Chesapeake private school expanding in China

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A small Christian school is taking a big leap of faith by expanding overseas.

The Veritas Christian Academy is one of the latest American schools to take their curriculum to China. In an increasingly global and mobile world, leaders at the school say they are dedicated to giving their students access to the world.

“A great school is one that says, ‘let me connect with what’s going on in the world,’ because if you don’t connect you get stale and you fall back,” said Maria Elgut, who founded the school with her husband and currently serves as grammar school director.

Elgut says companies in China started approaching them last year after BestSchools.org named Veritas in the ‘Top 50 U.S. Christian Schools.’

The academy opened their first school in Beijing this year with 12 students.

“A small school in Chesapeake is now global. Our students are now part of a worldwide movement instead of just a small bubble in this small city in southeast Virginia,” said Sean Elgut, founder and headmaster.

Photos: Chinese students visit Veritas Academy

Mr. Elgut says he plans to open at least two more schools, and add more than 100 students in China next year, after the successful first year.

School leaders say the Chinese students benefit from a less regimented and more democratic classroom environment. They also get to receive an American education before they apply to American colleges and universities.

Veritas Christian Academy also benefits financially by receiving a portion of each Chinese student’s tuition.

As for the school’s 150-plus students in Hampton Roads, they too benefit from getting the opportunity to travel to China and learn about a different culture.

“This whole international experience is giving them a very wide angle picture of life so they are not so myopic and closed and unaware to what’s happening in other parts of the world,” said Mark Keating, director of the upper school.

The Elguts say there’s been interest from other countries like Vietnam and Nigeria. They say they are interested in exploring the possibility of adding schools there as well.

The school is currently looking to fill 7-8 teaching positions between their campuses in Hampton Roads and China. They are looking for 3-4 teachers to travel abroad who focus in high school level math, Chinese, English and history.

Veritas Christian Academy is hosting an open house April 10 from 3-6 p.m. Teachers and students are welcome.

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