East Park Baptist Academy Memoir - Part 1
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections East Park Baptist Academy Memoir EA77. East Park Baptist Academy Memoir Interview and memoir 5 tapes, 344 mins., 122 pp., 2 vols. Anderson, Marjorie Ellen Henderson, Robert L. Moore, Jack Warren, Betty Wood, William Gregory This memoir consists of five interviews with administrators and teachers of the East Park Baptist Academy in Decatur, Illinois. They discuss the creation and operation of the school: its governing board, curriculum, school activities, faculty, superintendent and administrators, buildings, enrollment growth, and its closing in 1989. They also discuss education in Christian schools, development of the history curriculum from a Christian perspective, and different philosophical approaches to education found in Christian and public schools. Included in the memoir are photocopied pictures of the school building, a newspaper article regarding the closing of the school, a list of graduates, and a paper entitled "Why We Need Christian Schools." Interview by Linda Moore, 1989 OPEN See collateral file: interviewer's notes, copy of the student handbook, copy of the letter informing parents of the school's closing, graph showing enrollment 1975- 1989, and a copy of entrance requirements and tuition. See individual collateral files For tapes see individual names Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1989 University of Illinois Board of Trustees COPYRIGHT• East Park Baptist Academy Memoir Marjorie Ellen Anderson 24 pages Robert L. Henderson 21 pages Jack Moore 23 pages Betty Warren 22 pages William Gregory Wood 17 pages East Park Baptist Academy was started in 1970 by the membership of East Park Baptist Church as an alternative to public education and as a reaction to Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s banning prayer and Bible reading in public schools. The church is located at 1762 E. Prairie Street, Decatur, Illinois. The school reached its peak in terms of enrollment in the early 1980s and began a decline that ended with its closing in May 1989. Volume I 1990 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY. SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield. Illinois 62794·9243. I ! ....... · .. cl ,·· .. . ·,, .. ~ : ·:: '' " !,".-·'~:if' ' ·:' ' ... ' . ' ' ' . , ·. 118 ';CaltbaltUiinais · ... ·oecatur, Illinois •Thursdav,·April27, 1989> · By THERESA CBURCBII.L : . . 1980s, now stands at 115. : · . Herald & R~ Lifestyle Writer ''As Caterpillar laid people off' : ··The Class of '89 will 'be the last· and other economic problems _hit tQ graduate from East Park Bap- Decatur," Pierson said, "our en-tist Academy in Boody. · ·. · .: . · · rollmentwent down." · · The Board of Deacons .of. East . Park Baptist Church in D,ecat\ir'' ·. :Ind~; as a cOst-saving D}eas~ has decided to close the school ure, the academy opened last Jail .' after the May 26 graduation. · · · . with with one kindergarten class · ;, Paul Pierson, chairman of the . instead Of two and combined board, said declining enrollment classes 'of first-' and second~ and resulting finanCial pressures graders" and fifth~ and. s.ixth~ forced the closure .. · · ... · ; • , grad~s_. :"The school is supported by the ' The B'oard of· Deacons· dis-' c~urch," he explained, "and we cussed a: large tuition increase to couldn't "let· it jeopardize the · keep the school open another year· §t&bility of the church.!' ; · · ' · · but teceived projeCtions that· such . """He added that the school has a hike would slash enrollment to · 'been part of the church for nearly . 40 students. · · · two decades and closing it was "a , . . . ,~difficult decision' to make." . . ~·we've already run up some; ... ;n The acad~y began in.1970 as1a . deficits·, •1. said Pierson, who. de" :ltitdergarten program operated aj; · clined to be more specific, '.'·We the church, 1762 E. Prairie Av.e, ·just couldn't bring ends together ~ditional grades were· added· andmake them meet." YfSr by year until a complete. pro- · · . · . 1 b · · .gram for kindergar~~m th,r9ugh LOsmg their Jo.bs .wil . e eigh.t.. nth grade was begun for the 197~ full-time teachel's <which inCludes :n year at the former.:BoQI;Iy, El~. principal Greg Wood), two part~· · 1 ·· , time teachers, a secretary, a cus- )Q.entary Schoo · · · · · · ·. ·. · todian and two bus drivers. !_'":Enrollment, whic_b p~ed a~ .. · ~bout 335 students m :t.h~ ea~ly The Church plans to sell the If" "'!!I; .. ·,· school building. . .·Jack Moore, a member 'of the board and administrator of the school from 1975 to 1988, said the academy might have. been able to continue if there were ·some way to houSe it at the church. ' "We had overhead and bussing costs that other-Christian schools don't have," he said, ."but our church facility is simply not set up for a program like this-':.,.,.··, :;,v. He added toot~' d~l~ ~f the school has:coindded·wlth a decline in church· membership: abOut 200 people compared ~to 400 to 450 in the early 1~/r ~:;~'; . ,., "It's a hea~tbreak.lng ex'ped· ence to see.'the th.ipg tq,tally fold. like it has,"·Moore said. "It's kind of like losing a child." 815e .''FEATURES'' • Bac;k Support , • Full padded seat • Almost silent' •· Very·smooth ~~ ... • semi- . · recumbent • Easily mc;-ved : "COME SEE IT 'AT; ., 1012 Nortb SL-5prlngfleld~': IL 82704 .. . 217-546-8118 ,, .. . .· . ' Hours: M-F .1.0.:7/Sat •. 10.5 ·; "We bring a health club to ·.' ' ' Class of 1977 Howard Bailey Jon Grady Gary Moore Vicki Myers David Wiley Class of 1978 Jewel Brown Larry Flach Cathy Newman Ron Moore Roberta Warren Class of 1979 Sherri Bailey Phyliss Bledsoe Teresa Brown Velma Breazeale Judy Eichel Bill Fleming Tom Grady Tim Johnson Mark Payne Vicki Swank Jeff Zinn Class of 1980 Martha Brown Ruth Brown Brien Deverick Mark Fleming Steve Gossemeyer Tim Green Karen Mayberry Ron McElroy Chris Overheul Chris Wiley EAST PARK GRADUATES Class of 1981 Jeff Billiter Brenda Brown Dale Cole Chris Darling Mike Donnel Leanna Hutchins Susan Knop Tim LeCrone Lynette McCloy Faith McGhee Scott Musgrave Evelyn Steffes Keith Warren Class of 1982 Miriam Bartlett Mark Craig Kirk Deverick Thomas Durbin Ken Green Renee Hillman Lori Hoke Jeff Knop Rhonda McElroy Karen Mayberry Jay McCammack Lisa Meisenheimer Scott Moore Brian Pettit Tony Wathan Keith Wiggle Class of 1983 Linda Caudle Robin Cummins Mark Donne! Steve Eichel Joe Gergeni Steve Grady Lynette Jackson Pam Johnson Steve Johnson Sherry Jones Kimberly LeCrone Julie McCammack Geodee Sumpter Joel Van Nice Tricia Wise Class of 1984 Scott Bulger Linda Chambers Damon Cummins Shawn Flatt Lois Gergeni Teresa Haggard Joann Hedges Becca Hillman Steven Johnson Danny Kidd Tom Lamb Lauri Long Carla Marshall Michelle Meritt Lonnie Musgrave Larry Musgrave Melissa Patrick Marshall Pontious Jr. Karen Potts Kenneth Seest Sonja Songer Donna Thompson Kent Toothman Class of 1985 Paula Cummins Lana Darling Lisa Darling Lori Darling Brett Davis Sammee Elliott Sonya Etnier Julie Jackson Timothy Sanders Christy Sarver Debbie seest Kenny Steffes Tina Skelton Vonda Van Hooser Brett Wellwood Roxanne Woods -/ ./.-' . ..::iass of 1986 John Baer Bryan DeBrun Scott Deetz Brian Durnil Jarred Edgecombe Glenda Etnier Lesley Garren Mary Gergeni Chad McCoy Tim Morenz Mike O'Guin Jeff Pontious Tim Walberg Class of 1987 Jeffrey Allen Mark Bartlett Tina DeBrun Dawnette Horne James Koonce Krystal Krutsinger Kelli Langston John Massey James McCammack Shaun Rapp Pam Renfro Kim Schafer Brad Walker Angela Walters John Wright Class of 1988 Gina Hall Denny Johnson Julie Luka Shane O'Guin Melanie Schafer Becky Seest David Shaw Harley Skelton Mike Stern Kathy Tarr Shawna Van Scoyk Page 2 Class of 1989 Cathy Brown Phil Crawford Wendy Fultz Shayla Horne Marshall Millard Patricia Stoss Chrislynn Wood f) \ I \ L__ _ , Why we need Christian Sch·ools ••• PREPARED BY £aat Jark iaptiat ~ra~rmy 1762 EAST PRAIRIE OECATUR, ILLINOIS 62521 WRY CHRISTIAN SCHOOlS? Abraham Lincoln said, 11The philo:50phy of the classroom is the philosophy of the government of the next generation." "This statement should intensify our concern with education, and cause us to ask ourse:!.ves 1 what kind of America will our children live in?" George Washington said, "True religion affords government its surest support. The future of this netion depends on the Christian training of the youth. It is impossible to govern without the Bible .. " If President Washington was right, left in the hands of public education, the:::e is little hope for America. These factors have an important impact on the consideration of the question of '~~ Christian Schools?" This question can be enswered by examining two basic areas, the failings of the public schools, and our obligation to the Lord concerning our children. Let's consider them closely. I. FAILINGS OF THE FUBLIC SCHOOL Dr. B. M. Cederholm, President of Maranatha Baptist Bible College attributes the downfall of public education to three historic events. First; the 1947 introduction of Evolution into the public school; second, the extr~ction of the Bible and prayer from schools in 1962; and thir.dly, the introduction of Sex Education in 1967. other factors also can be pointed out. Iow Academics Parents are disenchanted with government schools because of lm-r academic standards. Dr. John R, Miles, writing in the new quarterly edition of the Saturday Evening Post (Spring 1972) said: "The nation r s number one academic problem in education today is a rsading problem. The U. S. Office of Education has estimated, "There are 24 million people eighteen years old or older in the United States who are functionally illiterate. 