Brother and sister, Kristina and Ryan Bradford are two of the first students to ever attend NCA, a decision that still impacts their lives today. T... read more...
Former NCA basketball champion, Chris James, Business Development Director at LaTrelle's Management Corporation, is now a major player in the... read more...
Basketball captain, school playwright, and recent graduate, Brian Goll is a man of many talents, thanks to the encouragement he received to explore hi... read more...
Brother and sister, Kristina and Ryan Bradford are two of the first students to ever attend NCA, a decision that still impacts their lives today.
Twenty years ago, Sheila Bradford and her husband were living in Kingwood and were looking for a Christian alternative to public schools for their two children, Ryan and Kristina. Unbeknownst to them, they weren’t the only ones new to the community, a pastor and small group of believers had just founded a private Christian prep school in Kingwood — Northeast Christian Academy (NCA).
“Our kids were strong academically, and although Kingwood had good public schools, both of them were at that critical middle school age, where you want them to know that who you are is as important as what you know. And while we wanted a challenging academic environment for them that would prepare them for college, we also wanted them to be in a place that instilled solid Christian values and morals,” Bradford said.
Bradford and her husband looked at several private schools in the area, and even drove into Houston in their search for the right Christian school. Then a friend told them about NCA.
“I am so glad God led us to NCA. We were one of the first families to send their kids to this ‘new’ upstart of a school, and it has been such a blessing, from the spiritual influence and small class sizes, to the close personal relationships the kids developed with teachers and students. It was definitely the right place at the right time,” Bradford said.
When Ryan and Kristina began school at NCA, it was only a middle school with a vision for adding a high school. Ryan was in seventh grade and Kristina was in sixth, but both were able to graduate from NCA because the school enjoyed steady growth, achieving its high school aspirations by adding a new grade each year.
“I encountered so many people who questioned why we would send our kids to such a small school, when we had access to good public schools, but I am so glad we did. We wanted the whole package and we got it. My husband and I were so fortunate to have a school and church that were as committed as we were to making our children strong in mind, body and spirit,” Bradford said.
After graduating from NCA, Ryan went to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he received a B.A. in English. Today, Ryan is a top salesperson for Republic National Distributing Company in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Mary Elizabeth, and their five-year-old daughter, Anna.
After graduating as valedictorian of her class, Kristina earned a B.A. in International Studies and French from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a Master’s of Science in Ethics and Public Policy from Suffolk University. Kristina currently works as executive assistant and program director to Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute (RI) of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard. She is involved in researching a cure for AIDS, and travels to South Africa every year to see first-hand how the work she is doing at RI is impacting lives.
“NCA really fed into the people our children have become, and today we are reaping the benefits and blessings of two children who were raised in this wonderful and academically challenging Christian environment. Both of my kids had different styles of learning and yet both received exactly what they needed to learn. The teachers maintain an amazing balance and are so involved in the kids’ lives, and that care continues long after they graduate,” Bradford said.
This year, Bradford has enjoyed helping NCA plan its 20-Year Anniversary Celebration to honor all past and present students and teachers.
“The 20-Year Celebration is going to be a blast and I can’t wait to see all the kids come back and catch up with each other and their teachers. My wish for the school on its 20-year anniversary is for God’s will to be done and continued blessings,” said Bradford.
Former NCA basketball champion, Chris James, Business Development Director at LaTrelle's Management Corporation, is now a major player in the development of airport restaurants, thanks to teamwork and leadership skills he honed at NCA.
Eleven years ago, Chris James transferred as a sophomore from a public school to Northeast Christian Academy (NCA), and from a class of hundreds to a class of around 20 students.
"It was quite a culture shock to go from an enviornment with almost no moral code to one in which faith and values influence everything you do, but I'm so grateful for my time at NCA. Yes, it was a strict and highly structured academic atmosphere, but it was also incredibly fun. Because our class size was small, I got to know everyone well, and build close friendships with people I'm still close to today - more than ten years later," James said.
A gifted athlete, James was first drawn to NCA because of its strong athletic program. His senior year, he enjoyed the historic distinction of being a member of the first NCA basketball team to win the state championship, which was played at Reed Arena, the home of Texas A & M's basketball teams.
"Winning the state championship is one of my fondest memories at NCA. Coach Richard Dardenne is a great man and a phenomenal coach, and I am a better person for having known him. NCA has a great athletic tradition that continues to this day. They love to develop athletes and have gone on to win numerous state championships in baseball, swimming and basketball," said James.
A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, James maintains that his NCA education helped prepare him to be successful in college, career and life.
