THE SCHOOL BEGINS
In 2012 the Umpire church had a business meeting and voted to open a church school for the 2012-2013 school year. Even though the church membership was relatively small, the members had a big desire to spread the gospel in their surrounding area. They had hired a bilingual Bible worker, Jose Jimenez, and planned many activities to reach out to their community. Before long Jose had three to five Spanish families coming regularly on Friday evenings, and three to five different families coming on Sabbath mornings. These families, along with others in the community, voiced an interest in having their children get a Christian education. By having a church school, this would allow these families to build their ties with the church and draw them closer to the Lord. It would also give the children of the church members who had been home-schooling, an opportunity to have a Christian education in a formal school setting and provide a Christian environment for those who were attending public school (Umpire, 2012).
That summer the church and school family were busy converting the fellowship hall into a classroom. Volunteers and children unpacked and organized many boxes with school supplies and books, assembled and adjusted desks, coordinated internet access and wifi, programmed eleven laptops for the students and teacher, and built bookshelves (Baylon, 2012). Prior to school starting, the school board showed their commitment to the students and the community by inviting a flight nurse for Air Evac to teach a CPR certification class to the teacher, school board members, and some community members. To further show their commitment to the safety of the students and to service the community, the school board voted to build a helicopter landing pad on the school’s premises. This provided an option to expedite the critical treatment of any child or community member (Baylon, 2013).
Umpire Christian School opened with eleven students and Heidi Hunt as their teacher for the 2012-2013 school year. Heidi taught at Umpire for two years, followed by Tammie Beierle, who taught there for the next five years. Whitney Stowell taught at Umpire the next two years until 2021, at which time the constituency voted to close the school for lack of students.
(2012, Sep. 1). Newsletter, Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, p. 4.
Facebook. (2017, Sep. 21-28). Umpire Christian School. Retrieved from facebook.com.
Baylon, Jonathan. (2012, Jul. 28). Letter.
Baylon, Jonathan. (2013, Jan. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 15.
Umpire Seventh-day Adventist Church. (2012). Letter to the Board of Education.