11 11 That means they cannot read, write, or count well enough to handle the day to day tasks demanded of them in modern society.. Yet it i.sn't because they haven't gone to school. Th~~e are only 6.4 million Am9~cans fourteen years old and over who haven't gone through at least the fifth grade. So the inescapable conclusion is that the vast majority of those 24 million 'functionallY illiterate' people r~d gone to school for at least five years but learned 1i ttle except to hate school. " Drugs A person would have to be living with his head in the sand to say that there is no drug problem in the public schools. Practically every public high school in our country has to contend with this problem. Parents may insist that their child would never be involved with drugs, but as long as the child is openly exposed to their availability, no parent can be absolutely positive. · -~ ----- r·--·• ~ --+ •.. ~~~·- ~-··• • • ..•. J., • --•·· ·-· Discipline It is almost impossible for the most well-meaning parents to exert sufficient discipline at home to overcome the permissive society in which their children live most of the time. One short walk through the hallways of the average public school, with a few glances into the classrooms, would reveal to aQY alert parent that there is very little real discipline enforced in a public school. In many cases even the teachers display such a lack of discipline in their own grooming and manners that one can scarcely expect their pupils to do better. Discipline is a part of the Christian way of life, and as a matter of fact, one of the basic ingredients in the successful person in any area. The Christian school supports the Christian parent in the area of discipline. Morality Situational ethics is now the philosophy of America. MOrality is no longer a fixed standard but a word that may be applied to any sort of behavior within the right circumstances. The few hours a child spends in Sunday school and church and the amount of concentrated time that parents can spend at home in teaching children a concept of Christian morality are waging a losing war against the long hours that every child must spend in a public school. Philosophy Pastors across our country have described the public school s.rstem as humanistic, materialistic, advocates of militant feminism, evolution, and disruptive behavior. B.r order of the Supreme Court all public schools must be secular in their teaching. '11-Tebster's Dictionary defines scc:u.larism as "rejection or exclusion of religion", or simply stated, 1'td.t!1.out God, 11 Secular education ignores or denies God while attemptir•g to instruct the student in a search for 11truth11 • Every Christian should realize that secular education can never find 11truth11; because Jesus said, 11I am the Way, the TRUTH, and t}~e Life". God's Word is the test of all truth, all teaching that is £l~:p!'cssive to God's Word is true, teaching that is not expositor,y of the Bible is falsehood. The very foundational philosopny upon which the public school is established guaranteefl its failure. II. OUR OBLIGATION TO T'"AE LORD Prov. 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. 11 Eph. 6:4 "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and aci-nonition of the lord. 11 God's Word clearly places the responsibility of educating chil~~en upon the shoulders of the parents, not the government. fr1ery parent must carefully and prayerfully consider how they can best fulfill the duty that God has given to them. Christian schools are designed with the parents obligation in mind, and the purpose of the Christian school should be to provide an education that would be God honoring and in accordance with the Bible. 2 ............... -- ............ '"'"'.~· . ·--·-~· .. --~-.-~ ............... -~-----~--~ ............... ., ............ -.... ~ .. ----·--·~··----··--·----·--~~------······----·---· Academic Learning There has been the gnawing concern in the mind of some about the quality of Christian school education. I~ny have assumed because Christian schools are not funded by government tax dollars that Christian schools are academically inferior to their public counterparts. They equate expensive facilities and high salaries with quality instruction. An old adage says. 11 The proof of the pudding is in the taati;ng._" It has also been stated that, "The proof of the school is in the testing. 11 This is not entirely true, expecially in Christian schools because there is much more to evaluate than cold academics. Academic achievement tests are not designed, nor could they be, to measure spiritual progress, love of country, parents or the church, all of which are basic to the purpose of Christian school education. But Christian school supporters need not hang their heads regarding the academic quality of instruction in our Christ-centered schools. Evidence is mounting to indicate that Christian school students ere not only doing as well as their public school counterparts, but are, in feet, significantly ahead of them. Perhaps the largest sampling of the quality of academic instruction is available through a testing program administered among Christian schools who are members of the California Association of Christian Schools. The program has been administered £or the past seven years by the test department of Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, publishers of the well knotm Stanford Achievement tests. Jolm P., .Yates, a test consultant for the firm reported to CACS, 11Year ai't-er year testing shows that CACS students score higher than the national average at every grade taught." Tools of Learning The purpose of Christian education includes the responsibility to prepare the student with the basic tools of learning. Houses are built by men who have an array of tvcls at their disposal and have the skills to use them~ Vlords are the tools of thought. The ability to read, the mar;tery of mat.h, the ability to express thoughts orally and in writinG make up the basic tools with which a student can make his way through the disciplines of learning and become a productive Christ-honoring citizen. Educators who lose sight of their basic academic responsibility of equipping the studEnts educational tool box have lost sight of what ·an educator is supposed to be. System of Values Another purpose of Christian school education is to inspire in students a system of values consistent with the Word of God. Since spiritual values are spiritually discerned, ·it is incumbent upon Christian school educators to lead their students into a new life in Christ so that old things will paa3 away and all things will become new. Today, more than ever before, we need a generation of students whose ethics and moral sense of right and wrong is clearly grounded in God' s Holy Word. 3 , l ! ~-~~ - ---~~--~ ~ .... ~ - - - -- Iove for Country Not the least among the objectives of Christian school education is to instill in the heart of students a strong love for our country. An emphasis on patriotism has alw~s been a hallmark of Christian school education. American needs a new wave of patriotism, not a fanatical patriotism but a genuine love for the U.s .A. and our Christian heritage. There is no other group of schools in America that can speak so freely about our country's Christian beginnings as our country's Christian schools. Respect for parents Finall1, one of the high purposes of Christian school education is to uphold the sanctity of our homes and the sacredness of our churches. Christian school educators respect the fact that they are working in behalf of parents in their educational ministcy to students. All that is said and done in the classroom is done in behalf of parents because ultimately the responsibility for the education of children resides with their parents. Christian school educators are not on a crusade to drive a wedge between a child and his parents. As a matter of fact, Christian school educators know when they reinforce student respect for parents they are simultaneously supporting student respect for teachers. ~gard for Church Mbst ever,r Christian school is closely related to a church. Virtually every Christian school educator has a high regard for the chu1"ch. This regard and respect for the church and those who serve God in the church is carried into the classroom and woven into the fabric of the school's curriculum. Regard for God's house and ministers of the Gospel is held forth in the classrooms, in student chapels and is undergirded in Bible lessons. Although some churches are still unaware of it, the Christian school is among the best friends the church has every had. The full purpose of Uhristian school education is to help parents fulfill the counsel of that wise and powerful proverb that says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22 :6) ._____ _____ _ III. COMMON QUESTIONS ANSWERED 1. 'tJill my child be sheltered from the real world and therefore be unable to cope with the problems of life? It would appear that most of the objections to Christian schools come from born-again Christian people who feel that such a system simply builds a ''hot house 11 around their children and that someday they will have to face the realities of the world. The answer to this argument should be twofold. First, the purpose of a hot house is to protect a plant until it is strong enough to withstand the rigors of the outside elements. The hot house is not designed to be a 4 ------~~~~-------------- .i j l J I ' 1 ----------------------------- ... --~---------· - ---" -·~~--·~~-·-"·-----··. - -·--···~·· ---··-·"'- --·-- -··-,· permanent dWelling place for the plant but only a shelter where it can develop sufficient strength to realize its greatest potential on the outaide. Second, even the Christian school is not a complete 1'hot house 11 • There are still hours that are not spent in school during every day and the months in the outside world during vacations and weekends, and there is no sense in which we can say that because a child attends a Christian g~a~ school he is not adequately exposed to the world. 