Overflowing Mills River School Breaks Ground to Build New School
Excavation is moving along quickly. The shell has been ordered, with most of the necessary funds already earned and set aside. The students will learn many practical lessons as they excitedly watch their new school materialize.
Mills River is a five-teacher school with classrooms for four. For years, they have overflowed their current facility by using the church fellowship hall for the fifth classroom.
The new facility will have state-of-the-art classrooms with adjoining breakout rooms, conference area, and principal’s office, and will allow for maximum use of the library and multipurpose rooms.
Mills River runs a high quality, thriving Adventist program, including strong academics, a music program, tutors inside and out of school hours, an after-school sports program, art, Spanish, fitness, drama, agriculture, and Magabook evangelism. Academics are very strong and structured, with individualized attention that helps the struggling and challenges the gifted. One of Carolina Conference’s top female vocalists, Heather Darnell, not only teaches grades 5-6 full-time, but also teaches voice and small group choirs for grades 5-8. Additional music classes offered are choir, bells, piano, and violin. Award winning artist Sue Holt teaches grades 7-8 full-time as well as the arts. Several of her students win ribbons at the state fair. Dyslexia expert, Orton-Gillingham trained, and native Spanish speaker, Laura Figueroa, teaches Spanish as well as grades 3-4. Tammy Mapes, first place for five years in the Southern Union for literature evangelism sales, leads the Magabook program as well as teaching grades 1-2.
Simultaneously as the new facility is going up, Mills River is building a 14’x55’ hoop house for agriculture class. Students have been growing and harvesting in raised bed boxes. With the new hoop house, students will have greater opportunity to grow and possibly even sell seedlings and produce commercially.
Students have helped fundraise for the new building by doing “Magabooking,” selling Bible and health literature to the community on select Fridays for an hour. Seventh-grader Addison Joseph said, “Magabooking helps raise money for the school, teaches you confidence in speaking, and builds your self-esteem. You’re speaking about God, and it builds your strength in God.” Fifth-grader Isla Schnepper said, “Magabooking is fun, and I had a good experience with it. I feel like it blessed the people that bought from us.”
Kristofer Valentine, a one-year graduate of Mills River, on a return visit, voiced, “I miss being in school here. I had a very good experience.”
Mills River is summed up by Addison Joseph, whose family drives 45 minutes each way for him to attend: “It is worth the drive because you get a quality education and learn more about God.”
Carolina | June 2023