirts and jumpers in khaki or a blue plaid for girls.
“There have been so many things we’ve had to do, to deal with, to get these two cultures together,” Gainey said. “But they are coming together very, very well.”
“That school pride is beginning to develop,” she said. “And that’s really exciting.”