2. But we can't afford to send our child to a private Christian school! In' response to this coilllllent, we should suggest that often it is simply e. matter of priorities, what's most important. When we consider our great responsibility before God to "train up a child in the way he should go 11 plus the fact that the fUture happiness and success of our children depends on our decision; t.Te should be saying, ''we can't afford not to". Christian education doesn't cost, it pays. An ordinar,y Christian school across the country will cost ~ somewhere around -$h<)O to ~0, aemo-a 11-ttl.e higher, iQmg -e: litt!B l~t $600 a year. TWelve years:$6,000-- about theprice of a good 4 door sedan. You see, when we get right down to it, divided over a period of months, in twelve years (144 months), $6,000, it comes to just about $40 a month or $10 a week. I know a lot of fellows that spend $10 a week just whiling away their time--play toys, little things that they throw money away on. You mean to tell me that a Christian dad, Christian mom couldn't fine someplace in their budget, $10 a week for their kids? You might even get a son to carry a paper route and ra~.se the money himself it you 1 ll just put out the incentive. Christian ~ducation-- it isn't the ~xpense that should keep you out of it, and if you can get anywhere near it, you definitely ought to be involved. Dad, the most~ imtant t g that ~ can e,ve;do :for your boys or your girl~, ft1o se to ! t t 1 at hey ha'Ve \a Godly edu?ation whihthey 1 re k: ? gett~ng 1 nte ect}lal 1educa ionl We_ don't sacr~fice thE1' on<J \for t!.te . othe~. • ,In act it may surpri . e you to know that in good ,Christian sch ols' w~ez;'e tpere '~Te adop~ed sound )practice~_,/ the graduates :piace exceptiozially high in academic achievement. It's not uncommon for the graduates of C¥,stian schools toV find themselves on college entrance exruns ·,and' achievem~ nt tests in the top 10%, the top 5% of the nation. Christian ~cation is not a cost to you--it's an investment in the sweetest children that have ever been--YOURS. - 3. Are Christian schools accredited? Much has been said about accreditation in recent years. To be accredited means that there have been some people who have e~tablished some standards, p~p;t.e - o:f character, people of integrity, and that those standards have now been met and one receives a certification of the fact that they have given accreditation to that organization. And certainly, there is nothing wrong With the procedure, nothing wrong with the process itself. But accreditation can be a blessing'or a curse and it's in accord with where 5 it's come from. If a Christian school has to throw out its Bible in order to receive accreditation, then it plainly is a curse. If a Chris~ school has to compromise its conviction and have a biology teacher who believes in evolution in order to satisf.r some accreditation standard, then it's a curse. There are associations that accredit Christian schools, such as the American Association of Christian Schools, and the Illinois Association of Christian Schools. These organizations insist the.t every teacher be born again, that there be academic excellence, and that facilities be adequate. 4. Why do we need a Christian school rrhen we have Sunday School? Christian schools are not intended to replace Sunday schools but to reinforce them. Recent statistics bear out the fact that the Sunday school alone is not adequate. Four out of five students who attend Sunday school drop out when· they reach high school age. The average Sunday school student attends less than 40 of the 52 Sunday school classes each year. Consequently he receives little more than 20 hours of Bible instruction from the typical Sunday school. This simply is not enough t Churchmen across the country are reevaluating the total effectiveness of their religious education program and are coming to the conclusion that one-hour-a-week Sunday school is not adequate. The Sunday school, due primS.rily to its breVity, when weighed in the balances is found wanting .. Christian leaders are looking to the Christian school ministry as a meC).l:'.S of adding greater strength to the church. According to recent Rurveys Christian schools are being started on the average rate of l. per day all. across America. The onl.y explanation j.s that concerned Chr!.stian parents are becoming disgusted with the government supported school, their poor academic standards, and the~.r lack of moral standards. In view of the failings of the public schools and our responsibility as Christians, to God end our children let us urge you to prayerfully consider enrolling your child in a good, fundamental, Christia.n school. If theN is . ~eo ~~nr a;pee t.a1k +o 7"i~P pastor_ eb~sta:zwY.tl.g one. . _;;/- . ) ~~ (tf'tf/1. 13~~ ~ '~-~~ !/'' BIBLIOGRABiY_ . . .., . __ ,. ~ '!'.: • .... 7· . ,. Dr. B. M. Ce~r~~~ Pres., Ma.rsnatba Baptist Bible College Dr. A .. C. -~~~'l',f:,,~~s., American Associati~- of Christian Schools .: · .. ;·~.::>.".\·~·.~:'<·. ~·. ', . ' Dr. Paul · ~~1}- Director, California ~ssociation of Christian Schools Rev. Preface 'lhis manuscript is the product of a tape-recorded inte:tview oorducted by Lin:ia MOore for the oral HistOl:y Office an october 16, 1989. Mrs. Moore transcribed the tapes ani edited the transcript. Mrs. ArXlerson reviewed the transcript. Marjorie Ellen Arrlerson was born in Decatur, Illinois an January 18, 1943. A product of Decatur PUblic SChools ani a graduate of Eisenhower High SChool, she att.erned Illinois state university ani graduated fran the university of Illinois with a~ in Elemental:y Fducatian. She then attended Bclb Jones university 111 Greenville, South carolina for a Master's Degree in Olristian Fducatian. She came to East Park Baptist Academy in its thiJ:d year of operation, teach..in;J three grades: first, second, ani fourth in that first year. She continued at the Academy until its c1osin3' in 1989. Marge was the first of three people to have the title administrator. In her 11'IE!'t'Oir, Marge recalls the P1Ysica1ly ~ early years, ~ three grades; the thrill of aoquirin3' new builciin;Js: first in Harristown an:i then in Boody; an:i her unique oontril:utians in l'tllSic with piano-organ c:x:mcerts ani her classes • flutaplane bani. Li.n:3a Moore is a graduate of st:.ep'Jen Decatur High School an:i Millikin university in Decatur. She has taught social studies at stephen Decatur High Sdlool, Roosevelt Middle SChool, ani East Park Baptist Academy. She is married to Jack Moore ani is currently a graduate student in the history prog:tam at ~ state university. Readers of the oral history tneJOOir should bear in min.::l that it is a transcript of the spoken \VOrd, an:i that the inte:tviewer, narrator an:i editor sought to preserve the infonnal., conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. 8arJjamon state university is not re&pa'lSible for the factual accuracy of the mem:>ir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. '!he manuscript may be read, quoted ani cited freely. It may not be reproduced in 'Whole or in part by a:rq means, electrarl.c or mechan:i.ca.l, without pm:missial in writin;J fran the oral HistOl:y Office, ~ state unlversity, Spri.rgfield, Illinois 62794-9243. Table of contents Invitation to East Park Baptist Academy • cuxriculum. S1JI:pJrt Fran the Qmrch • Plan for the SChool to GrC7tl • SChool at Hazri.st.am am Boody. Why the Academy GreW. Academy Brochures • Visits to Local Olristian SChools • Fund Raiser Recitals. Flut.apla1e Clloir. Basketball ani Hanecc::ani.n:J • conventions am WOrkshq:s • Faculty ani Fellowship. 'Ihe Decline of the Academy. • • • Persa1al Memories ani 'lhoughts on the Academy • crucial Issues Cllristian SChools MJst Face. Academ.:i.cs at the Academy. Math Workshop at Illinois state university. 1 2 • 4 5 6 7 8 9 .10 .11 .12 .13 .15 .16 .17 .18 .19 .20 Marge Arxierson, October 16, 1989, Decatur, Illinois. L:in::la Moore, Interviewer. Q: Marge, I want to start out with sane backgroun:i info:nnation ani fin:l out h.cM lorg have you been a member of East Park Baptist Clrurch. A: L:in::la, I have no idea. (laughter) Q: A lorg time? A: It's been a lon:r time, it really has. I have a certificate of baptism probably around third grade, I think, you knc:w I joined the church sanewhere in there. I have been other places ani back to East Park, but I mean I originally came to East Park Orurch about that time. Q: Where did you live before that time? A: I •ve always been in Decatur, bom here. Q: Tell me about your education, where you went to school, all the different places. A: Okay. I went to Roach ElementaJ:y SChool, Eisenh.cMer High SChool, then I atten:ied Illinois state University for two years, transferred to the university of Illinois, majored in ElementaJ:y Ed [Fducation]. Ani then went out to the real world (laughter) for about five years ani then went to Bob Jones University in Greenville, south carolina for a Master's [Degree] in Cllristian Ed. Q: By the real world, you mean you taught in pmlic schools? A: Right, it is just after you get out of school that you • re in the real world. '!hat was in Racine, Wisconsin. Q: Okay, I knew you had been in Wisconsin. Where were you teachin:;J when you were corrt:act:ed about East Park havirq a Olristian Day School? Where were you then? A: I was in Ft. Davis, Texas that year. '!hat's the year I graduated fran Bob Jcmes. 'lhe fellow next to me in Cl1ape1 said, "Marge, -we're goirq to a small school out in Texas area ani we'd like you to cxme teach with us." so Bob Auclair ani his wife, Nancy, ani I went out an:i pioneered (laughter) for a year in Texas. But, it was a very small school, an:i they only had six students. It was a real interestinq place, but there weren •t enough people in the area to really keep the school goirg the way -we felt it should, so we left at 2 that time. But I had had a call fran Pastor Potter at East Park ar:d I think the school had been in existence two years, 1970, so this was 1972-1973, it wt:W.d have been that year. 