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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

New Sikeston school opens its doors

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Second grade teacher Deanna Ginther goes over her lessons for students.
SIKESTON -- Sam Warren is just like any other kindergartner. He is learning his ABCs and numbers and enjoys recess.

But at Sam's school, he also recites pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible.

"I like to learn about Jesus and Bible verses," Sam said Wednesday before his library class began.

The Christian Academy in Sikeston opened its doors for the first time at the old First National Bank location on Kingshighway Sept. 19, and so far the school is proving successful, said Board of Directors President, the Rev. Carl Addison.

"The parents I've talked to are absolutely thrilled and are amazed at what their kids are learning," Addison said. "They are grateful for the class size and the attention devoted to each individual student, and they like the Bible they're learning in addition to the regular learning."

Administrator Debra Davis said the school's enrollment is also looking good. Typically, new schools are lucky to have 10 students the first year, and The Christian Academy has 15 enrolled, she pointed out.

The idea for the school originated from some pastors a couple years ago, Addison recalled. It was never intended to be something in competition with local public schools, he added.

"We began to sit and think about trying to find a way to offer an alternative to public education," Addison said.

The Board of Directors is filled with pastors from different church denominations as well as other individuals in the community, Davis pointed out.

But the initiation of the school didn't reflect on anything of the public schools, Addison assured.

"There was just a growing cry in community for a Christian educational alternative for kids and we felt compelled to meet that need," Addison explained.

Parents wanted an opportunity to send their kids to school and have a curriculum biblical in its foundation and environment that was Christian in nature, Addison noted.

Currently, the school offers classes for 4-year-old prekindergarten students up to second grade. It's the Board of Directors and administrator's hope to add a grade every year so that second graders will still have a place with the school in the fall, Addison said.

"We're determined to see it succeed," Addison said.

Since the school just began, its offerings are limited, but all of the core subjects are taught as well as Bible classes, Davis said. Special classes are also offered in physical education, art, music and library. An after school program is provided and the school serves hot lunches. "We're just a Christian alternative to the regular public school system," said Davis, who has a degree in music education and has taught for 20 years in districts such as Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Kelly.

In addition, every morning Monday through Thursday the entire school meets in a multipurpose room for prayer time, Davis said.

"We do the pledges and have a special chapel service at 9 a.m. where a pastor from community comes in and does a devotion for the kids," Davis explained. The school uses the A Beka program curriculum, which is used by a lot of home schoolers and Christian schools, Davis said.

"It's pretty tough and demanding. Education is in math, science, reading, health -- the all typical subjects, but it has a strong Bible component."

Four full-time teachers and three part-time teachers make up the staff at the school. All of the school's full-time classroom teachers have elementary education degrees, Davis noted.

"And it's not something we have to do, but we choose to do," she pointed out.

For 30 years, Peggy Grimes was a librarian for all grades in the Charleston Public School system, and now she comes in every Wednesday as the librarian for The Christian Academy students.

"It's just a joy," said Grimes as she prepared to teach library Wednesday.

Doors open at 7:30 a.m. with school beginning at 8:15 a.m. Although school lets out at 3:15 p.m., the after school program is available until 5:30 p.m.

Davis said there is still room for more students, but again reminds that the school is not in competition with anyone.

She said: "We simply want to provide an alternative for parents who want a Christian school that gives a high quality Christian education."

For more information about The Christian Academy, visit www.ilovetca.com or call (573) 481-0216.