In 1978, the International Christian School was founded onboard the Anastasis to provide educational services for the children of international crewmembers serving on a Mercy Ship. The Anastasis was the first ship to join the Mercy Ships fleet and was later followed by the Good Samaritan, Pacific Ruby, Island Mercy, and Caribbean Mercy. International Christian Schools were run on both the Caribbean Mercy and the Anastasis.
Onboard the Africa Mercy, schooling is offered for children ranging from Nursery (1-year-olds) through Grade 12 (18-year-olds). There is an average number of 50 students each year, with an average of 12 students in high school. In 2003, the term Mercy Ships Academy was adopted to refer to the onboard school for children.
In 2007, the Anastasis retired from service and the crew transferred to the Africa Mercy. The Africa Mercy Academy can accommodate 70 children and 13 staff.
In the past, the Academy has not been governed by any educational authority in the way that a land-based school is under the authority of the state or regional school board. Our high school program provides academic courses to prepare students for college or university entrance. All former students who have desired to attend such institutions have been accepted based on ACT/SAT scores, our graduation diploma, and school reports.
During the late 1990s, we realized the school’s need for international recognition and accountability. In 2007, Mercy Ships co-founder, Deyon Stephens, and the school Principal at the time, Brian Blackburn, decided to seek accreditation through an internationally recognized accreditation body, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).
Since 2009, the Mercy Ships Academy has intentionally sought to adopt an internationally focused curriculum to meet the needs of families volunteering onboard with Mercy Ships. In 2011, the Academy became accredited as an international school by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and Middle States Association.
In 2021, the Global Mercy Academy will join the Africa Mercy Academy in providing a quality academic education that also addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of each student. The Global Mercy Academy will be able to accommodate 112 students and 15 staff members.