The Mercer family found the key to academic success with GCA

Devin Negrete, WSAV 

PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. – One of those kids is a Flight Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol while three of them have placed first in the 4H club.

Those are just some of the many perks they find of attending one online Georgia school.

“This program gives us the opportunity for each of them to really explore their own interests,” Rachael Mercer, the mother of four, said.

All of Mercer’s kids have been enrolled in Georgia Cyber Academy since 2013. It’s an online K-12 program and Georgia’s largest school funded by the state.

“We can get ahead in things,” Melinda Kaye Mercer, the 9-year-old 3rd grader, said. “We can work ahead and go field trips and stuff like that.”

The Mercer family chose this path after striking out with public schools.

“They were all already smart,” Rachael said. “They just maybe didn’t fit right into the maybe measurable standards in the schools that they were in.”

With the online academy they’ve been able to exceed grade levels.

“With the Georgia Cyber Academy [Nathan] is in the advanced learner program now and in fact this year he took 6th grade English while he was still in 5th grade, ” Rachael said

Her other son, Payton, is 15 and taking junior and college level classes. With the online flexibility he’s able to do more outside of the classroom.

“Because of that I have more time that I can study and with my job as Aerospace NCO I can also research more,” Payton said. “We do drilling. We have different ranking systems. I’m a cadet senior master sergeant in our local squadron in Hilton Head.”

It also allows more time for more hands on learning, like a field trip to Fort Pulaski.

“We got to see a cannon firing and when I’m old enough I might get to work like volunteer there and actually get to help fire the cannon,” Nathan said.

“There are so many extracurricular things they can be involved in,” Rachel said. “They’re very active at our church, 4H, volunteering other places where they’re meetin adults and children.”

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