The First Academy (TFA) is not your typical school. They pride themselves on exceptional education that directly meets Christianity. The campus grounds are filled with amazing Christian music between buildings for each grade, a state-of-the-art basketball arena, a courtyard for lunch, playgrounds, and even a hydroponic greenhouse. TFA is a place for students to have experiences that they can't find anywhere else and go on adventures they will remember forever!
“In each stage at TFA, students have really exciting benchmarks they get to look forward to!” Megan Fleming, Creative Marketing and Alumni manager said. Fleming, who attended TFA for 13 years, graduated from the University of Florida studying Education and decided she loved her time at TFA so much she wanted to go back. “The people and the hearts at TFA are what make us different. Everyone has meaningful and spiritual connections here. And all these relationships carry on with you after graduation.” TFA offers so much more than an education. They are centered on Jesus Christ and God and sharing his love with their students, but also have rigorous academics with teachers who are there to support the students and prepare them for college.
Let the Adventures Begin
From elementary to high school, students get to experience so many adventures. Whether it’s school picnics, dances, educational or mission trips, every student gets to experience a new adventure.
“Senior year is the pinnacle for it all!” Seniors get to kick off their year with a two-day senior retreat where they head to a young life camp. There, they have speakers, worship music, fellowship, and small groups. “This is a great time for students to get to bond before the year kicks off and be filled with the word of God.” The senior trip is also located on a huge lake, where they get to paddleboard, kayak, go down the water slide, and play beach volleyball! The last adventure all our seniors go on is the ski trip to Breckenridge, Colorado during spring break. “The memories and the friends that you make here are really important and you never know how something is going to impact you years down the road,” Fleming said.
From the Student
Senior Student, Sarah Jackson has been at TFA since kindergarten. “I have loved my time at TFA! Getting to know all my classmates since we were little and grow up together. It’s been special to have such close relationships and so many connections.” Sarah is a member of the cross country, track, and soccer teams, as well as being senior class president and valedictorian. “I also am a part of putting together our Dance Marathon which is our fundraising for Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals.” It’s clear Sarah has been an excellent student during her time at TFA but the school has made an impact on her as well. “TFA has taught me the importance of connections and relationships. Really taking the time to get to know your teacher, professor, or boss can help you in the classroom or at work. I will always remember to find a connection first. Not only so you can learn from them, but also there is more to life than just success, which is having meaningful relationships with people.”
Her next big adventure is college, but she’s not sure where yet! She is between Baylor, Auburn, and UF. She plans on studying communications sciences and disorders so she can be an audiologist working with children who have hearing disabilities, and hopefully, focus on those children in third-world countries who wouldn’t typically have access. Sarah has battled with hearing issues and having surgeries throughout her childhood which is what has fostered her desire to help others.
Adventure Outside the Classroom
Jeff Alexander, who is a board member of TFA, Chairman of the Board for Mission Emanuel, and parent of TFA students, describes TFA as a transformational school where your children get to grow up in a loving and caring environment. “There are a lot of places your kids can get an education, but not one like this where they have all that but most importantly, they start with God” Alexander stated.
His passion is in mission work and transforming children's lives through it. Mission Emanuel is an organization that promotes discipleship through short-term mission trips to the Dominican Republic that are focused on the transformation of the participants as well as the community.
Alexander has personally seen the change in his kids when they went on their first mission trip all together through TFA. “My kids were able to see the joy in people who live completely different lives than us, which was life-changing for them,” Alexander stated.
The trips are filled with hard work, but it’s also a time to connect and pray with the local community, and at the end of each day, they have devotionals. “It’s easy to miss the ‘God moments’ in our normal routine. But when you go on these trips and are outside of your normal life, you can see God so much easier.”
If you would like to be a part of a Mission Emanuel trip or would like to donate, please check out their website for more information: missionemanuel.org
Steve Kavanagh, who is had been a TFA Christian studies teacher for over 25 years, is also very involved in organizing mission trips and senior events. “The mission trips are an opportunity for them to connect with their peers, talk about the word of God, worship together, and make changes in their lives,” Kavanagh said. “Being a teacher at TFA is a new adventure each year.” He loves the one on one and counseling he gets to do through small groups and even in the classroom. With a master's degree in psychology and counseling, he gets to be a spiritual leader in his students' lives and really make an impact. “At TFA, we do the Christian, the spiritual, and the academic all in a good balance.”
This summer TFA is taking a few high school students on a first-time mission trip to Israel with an organization called Passages. This will be a historical and educational trip as well as a spiritual trip for the students. Being a member of TFA, whether as a student, parent, or faculty, your time will be filled with adventure! From elementary school to high school, their time is filled with extraordinary experiences that are meant to build character, and relationships, expand their education and knowledge in different ways and further their connection with God. If you want your children to experience more than just an education, then The First Academy is the perfect place to start their next adventure!
“At TFA, we do the Christian, the spiritual, and the academic all in a good balance.”