Christian preparation for college and beyond
When Sarah and Zach were looking for a school for their son, they looked for a place like home. That is, loving, kind and where Christian values are on display all day. It was important that their son attended a school where the administration and teachers viewed each child as a gift and helped them become what God wanted them to be. They found all of this – and more – at San Marcos Academy. “Every day I feel like our son has a village of SMA staff who love and care for him,” they enthusiastically. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos Academy is a coeducational school for boarders (grades six to 12) and day students (K-12). Since 1907, the 220-acre campus has been the site of a distinctive offering that few American schools can replicate. At SMA, a nurturing Christian community is merged with a rigorous college preparation program – for impactful results. SMA students are prepared for success in college and beyond. The approach is holistic, with programs, services and opportunities designed to stimulate intellectual, social, physical and spiritual growth. Using the transformational curriculum model, they embrace discipleship concepts such as worship, truth, righteousness, service, and community. “Our Christian heritage encourages our students in their faith as we become the shining light on a hill, not just in Texas, but around the world,” says SMA President Dr. Brian N. Guenther. High school students complete course requirements prescribed by the State of Texas to graduate and / or earn one or more honors in areas such as the arts and humanities, STEM, multidisciplinary studies, public service and, over the next two years, business and industry. The AP and Honors courses are designed to be writing intensive and to help students improve their critical thinking skills. Dual credit courses with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor are also offered. Regardless of the format, the goal is to spark a thirst for learning and spark academic and spiritual growth. If that means submerging a computer in water with full screen functions, so be it. Each route is explored, each need taken care of. Full support is available for international students. In the core classes, the school provides support in English as a second language through immersion. In dormitories, where up to 12 countries are represented in any given year, there are more opportunities to improve and refine their ability to read, speak and understand English to a level necessary for succeed if they continue their university education in the United States. If further advice is needed, individualized assistance can be arranged.
Learn by example
While the high school curriculum aims to develop leaders, SMA students have many role models to learn from. As early as May 2020, Dr Guenther tasked Bob Wiegand, Senior Vice President and Director of Studies, to set a timetable for a return to face-to-face classes. Scan for more information! A working group made up of parents, employees and health professionals was formed; specific protocols and procedures were quickly put in place. This included placing X-Plus UVC (ultraviolet) devices in air handlers (have been shown to be 97% to 99% effective in clinical trials in eradicating pathogens and allergens); electrostatically charged atomizers to diffuse a fine mist of disinfectant that would cling to surfaces for an extended period of time; use PPE; and more. The four-step back-to-school plan has been a success. The SMA did not record any cases of COVID-19 among campus staff or students for most of the fall semester. “In fact, 73% of the days we were in session this year were without a single case of COVID-19,” says Wiegand. “Without a doubt, prayer has played the biggest role in our success, whether it is a protective hand against the virus or the wisdom to take the right path.” This is not SMA’s first rodeo to keep students safe. For years, parents like Sarah and Zach have slept peacefully at night knowing their child was in good hands. After all, SMA’s story shows how it thrived through wars and recessions. “Safety is a number one priority at SMA,” they share. “The closed campus, the on-campus agent, and the detailed plan to safely return our children to in-person learning during a pandemic are all things that set our school apart from others.” Returning to campus also means students have the distinctive advantage of being on track with their athletic goals. Here they can continue to be winners, defined by the sportsmanship, integrity and uniqueness of the SMA. On its vast mountain campus, SMA offers several different sports as well as top quality sports facilities. Activities on offer include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, soccer, tennis and track and field. All of this continued under intensified health and safety protocols last fall. “We are very happy with our decision to send our children to SMA,” said parents Lisa and Dean. “The teachers and staff really care about them and their development. The availability of programs such as sports, the Bear Battalion and the award winning band makes their time at SMA even more rewarding. ”