Private education offers Albany students a beneficial and positive alternative to the public school system. Parents often choose private education for an enhanced, well-rounded learning environment or for special offerings such as academics, Bible classes, smaller class sizes, and/or athletics among others that benefit a child. Being previously involved in a private school as both parent and coach, I recognize the need to match an athletic league with the unique offerings inherent to private education.
The GICAA was established to serve the unique needs of private schools, such as the Sherwood Christian Academy, to create a home for all athletes who receive their education outside of the public school system. Our goal is to offer a highly-competitive league that is God-honoring and is accommodating to the individual school or program regardless of size. In order to accomplish this, we established three different divisions. Each division has its own rules manual designed to meet the needs of students receiving a similar type of private education. Within each division, there are different size classifications ensuring all competition is on a level playing field, and state championships are awarded for all classifications within each division.
The GICAA, a member-driven league, provides an innovative approach and unparalleled levels of input from its schools. All three divisions have their own rules committee, comprised of members within the division, which votes and approves all decisions. Our approach has been successful, as more than 95 schools and programs have joined the association. Schools find that being a part of a member-driven league allows them to have a voice in order to align the association with the needs of private education.
Next year, the GICAA is furthering our goal of offering enhanced service tailored to private school needs with the addition of new Academic and Arts programs as well as building a Middle School Sports program for over 40 of our member schools. While the GICAA offers a high level of competition in sports and academics, we will not lose focus on our main purpose; providing an atmosphere that allows young students to grow into responsible adults. Our member schools have joined us in promoting sportsmanship and raising the bar of good and appropriate behavior.
As we start the 2014-15 school year, I am excited to continue building upon the momentum of our first year and help our member schools and their students excel both in life and in competition.
EDITIOR’S NOTE: Todd Hannon is president of the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA).