THE SCHOOL BEGINS
In about 1907, Ernest Amos Spring and his wife, Florence, moved to Hot Springs from St. Joseph, Missouri. June 2, 1908, their son, Glenn, was born (Ancestry, 2019) and the following year, Florence began a church school with six pupils in the dining room of her home. The Springs moved to Lamott Street in 1913, but continued the school in their home (History, 2019). On September 13, 1920, school opened with Miss Emma Schwarz, from Tennessee, as the teacher. The enrollment the first day was good with prospects of the attendance reaching about twenty (Record, 1920). Earlier that same year the church had purchased land on St. Louis and Central Avenue, and on September 19, 1921, a one-room school opened in the northwest corner of the church with Erma E. Hooten teaching. Clifford Bell was the first graduate of the Hot Springs school receiving his diploma that year. During the 1922-1924 school years, Emma Hooper was the teacher with seventeen students (History, 2019). For the 1930-1931 school year there were seven schools in the Arkansas Conference, one of which was Hot Springs with Miss Cleo Dampf as the teacher (Hanhardt, 1930). Miss Gladys Shafer taught the following year (Record, 1932). Teachers while the school was in the St. Louis and Central Avenue location included Fremona Black, Gladys Shafer, Doris Goldsberry, Earl Shafer, Edith Harper, and Cleo Dampf (History, 2019).
During seven of the years of the Great Depression, the school was closed. It reopened in 1940 with seven pupils and Mrs. W. M. Ladd as the teacher. During the early war years it closed again but reopened in 1944 with Ruby Pine as the teacher of eighteen students. Teachers over the next ten years included Mrs. D. Whetstone, Mrs. L. P. Ferguson, Mr. and Mrs. George Warden, Richard Powell, Mrs. Clay Mathis, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Newmeyer, Alma Riter, and Jacqueline Shain. In September 1955, the church caught fire and was nearly destroyed. Property was purchased on Gardner Street and a new church was completed in 1957. The school continued at the St. Louis and Central Avenue location and it was another eight years before a school was added to the new church building complex on Gardner Street. Teachers during that time included Mary Bell Potter, Nettie Mae Allen, Robert Rodgers, Ruby Pine, Sarabel Cornell, Esther Guyot, Mrs. J. S. Jamison, and Carolyn Wolcott Broud (History, 2019).
E. A. Spring Junior Academy
In May 1963 it was voted to sell the Hot Springs school property on St. Louis and Central Avenue (Minutes, 1963). By the end of 1963 a new educational building to be built adjacent to the church was off the drawing board of the architect at Hot Springs. The cash was in hand and they were ready to start building on the lot where the new church was now in use (Evans, 1964). The groundbreaking ceremony was held March 10, 1964, for the building which would have space for twenty-five students, a dorcas room, and a fellowship and recreation area (Jameson, 1964). March 20, 1965, an open house and dedication were held for the new Education-Recreation-Welfare building on Gardner Street. Sylvia Brooks taught the school from 1965-1968, followed by Ann Stacy. The board voted to name the school E. A. Spring Junior Academy in honor of the family who had helped start the Hot Springs church and school (History, 2019).
Sunshine Valley Academy
For a while, Ruby Edwards drove students from the Malvern area to attend the school at Hot Springs. A need for more space led to the school moving to Sunshine, an unincorporated community in Garland county. The school was renamed Sunshine Valley Academy and the first graduate was Greg Mooney in 1976. Eventually a gymnasium was built, but in 1981 the school was closed. The students were bused to the Bonnerdale school for the next two years (History, 2019).
In 1983 the Sunshine Valley property was sold and Hot Springs reopened their school at the Gardner Street location in the E. A. Spring building, with thirteen students and Dely Hechanova as the teacher (Hevener, 1983). With twenty-one pupils the next year, Jackie Tucker was hired as an aide. As growth continued, a new classroom was added and Bob Uhrig joined the teaching staff (History, 2019).
A New School on Weston Road
In the summer of 1996 the Hot Springs church launched a three-phase building program on property just off Weston Road that overlooked Highway 270. Phase one was a 7,500 square-foot building that would become the fellowship hall and Sabbath school wing when the school was completed in phase three, but meanwhile, school opened in this new facility on August 20, 1998. With thirty-eight students the enrollment more than doubled the previous year. The head teacher and teacher for grades five through eight was Loralee Muhlenbeck. Tonda Smith taught grades one through four, and Terri Pennington was the Kindergarten teacher (Bissell, 1998).
Hot Springs Adventist School
On January 15, 1999, the Hot Springs church members sold their property at 200 Gardner Street. About a month later, on February 13, 1999, the ground breaking ceremony was held for phase two of their three-phase building program. Pastor Andrew Adams, building committee chair, Roger Trubey, school board chair, Regina Cuipitu and other members turned the first shovelfuls of dirt at the new building site. The focus was now on the school building and the sanctuary. The school building would include a day-care, three classrooms, a gymnasium, and a library, for grades K-8. Construction of the sanctuary began soon after the building for the school had begun, and these final two phases continued simultaneously (Record, 2001). The Hot Springs Adventist School facility was completed and the school was moved from the Fellowship Hall to the new building during the 1999-2000 school year (History, 2019).
(1920, Oct. 12). Southwestern Union Record, p. 11.
(1932, Aug. 17). Ibid., p. 3.
(1963, May 23). Minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Conference Association. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
(2001, Nov. 1). Ibid., p. 18.
(2019). History of the Hot Springs Seventh-day Adventist Church and School.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2009, Jan. 11). Phillip Calvin Shockey. Retrieved from ancestry.com.
Ibid. (2014, Feb. 28). Ernest Amos Spring.
Ibid. (2019). Glenn Ernest Spring.
Bissell, Juanita. (1998, Nov. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 14.
Evans, I. M. (1964, Jan. 15). Ibid., p. 2.
Hanhardt, W. H. (1930, Oct. 15). Ibid., p. 2.
Hevener, Don. (1983, Oct. 27). Ibid., p. 7.