'Ihey needed sanebody to come up and fill the gap. (laughter) Q: 'Ihey asked you to teach? A: Yes, right. well, really kind of as an administrator, as such. I mean that 1 s what I was doirq at the time. well, maybe that came a little later. Potters left in January of that year. I came back ar:d then it was left in my hams and the Board (of Fducation]. I taught three grades that first year; first, seconi, ard fourth. we didn't have any thini graders at all. So that was interestin;;J and then I had another teacher, Diane Hadley [who] came in the afternoons ard taught the fourth graders. I think it was Diane, I'm sure it was. Ani then Fay Iearned came the follc::Jitli.rg year ani took the fourth grade. Q: Where did you teach at? A: we were in the basement of the Annex. I was d.cMn there totally. When Diane came, she took the fourth graders upstairs. Q: ibis was your first year at the Academy? or was it called the Academy then? A: Yes, it was. Q: How many kids are we tal.Jdn;J about then? A: well, let me think. I think there wre about maybe six or eight fourth graders, maybe ten first an:i secxni, I'm not really sure. It was a pzetty good sized group for that many grades, but it wasn't too bad. I can :re.member we used [as] part of our an:riculum a variety of t:hin;Js an:i of course I wasn't familiar with the curriculum at that time. Not liiLlCh was available. A Beka hadn •t p.Jblished their material an:i Bob Jones of course, that came after A Beka started their material. we were usirq sane Rod an:i staff, we were usin;;r sane p.Jblic school material, but sane of it we used the tel~ J:x)ok (laughter) an:i it was really i.nterestin;J. [I] made up worksheets am did a lot with math am alJ;ilabetical order am that type of thi.n;J, especially the falrth grade curriallum. Q: How did you add • • • well, let me jump ahead in loakin;J at the curriallum all t:hn:Jugh the years because you were at the Academy fran this early date until it closed in 1989. '1he other people I've interviewed have talked abalt a difference in puJ.osqily an:i thin;Js that made the Academy different. How did you c:han;Je the curriculum fran a pJbUc school curriculum to make it different? A: well, I think basically I know when Mr. Moore took aver as the Administrator he had beoc:me ac:x;(llainted with the A Beka curriallum am I think at tnat point we had the textl:x::lOks that went ala¥3' with it am our philosqily so to speak but we tried to have a Bible-based curriculum ani there is just a limit to what you can do with secular textbooks. 3 Q: How at earth wcW.d you do that withcut the Pensacola curriculum? A: W&ll, I think the main thin;J is just when you talk alxut areas of math or :r:eadin;J you wcW.d introduce scripture sayirq, ''Why do I need to learn to read?" "SO I can leam to read the Bible," settirq goals for the children that -were based at scripture. I think the main area probably where we would have run into a lot of problems, ani I dal •t remember a lot of detail, would have been in the science area, you know, the evolution versus creationism. we just taught the creationist view because that's our belief fran scripture. Q: Did you use the Bilile as a textbook? A: Right. Q: Where' s A Beka cane fran? A: It's fran Pensacola, Florida. It's a college that had started and. they've had a college that also had an elemerrta.ey school associated with it ani I think they felt a need to develop their a.m material to have sane Bible-based textl:xx>ks ani sanet:hin;J that would go alorg with the goals that they had. It was a good beg:imrln:J curricul\Dll. It was very llllCh drill oriented which has been good and when BciJ Jones came out, do you want all of this extra? Q: sure, sure, go right ahead. A: When Bob Jones came out, theirs was maybe the other errl of the spectrum fran a heavy drill oriented prcgxam. Bob Jones came out with more thought, tb.inld.n;J ideas, questi.ans that would make the childLen do sane tb.inld.n;J. As a teacher in a classnx:m, you have to take the ~ and weaknesses of each textbook and Bob Jones needed a little more drill added to it. With the A Beka material you'd have to maybe think of sane more questions that were more thought provoJd.nJ. Q: was that in all subjects? A: Yes, pretty nuch. Q: so, you really used a mixture of curriculums as you 'Wel'lt. were you free to choose Mli.ch ones you wanted to? A: Yes. When Mr. Moore came as administrator -we were strictly A Beka. I 1'llei!Ul that was just because that was the only t:hinJ available. '!here was really not 1llldl other choice. Rod ani staff was the Mennonite plblisher. 'Ihey had good material, but it seemed at the time you krDrl just to be OOLOllated, it was structured through the grades, so that you had your scope ani sequence not only grade level l:ut. through the grades, you would be sure to cover the skills am that type of thin;r. :art later on as we had qpxt\mities to use sane other t:b.in;Js I had an qpxtmrlty to use the Bob Jones math because it fit better with sane ather materials that I had picked up, the Basic Facts curriculum. we had the :freedan to do that as lorg as it woul.dn't affect what the children were buildin;J on each year. 4 Q: Back to those early days, did you have schools in the area that you were able to canpare [with] or did you have oc:anpany in this effort.? or were you strikirg in new gromn? A: I was so swanpad with three grades that I don't know. I remember startin;J, I probably wiped art, my whole focus was what I was doirg there. My mother helped, she spent hours typi.rr:J, get.tin;J materials. With A Beka cw:riculum. that came later we had the tests am all these th.in;;rs l::ut with the materials we had at that time, there was l'lCJthin;J. It was just a really rough two or three years. When did Mr. Moore came? Q: 1974. A: Okay, two years am it was just a really rough time. Q: What influence do you remember fran Pastor Potter? A: I think the fact that the Potters left just after Olristmas that year. I reneabar when the school started I wasn't here at the time, 1::ut I know Mrs. Potter was very influential in this am she was the first teacher with the six kirx3ergartener am did a fantastic job. Am then Bev White was here that seooni year, the youth pastor's wife. I think it might have still been kin:iergarten that year. 'lhe Potters were very entlmsiastic. I think Pastor Potter had a lot of connections with First Baptist SChool in Danville which was a Olristian school that had been in operation several years, probably one of the pimeers in the state of Illinois. I don 1 t know how long 1 but they were a big help probably am an influence in get.tin;J started. Q: Did you have a lot of SUJ;PJrt fran the people in the church? Obviously, they have to • • . A: I think so. At that time the School Board was am a lot of the yourq peoples • class were really interested in beginnirJ3' a school. It seemed to be very supportive. I'm sure there were sane [members] that were not, :but I think as a whole it was. Here again, I'm not :really aware too DllCh of that area. We had sane of the missiooary groups that 'WCW.d help \lS cutti.n3' thin;Js 1 ~ thin;Js for the kids I gettirg sane materials ready once in a while, 1:ut • • • Q: If you needed sanethin;J 1 like a l:x::dtcase or sanethin;J, what would you have dale? Hew would you have gotten it? A: Well ••• I don't really remember too much on that. Q: Back in those early days, I just wordered where the supplies came fran. A: I'm sure people in the church, I think A1 Hensley was quite a cazpenter am made a lot of ~· I know he made th.in;;rs for S\Jrrlay School am I know he did sane 1:hin;Js for the school. You could talk to Johm.ie [Hensley] , she could tell you. 5 Q: When Pastor :J?otter left, how did the school :fllrx:tion withcut a leader? A: well, we just burg in there. (laughter) It was kirxl of thrown in ItrJ laJ? withcut anybody else there. ''Marge, you're the one with experJ.el'l08. " Q: Did you have the title administrator then? A: I don't really knaw'. I didn't want that title, I had quite a bit, I had lfr¥ :hanjs full. And so I think the board made DDSt of the decisions. Madeline Boren was a teacher fran warrensbJrg. She did a lot I think, helped a lot. I think she was on the board for a while, l::ut again, I don't know' for how lcn:J. Q: What was your relationship with the School Board? Did you sit in on meet.i.n3B? A: OCc:::asicnal.ly, ¥':8, c:lurin;J that time we did. I don't :remen•er how many ani like I said, that's just a blur, it really is. I wish I cculd recall DDre of that. Q: '!bat's all right. Did you rep01.t to them? A: I'm sure I did, l::ut I don't reulfll!lber just a 'Whole lot. I don't rem&JIIber specific t.hi.rJ;Js. I'm sure if there were needs we went to the board. I don't re•lf!l'l'iber a lot of thin;s that I would have to fill out. I don't krlow what they 'WOUld have wanted to krlcM. Q: I just "WOl'Xlered about qeratil'g without a pastor since it was a church ministry. A: Like I said, I :really don't [remember] structurally or anytllinJ how it really functioned other than the School Board made the decisions. I think we had sane good leadership there at the time. Q: Did you c:x:me to the Academy with· the idea of stayin:J at those grades? Did they have in the back of their lllims to grow as we know' they did-we're loold.n;J at hin:lsight. But when you came did you see just lower elementaey grades or • • • A: well, for me I did. But I was sure that they 'WOUld want to expand quickly. Q: 'Ihey did intent to . . • A: Yes, definitely. I'm sure elementaey. NOW' high school that came much later an:1 was not Irr¥ area at all so I was not involved with any of that. But I'm sure in the larq run that was the thought of many of than. Q: It really was a plan to have the school then as their children grew? A: I think so, right. 