"As a faith-based school, NCA instills integrity into everthing students do and that sense of doing the right thing has been a guide for all of my life's decisions, from personal to professional. You learn so much about living out your faith at NCA and how your relationship with Christ impacts how you approach everything, from starting your day, to playing basketball, to studying, working, and caring for friends and family," James shared.
These days, James keeps up with friends and faculty from his NCA days via Facebook and class get-togethers over the holidays. As plans continue to develop for an NCA 20-Year Annivesary Party, James hopes to see all of his old classmates and teachers there.
"I want to congratulate NCA on their 20-year anniversary! It's a big accomplishment and I wish them continued athletic and academic success, and of course, more state championships," James said.
Basketball captain, school playwright, and recent graduate, Brian Goll is a man of many talents, thanks to the encouragement he received to explore his interests while at NCA.
Brian Goll has been a student at NCA since first grade. Over the years, he has experienced first-hand the growth of the school’s arts, athletic and academic programs.
“Without question, I know that the people at NCA are what make it the academic powerhouse it is today. A school is only as good as its leadership and students, and NCA offers top caliber people in both categories.”
While at NCA, Goll was encouraged by his teachers to pursue both his arts and athletic talents, which resulted in his writing three full-length plays that were put on by the NCA theater department. At the same time, he also served as the captain of the basketball team, playing a critical role in leading team members to numerous wins.
“It takes a special group of teachers to inspire you every day. I was blessed to have been taught by Mrs. Campbell, Dr. Thompson, and Mr. Waggenspack. I owe each one of them a tremendous amount and sincerely hope to make them proud in the future.”
Goll was first encouraged to write the school play during his junior year by Mrs. Campbell, who serves as NCA’s Junior and Senior English teacher, as well as the Theater Arts instructor.
“My involvement in writing plays is a direct result of the passion Mrs. Campbell brought to each class period. She has a gift for making you believe in yourself. I think people were not only surprised to discover that I had written our school play, but even more surprised by how well it turned out. However, I owe all of the success to Mrs. Campbell and the phenomenal cast and crew, who brought my dreams to life.”
After the success of his first play, Marriage…Enough Said, Goll wrote two more plays, Christmas…It Never Ends and The Next Step is the Question. The latter play was co-written with his best friend and fellow NCA student, Noah White. In addition to deepening his love for writing, Goll’s plays provided acting roles for 48 of his peers. Below is a brief synopsis of each play:
Marriage…Enough Said — A dramedy exploring the challenges involved in maintaining marriages and relationships
Christmas…It Never Ends – A modern retelling of Charles Dickens classic story, A Christmas Carol
The Next Step is the Question — High school seniors examine their hopes and fears as they face an uncertain future
Goll’s accomplishments as a writer, director and producer are remarkable for any upper school student. However, Goll was never just any student; he was also the Captain of the NCA men’s varsity basketball team, a role that he had prepared for since kindergarten when his father (and first coach) put a ball in his hands.
“Being in a leadership position requires humbleness yet aggression, which is a fine line to walk. Learning to manage time well is essential to performing well. When it was time for theatre rehearsal that was my sole focus. Likewise, when it was time for basketball practices or games, I was there and always aware that I was representing my school and fellow players.”
Like any player, Goll had a drive to win, but as a leader, he also kept his eye on the big picture.
“My role as captain of the basketball team was to be there for my coaches, my teammates, and my school. In every game, we represented NCA, and that should never be taken lightly. At the end of the day basketball is a game, not a lifestyle. It’s the lessons you learn along the journey of playing the sport that have the biggest impact on your life. Winning a basketball game is great, but what’s even greater is to see the character of your team grow and mature, and our team certainly did.”
Goll’s love of theater and basketball has led to many comparisons to Troy Bolton, the Disney High School Musical character made famous by Zac Efron. However, Goll humorously rebuts such praise by declaring he cannot sing. He then focuses on the accomplishments of fellow teammates.
“What I’m most proud of are the guys I had the opportunity to play alongside. Anytime you see a young player come into a program and you witness his continual improvement, you begin to understand the purpose of your role and how important it is to lead by example.”
Awarded the Baker Duncan Theatre Scholarship from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Goll will begin his freshmen year of college in August of 2013. Here, he plans to play basketball recreationally while he continues pursuing his passion for writing. Not yet 20 years old, Goll sees NCA’s impending anniversary as a tremendous accomplishment.
“NCA has stood the test of time and continues to excel as one of the top classical schools in the Houston area. I hope NCA will always be a place where people strive for the best, teachers have a passion for what they do, and the students earnestly seek knowledge.”
As for where Goll sees himself in 20 years, there are many options, but one thing is certain, the writing talents and faith he cultivated at NCA will be involved.
“In the future, I hope to be a playwright or screenwriter. I’d also love to teach writing. We’ll see what God has in store for me.”