The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 2, 2013

Private endeavors

Enid, area schools offer strong religious-based education

By Bridget Nash Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— Enid offers a variety of private Christian schools for parents seeking an alternative to the public school system.

The area’s private Christian elementary school options include Emmanuel Christian School, St. Paul’s Lutheran School, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Bethel Baptist Academy and Hillsdale Christian School, which is outside of Enid in Hillsdale.

Bethel Baptist

Bethel Baptist Academy is a small school with 14 students in kindergarten through 12th grade this year. Bethel Baptist focuses strongly on academics.

“We are finishing up our third nine weeks,” said Bethel Baptist Principal Wesley Byrd. “If we continue our trend, it will be our seventh nine weeks in a row where we’ve had 100 percent of our students on the honor roll.”

Bethel Baptist Academy has been in operation for 36 years, and Byrd has been principal for 31 years. Byrd said the school’s methods are successful.

“It’s working,” said Byrd. “We haven’t made any changes.”

Bethel Baptist employs two teachers who work to fulfill the school’s motto: Training tomorrow’s leaders today.”

St. Paul’s Lutheran

St. Paul’s Lutheran School is a Christian school for students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

“You don’t have to be Lutheran,” said Lois Nichols, principal.

St. Paul’s has 65 students this year and employs 11 teachers. The school has an all-day pre-kindergarten program and also boasts physical education classes five days a week for its students as well as music classes four days a week and library three days a week, Nichols said.

“We have lots of wonderful things going on,” she said. “First of all we are growing, and that is wonderful.”

In addition to growth and the pursuit of academic excellence, St. Paul’s will host summer classes this year.

Nichols said there will be summer classes for students going into pre-kindergarten through first grade. These classes aim to help children prepare for the coming school year.

Second- through sixth-grade students also will be able to enjoy summer classes at St. Paul’s this summer. These classes will include puppetry, pottery and gymnastics.

Nichols said anyone interested in having a child attend St. Paul’s Lutheran is welcome to visit the school.

“I would just encourage them to call or visit. Stop in, check us out. I’ll take anybody on a tour,” said Nichols.

Emmanuel Christian

Emmanuel Christian School has been a fixture in Enid since 1981 and offers a Christian education for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

“The primary mission at ECS is to prepare students for life by teaching a Biblical world view, which emphasizes character development and academic excellence to the glory of God,” said Cathy Epps, headmaster.

Emmanuel Christian School’s curriculum includes physical education, art, computer classes and music, both vocal and instrumental.

“Standardized test results each year bear witness to our strong academic standards,” said Epps.

Emmanuel also focuses on teaching servitude, Epps said.

“At ECS we encourage service projects within our community,” she said. “Several classes visit and perform at local nursing facilities, one serves lunch at Our Daily Bread, two classes offer “Thank You” treats to our community employees each year and the others deliver Meals on Wheels each month. We also raise money for mission projects .... Serving others is important to the mission of ECS.”

Emmanuel Christian is the largest Christian elementary school in the area and offers tours for interested families. The school is accepting applications for the 2013-14 year.

St. Joseph’s Catholic

St. Joseph’s Catholic School first opened in Enid in 1904 and maintained its presence until 1975. The school re-opened in 2001 and continues to provide Catholic education to pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

St. Joseph’s academic program includes art, physical education, religion and spirituality, vocal music and band.

“St. Joseph’s Catholic School is preparing for the 2013-2014 school year and the school invites your family to be a part of it,” said Wade Laffey, St. Joseph’s principal of the school, which is accredited by Oklahoma State Department of Education."

He said each classroom is equipped with an Intelliboard, and the school has an upgraded computer lab.

Families interested in St. Joseph’s may visit the school and pick up an enrollment packet or contact the school via phone or Internet.

“Tuition at St. Joseph’s Catholic School is affordable, features limited class sizes, and the school offers an after-school program for working families,” said Laffey.

A public open house is set at April 18.

Hillsdale Christian

Hillsdale Christian School is a private Christian school for pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students. The school is in Hillsdale, about 20 miles northwest of Enid.

Hillsdale offers an academic team, math olympics, spelling bees, science fairs, speech meets, basketball, cheerleading, track and music.