Who attends NCTA?
NCTA is a K-12 boarding school, a day school, and an international school, all in one. The student body is composed of children from three distinct groups:
- Families who want a private, Christian education for their kids
- International students who need the opportunities that NCTA offers
- Underprivileged families with students who are highly-motivated to reach their academic goals
How did NCTA begin?
Over 40 years ago, Gloria and Ed Shipman and their two teenage sons, Chuck and Todd, took some runaway girls into their home, setting in motion what has become one of the finest boarding, day, and international schools in the United States.
Initially, the Shipman family donated a 266-acre farm to the non-profit corporation. An additional 250 acres were added a few years later, bringing the current campus to more than 500 acres. The Academy opened officially in 1975 with a handful of students, little money, and big dreams of building a quality residential school.
Traditional boarding schools have existed for many years – primarily for wealthy East Coast families – but a residential school that also provided the same opportunities for motivated, underprivileged students was a rarity. From meager beginnings, NCTA has been transformed, over more than four decades, into a premier boarding and day school. The students in its graduating classes, with a few exceptions for those who preferred a military career, have attended many top colleges and universities across the nation.
The NCTA dream has been shared by countless individuals, corporations, and foundations – and it is still unfolding and growing, even today.
Is “character” development important at NCTA?
At NCTA, character development is vital and taught in numerous ways. First, character is strengthened through the Academy’s overarching mission to instill a Christian Worldview. NCTA strives to equip students to see the world, and all that is in it, through the lens of God’s Word. This philosophy allows students to develop a truly Biblical world view – understanding that there is no area of life that falls outside the purview of Christian ethics or morals.
Character is also developed through the Academy’s weekly chapel services. Mid-week chapel at NCTA provides each student with an opportunity to sing songs that reflect the Christian faith and hear inspiring messages from regional speakers and community leaders. Through these chapel services, students can observe and be affected positively by various Christian leaders.
NCTA strongly believes that serving the community is an integral component of spiritual development in children. James, Chapter 2, says that the test of true faith is manifest in deeds. God’s Word makes it very clear that, to walk the path of spiritual growth to maturity, worship must include service. The primary goal of the NCTA Community Service Program is to help students grow in their understanding of God’s call on their lives. This is achieved by:
- Serving the community through ministering in schools, churches, and non-profit agencies
- Increasing student civic-mindedness and learning the basics of leadership and democracy
- Appreciating the diversity of people
- Increasing awareness of one’s skills, gifts, talents, and weaknesses
- Developing critical thinking and time management
Finally, character is instilled into the lives of students through comprehensive Bible classes.
Where is NCTA located?
One of the most distinctive attributes of North Central Texas Academy is its location: a 500-acre working farm and campus. Situated south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex near Granbury, Texas, the Academy is within easy driving distance of both cities.
For those students who desire it, there is the opportunity to be involved in the FFA/4-H program. They show their animals – steers, heifers, pigs, goats, and sheep – in all of the major livestock shows throughout Texas, including Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, and the State Fair in Dallas. Also roaming the campus, in fenced areas, are llamas, alpacas, and buffalo. Also included in the curriculum is a full equestrian program with an indoor riding arena. The farm location also allows for a greenhouse, garden area, and orchard. The rural, out-of-doors environment is wonderful for students, many of whom are from the inner city. Here, they have 500 pastoral acres in which to stretch their legs.
Does NCTA offer an Athletic Program?
Physical education at North Central Texas Academy focuses on teaching students how to become physically fit while instilling in them a love for fitness and exercise. Areas of emphasis include motor development, fundamental movements, cooperative activities, games, relays, and team and individual sports.
Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade programs focus on motor development and fundamental movements. The Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade programs focus on aspects of team and individual sports, such as displaying good sportsmanship and working together.
Health is a very important subject at NCTA. With the obesity rate in children rising, it is very important for students to develop healthy habits. Students learn about healthy food, safety, anatomy, and the importance of exercise.
Every student is encouraged to participate in competitive sports, because character developed from this experience lasts a lifetime. Students who choose not to participate in competitive sports still receive rigorous daily exercise and take part in recreational sport activities. These students learn the basics of weightlifting and conditioning, fundamentals of individual and team sports, and how nutrition affects performance.
The NCTA athletic program has a rich tradition in multiple sports and has been very successful, winning dozens of athletic State Championships.
