After retiring from teaching in the public schools at age 65, Mary Michael was determined she did not have time to "sit in idleness". She strongly believed that Christian education had an important role to play in the community and country. On November 28, 1976, Mary Michael opened Grace Academy out of her own home to only five students.
In 1977, Grace Academy established itself in the old Downsville school building. After increasing enrollment to 45 students in just five years, the school moved to Hagerstown Bible Church. After two years and continued growth, Grace Academy relocated to Locust Street in 1983. The high school program developed as students matriculated into higher grade levels which led to Grace Academy's first graduation in 1984.
With nearly 190 students and counting, Grace Academy moved, yet again, to the Broadway Street building. At that time there were 11 faculty members. P.E. classes were held at Reed Park, and students walked to the YMCA for swimming classes. Christian Soldiers Club continued as a monthly tradition, and Grace offered a wide variety of sports within its athletic program. As Grace Academy moved forward in faith, God continued to provide an opportunity for quality Christian education. With that, the need for a new, larger facility became evident. After several years of prayer, planning, and fundraising, Grace Academy found a new home in 2001 after constructing a brand new building along Cearfoss Pike. This new facility, offering 25 classrooms, a science lab, gymnasium, stage, playgrounds, and three outdoor athletic fields, is where Grace Academy thrives today.