Harvey Lafayette Gifford, Sr., was born Feb. 12, 1894, in Dallas, Texas, and died unexpectedly Oct. 14, 1971, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Brother Gifford had been a faithful member of the church for over 65 years and had lived most of his life in Shreveport. He loved the youth of the church and donated the land and much labor for the Shreveport Jr. Academy. He also built and donated the Pathfinder Club building. He with his son, built the cabinets in the new Shreveport church. Survivors included his wife, Virgie Mae; one son, Harvey L. “Buck”, Jr.; two daughters: Pauline Leggion and Susan Long; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, two brothers, and one sister.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2012). Harvey Gifford. Retrieved from ancestry.com.
In 1946 a small home church school was being taught in Harrison by Mrs. Evelyn Winters. A few years later, in 1952 the Harrison church was ready to build their first church and the members included a classroom in the building. The Harrison school opened in 1960, closed in 1963, reopened for the 1965-1966 school year, and reopened again in 1968 (Report, 1959-1980). For the next few years, some of the teachers included Mrs. James Madison, Addie Lewis, Linda Malmede, and Lauel Burton. In the late 1960s, because of an increase in the number of students, the room in the church was no longer adequate so a school was built on property donated by Frank Cox, outside of Harrison in the White Oak community. Roby and Charles Hightower were the teachers at that time (History, 1981).
A Country School in 1974
Following the Hightowers, teachers included Richard Garver, Dale Williams, Dorothy Cox, Dr. Edwards, and Dr. Harlyn Blake. Dr. Blake bought a bus and his wife, Karol, transported the children to and from the school, as well as serving as an assistant teacher. A new school out in the country was completed by the 1974-1975 school year. During that time, Wilma Ritchey was in charge of the school library and Clarence Quarnstrom provided employment for some of the older students, packaging honey and making frames for his hives. From 1961 to 1978, Marion Allen Bearden was connected with the school, teaching much of the time, sometimes the entire term, other times part of the term, filling in, or as an assistant or as a substitute (History, 1981).
A New School in 1981
It became more and more difficult to have a church school so far out in the country, so after building a new church at Capps, a trailer house was purchased and converted into a school for two years. The teachers during that time were Betty Strout, Connie Hall, and Suzanne Boyer. Mr. Quarnstrom, Mr. Lauer and his family, the Allen family, and James Lanning helped in many other ways as well. Because of their dedication and work, a new school was built in 1981, with Arlin Monroe as the teacher (History, 1981). The school had abundant playground space, a large all-purpose room, kitchen, two restrooms and a classroom. An addition to the facility in 1997 gave additional classroom space, a separate library, a computer room, and a work area for the teacher’s aide (Hevener, 1998).
(1959-1980). Teacher’s Opening Report. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1981). History of Harrison church and school. Provided by Patti Castellano. Unpublished.
Hevener, Don. (1998, Mar. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
In November 1906, Elder Griffin baptized a few people and organized a church of eight members at Lucky, Arkansas. The group had already built a little church in which they had begun meeting although it was not quite finished (Griffin, 1906). Almost immediately they realized they needed a church school for their children (McCoy, 1907). From 1907 to 1910, they had such short school years that the school was not reported in the SDA Yearbook for those years. For the 1910-1911 school year they planned to have a much longer and better year (McCoy, 1910), and they did, with twenty-six students taught by Dewey Kinzer.
Around this time, the Jim and Genie (McConnell) Wilson family moved to this area with their seven children. Their concern had been to find and live near a church school. James, the oldest son, wrote, “There we found a home on a small farm of 60 acres. It was fairly level and not too rocky. There we grew corn and oats and peanuts for feed and cane for molasses. All kinds of garden truck to feed the family. Cows too, of course, for milk and butter. There were several acres in cultivation and we cleared some more. A crop that was new to us was cotton but we soon learned how to do that one, too. It was our principal money crop even though the price was disappointing sometimes….But that church school, how we loved it! Even though it was 2 miles from our home. We didn’t mind the walk. Took a lunch with us, of course. It was here that we began to prepare for some future line of service – teaching, preaching, colporteur work, mission service in some part of the world field. Our search for a church school was ended” (Wilson, n.d.)
The little community of Lucky no longer exists, but by 1931 the school became known as the Bonnerdale school (Hopkins, 1931).
A New School in 1937
The 1937 school year began in a newly built three-room school for the Bonnerdale students (Pound, 1937). In 1942, they went to eleven grades. Edith Ewing was the lower grade teacher and Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Ladd taught the upper grades (Pannell, 1942). The grade levels taught fluctuated with the needs of students.
A New School in 1980
At the end of 1976, Irvin and Evea J. Bainum donated property for new church and school. The school and Ewing Auditorium were built first. The church congregation met in the new auditorium for the first time on December 22, 1979 (Record, 1979). The 1980-1981 school year opened in the new school building which included the auditorium/gymnasium, a $150,000 gift from Irvin and Evea Bainum in memory of Evea’s parents, Albert and Florence Ewing (Shain, 1980). That school year marked the seventy-third year of continuous operation for the school. Enrollment was as low as eight students one year and as high as thirty-one students. The school and Ewing Auditorium were built first. The new school was named Florence Ewing Junior Academy, and in 2010 shortened to Ewing Adventist Junior Academy (Simpson, 2010).
(1976, Dec. 17). Minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Conference Association. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(1979, Dec. 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 12F.
(2010, Aug. 11). Ewing Adventist Jr Academy. Retrieved from eadventist.net.
Griffin, H. Clay. (1906, Nov. 13). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Hopkins, E. B. (1931, May 6). Ibid., p. 3.
McCoy, Ava L. (1907, Feb. 26). Ibid., p. 2.
Ibid. (1910, Oct. 11). p. 3.
Pannell, G. C. (1942, Jul. 29). Ibid., p. 1.
Pound, I. C. (1937, Sep. 22). Ibid., p. 8.
Shain, Jacquelyn. (1980, Oct. 2). Ibid., pp. 4, 5.
Wilson, James Orville. (No Date). An Ordinary Family Serves Humanity, pp. 20, 28.
George Charles Dart, who served as principal of Ozark Adventist Academy from 1996-2002, died March 3, 2012, in Loma Linda, California. Born July 8, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, Elder Dart served the church for more than 50 years as pastor, educator and administrator. He is survived by his second wife, Connie Stewart Dart (his first wife, Naomi Vartenuk, pre-deceased Dart in 1996); four children, Chuck (Sherri), Cheri (Alan), Jed (Lee Lee) and Jolene (Kent); and grandchildren Chad, Kristi, Caroline and Heidi.
Elder Dart started his ministry in Sandusky, Ohio, where he was a singing evangelist. He later became pastor of the Mansfield church and Bible teacher at Mt. Vernon Academy. In 1957, Elder Dart became principal of Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania. In 1964, Elder Dart was called to Texas to pastor the Keene church, and then served as president of the Texas Conference. In 1975, he became principal of Milo Academy in Oregon and eventually superintendent of schools for the Oregon Conference.
After his retirement, Elder Dart served as principal of Ozark Adventist Academy. In 1986, Elder Dart accepted a call to be president of the Southern California Conference, where he served until he retired again in 1993. This retirement was short-lived, as he accepted a call to again serve as principal of Milo Academy. Two years later, Elder Dart moved to Ozark Adventist Academy, to serve again as principal. When he finally retired for good in 2002, Elder Dart and Connie moved to her hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia, where he volunteered at the local church. In 2005, the Darts returned to California.