Nicole Williams has long dreamed of opening a religious school.
She'll see that dream come true Aug. 22 when Faith Christian Academy opens at Plant City United Pentecostal Church, where her husband Raymond is the pastor.
Nicole Williams is the principal at the fledgling academy that seeks to offer education with a dose of religion.
"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Williams, who has taught in public, charter and religious schools for 15 years.
Plant City United Pentecostal was established in December by New Life Tabernacle in the Seffner area.
Williams hopes to have 45 students in kindergarten through fifth grade by the opening of the school year. The school will feature the three "R's" – reading, writing and arithmetic – in a Christian atmosphere and will also offer music, foreign language and perhaps dance.
The staff will include three teachers and a paraprofessional.
Sports may be added next year and the ultimate goal is to offer education through the 12th grade, she said.
The school day will start with prayer, and ministers will give guest talks. Parents with relevant messages are welcome to speak too, Williams said.
The school will be open 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and follow the same calendar as public schools. A bookstore, open during school hours, will offer books and gifts in exchange for donations.
The school is operated with oversight by a board of five members, all with educational backgrounds, Williams said.
While classes don't start for more than a month, Williams is running a summer camp for children 5 to 15. The camp runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through July 13, and offers games, prayer time and music.
The Williams' daughter, Neriah, pitched in to help on a recent camp day. The 7-year-old led the singing, later confiding she was "nervous at first." But she seemed just fine as she belted out a couple of songs about her love for Jesus.
For information about the school or summer camp, call Williams at (813) 473-2090 or go to www.fcapc.com.