Where there's life, there's Hope

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The nation needs more schools like Hope Christian School of Augusta. So let's just be grateful we have this school in our area, educating kids from Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties.

These kids aren't ordinary kids. They have been troublemakers, and not ordinary troublemakers, either. Many have been the most incorrigible youngsters in the three-county area, having been expelled from public school.

Not even the school systems' alternative schools could bring them around. But Hope Christian does. It truly is a school of hope for the kids who have little reason to hope for a better future after being given the boot and barred from attending another public school in the area.

This is where Hope Christian comes in. For 10 years its mission has been to give pupils with discipline and learning-disability problems another chance to turn themselves around.

There is no higher calling than radically changing young people's lives for the better. That is why the school was founded, says headmaster Ron Burton. There are about 80 pupils in the school, 18 of whom will graduate this year. Intimate class settings enable teachers to develop personal relationships with their students, says the Rev. Burton.

The school's regimented structure also helps keep pupils interested and in line. They appreciate the school's predictability and intimacy. Many don't want to go back to their regular public school after their expulsion time ends.

Without Hope Christian, says Juvenile Court Judge Bill Sams, the expelled kids would have nowhere to go except to the streets where they would only find a lot more trouble. As one might expect, learning disabilities often are at the core of behavior-problem kids. Hope Christian has acquired much experience in dealing with these issues.

The school, which has had a problem finding a permanent home, is currently at Marvin United Methodist Church. Although parents pay whatever they can afford, the school mainly is dependent on donations. The work Hope Christian does is surely deserving of strong public support.

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FactsSpeak
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FactsSpeak 04/05/08 - 05:59 am
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Great job, Hope Christian!

Great job, Hope Christian! Statistics show that students permanently expelled from school often times turn to a life of crime. Perhaps the state should reimburse Hope Christian via grants that are merit based. Why? Because, the annual costs to educate a Georgia pupil is approximately $8,000. The average costs to incarcerate a person is over $20,000. The peace of mind we receive when Hope Christian helps a student to turn his or her life around, PRICELESS! Why should not the state reimburse costs to educate a pupil when savings are realized. Unfortunately, mainstream education is not for everyone. Why not reward alternative educational programs that save our children from ruin? Particularly, after the public school system has given up on the students, permanently.

jack
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jack 04/05/08 - 08:52 am
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I'm with you AK.

I'm with you AK.

galaxygrl
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galaxygrl 04/05/08 - 12:19 pm
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Great point! This would

Great point! This would really work if there was a voucher system!

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 04/05/08 - 12:54 pm
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akhasan, I hope Dr Bedden

akhasan, I hope Dr Bedden taps your resources. I'd love to see you as permanent Chairman of the A/RC BOE.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 04/05/08 - 02:29 pm
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actually have a child

actually have a child attending this school this year, not because of behavior problems, but because other schools in this area, both private and public, just couldn't seem to get it together to follow her very straightforward IEP with any consistency. The people who are making Hope happen are some of the best people I've ever known. One of the biggest problems they have is in paying the teachers well enough to keep them at Hope, for those who really depend on their salaries. I believe most are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and for love of the kids, and it has made a world of difference for my child. Of all the wonderful things I could say about Ron Burton and his staff, I couldn't begin to describe how incredible they all are. This truly is a worthy organization for public support.

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