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.