Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Long hallways, noisy classrooms and an abundance of faculty members all adorn a typical public school. However, at the Greater Hope Ministries Christian Academy located at 7029 Woodland Ave., these characteristics do not apply.
With no more than a hundred students and seven teachers, this small private school offers more than just the basic subjects.
“We teach life skills here, biblical life skills,” Marilyn Miles, principal and founder, said.
Twenty years ago, Miles bought the few buildings resting on the corner of 70th and Woodland Avenue, which had previously been a haven for crack addicts and drug dealers.
Cleaned up solely by the staff, the homes were revamped into small classrooms, which house students from kindergarten to 12th grade, Miles said.
Miles personally owns all the property that the school uses, and has had offers to be bought out.
“With all the struggles financially, you’d think I’d sell it,” she said. “But I don’t.”
Many students come to the academy on scholarship through the Children’s Scholarship Fund.
Miles saw it as the only opportunity many kids had in the area of getting a proper education and staying in school, she said.
Today, the academy has 95 per cent of their students attending college after graduation.
“What you see at Barton you won’t see from the kids here,” she added.
Tyler McLaurin, a 21-year old graduate from West Chester, graduated from Greater Hope Ministries, and enjoyed his time at the academy.
“If was a safe environment,” he said. “You pretty much know everybody.”
While he admits that it was hard adjusting to the workload from high school to college, he appreciated the social life and schooling of the academy, McLaurin added.
If the opportunity presented itself, he’d send his kids to Greater Hope Ministries too, in order to get a safe and good learning experience, he said.
Many students benefit from the academy since their home life isn’t very good, Miles said.
“We try to make the school a home,” Miles said. “I’m more like a mother than a principal.”
By Amanda Fries and Daly Gonzalez
Group 5, Southwest Philadelphia
Posted by A Lynn F at 1:19 AM