6 Q: When Pastor Loser came, what Jdn:i of cl1arqes did you notice? A: I don't remember-! told you! (laughter) Q: ·That's all right. A: I don't even Jmow what year he came, do you? A: That was in 1973. Pastor Potter left in 1972. I knc7.rl for one th.in;J if I can ru:ige your mem::o:.y a little bit, we char¥jed b.lilc:iin3&. You did grow enc::u;Jh that you had to c.harqe b.lilc:iin3&, well really in read.iJ'q the board minutes I've fourxi that they were always lookirg for a kAlildin;J. Fran the very begi.nnirq they were lookirg for a :bui.ldin:;J which I didn't realize. so you went to Harristam. D:> you remember beirq out there? Did you have all the grades? A: No, I think I just had first am seoc:ni. Pat Provianoe had third am fourth cx::anbination, then Jan Gaffey was, well, I'm not sure who at that p:>int. I Jmow Jan Gaffey was there but we might have had sane jmrlor high at that time. It seeas like she was with the older children. Q: can you describe the facilities out at Harristown? Everybody just kini of glosses over it because it was a short time the school was there. A: It was, yes. I can picture it was~. '!here were two big classnx:ms upstairs as you go up the steps to the main floor. '!hey were huge, I mean they had little cubbyholes, just an ideal place. '!hey had large, high ceilfn3s. Q: It was an older brlldin;t? A: Right, it was an older buildin:;J. 'lhen there was a S\lR)ly roan just on the north side of bath the classroans. we just had roan for all kinds of t:hir¥;pi. 'lhe basement was a smaller area. I don •t remember because I -wasn't ~ in that area, but I :r:emember the classroaos upstairs were really moe am spacious. Q: was it just a1e year out there? A: I don't remember, L:ima. We need to prcbably get this dc:Mn. As ~= =. ~f~~d like to have that because I don't Q: I'm JXrt:. even sure if it was a c:x:mplete year. So the move was made then to Beedy. Why did we end up in Boody? Do you remember? A: I don't even :know who told us about the school. 'Ihey had oonsolidated with Blue 1bm::l so all the kids were goin;J to Blue Mruni, but it was a very qood price for the 1:JUi1din;J. Q: What did you think when you saw that? 7 A: I don't remember too 1lllCh of the detail of the gettin;J it, but I ~ the first day in that buildin;J. I can still visualize that. Ard it was so excitin;J to have a real gymnasium, hallways-there -were just so 1Ml1Y, I mean just a real school bui1dirq that we hadn •t had before that was the excit.in;J bme. We were really thankful to the Lord. for that buildin;J. Q: How large was your class that year? A: I probably still had first ani sec:x:n:i oanbined, l:ut I dal't have any idea what the size was. Q: Which roan were you in at the begirmin:j? A: I was in the one, Roan '1hree rDT. It's just the one cutside the office. Debbie Ames had thini ani fourth in Roan Four. It must have been first, no, I cion •t knew what was in the other classroans, where Mrs. [Joanne] Elliott is IXJW". Of ocurse the further classroans weren't there at the tilne. You knc:M we added on. Q: We tern to forget that those were added on. A: I couldn't even tell you at the time how far we went at that particular point. I'm sure we had sane junior high an:l high schoOl because I remambe:r Tan Grady was cut at Harristatm am he was in junior high or high school so we must have had sane of t:hose classes. Q: When did you go to just first grade ani ani the canbina.tion? A: Here again, if it's what year, I can't help you ••• Q: But that's kW of synbolic of the growth. '!hose years at Boody were high growth years. A: Yes, very. At one point we had 350 stu:Jents, I think. Q: How oane? Why did it 9n:M like that, fran the Annex over here by the church ard startilq cut with six kin::lergart:en students in 1970 to 350 sare in, any idea when that peak year was? I don't think it was the 1980S yet, was it? A: It might have been. You'd just have to go back. Maybe the dlurd1 has BaDe recxJI'ds of that. Q: SUre, I can firxi that out. What was there about the school, do you think? You were involved in it and oertai.nly were a part of that reascn. Why wculd people serd their kids to the Academy? A: I think there are a lot of thi.nJs, a lot of different reasons. Of course the reason we wculd hope they "WOUld seni them was ~ that whole Olristian philosqtly in the Bible-based curriculum. I think sare came for that reason. '!here were a lot that did. Sane felt the school as an area maybe their child was having trouble ani here he wcul.d be able to get a little more attention. sane we oould help, sane we weren't able to help. we didn't have the facilities or the 8 trained persamel. for sane special needs. sane came for higher academic ert'Q;ilasis in sane areas. Q: sane have mentioned the attraction of discipline in the school. A: Right. I guess I was thinld.rg that in terms of special nee:is, too. (laughter) Q: But ~ were [~ of] the idea of day-to-day discipline that maybe at this the was lac.kiig in the pJblic schools. A: It's possible in sane areas, I'm sure, maybe in sane classroaas, too. Right. '!hat's a possibility. More I think of the time, too, our principal was very active in 5p:)rts ani I think this was a drawin;J card for sane students, too. We had a good pxogram goirg for sports. I don •t know the out.reach.. It probably wasn •t [as] intensive as the pJblic school can have but it maybe encouraged peq>le who were on the bol:derline or scanethin:J. '!here were a lot of reasons an:i then I think probably sane people came because of, what would you say, so they could say that my child went to a private school. I •m sure there were a few there for that reason, too. I think it would have been better if we had more because they were interested in thin;Js of the Lord ani really wanted to have that errphasis a little more. Q: When did you cease to be administrator? A: As soon as Mr. Mx>re came (laughter) I gladly gave that up. Q: SO that was about 1974. I had a brochure I fcun::l that I wanted to shaw you. You'll love this. A: Ql, yes. Q: It has your picture em the frait. was that your first year teac:ru.rv;r for the school? A: It 11'DJSt have been. WOUld have had to have been. Q: 'Ihey really p..rt you right out in :fratt. Is this you in this picture in the classroan? A: Right. No I that Is Mrs. Potter 0 Q: SO that's kirxiergart:en children in the picture. Did you ever see this brochure. '!he typewritten one? A: Yes, that was before this a1e. Q: Mrs. warren thinks maybe she might have typed it up. A: She probably did. Q: '!hen I had this one. I •m not too sure I recognize sane of the children. 'lhis is Keith Warren in the middle, Jeff Billiter, Michelle Reed. Na.r was that after the one with your picture or the same time? 9 A: It must have been after because well, that might have been the follc:JWirq year because Jeff ani Keith 'Wt'IUld have been in fourth grade. 'Ihey were part. of that fourth grade group that first year that I was back. Q: Ql, they were in that fourth grade that you had m third grade students? A: Right. Q: Okay. Yes, because Mrs. warren was sayi.rg Keith started in the fourth grade. What 'Wt'IUld haR?en to these brochures? '!hey 'Wt'IUld make these up ••• A: You mean hc:1.rl were they distributed? Q: Yes. Where did they go? A: I think prci:)ably a lot of them were available at the church if people would call or the ad in the newspaper. 'lhey also had a group goi.rg arouni to different churches presentirg the Academy ani they 'Wt'IUld take those. Q: Did you visit other Cllristian schools in the area? A: I :reJ1IA!1'b!r going to Danville. Q: 'Ib visit the roans? A: Right, to visit the school. Q: was that when you first started or in later years? A: I don't remember. I'm sure it's sane of both. (laughter) Q: How' did they o::::JDpare? A: I dan't ranemher at the time. 'Well, yes, in the sense that they were established ani I was real jJDpreSSed when I ra:nember bein;J over there at what they were doirq. Q: so it was an enoouragement to you. What about here in town? Did you ever visit any other Cllristian schools here in town? A: I don't think there were any others ather than the Catholic schools ani Iutheran schools. I don't recall. Q: so you never had an qpm.rtnity to visit Grace [Decatur Cllristian SChool] or Glad Tidi.n;s? A: '!hey came quite a bit later, I don't knc::M what year. Here again it may not have been too :much 1~ after we had started but I don't remember. You'll have to delete all these I don't remember. Q: Ql, no. (laughter) 10 A: I wish I oc:uld recall a lot IOOre, but I don't. I kr1o!rl the year that, especially the year that Pastor Potter left when it was so swanpd. I mean ~ust the hours you krlo!rl. lihysically I was down with it, too, arx1 I think saoetiJDes sane of that, I don't krlo!rl, zaps arr:t possibility of recall sanetiJnes. You kr1o!rl you have to be relaxed when you p.tt thiniJs in 1IIE!llm'Y and many of those first years were just unreal. Q: Who was teachin;J with you that year? A: 'lhe first year. Diane Hadley in the aftenxx:m. Q: Did you have registration duties? Did you register students d.uri.rq that time? A: I think pretty 11llCh the secretaJ:y in the drurch did a lot. I don't :t:emember that. But I oc:uld have. Like I said a lot of that's blocked out arx1 sane of that I just haven't tried to dig out. Q: I think you did everythin;J. A: well, there was a lot. 5aDe of those thin;Js I just p.xt in the back bJrner ani left them there. I mean it was a rough time ani I wish -we'd had IOOre help. '!hat's the way it was. Q: It was physically exhaustirg. I have a tape at hane that says IaVeme White-Ma:t:ge AtXJersan Piano concert. Why did you have those? A: we did those to raise DD'ley. Q: For the school? l'llat would J:lai:pen to that? 'lb the m:mey that you raised? A: I don't :know. Probably went for whatever needs were at the tilne. Q: What other kind of fun.:i raisi.rq projects do you recall? Nc:M, let me go back. In those concerts, you actually gave a kind of a recital. A: Right. Q: '!hat surely involved hours of practice. A: '!hey were all fun hours, but -we had a good time doing it. I enjoyed it. we really did. We had a fun tine. Q: How lag were these oc:rnarts? A: Probably an halr, an halr and fifteen minutes. Not llllCh IOOre than an hour. Q: Am you gave them at the churdl? A: Right. Q: 'Ihey were furd raisers, :people bc:RJght tickets? Marge An:1erson 11 A: 'Ihey just took an offerirg. I dal't remember sellirg tickets at all. Q: I didn't remember the offerirg either. HeM oould you make 100l"1eY if you didn't do sanet:hirg? Hc:w many of those did you give? I have two tapes at heme. A: I think there were at least three, maybe four. 