Grace Baptist Academy on Waldron Road in Kankakee has changed its name to Grace Christian Academy.

"We are at a time now where the name really didn't represent who we are," said Stephen Bull, the school's principal.

School officials changed the name of the 39-year-old, kindergarten through 12th grade academy to better represent the students and faculty made up of multiple Christian denominations, Bull said. The school was named after Grace Baptist Church because it is a ministry of the church — and it will remain a ministry of the church — but it was never really about educating students to become Baptists, Bull said.

"We had people call wondering if you had to be Baptist to go to school here," Bull said.

The academy instead teaches students of all denominations to be disciples for Christ while providing a Christian education, Bull said.

The school's website, letterhead and one school bus already bear the new name. The sign in front of the academy and two buses still need to have the name changed, Bull said. The project has been relatively inexpensive because of donors, Bull said.

The school will be rededicated in the spring as part of the academy's 40-year anniversary celebration. A date has not been set and the planning process is still underway, Bull said.

The rest of the school's campaign to broadcast the name change will involve members getting out into the community and "letting the community know that all are welcome," Bull said.

Grace Christian is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International. It was founded in 1973 as a kindergarten through sixth grade school. A junior high was added in 1975 and high school classes were added two years later.

— Nicole Leonhardt


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