Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School

THE SCHOOL BEGINS

In 1930 the members in Texarkana built a church which was ready to open for Sabbath, October 4. It was a brick building that seated two hundred and had two rooms for a church school (Van Kirk, 1930). For the 1932-1933 school year, Ben Hassenpflug and his wife were hired as the teachers and had everything ready to begin the school (Record, 1932). The school had grades one through nine. For the 1934-1935 school year, the teachers were Pauline Hopkins and Esther Thompson (Ruf, 1934). In 1960 a new Texarkana school was built with eleven foot ceilings a plenty of windows (Minutes, 1950).

New Growth

Students at the Texarkana school in 1994

In 1976 three acres of land was purchased and a new school was built which included three classrooms, restrooms, and a kitchen (Martin, 1978). In 1993 the church school went on a one-year hiatus. With a proposed enrollment of two to four students and an exploding debt, the church board decided to suspend operating a school to get its finances in order. Despite the fact that the school had suspended operations, the church school board continued to meet and make plans for the following school year. At one of the meetings it was noted that the conference would support the establishment of the school if there were an enrollment of six students. The pastor suggested they aim for ten and pray for fifteen. The church board accepted the challenge. With strong support from local church members and a few friends outside the local congregation, the school’s waning finances were turned around until there was a $10,000 surplus. When school began for the 1994-1995 school year, thirteen students enrolled in the school (Tomlinson, 1994).

A New School in 2001

Groundbreaking for the new church and school. Those taking part were, from left: Lonnie Wietzel, building committee chair; Mary Akens, church treasurer; Ann Stoddard, church member; and Gary Grimes, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference secretary (Prindle, 1999).

A ground breaking ceremony was held Sunday, May 2, 1999, for the new Texarkana church and school on Pleasant Grove Road, Texarkana, Texas. Church services were held for the first time on Sabbath, September 8, 2001, in the new school gym, which served as a temporary sanctuary. The new 12,500 square foot school building, which housed classrooms, a gymnasium, playground, and parking was completed in time for the 2001-2002 school year (Johnson, 2001). The move to the new school changed their location from Arkansas to Texas. In addition to relocating to a new facility, the Texarkana church school added a kindergarten and ninth grade for the 2001-2002 school year. They had an additional teacher who provided classes in Spanish and music (Herring, 2001). The Texarkana school closed its doors in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Burton

A Black School Begins

For the 1934-1935 school year, a school was started in Texarkana for the black children. Elder Ruf reported that they had “a very fine building and an ideal school room.” Sixteen students attended that first year, with Miss Ryles as the teacher (Ruf, 1934).


Citations

(1932, Aug. 31). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.

(1950, Nov. 8). Executive Committee Minutes. Shreveport, LA: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of SDA.

Herring, Christy. (2001, Jul. 1). Ibid., p. 23.

Johnson, Loretta. (2001, Oct. 1). Ibid., p. 12.

Martin, Marie. (1978, Oct. 19). Ibid., p. 12F.

Prindle, Marie. (1999, Jul. 1). Ibid., p. 14.

Ruf, A. F. (1934, Oct. 3). Ibid., p. 2.

Tomlinson, Rhonda. (1994, Nov. 1). Ibid., p. 12.

Van Kirk, M. B. (1930, Oct. 8). Ibid., p. 1.