December 7th, 2023  |  Students & Alumni

35 Seconds Changed the Course of a Family’s Life

At a little before 5:00 p.m. on January 12, 2010, a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti. In a little more than half a minute, the tremor—one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded—shook buildings in the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions off their foundations. The quake and following aftershocks left the island in ruins and its inhabitants in crisis—more than 200,000 Haitians were dead, 300,000 more injured, and at least 1.5 million survivors were left homeless and without access to food, water, medical aid, employment or schools in the disaster’s immediate aftermath.

The tiny island nation faced a years-long road to recovery. While the natural disaster altered the circumstances of this young seminary student's life, it did not change the direction. But rebuilding a life would mean starting over again in a new country. Fortunately for Noldy, his seminary’s sister school, located in Atlanta, Georgia, offered a scholarship for him to attend and finish his degree.

For Noldy, America is a land of hope and opportunity, a place to build a happy, flourishing life. It's where the hospitality and generosity of strangers allowed him to finish his education, start a family and pursue his calling into full-time ministry. He also sees it as a place where his son, Kairos, can dream and eventually see those dreams become a reality through hard work and determination.

While working as a full-time minister at Good Samaritan Haitian Alliance Church in Lawrenceville, Noldy and his wife, Gennifer, had heard about Loganville Christian Academy years before Kairos was old enough to attend. However, they knew LCA was what they were looking for—a school that offers an “uncompromising commitment to providing a comprehensive, quality Christian education.” However, as his family's only source of income, Noldy knew the tuition costs might be too much of a financial challenge to overcome to send Kairos to a private Christian school where he would be immersed in both quality academic instruction and faith-based values.

“Being a full-time pastor does not bring a corporate salary,” Noldy laughed. "My wife and I had been praying for a private Christian school for our son. We felt that would be the best environment for him.”

“Our biggest concern when exploring private school options for our son was tuition,” Noldy adds. “It’s expensive: how would we afford this?”

During their interview, an LCA administrator suggested the family consider tuition assistance through Arete Scholars. “I just applied, and to my surprise, it worked out," Noldy says. "Now Kairos is in his second year at Loganville Christian Academy.”

The school’s environment is already paying dividends for Kairos, who is in third grade. “He’s reading beyond his grade level,” Noldy says. “He’s doing very well, and we are very happy.”

Not only is he thriving in the well-rounded, rigorous learning environment, but he’s growing socially and spiritually. He participates in the school's Journey Program, which encourages gifted students and provides academic enrichment opportunities through nurturing and stimulating activities. The program meets the needs of 2nd-5th grade students who demonstrate an extraordinarily high degree of intellectual, academic, creative or artistic abilities.

“He really enjoys the Journey Program,” says Noldy. “He especially loves the STEM program and enjoys working on science projects. We recently built a rocket and were trying to get it off the ground.”

All of this is only possible because of the Arete scholarship. The tuition assistance from Arete has opened the doors of opportunity for Kairos.

“We would not be able to afford the school that we really wanted for Kairos if it were not for the Arete scholarship,” Noldy says. “Without Arete's help, it would be very difficult for our family."

Reflecting on the past several years, Noldy considers the generosity and support from Arete’s partners for families like his as a ministry.

“When you give your finances to help give people a choice in their child’s education, that’s a blessing," says Noldy. "Not only do I want to thank them, but I also want to encourage them and let them know what they are doing is not wasted. They are doing something great that will impact society for the better and continue to make America the good country it is.”

Kairos' future is one filled with promise, and his time at LCA will allow him to grow both in learning and knowledge, in addition to wisdom, virtue, courage and excellence. Because of the Arete scholarship, Kairos has the opportunity to reach his greatest, God-given potential.

When asked about his son's dreams of becoming when he grows up, Noldy laughs, “Like most boys, he wants to be an astronaut. He’s very into space exploration. That’s his dream job.”

“We pray that he will be that great scientist God wants him to be,” Noldy continues. “He can venture into the world and do great things, but he will do that from a Christian perspective, and we can give him that good foundation at Loganville Christian Academy."

"Ultimately, he can be the salt and light God calls us all to be," Noldy adds. "That’s the potential his mother and I see in him.”

The potential to reach for the stars and to touch the heavens.