Tuesday night was a big night for a little private academy. Four years after forming, Lincoln Christian Academy held its first ever graduation ceremony for its graduating class — of one.
Derrick Isaacs, 18, of Waynesburg, was the only senior in the school of 36 students. He admitted at times it was a little awkward, but he doesn’t miss anything about Lincoln County High School. Isaacs enrolled in LCA in his sophomore year in 2008, when the academy opened its doors.
Tim and Patricia Isaacs were very proud of their son’s accomplishment. Patricia Isaacs said she really wanted her son to attend the academy, but the decision was left up to him. She said the academy offers more one-on-one learning with the students and the staff spends a lot of time with the kids.
Mike and Tracy Dixon oversee the academy and in the past have not made much noise about it publicly.
“We’ve always been quiet, but we’re at the point where we’re established,” Mike Dixon said. “People need to know what we are, who we are and what we do.”
Classes are held in the Waynesburg Pentecostal Church off of U.S. 27. In accordance with the fire marshal, LCA accepts only up to 49 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Mike Dixon said the school is governed by the Kentucky Non-Public School Commission.
The commission was developed by the Kentucky Board of Education, the Kentucky Department of Education and non-public schools. According to their website, it was “created to address the common concerns of those privately-operated schools that desired to be in voluntary compliance with state standards, and thus become ‘certified’ non-public schools.”
The school operates on the Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE curriculum.
“In this curriculum, the child is allowed to go through school at their own pace. In order to pass, students must achieve an 80 percent on their test scores,” Mike Dixon said. “If they want to speed through it, as long as they meet the academic standards, they can do so.”
Students can advance to the next grade level at the parent’s discretion and students that finish early can then enter the workforce. Asbury University and the University of Kentucky accept the school’s credits, as well as other institutions across the state.
Mike Dixon said he believes his students are held to a higher standard than any school in the county, and the same goes for the school staff.
“Any immoral conduct and they will be fired on the spot. I am very strict and I will stay that way,” Mike Dixon said.
As a Christian Academy, Mike Dixon said that the academy’s purpose is not to push religion or Pentecostalism on the students.
“I do not want to step in the way of any child as they find their own way to God,” he said.
Isaacs thanked his teachers and everyone for their support as he accepted his diploma. Isaacs was presented with a Bible, which Mike Dixon said will guide him in his future endeavors. Isaacs is undecided about his future plans, but wants to go to a vocational school to further his education.
Attending the academy does come with a price tag: It’s $50 to register, $200 for books and $100 per month. Three students are working on a farm in order to raise the necessary funds to continue attending the academy. Mike Dixon said that shows the dedication of his students.