As many GCA students have learned: history is “His Story”, the story of God in the events of mankind. Therefore, to visit the origins of Grace Christian Academy, we must first understand how God’s story unfolded in the life and heart of our Founder and Supervisor, Mrs. Chan-Yeo Peck Leng.
Mrs. Chan-Yeo is a Singaporean who has been living in Hong Kong for more than 30 years. After accepting Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life in 1998, she experienced true joy and peace. When her sons were born, it was her greatest desire for them to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and that they would walk in the Truth (3 John 1:4). Therefore, she trained them up the Biblical way so that when they grow old, their hearts would not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
In 2003, when Mrs. Chan-Yeo felt God led her to homeschool her sons, although she was fearful and reluctant as it was a huge responsibility to be in charge of her sons’ education, she chose to obey this Call out of love for the Lord. With God’s guidance, Mrs. Chan-Yeo began to teach her elder son using the Bible-based, character-based curriculum called the Accelerated Christian Education. Her husband was initially against the idea of homeschooling as it was not the norm, but very soon supported her as he saw their elder son bearing fruit in his character.
In the process of bringing up her children, some like-minded parents came to seek advice from Mrs. Chan-Yeo on parenting and child-rearing. When she shared with them and when they applied her teaching and experience on a consistent basis, they saw results – good character traits growing in their children! She did not know at the time, but this was how God had prepared her to help even more families by starting a school. Starting a school was the last thing she had expected God to ask of her, not that she was opposed to it, but it has always been her passion to be a full-time mother to groom Christ-like character traits and good values into her sons. However, once again, she willed herself to submit to His Call in 2009, and proceeded with a strenuous year of preparation, which included intensive research on education and administration, and numerous correspondences with the Education Bureau to set up the school. The result is the birth of Grace Christian Academy (formerly known as Almitas Academy), a private, not-for-profit, Christian school in January 2011.
Going back a little, when Mrs. Chan-Yeo was managing her family business before she was married, both in her professional and personal life journeys, she had come to realize that academics alone would not make a person stand out. Instead, she experienced and witnessed that character determines success. When these qualities are built into an individual’s life, they determine his/her responses, regardless of the circumstances. When a person has a well-developed character, he/she is able to come out of the storms of life better and stronger. During challenging times in his/her life, he/she would be able to have the self-discipline to make the right decision and to choose to do right even when he/she does not desire to, and Mrs. Chan-Yeo believes this is what makes a person stand out. Because she believes character building is extremely important, at GCA, she incorporated the training of character building into every area of the teaching and not just regard it as a subject by itself.
In 2012, Mrs. Chan-Yeo felt that God’s clouds were moving her in another direction in worshipping Him, with much prayer in seeking His guidance, the conviction became stronger for her to leave her home church of 14 years. Although she had a strong bond with her home church, she surrendered to the Lord with trust and obedience, knowing that His plan is higher than hers. It was in this new season that she was enlightened by the Gospel of Grace. Her mind was renewed that through the New Covenant, the resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead lies within those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior (Romans 8:11). By God’s grace through faith, believers can claim this power and live life victoriously. Thus, on January 1, 2013, when the Academy had successfully obtained its registration as a non-profit organization, Mrs. Chan-Yeo took the opportunity to change the English name to Grace Christian Academy.
Five years later, Mrs. Chan-Yeo felt that God was leading her to help the school grow by applying for a Secondary license. With her past few years of partnering with God to administer the Academy, she knew that God always has the best plan; thus, she submitted to the Lord with humility. She worked diligently with leading her team to prepare the necessary documents to share the Academy’s unique individualized education and philosophy with the officers of the Education Bureau. In 2018, Mrs. Chan-Yeo was thankful that God blessed GCA with the license to operate Secondary 1 to 3!
In January 2020, although the world was struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic; Mrs. Chan-Yeo continued to keep her focus on God with confidence, unaffected by the negativity, and faithfully facilitated the learning of the students, whether through remote or virtual learning during the school suspension by the Education Bureau, or half-day face-to-face classes when the Education Bureau relaxed the precautionary measures. The Academy truly experienced God’s promises as “what the enemy meant for evil, God will turn it unto good” (Genesis 50:20). All the teachers, students and their families were not only kept healthy and safe from the pandemic, but many students even thrived in their academics, character development, and life skills.
In June that year, Mrs. Chan-Yeo led her team to apply for operating Secondary 4 to 6 with conviction from God. It was a meticulous journey since the requirements for Senior Secondary were significantly more demanding than Junior Secondary. Nevertheless, with determination and fervent prayer, Mrs. Chan-Yeo and her team persevered with the application. At the end of December 2020, Mrs. Chan-Yeo received a telephone call from the Education Bureau congratulating her that Grace Christian Academy had attained the license to operate Secondary 4 to Secondary 6! What a precious Christmas present from the Lord during such a challenging time! God is truly and amazingly gracious!
As she reflected on the journey she walked by faith in the last 10 years, Mrs. Chan-Yeo realized that if she had not trusted and obeyed God, and submitted to homeschooling her sons and training them up in His way, she would not be able to fulfill God’s Call to start and supervise Grace Christian Academy His way and to touch and transform the lives of many students and their families. The loving God continued to equip her as He unveiled this meaningful mission to her. She was humbled to learn the important lesson that by faithfully handling small matters, one is more prepared when God calls one to bigger matters in His time (Luke 16:10a).
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.
Luke 16:10a (KJV)
We are grateful to Him for the precious opportunity to serve the students, and to bless them with the tailor-made education GCA designed: a curriculum that is individualized, Bible-based and character-based, to equip them for a life of abundance, hope, joy, and most importantly, one that possesses an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father who loves them and has a perfect plan for them to live out a fruitful and purposeful life.