The Bethany Church was established in the Overtown area of Miami, Fla., more than 100 years ago. Bethany members determined to provide the youth of the community with a quality alternative to public school education that would reflect the values of the church’s community. In 1917, a school was established on 14th Street and N.W. 4th Avenue in Overtown, which they named Bethany Academy. The school began in a section of Bethany Church, with 40 students ranging from first through eighth grade.
Years later, the church relocated to NW 50th Street and 25th Avenue in Brownsville, and Bethany Academy, which had outgrown its church accommodations, moved to a building across the street from the church. In 1963, Bethany Academy became a constituent school, and the name was changed to Miami Union Academy (MUA). A few years later, ninth and tenth grades were added, and by 1980, the enrollment had climbed to 400 students. This increase in enrollment demanded a larger facility.
Through prayer, persistent effort, and a positive attitude, a location was identified and the move was made to a larger facility called the Mueller Building in Allapatah. The Allapatah location was shared with another school and church. This place met the needs of the school for a few years, but then the physical condition of the building and the environment began to deteriorate. The school board felt that it was time to purchase a school home, a permanent place for Miami Union Academy.
In 1988 the move was made to a two-story building on Okeechobee Road in the city of Hialeah Garden, where, under the leadership of Rupert Ryan, Ph.D., the school opened all 12 grades. And finally, in 1997, a purchase was made which enabled MUA to offer education for students from age 2 through 12th grade.
During the past 20 years, MUA has continued to grow and changed to meet the varied needs of the community. Today, MUA continues to seek ways to add a much-needed gymnasium to the already excellent academic and spiritual program it provides.
Geographically, the school is located in the North Miami area, but students have come from as far north as West Palm Beach, and as far south as Homestead, covering an area of almost 110 miles. In addition, MUA reflects the general population of south Florida, accommodating students from the Haitian and Hispanic communities, as well as several islands of the Caribbean and West Indies.
This year, the MUA family celebrates 100 years that will culminate in a special weekend celebration that will take place June 8-10. The MUA family will celebrate the past accomplishments of the institution, as well as provide opportunities for partnership toward strengthening the future legacy of MUA.
For more information regarding the 100th year celebration and how to participate, donate, or attend, contact Edwin M. Silié, principal, or Joseph Butts, alumni president.
Southeastern | April 2018