The School Begins
About 1947 Laurence and Frances Paranto moved to Monticello and purchased a farm with the hopes of some day turning the farm and equipment into a self-supporting unit that could do some good in the community. On January 11, 1950, the Parantos, together with Mr. and Mrs. Schmale, and May Sumner, met together to form a legal corporation. They chose as the title of this new organization, The Monticello Farm School and Convalescent Home, and hoped to be able to start medical missionary work in the area. This organization began as a private institution controlled and operated by a private board. To tie in a little closer to the Arkansas-Louisiana conference organization, they asked two conference workers to serve on their board to give them counsel and guidance (Sanders, 1950).
Monticello Farm School
The Monticello Farm School opened in 1950 with seventeen students. The school, operated by the Parantos, served as a self-supporting mission school with the students working to provide their tuition funds. Some of the students were slightly physically handicapped, others slow to learn, others had financial problems or were orphans, or children from broken homes. They came from all walks and stations of life and found a haven of rest, earning while they learned, working in the shop, mill, gardens, kitchen, laundry, and all other work that makes up a school (Paranto, 1963). The students grew sunflowers, tomatoes, corn, melons, beans, cauliflower, okra, eggplant, peanuts, and other garden vegetables. There was a chapel on the school grounds that was filled every Sabbath (Evans, 1960). A real blessing was the deep spring-fed pond that had been completed, making a nice recreational spot for swimming, camping, and picnicking. The water from this pond was piped for irrigation and the sewer system. The boys’ showers and restrooms were constructed, and a well was dug (Paranto, 1963). The school also had a sawmill and wood factory where they made broom handles. This provided the livelihood for thirty-five people. In 1959 the mill burned to the ground destroying all their equipment, twenty-nine electric motors, and all their completed inventory. They debated whether they should try to rebuild or close the school but many people and organizations supported the school with donations to rebuild including the Chamber of Commerce and Monticello merchants, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference, the Southwestern Union Conference, and church members throughout the Union. Eighteen of the students stayed to help keep things going. As a result of the many donations the school was able to build a new fifty-four by sixty-eight foot building with a concrete floor with forty-two electric motors to run the various equipment (Clough, 1959). The school remained open until 1965.
Monticello SDA School
A school in Monticello again opened for the 1980-1981 school year with Linda Webb as the teacher. The one-room school was located in a portion of the church on Highway 4 West (Evaluation , 1983).
(1983, Feb. 24). Evaluation of Monticello Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2017, Sep. 13). Frances Sutter Paranto. Retrieved from ancestry.com.
Evans, I. M. (1960, Aug. 3). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
Clough, E. M. (1959, Mar. 4). Ibid., p. 3.
Paranto, Laurence. (1963, Sep. 4). Ibid., p. 4.
Sanders, F. O. (1950, Feb. 22). Ibid., p. 4.