On June 19, Pantego Christian Academy will honor the Class of 2020 with a graduation ceremony celebrating 43 outstanding, unique students – who, despite facing trying circumstances that curtailed their time at the school, managed mutually to personify the values represented by the school.
“The Class of 2020 is collectively a group of hard-working, God-honoring young men and women that have shown strong faith, humility, perseverance and positivity during this time of adversity,” says Carrie Weems, PCA parent of two (one is graduating; the other will be a sophomore). “They continue to focus on the amazing memories they made at PCA and take these cherished memories with them as they look forward to their bright futures.”
They also earned $3.2 million in merit scholarships – and the amount is still growing, says Patty Kulpa, PCA Director of College & Academic Advising.
This year’s graduating class is extremely diverse. It features artists going to prestigious art schools, a foreign exchange student going to culinary school, athletes playing D1 football and college baseball, civil engineering students, students pursuing the medical fields to practice medicine or nursing, as well as students who will major in film directing. About a third of the members of the graduating class will attend college out of state.
“These seniors’ academic strengths, leadership abilities, theatrical talents, musical talents, athletic abilities, spiritual maturity and artistic talents are all what make this class special,” Patty Kulpa says. “There is so much contagious spirit in this group of kids! They ran the all-school overnight retreat that was one of the best in ages! The Class of 2020 has exemplified loving camaraderie amongst their peers, teachers and families. They have been amazing leaders for the younger students of Pantego Christian Academy. Our school seeks each student’s God-given fruits and uses them to grow God’s kingdom. This is what PCA is all about!”
As the members of this class move on, their PCA experience has prepared them for new challenges at institutions of higher learning such as Savannah College of Arts and Design in Georgia, Loyola Marymount University in California, Belmont University in Tennessee, the University of Alabama, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Abilene Christian University, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas Christian University and Dallas Baptist University. One soon-to-be former student will partake in World Race, an 11-month, world-wide mission trip.
“They are a small class but mighty!” Patty Kulpa says. “They give of their talent in their churches and communities. Their class mission trips to Mississippi, New Orleans and Brownsville had them helping impoverished areas with a smile and enthusiasm. They lead worship services at school and in their churches musically and in small and large groups.”
In essence, they personify the philosophy that has been at the heart of a Pantego Christian Academy education for more than half a century. Serving students from 18 months through high school, PCA administrators see the education of each child as a partnership among the school, parents and the church.
“No one slips through the cracks; all students are met where they are and brought to where they’d like to be, or where we know they can be,” Dr. Kathy Ferrell, Head of School, says.
To that end, the school focuses on Christian Education, with Biblical integration in all subjects, thus honing the mind, body and soul of every student who sets foot in a classroom. Because of the comprehensive nature of the PCA experience, students are well prepared for college – or wherever the next step leads them.
Prospective families should know that PCA is about being “As One” in the community and among its families. PCA’s strong belief in growing together in Christ, showing love to all, supporting those in need and celebrating successes is what makes the school a comfortable, peaceful, and incredible place to learn and grow.
While she is currently Head of School, Dr. Ferrell has served in many capacities since coming to PCA in 2011, notably as Learning Differences Coordinator, Middle School Principal and Elementary Principal.
The native Texan grew up in Fort Worth. She received a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University in 1992, a Master of Education from the University of North Texas in 1999, and a Doctor of Education from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2015.
In 2011, she joined the faculty at the school at which her oldest daughter attended. She was hired at Pantego Christian Academy to start the Learning Lab, a one-of-a-kind program in the private school realm that provides additional support for students with learning differences. Her success in that position spawned the subsequent administrative advances. She was named Interim Head of School in August 2019, and in December 2019, she was named Pantego Christian Academy’s Head of School.
Since assuming that position, she has initiated a program for older elementary students to mentor younger students (Panther Pals). She has started a ladies event (Rooted) to encourage women and strengthen their relationships, and is establishing a scholarship fund to help support children who have lost a parent.
Dr. Ferrell has been married to Shane Ferrell, an Arlington business owner, for 25 years, and they have three children. Their oldest daughter, Blair, graduated from Texas A&M University last month with a degree in Landscape Architecture. Caroline is a full-time nursing student at the University of Texas at Arlington, and Cooper is an incoming senior at Pantego Christian Academy.
Pantego Christian proudly serves more than 550 students, who partake in a unique curriculum that focuses on the aforementioned partnership among the school, parents and the church. Classes each student takes in order to graduate include Bible, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Fine Arts, Physical Education and Electives. Since 1993, the school has produced 11 National Merit Finalists, 24 National Merit Commended, two National Achievement Scholars and three National Hispanic Recognition Scholars.
In addition to the academic regimen, PCA students can participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, from fine arts to athletics, as well as service organizations designed to help them grow and demonstrate their faith. Regardless of the endeavor, everything that takes place at Pantego Christian Academy reinforces the Christian values on which the school was founded. In turn, teachers and students grow together through their faith over time.
The leadership at Pantego Christian Academy takes pride in the school’s diversity, its affordability (notably in the Early Childhood Academy for ages 18 months to PreK) and its ability to maximize the educational experience for all its students and their parents.
To assist with financing, PCA provides tuition assistance to help families defray the cost of a quality Christian school education.
“We are a family,” Dr. Ferrell says. “Teachers have one-on-one relationships with the students. Our families support and love one another. We experience loss and success together. When life happens, PCA is there for one another and the community.”
For more: pantego.com.