'lbree or four. Q: Did you arri IaVeme just get together? A: Right. Q: '!hey were nice. I enjoy those tapes still. In the years then that you were dam at Boody in the peak years, you were just teacher? I dal' t mean to :mi.Iilinize t:eac::hin;J, b.tt you did so much before. SO you had an ~ty just to be in the classroan. Did you have any other dut1es dc7.rm there in the years? A: I had a lot of choir activities off am on thraJgh the years, too, with the Il'lllSiC. Q: You were famous for your flutaplale dloir. A: Right. Q: can you tell me about the flutaplone? A: 'lbat was part of the th.ini grade curriculum ani the children would work especially with that to have a little instrumental backgrcurrl. Of course we didn't have anybody really workin:J with the upper grades in the elementazy. It 1 s SIJR)OSed to be that they start with the fllltal;ha'les am then folla..t up with sane DDJ:e instruments. You Jmc::M, have 11'DX1! instruments because they wa.U.d have that little bit of backgrcurrl. But. we really didn •t have anyone that actually tau;Jht enough of the instruments. I know when Mr. [wayne] Coker was there he took the bam, :t::ut these were kids that were taJd.n;J [lessons~ privately. we didn't have anythin;J we actually had instruct1on for. It was flm ani good backgram:i for them :t::ut then it just S'b::IR;:Ied right there. Q: was the flutaphone in the curriculum? A: Yes. Q: Arxi that was Pensacola or Bob Jones? A: It was a different lDJSic canpany. Praise Hymn Inc. out of Texas. Q: It was :flm. A: Yes, it was fun. Q: Did the kids like that? 12 A: Yes, they did. Q: '!hey always looked so good. Did that take a lot of work to get tl'leJn. • • • A: Yes, it did. Bane gra.tps IIDre than others. (laughter) But it was a lot of fun. Q: can you tell me about the annual., I guess it's part of Haoecaning, but the annual. basketball games, where the grades played each other? can you tell me a little bit about that? Do you remember first doing them? Where that came fran, hew it got started? A: No, I sure dal't. other than well, probably Mr. Moore 'WOUld know IOOre about that. I think it was just a fun 'thin; when we had the faculty games, student/faculty games. I Jmow at sane point we thought it would be fun for the kids just to play ani then we had such a good time they decided to make it an annual. thin:]. But I dan 't remember if it was in relation to one of those student/faculty games or nat. Q: '!he first ani seoon:i 'WOUld play each other, thini ani fourth, ani fifth ani sixth. What did the girls do then? A: 'they were cheerleaders. Q: 'lhey had caupetition on that level, too? Did that take a lot of preparation? A: well, we usually spent the -week before the tcumament practicing which eventually was HCJIIeCO!!!j rg week. '!here was a lot. 'lb.e coaches would cane down, the high school team, beys fran the team, girls frcm the high school cheerleadi.rq squad, 'WOUld work with the kids. :axt usually it wculd vary fran year to year fran one or two weeks before that particular time. '!hey' d cane da.rm duri.ng their study hall. It was real specjal. 'lhe kids enjoyed the practices just as mudl as the actual game. Q: Did ycu get Dlldl work dane those weeks? A: Not a whole lot, especdally the -week of Hanecanin'J. we tried to get the math ani readirg ani spellin'J (laughter) [and] tried to rotate the other subjects on a day-to-o-day basis, nat get away fran them OCI1pletely 0 Q: SO lbDeoanirg, which we kim of think of as a high school event really involved everybody? A: Right. Yes, it really did. saneti:mes the elementa:ry teachers were ready to forget the next year, ''We aren •t goin;J to do this again!" (laughter) But the children really did enjoy it. But there was lots of work involved, especially for the yt:JllD3'Sr grades I think the teacher maybe had to do a little DDre than in the upper grades. Q: In addition to the basketball games, were there ather special days? 13 A: Ch, they had hat day, badkwaJ:ds day, the high school had fifties day, :red, white ani blue day, brin;J-your-OOddy day, so those were fun. Ard scme of those were just specifically for the elementa:Iy. we tried. to pick topics for them you knc7tl, the same as the high school stu::lents. Ard sane years we had the floats, too. we brought in our little wagons, ani we decorated than inside (laughter) ani then they WOJld p.lll those aroun:i in the gym. Q: Yal gave prizes? A: Yes, I think they did. we had awards. I da'l 1t even remember what they were now, but it varied. fran year to year. Q: What time of year was that? A: Usually after Olrisboas. It was January or Februal:y 1 erd of January 1 depen:iin:J on the date for a haDe game that would work out. Q: HeM do you think :people loald.rg fran the outside looked at the Academy? I guess what I'm as'Jd.rg is what kin:i of reputation did the Academy have with other schools, with other teachers? A: I •m sure with Decatur Christian there was always, they were the rival team across tc:Mn. (laughter) I had hoped ani wished aver the years that there were BDre other than sports, you know, when we were together, but I don't know if it's just that as the other schools wool.d start that we would have BDre thin;Js academically 1 like sharing choir thin;;Js or that type of ~ but we didn •t. It could have been a real gaxi time of fellowship with even the teachers fran the school. Evel::yJxdy' s busy with their schedules. About the ally time we'd see each other would be at the state oonventions in the fall. It would have been nice to have gotten together a little more. It's nice to get out ani share ideas especially in a school where you only have one of each grade level. It's nice to talk to-I taught thin.i several years-it's always nice to nm into another thin.i grade teacher am if you were usin;J sane of the same material you could see hc7.or it was goin;J with than. Take saoethirg, an idea that would lfiiOrk for them that you oc:W.d try. Q: Yal mentioned a aonvent.icm. What group was it? A: It again varied. Several years it was the MidWest Association of Olristian SChools. '!hat involved Iniiana, Michigan, Illinois, Mi:nnesata.1 I knew at least these four states ani w would meet at the Hilton [CCnrad Hilton Hotel] in Oti.caqo. '!hat was usually sanetilne in October ani they had speakers fran the American Associatiat of Christian Sc:ilools ani then they would p.lll :people fran pmli&thi.n3' oanpanies an:i SCIIIe of the schools that were involved in trai.n:inq teachers. It was usually a two--day session, 'Ihursday ani Friday, in the Qrlcaqo area. '!hose were sane fun times. Q: 'lhe faculty went up as a group? A: Right. '!hey were good sharing times. 14 Q: Hcltti large a convention are 'We taJ.ld.rq alx:'lut? A: I 'WOUld say, th.l:ee, four, five t:h.ousan:1. the past two years, I think with the risir:g of all expenses the Chicago area has gotten to be very cxstl.y and so they've tried. just a state convention the past oauple of years in central Illinois at Nol:mal, calvaey Baptist. Ani that has been 'Well received and well a:t:t:er.ded but 'W8 1 re tal.k:in;J about five hurr.b:'ed now so • • • Q: Is it the same format with teac:::heJ::s and workshcps? A: Yes. Q: can ¥W tell me al:Jout, let's see, I can't raniiE!Il'lher the title, "Fantastic Ideas," no, "Fun Ideas for a Fantastic First." wasn't that a tc::pic of a 'WOl:'kshop you gave? (la.u;jhter) A: I just shared a lot of thin;Js that worked. I have the outline, the sylla'bus on file, but I da'l't k'nc7tl if I oculd cane up with all those, 'We just shared a lot of ideas of art projects, tea.ch..irg :readi.ng ideas, math, games, tl'l:in;;Js, that you could do. It was fun. Q: Ib you :raueniher which year that conventicn was? A: Of caxrse not. (laughter) Q: I t.1.'lc:ll.:a.; you might rememer that year. A: If you found. the informatial ••• Q: I just l.'1!IIII!IIDbe that l'.lE!cause I think a lot of us carried. [sanples and equipnent] • En:1 of Side one, Tape one Q: Were there ather association ~? 1st •s see, the Academy belO'l"g'Ed to the illinois Association of Qlristian SChools? Were there arw kini of meetings where people shared, you had this kini of ••• A: Right. I dca'J.'t recall too 1111Ch. '!here were a few years that 'We 'WOUld take a day and teache:r:s oculd go visit another school. Ani w 'WOUld do that. '!bat was Jdn::i of nioe, too, cause you 'WOUld have a dlance to visit a similar grade level or other grade levels. Q: was the Association art'li.D'Xi When the school started? A: I da'l' t I&iil!!lll'ler. wen I I •m b:yirg to think t.«la.t I even had here on their big banner, that I was just looldn;;J at your quilt am all I can see is the dates on there l97o-1989, but there might be SCDething that I have that they shew the years of that. It seSII1E!IC1 like that started later. I k.now it started after our school because I can ra11111tler for a oauple of years we went to, it was another organization, I da'l 't remember for sure, like the National union of 15 Olristian SChools or saoet:hin;, but it was based in Intianapolis or sane other town. It was in Imiana. I kn.ow we went aver there a oouple of years and it was a different organization. B.lt I think the American Association was fm:med. after we got started, not too lag after that or maybe even abcut the same time. Q: Ani it was made up of schools of like develcpnent ani character? A: I think so, yes. Q: When you mentiam sports cx:mprtition anw:xg schools, wasn't at one time there was sane academic o:aupetition? A: YM, there were sane. Ani they have through the years, 1::ut I don't think we've always participated in them. one of the reasons, the elemental:y especially, nat I think the high school has nDre frequently, 1::ut the elementary a lot of times they were up in Rockford which we felt was just quite a trip for cur kids to take. Q: I J::&iw=mt'er sane bani o:aupetition at cme time. Of course, that depetXJed on talent. A: Right. Usually the choirs have gone ani then a lot of cur high school students took the written test that would qualify them, but I think the hi~ school tcmnament was held at Nonnal. which would have been better 1f they had the elementary more centrally located in the state like the high sdlool. 