Since 1953 the Fortaleza Academy provided quality Christian education for missionary and ex-patriot families in northeast Brazil. A ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions of Cleveland, Ohio, the school met the educational needs of students, thereby giving parents more time to devote to their ministries. They also had the peace of mind that their child would not only receive a quality education but have a full range of experiences in drama, music, sports, and social events in a positive, Christian atmosphere.
Over the course of the past 56 years, 304 students graduated and an additional 494 studied for some part of their schooling years at Fortaleza Academy. Numerous teachers, both career and short-term, gave of their time and energy to provide the students with the best possible schooling experience.
The school was located in the bairro of Aldeota from its inception in 1953 until 1999 when the property was sold and a lovely, new campus built further from the congestion of the downtown area. Spacious and versatile facilities provided a wonderful experience for those students that graduated and attended between the years of 1999 and 2009.
At its peak in the 1980s, the school had an enrollment of around 80 students. But since the mid-90s, the enrollment had been below 50 students in grades 1 – 12. As the missionary population dwindled and many more home schooling programs became available, the use and need of the school diminished. The school year of 2008-2009 had a dramatic drop from around 30 students to just 18. Baptist Mid-Missions decided that the low enrollment and difficulty in recruiting career teachers warranted the closing of the school.
To accommodate the few students that were so close to completing their studies, it was arranged that the class of 2010 and 2011 would be taught in a home setting by the remaining four teachers. Five students completed their studies in the final two years and upon graduation of the class of 2011 on April 20, Fortaleza Academy ceased to exist.
But memories of positive experiences, changed lives, and examples of dedication to the Lord and ministry will live on. One of the highlights of Fortaleza Academy’s history took place during the 2005-2006 school year when five former FA students were on staff, teaching and providing godly examples for the students, much as they had experienced themselves.