Do students participate in the Performing Arts?
North Central Texas Academy is dedicated to helping every student develop academically, and the Arts are an important part of this experience. From K-12, students are encouraged to express themselves through many artistic avenues, including musical instruments, choir, music appreciation, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and musical theater. This training not only broadens the horizons of each student; it fully prepares those who are interested in pursuing the Arts further through higher education.
What is the Boarding Program like?
NCTA has attractive, home-like residences scattered across rolling acreage overlooking the valley. Up to eight boys or girls and their Resident Parents live in each home. The campus is open, and students walk or ride their bicycles to various areas, from the Chapel to the animal barns.
One of the secrets to the success of the boarding student program is the consistent daily routine. The students awake at the same time each school day. After breakfast in their homes, they attend school until approximately 3:30 p.m. After-school activities include sports practices, music practices, and livestock care for FFA/4H students. Lunch and the evening meal are served in the campus Dining Center. After dinner, there are mandatory study times and various programs and activities. Bedtime during the week depends on the age of the students.
Each student is assigned daily chores that contribute to the health and welfare of the group. Television, music, and internet time are limited and monitored for appropriate content. In each residence of eight boys or girls, students are selected according to their age. The students respond to their fellow residents rather like brothers and sisters in a large family. Strong friendships develop.
Cross-cultural relationships are especially rich and rewarding. Off -campus activities, particularly on weekends, include movies, shopping, musical presentations, sporting events, parks, and cultural events. There are regularly scheduled family visits, and students may leave the campus with their families. Families often attend Chapel with their children, where visitors are always welcome. In addition, there are regularly scheduled holidays.
Does “faith” play a part at NCTA?
North Central Texas Academy is interdenominational and works with children of all faiths – or, children with no religious background at all. The program is undergirded by very clear moral and spiritual foundations. Christian services are held each Sunday morning in the West Chapel, which graces a hillside overlooking the campus.
Parents and visitors are invited and encouraged to attend with their children. Sunday evening activities include contemporary music, Bible studies, and visiting speakers. These activities are coordinated by the campus Youth Minister.
There are also weekly programs centered on relevant topics for teens and fellowship. Frequently, inspirational speakers and musicians come to the campus to share their experiences with the students in the Chapel or at the Academy’s Fine Arts Center. The Academy wants students to have a moral and spiritual compass inside their hearts, to love God and their fellow man, and to continue practicing their faith after they leave.
Are Scholarships available?
What distinguishes North Central Texas Academy from almost all other boarding schools is the dedication to raise scholarship funding for every boarding student who has a ﬁnancial need. This hard work, and caring in the community, make it possible to oﬀer the same quality education to many students who would never be given this opportunity to make the most of their lives.
Traditionally, for most of the Academy’s existence, scholarship funds for underprivileged students have come from the private sector: individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Academy also seeks out underserved students with the same abilities, much like a university, and provides scholarships in order that these highly-motivated boys and girls receive opportunities to learn, commit, grow, and eventually assume positions of responsibility and leadership in society.
What are the future plans for NCTA?
The Shipman family vision, born over 40 years ago, is far from complete. The ultimate goal is to enroll 250 students each semester. That means, in addition to raising sufficient funds for more student residences, a larger chapel and auditorium, expanded athletic facilities, and more, there must be an Endowment in place to provide a portion of the annual operating budget for the expanded campus.
Since part of the Academy’s mission is to provide sufficient scholarships for boarding and education, based on student need, raising funds will always be a challenge.
A permanent endowment fund is already in place. There are separate funds within the endowment for athletics, the agricultural program, music, ministries, and others. This means that a donor wishing to make a gift to the permanent endowment may designate where those funds will be used. Gifts to the permanent endowment fund remain in the fund indefinitely; only a portion of the earned, annual interest from the endowment is applied to the operating budget.
The goal is to continue building the finest boarding, day, and international school of its kind in America.
“We continue to improve our program,” says Chuck Shipman, COO. “We are providing social, cultural, and academic components that are otherwise unavailable to many boys and girls.”
“In the process of growth and expansion,” says Todd Shipman, President/CFO, “we must continue to find new donors who will catch our vision. We will need a lot of help if we are to continue to assist and educate the many students who come to our door looking for the help they need to grow, study, and impact their world for good.”