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The First Baptist Academy Honors Program exists to challenge high-achieving students to pursue and achieve advanced levels of scholarship, mission engagement, and Christ-centered leadership.


The First Baptist Academy Honors Program is a rigorous course study track for 9th-12th grade students who are more academically prepared and ready to be challenged at a level that God has prepared them for. Unlike other honors programs that focus solely on academics, the FBA Honors Program encourages well-rounded development, concentrating on eight essential elements:

DEPTH - Honors classes are about quality, not quantity. Faculty challenge students to go deeper into course content, and do so in ways that engage their higher-level thinking skills.

RIGOR - Honors classes use high-impact learning approaches that require students to come to class well prepared and ready to engage.

HONORS STUDENT - Honors students embrace challenges, holding high standards for themselves and seeking to edify their peers.

HONORS FACULTY - The honors faculty is committed to creating an engaging learning experience that fosters a life-long desire for exploration, innovation, and application.

INTERDISCIPLINARY - Honors classes approach academic disciplines with a biblical worldview.

DIGITAL LEARNING - Students learn to navigate online social tools and research databases, discriminating between reliable sources of information and those that represent opinion, commentary, and/or false doctrine.

MINISTRY EMPHASIS - Honors students understand that they have both the responsibility and the opportunity to glorify God among their fellow students and in the community by engaging in activities that serve to bring Christ to others.


“Honors Academy has allowed me to have a learning experience that matches my willingness and ability to learn. It keeps me engaged and ready for a healthy challenge!”  

- Serah Kirk, Class of 2022

The purpose of the Honors Program is:

  • To challenge high-achieving students in the classroom so that they are better prepared for post-secondary challenges.
  • To retain students attending FBA who desire the challenges of accelerated programs.
  • To attract students to FBA who are searching for high-quality educational opportunities.
  • To provide advanced academic curriculum studies and enrichment opportunities for existing upper school students.
  • To offer these academic opportunities in an environment that views all learning through a Christ-centered approach.
  • To teach students how to engage in Classical Model Learning Approaches using Biblical foundations to prepare them to become strong disciples in a secular world.

To be accepted into the Honors Program if currently enrolled at First Baptist Academy:

  • A student must be a rising 9th grade student.
  • Must be invited by the Honors Program Selection Committee.
  • Must fill out the application and sign the Covenant Agreement form.
  • Must agree to be enrolled in at least three Honors level classes for the Freshman year (with math being the exception).

To be considered for the Honors Academy Honors Program if transferring from another school:

  • A student must be a rising 9th grade student or enrolled in Honors classes at previous school.
  • Must have demonstrated academic preparation to succeed in the Honors Program by:
    • Providing transcripts from previous school.
    • Providing standardized test scores from previous year.
  • Must fill out the application and sign the Covenant Agreement form, including the writing sample.
  • Must complete an interview with an Honors Program Committee member.

To be considered for participating in Honors Academy programs as an upper classman:

  • A student must be invited by a member of the Honors Program Committee.
  • Commit to fulfill Honors Program requirements by signing the Covenant Agreement.

All students who apply and seek consideration to join the Honors Program must meet the following guidelines before admittance:

  • Possess a B (3.0) or higher average, with no more than one C.
  • Have standardized test scores reflecting above a 50% or higher in the Math and English sections of a PSAT, ACT Aspire, ACT, or SAT, or a ranking of “exceeding expectations” or “proficient but growing.” *Students who do not meet minimum requirements on standardized tests may qualify for acceptance on a case-by-case basis based on teacher recommendation and commitment agreement.
  • Have notable ability to excel in the Honors Program which is manifested in a strong work ethic and academic performance.
  • Produce three recommendations from a non-family adult leader (at least one teacher).
  • Be without reproach, having no documented record of discipline issues requiring action beyond classroom discipline within the past year.
  • Possess a solid record of attendance without excessive tardies/absences (even if excused) to school and/or class.
  • Be well-respected and a peacemaker among peers.
  • Must be a professing believer in Jesus Christ with visible evidence of having a relationship with Him (a covenant agreement to the Statement of Faith is a prerequisite).
  • Must complete an effective essay explaining how his/her participation in the Honors Program would be advantageous for the program and First Baptist Academy. Rubric for evaluation will be provided.
  • Must pledge/sign an intent to commit to serve a minimum number of hours in discipleship and mission service.
  • Must pledge/sign an intent to attend regular meetings and enrichment opportunities provided in school and outside of school.