'lhey're better travelers than the little ones. Q: 'What was the elementary caupetitiallike? A: Mostly ours that we participated in was spellir:g or maybe taking a math test, written test, and when we had the music, the choirs 'WOUld go. I da1 't think we had anyt:hin;J like speech. Since then they've done that. Mostly it would be DDJSic ani the kids cx:W.d sin3' solos or play inst:ruments. Q: 'What Jdni of fellC711Bhip was there am:n;r the t.eadlers at the Academy? 'Ihel:e were quite a few [teachers]. A: Right. I think pretty good m::st of the time. In fact, carol M:lore ani I were taJ.1ciJ'g about it, she's at another school right l"11W', arxi she says she really mi sees the fellowship. I kn.ow at cur school there wasn •t a Whole lot of time but we had sane good times. '!here were efforts made fran time to time for us to tJ:y to draw everybody together arxi 'We had cur Chrisbnas ga.therin3' ani sanetimes w cx:W.d try to qat eveeybody together for a fall weiner roast or sanet:hin;r like that. Q: can you name sane of the faculty over the years as the school got larger? You named sane of them at the beginning, can you name sane of them towaJ::d the erx:i? A: one at the begi.nnirq I hadn't mentiated was Sharon Hayes. She taught lcimergart:en for us for a while, I mentioned Del:i)ie Ames, SUe 16 Ray was another teacher that came. I think she was at Boody an:l I mentia'lEid, I think, Pat Provianoe, taught third an:1 fourth. sue Ray was UJ;PDr grades; for a while, Jan Gaffey. 'Ihe last years, [Jolm] COfer, math, GaJ:y Burns, scien:e, an:l Diane Hadley's husband taught science, I can't remember his first name ••• Q: Nelson. A: Nelson Hadley taught science for a while. We had Alberta Brown, Bill CUimi.n:Jbam, the Elliotts, Qruck an:l Joarme, Greg Wood, Sherra1 Wood, the Davises, Gayle an:l Pastor Jolm. Gayle taught sane, Pastor Jolm had chapel. wayne COker, Diane COker, let's see. Bob HerDerson, L:i.n:la Moore taught one year? Q: FUll-time, one year. Part-time a OCAJPle of years. A: carol Bailey, Eima. SChafer, Eleanor Deverick, Cin:ti Brehm -were secretaries. Pastor Loser did sane t.eachi1g in recent years. Kathy Hoover, Pam Green, Vickie Ferguson, fran Fellowship [Baptist Qrurch, Mt. Zia1, Illinois]. I'm sure I left cut prcbably saDebx1y who taught this past year. I guess I mentia'lEid carol [M:Jore] , I •m tryin:J to go through the classroans. Q: How' large -were your classes in the peak enrollment? A: I think we were aram.i twenty-five. I had a group as large as twenty-seven. Q: Really. Was that your lm:gest class? A: Yes. Q: 'lbat 1 s incredible. 'lhen how large was your last class? A: 'Ihirteen. Q: 'lbat's a nice size. A: '!hat was a very nice size. Q: So we adjed two roans to the Academy for the needed space and I guess I need to knc7tl M'lat you t:hcRJght haR;lened. A: You mean Wtrfl Q: Yes, why the decline? A: I think, Lil'm, a lot of it I feel like is just in the 01ristian movemant so to speak. I think there are just a lot of people who have gotten involved 1n other ~ an:l their priorities are charqirg. Well, I knc7tl hew busy I was, I kn:Jw hcw busy I am n:M. we had a man that spoke at em- Maranatha Class meetin:J saturday night an:l he was real interestin::.J. He was tal.ki.rv:J about the gocxi old days an:l the way people sperd their time an:l the 'IV, how' liD.lCh. a part of CAJr lives [it is] , how what we see motivates us in other directions, let alcme the 17 time we sperxl in front of it viewil'g ~. A lot of these ~ people get so wrapped up in that they lose that desire to be really close to the lord ani to make the sacrifices ani the time ani the effort just to be in the Bible ani prayer time am settirq sane goals, priorities made for their families that would draw them into that closer fellowship with the Lord. Because their goals ard focuses are in other areas their mney goes Where their focuses are ani I think a lot of them just felt they didn •t want to spen:l the mney, too. Of course, risixg costs of evm:yt:hin;J n:mni.rrJ a private school has increased, too ani • • • Q: What are the possibilities, you mentioned lOCI11eY that was suggested, the cost of maintainiD;J a separate l:uildin;j? A: I •m sure that's been a big factor, too, as I look at other schools that they have their clmrdl operated in the same brl.ldixg. Of course financially they are in llllCh better shape. Q: Because it was finally finances that closed the buildixg ani the school. A: Right. Q: I've given the others an q:portunity to say anythj.rg they wanted to aba.rt the school, I' 11 give you a dlanoe to say. I •ve exhausted nw list of questions, I think. We've covered evezyt:h.in;;J p1etty good. Is there ~ that we've lett out that you can think of? A: Not a Whole lot historically but I think sane of the good t.hin;Js that I remember about the sctlool. I remFIDber special families, families that really loved the IDrd ani they did evezythin;J they oould to be a part of what was goirq on to help the school. Of course we had the other extreme, too, you JaxJw. You have saue stuients that would be c:ut:st:.an:lin, but it always goes back to the haDe. What these people were doixg, their attitmes at heme, their attitlxles tawanls the sctlool reflect in their children and there were those Who always did a lot of a"'CX1..1ragixg. I think you were cme that wt'Uld write nates, a thank you or SCil1St:hiiq you awreciated, those neant a lot to teachers. 'lhsy really did. '!here were a lot of people that were a real bleesin;J to teachers ani I •m glad I had contact with them through the schcol. It 1 s interesti.r'q to see what many of them are do~ l'lCM. sane were disappointed (laughter) that they aren't maybe followirJ;J the Iord a little JtDre closely not speakin:J of jd:IS or~, but just in their interest in the thin;Js of the IDrd. Of course, that's really a major goal at the school is to help kids prepare so that when they go out that they want to continue with the I.ord ani that's what we hc:pe to see. Here again the Whole pw:pose of the school is to SIJl:PC)rt what the famili• want, what the parents want for their children. '!heir focuses ani goals c:ilan;Jed. '!be fulx:tion of the school you just can •t pmme if your parents aren •t ~ those tllirgs. Gcxi established the hane first before a:nyt:hi.rg else, before the church, before the school, we're just a ministry even of the chUrch, ani we're an extension of what the bane is like. '!hat's basically what I think, not just East Park, I think there's a o"mnent that for erery school, Cllristian school, that opened, there are two closirg. Q: S0 it IS not just East Park Academy? A: I think it's a pattem, right. 18 Q: So at one time -we st:arted cut with, I forget the statistic, t:ut eNerY few minutes one was openixq. Now 'We have gone the other side? A: Probably. I haven't heard very many recent statistics, but I'm sure it • s c:::harged. Q: so when you look back through 1972, any favorite episodes? A: 'Well, you 1cnc:M, when 'We'd have the meetiD;J at the erd of the year am there were sane questia1s asked alx:ut what do you remember ani those are tllin3s that I just even as a teacher, 1:.hi.rgs that would happen in the classroan ani I would say 1 "Cil, I should write tllat down, 11 becuase I'm not a story teller. (laughter) If I fin::l a cute joke or sanethi.n:J like that I have to :really practice it to be able to tell it. I'd like to close with this recent issue of '"'he Balance" fran Bob JCileS university. It mentions crucial issues Cllristian schools 11IIJS't face in the 1990s 1 ani it lists just seven problems that are am:n:J our met serious challen;JeB today. I think thls sums up sane thirgs, ard then of caJrSe it goes into detail in each of these areas. I'll just give you those challerJ3eS: financial instability, CX11111Ul'licat.irg our goals ard ci:)jectives, maJdn;J really c:l.ear 'What the prupose of the school is, a general spiritual decline in our churdles, ~ Cllristian distinctives1 disintegration of the family l.U'lit, achievin:J an appropriate level of professionalism while maintai.nin;J our Cllristian PtiJ.osophy, ani increasin:J government pressure at all levels. 'Ihese are challenges that the Cllristain schools just have to face, t:hiniJs that are oc:anin;J up. 'lhis article mentions sane ways of addressfn:J needs ani evalua~ sane of these thin;Js. Q: ]):) you fini a lot of those 'Were true in the case of the Academy? A: I'm sure the financial instability, definitely. I hadn't :really thought too 1lllCh about oarm.micat.irg our goals ard ci:)jectives, bit you knew' a lot of times we were to list each year cut goals for the year ard I think that was good. we as t.eacbers gave them to our administrator J::.ut maybe - needed to get together with the parents ItDre and say this is what we want to ~ish. 'lhat might have helped, too, just a little nwxe 0"'1'" • I think the spiritual decline in our ctnJrches, definitely. Maintainin:;J Olristian distinctives, I think it becunes DDre ani more ••.. Q: What is meant by Cllristian distinctives? A: I was goi.rg to see What this particular article •.. "to be 'WOrthy of the name of Olrist, Cllristian schools DBJSt maintain a l.U'lique spiritual distinctness in the character of its student lxdy, 11 the kids, their attitudes, J:lc:N they are out away fran the school, not only in the school, the character of the faculty, the academic program, what 'W8 expect of our students, their behavior. All of these decisions must be weighed ani what we feel wtW.d be Gc:xi • s desires for yourg people. 