The School Begins
In 1922 one of the church members donated a small frame building, which he had built for a store, to be used as a church building. This was later moved from its original location to the present site on top of Beacon Hill. The building was only about eighteen by thirty feet. The De Queen school was organized and began operation for the 1930-1931 school year. It was named the Beacon Hill De Queen SDA School, later changed to Beacon Hill Adventist Junior Academy. The De Queen school was one of seven schools in the Arkansas Conference. Mr. H. C. Lambeth was the teacher (Hanhardt, 1930). By this time there were well over one hundred Sabbath school members and they were crowded among the benches and school desks since the same little structure had to serve, not only as church, but also church school building. A new church was built in 1942 and the old church building was used as the school for the 1942-1943 school year. There were two teachers and nearly forty students (Lusk, 1943). In 1954 it was voted to add an addition to the school for recreational purposes (Minutes, 1954).
In the summer of 1973, the members of the De Queen church began talking about a new school building. An old church building that had been standing on the site for the school was sold to the highest bidder for $1,200. Next, the county loaned them their bulldozer, free of cost, for a week to get the site excavated. Actual construction began December 9, 1974, with a large crew of church members. One of the members, Raymond Lambeth, fell and broke his back during the construction, but later recovered (Lambeth, 2022). The new school building was 84 x 27 feet and housed three large classrooms, a large gymnasium, and a kitchen, library, and other rooms, and stood on the same property as the church, with parking space in front of and between the two buildings (Pendergrass, 1974). Beacon Hill Junior Academy opened for the 1975-1976 school year. A church school in De Queen was in continuous operation for eighty-four years, closing in 2014 for lack of students.
(1954, Apr. 14). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Hanhardt, W. H. (1930, Oct. 15). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.
Lambeth, David. (2022, Mar. 2). Phone conversation with Stephen and Rebecca Burton.
Pendergrass, Gordon. (1974, Aug. 10). Ibid., p. 9-10.