Grace Christian School is hosting a gala to celebrate 50 years of Christian education and raise money for an additional building on campus.

In a remarkable testament to 50 years of dedication to Christian education, Grace Christian School (GCS) is set to host an unforgettable gala on Saturday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. The event promises to be a grand celebration of Grace Christian School’s enduring commitment, encapsulating the school’s resilience and commitment to its core values.

The legacy of GCS runs deep, according to Rebecca McKeen, who is the daughter of the founders, Robert Gustafson and Dana Gustafson, and is also a graduate of the school and a current administrator.

“Grace Christian School now has its fourth generation working here,” said McKeen. “My grandfathers on both sides had a part in starting this ministry. My father and mother were the founders, my husband and I (who met in high school at Grace Christian) have both worked here since the late 80s. Now our two children and their spouses all work here.”

Since opening its doors in 1974, the school has continued to grow in academics, fine arts and athletic programs. The 28-acre property off Valrico Road hosts more than 650 students from K4-12th grade as well as 55 faculty members. With continued growth over the last 50 years, the school is celebrating this milestone with an unforgettable gala.

“The gala is all about celebrating 50 years of this school,” said McKeen. “There will be special speakers, amazing memories through the years on a video, music and an auction.”

More than 300 people are expected to attend the gala, which is also a fundraiser for the new Robert R. Gustafson Center that will be home to a new gymnasium, 12 classrooms and two lecture auditoriums. “This building was ready to start, then COVID hit, and it more than doubled the price of the building,” said McKeen. “All permitting has been done, so we are just awaiting some miracles to help us start this in April of this year.”

GCS not only helps students excel in the classroom, onstage and on the field, but the students and their families also thrive in the community. “We are so thankful to be able to share the word of God each day with our students,” said McKeen. “We have amazing GCS families that support and love this ministry, and it has helped this ministry grow every year. We ultimately thank the Lord for keeping our doors open all these years. We pray it stays open for many more years.”

For more information about attending the gala, gala table sponsorships or donating to the new building, visit or call 813-689-8815. Grace Christian School is located at 1425 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.