West Alabama Christian offers a local alternative in education

Published 10:13 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

Parents in the Demopolis area now have an alternative education choice that emphasizes Christian values in a classroom setting.

Located at Fairhaven Baptist Church, West Alabama Christian School opened its doors two years ago as a pre-school and began offering kindergarten, first- and second-grade courses last fall.

“There had been a lot of people praying about opening a school for some time,” said school administrator Ronni Long. “We wanted to get away from the ‘private school’ persona. As a Christian school, we are completely different.”

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This year, West Alabama Christian will offer courses from pre-kindergarten through the third grade.

“We are adding a grade every year,” said Long. “We have gained some students this year, so we have about 62 students.”

Future plans for the school include eventually expanding to offer classes through the 12th grade and constructing additional buildings on the church property.

“There are still a lot of questions,” Long said, “but we will get there because we are thinking ahead.”

The school currently employs nine pre-school teachers, four elementary teachers and a pre-school director. West Alabama Christian uses the A Beka Book curriculum, which enhances classic academic disciplines with distinctly Christian directives. The school also includes Bible classes in its curriculum, which count toward the honor roll the same as math or language classes would. Students attend chapel services in the sanctuary once a week.

Long stated that the goal of the school is to teach Christian doctrines as opposed to denominational doctrines.

“We fall under the Baptist church, but we don’t teach religion,” Long said. “We teach that Jesus Christ is the way to heaven and the foundations of what it means to be a Christian.”

Long said that tuition costs should not keep students from enrolling.

“We are a ministry of Fairhaven Baptist Church,” she said. “There is tuition, but it’s kept low enough so that it’s family-friendly to finances.”

Long emphasized the legitimacy and mission of the school.

“We are a real school with an aggressive curriculum and certified teachers; we are as real as it gets,” she said. “People think we are competing with the city schools, but we’re not. We’ve got a good thing going if Demopolis gets behind it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s nice to have a choice.”

A fund-raiser sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Organization is scheduled in September to help defray the costs of tuition for the students. Those interested in purchasing chicken plates may call the school’s office at 289-0902.

Student registration is ongoing. Those interested in applying may contact the school office and pick up a registration packet from Fairhaven.