Long-time Bitterroot residents know the sites of many former schools which have been converted to other uses or disappeared completely.
My heart rejoiced at the Hamilton Christian Academy’s attempts to give the newly abandoned Grantsdale Public School a reprieve from a similar fate by acquiring it for its own non-denominational educational programs.
My kids are too old to go there but I’m giving my little contribution to encourage this and I intend to renew my tiny charter sponsorship each year. I’ll bet there are thousands like me.
It’s not just about nostalgia and keeping Grantsdale’s historic facility alive, hallowed as it is as a temple of learning by generations of hopeful youth and their mentors.
It is also about offering a complete education. The three Rs of Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic are basic. But I believe education is incomplete without the fourth R of religion, composed of Biblical knowledge and faith-based character building.
When I was in public school it was faith tolerant. Teachers could have Bibles on their desks, read a verse or psalm to start the day, with perhaps, a class recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and a patriotic salute to the flag. We observed religious holidays and sang Christmas songs. We had optional released-time denominational classes available. No student had to leave his faith at the school gate or censor out any religious expressions from his classroom participations, writings or speeches. It was not a public school sin to bow one’s head before eating school lunch. Neither did school administrators require students to submit graduation speeches for cleansing of Biblical quotes or personal testimony.
So whether or not removing religion from the public school represents progress or even legal necessity, public schooling in ages past had at least a taste of that precious fourth R of religious faith.
A non-denominational Grantsdale school would offer an alternative for kids who may be harassed for their beliefs, brainwashed by Washington or Helena core curriculums, sexualized by “everything goes” sex educators, and dumbed down by slanted, unpatriotic textbooks designed to instill a far left worldview in unsuspecting little minds.
Terrific reasons why private religious training benefits any community is on the internet in Patrick Fagan’s study, “95 Social Science Reasons for Religious Worship and Practice.” Summary: “To those who do not believe in God but do place faith in scientific investigation, the data indicate that behaving religiously has benefits for individuals and society that must be factored into public discourse, with due deference to the common good done …. The Republic not only benefits from the practice of the worship of God; it may even depend on it.”
Let’s encourage Christian Academy to move from 601 W. Main, Hamilton, saving the Grantsdale facility, and offering the Bitterroot greater opportunities in faith-based education on a historic and expanded campus.
Charles E. Wissenbach