THE SCHOOL BEGINS
For the 1911-1912 school year the Fort Smith church operated a school with Miss Mary Wilbur as the teacher (Yearbook, 1912). The following school year the teacher was Miss Zella Miller (Yearbook, 1913). For the 1917-1918 school year enrollment was the highest ever at forty-seven with more than half the students from non-Adventist families (Hickman, 1917). The 1920-1921 school year began with as many students as could be accommodated and Miss Erma Hooten as the teacher (Record, 1920).
Fort Smith again opened a school for the 1930-1931 school year with Mrs. Roscoe Wentz as the teacher (Hanhardt, 1930). It only operated a year or two, then in 1936 Elder Ruf announced that Fort Smith was one of the new schools opening that year (Ruf, 1936). They opened with a new two-room school building with Mrs. Roscoe Wentz again as the teacher (Pound, 1937). In 1942, they added ninth and tenth grades to the elementary (Roy, 1942). They had two teachers that year, but the following year dropped back to one (Wells, 1943). The school closed at the end of the 1960 school year but reopened in 1962.
In 1977, Pastor Roger Rustad reported to the superintendent of schools that he was concerned about the small size of the church school in his district. After some serious discussion about his dream for his church, teacher Eva Hevener was employed to teach the six-student, one-room school. Together pastor and teacher worked to increase student enrollment. Before school began in 1980, three teachers were employed and school opened with forty-three students (St. John, 1980).
A New School Building
In 1984, construction began on a new school facility on the recently purchased church property on Jenny Lind Road. In 1991 an unattached 10,000 square foot gym/auditorium was constructed on the property and served as a place of worship for the church (Eddy, 1992).
Darlene Barnett teaching at the Fort Smith Seventh-day Adventist School in 1984.
Photo courtesy of Don Hevener.
(1912, 1913) Yearbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination. Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
(1920, Oct. 12). Southwestern Union Record, p. 11.
(1956, Sep. 19). Ibid., p. 2.
Eddy, Dale. (1992, Jul. 1). Ibid., p. 18.
Hanhardt, W. H. (1930, Oct. 15). Ibid., p. 2.
Hickman, N. R. (1917, Nov. 6). Ibid., p. 3.
Pound, I. C. (1937, Sep. 22). Ibid., p. 8.
Roy, R. J. (1942, Jul. 29). Ibid., p. 1.
Ruf, A. F. (1932, Jul. 6). Ibid., p. 2.
Ibid. (1936, Aug. 26). p. 3.
St. John, Anthony. (1980, Sep. 18). Ibid., p. 6.
Wells, F. D. (1943, Dec. 15). Ibid., p. 2.