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No walls, no limits

FCA students use special week to assist in tornado relief

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School is out at Franklin Christian Academy, but not because students are enjoying an early spring break. Students are participating in the school’s Week Without Walls, and one group of students is spending its time helping with tornado relief in Nashville.

Every year, just before spring break, FCA shuts down its classrooms for a week so the students can participate in hands-on learning activities and projects through the school’s Week Without Walls program. Since the school’s establishment in 2004, teachers have spent this week on organized trips, tours and ongoing projects that tie in with the institution’s three pillars: challenging academics, life-giving community and transforming discipleship.

“It’s a chance for kids to get to know each other better in a different setting,” said Stephanie Radbill, assistant dean of faculty at FCA. “We feel like it’s part of their personal, emotional and spiritual growth as well.”

This year, some groups from the school are in Suriname, the United Kingdom and New York to experience life outside Tennessee. Others are staying closer to home, touring local places and learning about forensics, photography, civil rights and more.

One group is at work in East Nashville, helping residents affected by last week’s tornadoes. The students are spending their mornings raking and sweeping up debris from the sidewalks, grass and streets as electricians and roofers work overhead.

“It does feel good to help out,” said Andy, who is on the school’s football team. “Me and a few other people went out to the store, and we bought some stuff … but it feels good to actually do something.”

This group of six student-athletes and Wayne Smith, the athletic director at FCA, had originally planned to go to Barcelona, Spain, but because of the spread of the coronavirus, they canceled their trip.

“Once the storm hit last week, we decided to get involved and come out and do this,” Smith said.

Radbill said she has certainly seen students develop a passion for mission work or a certain job field through efforts this week, but even more, she has seen relationships grow as the students work together.

“Some of it is field-related, some of it is stuff (the kids) want to know about, but like today, the service project wasn’t necessarily about a career they might continue,” Radbill said. “But it’s about a way that they can see how it’s important to give back to your community and to be a servant and reach out.”

For more information about Franklin Christian Academy, visit

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