What does it take to see your heart’s desire become reality? Some would say it takes Inspiration plus Persperation to reach your Destination. In Pulaski, a core group of visionaries are committed to fulfilling their dream of creating a Christian Classical School; and finding that formula to be very true.
The Inspiration started when Virginia (better known in the community as Ginny) Hagee had a desire to start a Christian School. After 27 years of teaching experience in the Pulaski County School System, she began considering retirement options. In March of 2016, while attending a seminar, she was inspired to follow her vision which seemed impossible, but began chronicaling the odyssey in her daily journal.
Ginny turned to prayer, asking God to lead and guide her steps. On April 27, 2016 she started talking to Jane and Woody Lookabill and asked them to pray in agreement that God would continue to open doors if this vision was truly from Him. Then on May 14, 2016 she received an invitation to attend a ministry presentation. The Pastor conducting the meeting proclaimed that someone else (present in the meeting) might have a God-given vision; and they should pray about it for a year. Ginny took that message to heart and began the Persperation phase of the voyage.
November 2017, after a year of praying and anticipation … nothing happened. Then Ginny’s daughter called her with the good news: that day she had spoken with a man at church who wanted to start a Christian School in Pulaski. Javier Mattos and his wife, Abigail joined forces with Ginny and the dream began to coalesce.
Doors of opportunity opened, connections were established, like-minded people came on-board and eventually a core group of 30 individuals added their talents, insight and expertise to help create foundational doctrine and documents for the perspective school. Hundreds of hours already have been invested in research, curriculum development, fundraising, filing with the IRS as a 501C (3) non-profit entity, visiting other Christian schools (Valley Classical School in Blacksburg), discussion groups and public information meetings. They also connected with an international organization, the Association of Classical & Christian Schools, which provided valuable guidance and resources.
Javier envisioned the name of Mayflower Christian Academy. Inspired by the courage and commitment of individuals who boarded the Mayflower ship, he located an intriguing photo of the Mayflower and developed the Academy’s logo. The image of the Mayflower under sail and white water pounding the ship’s bow was a paradigm of the voyage they themselves were on: the project was not going very fast, families were involved, it took immense courage, there were storm clouds ahead and they appeared to be sailing into them.
But with the name established, the group could move forward and focus on crystallizing their mission statement, purpose, goals, and practical details of how the school would function. By providing a Christ-centered education in the classic tradition they could offer an alternative to education in Southwest Virginia.
This first year will be Mayflower’s “Beta Year,” admitting a maximum of 20 students. They will be classified as a home-school, but students will meet five days a week at a central location. One day a week will be designated for field trips. Students will share two full-time quality teachers and qualified volunteers under the supervision of Hagee, who is a mentor and licensed teacher.
It was important for the Board to articulate why it is promoting the school, and using the Socratic method of learning. The Socratic method (from the Greek and Roman era) is one of the oldest and most powerful teaching tactics for fostering critical thinking, based on asking questions to draw out ideas and stimulate critical thinking.
The Mayflower Board believes that school should not be merely about passing a test or getting a diploma. The path of learning should be about mentoring students to love and seek God, ask good questions, think critically, and become leaders. Parental involvement in their child’s education is important since the primary goal of Classical Christian education is to help parents fulfill their responsibility to raise their children to be godly citizens and leaders. Families are expected to participate in ways that fit their availability, schedule and skill sets.
“It’s all about equipping children for the future with what has been successful in the past. We focus on time-honored tools of learning; helping the students to learn and think for themselves and develop important critical thinking skills,” explained Javier.
“Classical education promotes the study of grammer, literature, logic and rhetoric. Add the dimension of Christ-centered study and you combine a rigorous curriculum with Jesus and a love for learning,” adds Jane Lookabill. A result of this type of learning, she believes, will be to recover and develop some of the educational excellence of the past. It will also help re-kindle an appreciation for the history and heritage of Pulaski.
For those concerned with whether a specific denomination will be emphasized, the answer is “No.” Interestingly, the Mayflower Board members are themselves from different denominational backgrounds; but the unifying factor is a love for Jesus and people. They envision a school unified as the Body of Christ and supporting the Apostle’s Creed.
Tuition is set at $4,000 per student per academic year before any scholarships or discounts, such as families with multiple students. Tuition can be paid on an academic calendar year or twelve-month calendar year.
Monthly Informational Meetings are open to the public and parents who want additional information about Mayflower Christian Academy. The next scheduled meeting is being held on July 15th at Memorial Baptist Church. A Prayer Retreat for Pulaski schools and students will be held on July 14th also at that location. You may contact Mayflower Christian Academy via e-mail: info@MayflowerSWVA.org
As Mayflower Christian Academy approaches its destination of starting classes on August 10, there are still opportunities for you to get involved. A detailed list of needed items can be obtained by
e-mailing: info@MayflowerSWVA.org. Monitary donations and sponsors for student scholarships are always appreciated. Basic office, classroom and consumable school supplies are needed as well.
Noted writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton wrote, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
Mayflower Christian Academy is poised to fulfill its mission to the next generation by edifying Christ to the community, inspiring students to strive for personal excellence for His sake by offering rigorous academics, and to enthuse students to act as confident servant leaders.
Pictured: Founding Board Members of Mayflower Christian Academy receive their first donation to establish a Classic Christian School in Pulaski, VA. Classes are scheduled to begin September 10, 2018 and will serve K-8 grades. Left to Right: Virginia “Ginny” Hagee, Javiar Mattos, Jane Lookabill.
By Danielle Reid, The Patriot