Students who participate in the Honors Program can expect to see the following benefits upon completion of their senior year:

  • Students who are planning to attend post-secondary institutions will be more prepared for the rigorous studies and pace that will be expected of them in the future.
  • Students and teachers will work together in the classroom to foster exploration, collaboration, and innovation – all skills necessary to be successful in college and careers.
  • Students will receive weighted GPAs for Honors and AP courses. Honors courses will be ranked using a 4.5 weighted scale, and AP classes will be ranked using a 5.0 scale, if the AP exam is taken (ranking will be on a 4.5 scale if a student chooses not to take the culminating exam). The exam will require an extra personal cost to take.
  • Students will receive additional graduation accolades, and if students complete the State of Tennessee Requirements for an Honors Diploma, they may receive this as well.
  • Students will be able to participate in enrichment programs that include, but are not limited to:
    • Skills preparation – math, writing, critical thinking, and computer skills.
    • Technology integration – research skills, document preparation and integration, web-based studies.
    • Working with computer software programs – Office, Keynote, Movie Maker, Excel, etc.
    • Service work – missionwork, tutoring of younger students.
    • Leadership building workshops.
    • ACT/SAT preparation, AP Exam preparation.
  • By the end of the senior year, students will also gain the following skills to prepare them for future endeavors:
    • Portfolio development.
    • Resume writing.
    • Public speaking and presenting.
    • Writing for an intended purpose.
    • Collaborating with peers.
    • Assessing community and business resources. 
    • Obtaining community and business resources.
  • Students will have the opportunity to attend regularly scheduled Academy meetings (required). These meetings will give students an opportunity to act in a school leadership capacity by:
    • Discussing school and personal issues with teachers and administrators.
    • Engaging with community leaders.
    • Being spiritually enriched by school and church leaders.
    • Participating in activities that include cross-curricular studies, effective learning methods, etc.

National Junior Honor Society/National Honor Society

National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and National Honor Society (NHS) are academic and leadership development organizations that focus on four key areas: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. At First Baptist Academy, each of these elements is built on the foundation of Christ. NJHS is for 8th and 9th grade students, while NHS is for those in 10th-12th grade. Students do not have to be in the Honors Program to join NJHS or NHS. 

  • Students must have and maintain a 3.5 Cumulative GPA 
  • Students must attend the Induction Ceremony. 
  • Students must pay a $25 due each year as a member. This offsets costs for FBA yearly membership  dues with NJHS/NHs, the induction ceremony, luncheon for new inductees, graduation regalia, and  certificates.  
  • Students must complete a minimum of 25 hours of Volunteer Service according to NHS Guidelines that  include 2 hours in each of the four categories: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character *17 remaining hours of student choice. 
  • Students must document all hours on Chart that is provided. Students should not rely upon others to  keep up with served hours.  
  • Students must participate in the FBA Chapter’s School Project: Tutoring in Lower School (this schedule will be made each August). 
  • Student participation in the School Project will require students to assist teachers and students in the  lower school as deemed necessary by lower school teachers. Students will do this during enrichment  period. No student will be exempt from this for any reason. Guidelines are: 
    • Serve between 1-4 times a month (depending on grade level) as scheduled. 
    • Serve no more than once a week and no less than once a month as scheduled.
    • Serve regardless of homework or classwork assignments that need to be completed *Find a substitute or switch schedules with another student on days that cannot be served (Mrs.  Petty must be notified). 
  • Submit documented hours by April 30th of the school year. 
  • Students cannot be paid or receive any stipend for documented service hours.
  • Students do not receive volunteer hours for work in one’s own home, grandparents, or immediate  family.


You are required to complete 25 volunteer hours to maintain standing in NJHS/NHS. This is their  standards. You must have at LEAST 2 hours in EACH of the four criterion categories for NJHS/NHS; the  remaining 17 hours can fall into any category you choose. These are Scholarship, Service, Leadership,  and Character. You must complete 15 hours for Honors Academy if you are not in NJHS/NHS. You cannot  get payment or a grade for anything counted as volunteer hours. You also cannot get hours for assisting  at home or for a family member. This is an obligation for which you are responsible for completing, not a  volunteer service. Participation in sports or as a sports-team manager does not count either UNLESS you  are coaching a little league team. If you have questions about how to categorize or if something counts,  please contact me.  

Suggestions for each Category: 

Scholarship: Reading buddies, tutoring, working in lower school classrooms, working for an institution  that has a primary purpose of furthering education, some mission work, teaching younger children in  church 

Service: working for an organization or neighbor, school service days, partnerships with schools days,  some mission work, almost anything that does not count in another category 

Leadership: leading a group in school, church, or the community, serving in a position within an  organization, worship ministry, discipleship, some mission work 

Character/Citizenship: serving in spreading information for a community center/service, civic  participation assistance, patriotic contributions, serving in community organizations (library, museums,  retirement homes, etc.), community clean-up 

If you are in the Honors Academy (upper school students only), the 15 hours you are required to  complete for FBA can double-up for NHS. 


Tonya Petty

FBA Honors Program Coordinator

For more information regarding the Honors Program, contact

“Taking honors classes showed me that if I push myself, I am capable of more than I had first thought.” 

- Bradley Miles, Class of 2022