0

GAC building sister school in Rwanda

Special Photo Greater Atlanta Christian School Senior High Principal Scott Harsh, left, and GAC Project Manager Brett Harte stand on a 48-acre plot of land where the Central Africa School of Excellence will be built.

Special Photo Greater Atlanta Christian School Senior High Principal Scott Harsh, left, and GAC Project Manager Brett Harte stand on a 48-acre plot of land where the Central Africa School of Excellence will be built.

NORCROSS -- Greater Atlanta Christian School has plans for a sister school in Central Africa. An administrator with the senior high school recently returned from a trip to discuss the facility's future.

The tuition-driven private school will serve Rwandan children in grades 7-12 and could open within the next several years, said Scott Harsh, senior high school principal at Greater Atlanta Christian School. But it will, in effect, serve students of the local school as well.

"We see a great benefit," Harsh said. "One strategic goal is to provide students with a global education and outlook. We will be exchanging ideas and courses."

Exchange programs for students and teachers who live in the Atlanta area or elsewhere also will be available through the partnership.

Tentatively named Central Africa School of Excellence, Harsh said establishing the school has been an interest among administrators and board members for a long time.

Because of a personal connection with the school, Rwanda's president visited Greater Atlanta Christian School three years ago. Harsh said President Paul Kagame "made the remark that he wanted a school similar to ours in Rwanda."

For the past four years, GAC has been working with the president to help create the facility. In March 2012, the president and the Rwandan government formally endorsed GAC's proposal for the co-ed day and boarding Christian School.

Harsh said the president gave the school a 48-acre tract of land in the city of Kigali: "A prime location."

On the recent trip to Rwanda, Harsh went to set up a nonprofit organization in Rwanda to receive the land. "We're in the final stages of making those preparations," he said.

The structure of the school will replicate GAC's American college-preparatory Christian educational model, "designed to prepare future Central/East African leaders."

The curriculum will be a modified American education model, aimed at preparing students for success in world universities -- in the United States and elsewhere.

Harsh said that it's an exciting time for GAC: "This is an opportunity for students in Rwanda that would not otherwise be provided. It can change the landscape for future generations."