HARRELLS — Inside Harrells Christian Academy, Paula Matthis removed the purple and yellow letters from a hallway message board.
Together the words made up Philippians 4:8. A new verse from the Bible is going up — John 3:16.
“We will leave it up all year and will promote that thought and felling throughout the year,” she said about the verse which teaches Christians about God’s love for the world. “It’s a message of hope for all of us.”
Along with other educators, the spiritual life director for HCA said she is excited a new school year and providing guidance to students.
The first day of school for students is Thursday. Tenth-grader Brooke Raynor is one of those students. She has attended HCA since kindergarten.
“I like the Christian atmosphere and all the great teachers who are willing to help you anytime or any day,” Brooke said.
Like a lot of students Brooke is a little sad that summer is almost over, but she is excited about the schedule she just received from guidance counselor Beverly Bridgers. It offers a variety of choices which include online classes, electives, and subjects such as math and chemistry.
Headmaster Marcus Skipper is excited about the upcoming school year, as well. He led the first faculty meeting before the school year.
“We’re excited,” he said. “Today was our first faculty meeting. We had a lot of positive energy. We sort of redirected our vision and our mission. We’re in the process of redefining that for our teachers. I feel like they’re extremely happy.”
That leads to the open house event.
An orientation is scheduled for today, Aug. 12. The event is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. for kindergarten through fifth grade students, followed by middle and high school orientation from 6 to 8 p.m.
“We want to make our students feel comfortable and really feel like HCA is a place they can come, be nurtured and be successful,” Skipper said. “We always have a few butterflies and look forward to that first day. We’re gearing up and we’re going to be ready for the kids when they come in on Thursday.”
Gina Strickland, HCA public relations specialist, said it’s a challenge operating a K-12 school, with different departments, but it’s rewarding as well.
“There are many great rewards, many. Challenges, too, but the rewards are far greater,” she said. “You have high school students that form relationships and bonds with elementary students. The elementary students look up to the middle and high schools students. It’s just a great bond that it creates.”
Strickland said the school is still accepting student applications for all grade levels. For more information, call 910-532-4575 or visit www.harrellsca.com.
“I’m looking forward to a great school year,” Skipper said. “We have a fantastic faculty and HCA is the place to be.”
Chase Jordan can be reached at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter@SampsonInd.