Peletah Academic Center For Excellence: Students Thrive and Achieve Academic Success

by August 15, 2017

Whether based on myth or statistical data, the widely held notion that a student’s prospect for future success can be determined by his or her third grade reading score is disturbing.  This perception labels some students as failures before their ninth birthday.  Frequently, it is a view transferred by some to student groups such as minority students in general and African-American males in particular.

Not willing to accept this perception as an inevitable reality, Pastor Anthony Gibson, Senior Pastor at Peletah Ministries in New Bern, envisioned an academic environment where students could thrive and achieve academic success regardless of ethnicity, zip code, socio-economic condition, or any of the other societal “labels and barriers” used to predict a student’s future success or failure at an early age.

Pastor Anthony recognized the daunting challenges this presented, having lived and overcome them himself.  Against statistical odds, he had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from NC State University and a Master’s Degree in Administration, concentrating in Human Services from Audrey Cohen in New York.  He came to realize God’s redemptive power overrides societal labels and barriers and allows not just spiritual growth but growth in other areas, including academic achievement.

Understanding though public schools strive to meet the needs of students, there are students who yet fall through the proverbial cracks. To provide a safety net environment that population of students needs, Peletah Ministries opened their doors to Peletah Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) on August 21, 2017.

Though a private church-sponsored school for kindergarten through eighth grade, PACE will adhere to a rigorous, student-centered curriculum much aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study where possible.  All faculty members are either certified educators or college graduates with bachelor and/or advanced degrees.

During the spring, members of the PACE faculty and staff were invited guests to attend a two-day training at the world-renowned Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.  Because PACE will be adopting learning strategies used at the Academy, some faculty and staff were able to re-engage with Ron Clark during his July visit to North Carolina.

In addition, PACE has been encouraged by the caliber of opportunities opening to its students by a growing list of community partners.  These will allow students to engage in many real-world learning experiences, while participating in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities from historical re-enactments to community service projects.

In preparation for the opening of PACE, one student attended an education forum in Washington D. C. in late July where she was interviewed by national media and personally met with congressional leaders from across the nation including the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

According to Pastor Dawn Baldwin Gibson, Executive Pastor of Peletah and PACE faculty member, “This was just one of the many opportunities we hope to present our students with on their journey to becoming ethical, healthy, knowledgeable, well-rounded contributors to family, community, society, and the kingdom of God.”

More can be learned about Peletah Academic Center for Excellence at


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