Hutton Valley Schoolhouse opens its doors for the first time in sixty years
Wed, 08/26/2020 - 11:17am admin
Brooke Phelan, contributing writer
On Monday August 17, Neighborhood Christian Schools held a ribbon cutting and open house at Hutton Valley Schoolhouse to celebrate months of the community's hard work. The attendance of over 70 people included State Senator Mike Cunnginham and Representative Hannah Kelly (R-141). Also joining the gathering were former students who attended the original Hutton Valley Schoolhouse. Karen (Hinds) Foster, Tom White, Shirely (Smith) Harris, and Larry Thomas reminisced on their time in the school as the new generation of students met their teacher. Shirely Harris commented, “It looks similar to how I remember it, but it’s good to see it look so bright and new”.
The idea for the school first sparked five years ago among Joel Hinds, Dennis Walton, Scott Wiliamson, and David Lovan. They wanted to provide a private, classical, and affordable Christian education for their community. The group worked with Ozarks Christian Academy in West Plains for a short while until in August last year they decided “to go for it,” as Hinds said.
Renovations began in March this year, and with the community pulling together, they were able to finish the work in just five months. The one-room schoolhouse currently has fifteen students. The student body will be capped with a max of twenty to twenty five students to keep the personal one-on-one education feel. In a system that works on a sliding scale, all of the students are sponsored by community donors so parents never have to pay full tuition. Sponsors donate one dollar a day to a student to cover the cost.
“Many hands make light work,” said Hinds.
Sen. Cunningham spoke before the ribbon cutting and expressed his pride for the community. “When I see this school and the kids who are going to attend I think about where they are going to go in this world, and I take great joy in knowing that their beginnings start here. And when they return to this school I’m sure they will feel the same,” he said.
Hannah Kelly commented, “I believe it’s so important for parents to be able to give their kids everything they need, and I’m so proud to be supporting this community not only now but moving forward as well.”
The school offers an alternative perspective to education that provides a unique middle ground between homeschooling and public education for grades K through 5. Teacher Andrea Frescoln holds a degree in elementary education and has taught in the public school system and with classical education in the past. Music was also an important factor in structuring the day to provide an exciting environment for students to feel motivated and inspired to learn.
Since classes began August 19, the doors of the schoolhouse are not only open to students but to the community, as a reminder of the great things that can be accomplished by working together and supporting neighbors and friends.