19 Q: What did you think about the acadaaics at the Academy? A: I t:l':lcu;ht -we had a gcod program, I really did, especially in the e1EI.Dat1tary. we had sane various views on sare of the high school areas, blt I really didn't teach that. I saw the material an:i the t.ex:t:books an:i I tht:::lught they were very gcod. Of CC~UrSe, who's doi.n;J it has a big influence on what's oove:r:ec! and haw it's handled. Q: :eu:t what you knew about personally, the elementary? A: Right. Q: was that the principal's jab to supervise that an:i make sure that the acadadcs were what they were supposed to be? A: I'm sure the administrator would keep tabs on that, CCIIII.'lllll'lcating with the teac:hers an:i of course -we had scme ad1ievaDent testirr;J wch was a good key. we had a couple of years that -we didn't qive that because of the high cost of that an:i we were faci.n;J sane financial problem an:i we felt this was maybe a1e area we could do this every year. I don •t know' haw it affects the validity of yaJr test, if they don't have this every year an:i then they gat out of the greave of the test.irrJ, this fear aspect an:i all this. I mean these are factors you just don •t know' haw they helped. Ard I dan •t think our school has had aqy gavemment pressure. In fact I think in Maocn County we've really had good su;part :f:ran the CCIU1'lty offic.les. '!hat's just Where I had my contact, with [sc:bool] District #61, too. we•ve just had sane real good rapport, so to speak. Q: Y01.1 lest your jab when the school closed. ~t did you do? A: I know' it was a difficult time. I sa.tght the I.l::>rd's direction in 'What He would have na do. I checksd out several ather Olristian schools. I saw as I wcul.d c:hec:k them out sare of the same things, ma.ybe financial instability or saara area of prcgram that had affected our school an:i so I didn't really fir.d ~ l:ly the time school started that I really wanted to do. I'd been 'WOt.k:in;J part-time at the teacher supply store, so that cg;:ort:unity to CXlll1tinue on a more full-time basis ba:ame real plus ~ at the Reqic:mal Office of F.ducatial as sort of a :t"EtSCCI.::rC person m the same area as the teacher store. so, it's been fun because I'm still wor1d.n;:r with t.eachers, even the Christian school teache:rs, also public school teachers [am] am able to share a lot of ideas that I •ve accunulated t::Jll8r the years. It 1 s just a real challengi:rq area right :t':K7N' an:i veey fulfillir.g. Q: Are you lea.vin:J the door cpen? A: Yes, definitely. Q: Do you miss it? A: I dan't think I have, Linda, totally, just to be honest, the tea.c:trl.rl). I guess I •ve wanted to do saaethir.g like this for so looq that I •m just enjayln,J it thoroughly. 'lbere are times that saaethir.g will pep into my ~ an:i then I •u miss that blt just the classroom 20 per se, I'm still et'lCII.J3h in the teachin;J, I •m with curriallum ani a lot of this ani I'm with children in other areas so I have all of it but I'm just right now nat teachi:rg children that :nuch. Q: we•re talkin;J, What seventeen years [of teachi:rg]? A: At the Academy. 'lWenty-two years total. Q: so it's nat a bad time for a break? A: Right. Q: 'lhere • s not:llin3' wnDJ with that. can you tell me real quick abc:Rlt your math involvement at Illinois state university ani hc:M that ha];:pened? A: OUr principal gave me a letter one time ani said, ''Mal:ge, you might be interested in this." You knc7tl you qet a lot of mail ani I just really felt this was the Lord's lea.din; in hc:7il all this worked out too because I'm sure he [Mr. M::x:>re] pitched a lot of stuff (laughter) ani said, "You might like to do this." so I filled out the application, it was for a math workshop at ISU ani ••• Q: On the element:aJ:y [level]? A: Yes, and it was teachi:rg basic facts, addition, subtraction, :multiplication, division facts ani I was signin:J up as what they called the project person. As a result of tak:i:rg this we -were paid a sti:peni, I dan •t zemember how" much it was, very generous ani at the e:rd of the session we were to go back to our school ani present mini -workshops I guess you'd call it to sane of the teachers. '!hen we wcul.d receive a kit of aver $500 worth of teachi:rg aids with this. A lot of people t.akin;:J this ocm:se just took the course l:ut they were rea.chin;;r out to our area for project people ani this is what we were able to have. It was a 'WOl'Xierf'ul thi.n:J for our school ani I was able to go back ani share. First ani secarxl grade teachers at that time were interested in iroxpora:t.in:J sane of the prcgzam I had. '!hen the same instructor came to the area arxl sane of them atterded her workshop ani got DDre familiar with it. '!hen I went back later an:1 worked with carol, assisted her at ISU. I had develc:p!d sane manuals to go alon'J with her ~cg:cam for maki.rq it easier for the teachers to make the material. Kirxi of a ''make ani take. 11 Q: 'What was her name? A: carol 'lhornt.al. so that was fun arxl it was time when I really needed to brancil out. Math wasn't my favorite subject l:ut I really got a lot of new perspective after the course ani then went back ani took at least one other course, ''Methods ani Tren::ls in Elementary Math. " Exposed to a lot of new t:hirJ3s, you knc7tl. '!hen I've been able to share those in sane of the Christian schools association workshops. Q: Well, I awrecfate your time. I can't think of anyt:hi.IJ3' else unless you can. Is there anythin;(?
|Title||East Park Baptist Academy - Interviews and Memoir|
East Park Baptist Academy, Decatur (Ill.)
|Description||This memoir consists of five interviews with administrators and teachers of the East Park Baptist Academy in Decatur, Illinois. They discuss the creation and operation of the school: its governing board, curriculum, school activities, faculty, superintendent and administrators, buildings, enrollment growth, and its closing in 1989. They also discuss education in Christian schools, development of the history curriculum from a Christian perspective, and different philosophical approaches to education found in Christian and public schools. Included in the memoir are photocopied pictures of the school building, a newspaper article regarding the closing of the school, a list of graduates, and a paper entitled "Why We Need Christian Schools."|
|Creator||East Park Baptist Academy|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||Moore, Linda [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||East Park Baptist Academy Memoir - Part 1|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
East Park Baptist Academy Memoir
EA77. East Park Baptist Academy Memoir
Interview and memoir
5 tapes, 344 mins., 122 pp., 2 vols.
Anderson, Marjorie Ellen
Henderson, Robert L.
Wood, William Gregory
This memoir consists of five interviews with administrators and teachers of the
East Park Baptist Academy in Decatur, Illinois. They discuss the creation and
operation of the school: its governing board, curriculum, school activities,
faculty, superintendent and administrators, buildings, enrollment growth, and its
closing in 1989. They also discuss education in Christian schools, development
of the history curriculum from a Christian perspective, and different
philosophical approaches to education found in Christian and public schools.
Included in the memoir are photocopied pictures of the school building, a
newspaper article regarding the closing of the school, a list of graduates, and a
paper entitled "Why We Need Christian Schools."
Interview by Linda Moore, 1989
See collateral file: interviewer's notes, copy of the student handbook, copy of the
letter informing parents of the school's closing, graph showing enrollment 1975-
1989, and a copy of entrance requirements and tuition.
See individual collateral files
For tapes see individual names
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1989 University of Illinois Board of Trustees
East Park Baptist Academy Memoir
Marjorie Ellen Anderson 24 pages
Robert L. Henderson 21 pages
Jack Moore 23 pages
Betty Warren 22 pages
William Gregory Wood 17 pages
East Park Baptist Academy was started in 1970 by
the membership of East Park Baptist Church as an
alternative to public education and as a reaction
to Supreme Court decisions in the 1960s banning
prayer and Bible reading in public schools. The
church is located at 1762 E. Prairie Street,
Decatur, Illinois. The school reached its peak
in terms of enrollment in the early 1980s and
began a decline that ended with its closing in
1990 SANGAMON STATE UNIVERSITY. SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield. Illinois 62794·9243.
· .. cl ,·· .. . ·,, .. ~ : ·:: '' "
!,".-·'~:if' ' ·:' ' ... ' . ' ' ' .
, ·. 118 ';CaltbaltUiinais · ... ·oecatur, Illinois •Thursdav,·April27, 1989>
· By THERESA CBURCBII.L : . . 1980s, now stands at 115. :
· . Herald & R~ Lifestyle Writer ''As Caterpillar laid people off'
: ··The Class of '89 will 'be the last· and other economic problems _hit
tQ graduate from East Park Bap- Decatur," Pierson said, "our en-tist
Academy in Boody. · ·. · .: . · · rollmentwent down." · ·
The Board of Deacons .of. East .
Park Baptist Church in D,ecat\ir'' ·. :Ind~; as a cOst-saving D}eas~
has decided to close the school ure, the academy opened last Jail .'
after the May 26 graduation. · · · . with with one kindergarten class
· ;, Paul Pierson, chairman of the . instead Of two and combined
board, said declining enrollment classes 'of first-' and second~
and resulting finanCial pressures graders" and fifth~ and. s.ixth~
forced the closure .. · · ... · ; • , grad~s_.
:"The school is supported by the ' The B'oard of· Deacons· dis-'
c~urch," he explained, "and we cussed a: large tuition increase to
couldn't "let· it jeopardize the · keep the school open another year·
§t&bility of the church.!' ; · · ' · · but teceived projeCtions that· such .
"""He added that the school has a hike would slash enrollment to ·
'been part of the church for nearly . 40 students. · · ·
two decades and closing it was "a , . . .
,~difficult decision' to make." . . ~·we've already run up some; ...
;n The acad~y began in.1970 as1a . deficits·, •1. said Pierson, who. de"
:ltitdergarten program operated aj; · clined to be more specific, '.'·We
the church, 1762 E. Prairie Av.e, ·just couldn't bring ends together
~ditional grades were· added· andmake them meet."
YfSr by year until a complete. pro- · · . · . 1 b · ·
.gram for kindergar~~m th,r9ugh LOsmg their Jo.bs .wil . e eigh.t..
nth grade was begun for the 197~ full-time teachel's
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|