2007-03-29 / News

Wilkes couples tour Hawaiian Baptist Academy's facilities

Joe and Dot Harris (left) and Janet and Jim Granade (right) attended a breakfast meeting of the Mainland Advisory Council of the Hawaii Baptist Academy. Joe and Dot Harris (left) and Janet and Jim Granade (right) attended a breakfast meeting of the Mainland Advisory Council of the Hawaii Baptist Academy. At the invitation of the Hawaii Baptist Academy, two couples from Washington were guests of the faculty, administration and alumni for a week of history and status reports in Honolulu.

Dr. Joe Harris and his wife Dot and Dr. Jim Granade and his wife Janet toured the two academy campuses and visited with faculty, staff and students during morning sessions. Afternoons and evenings were generally open for extensive trips around the island. Tours of Oahu were arranged according to preferences of more than 70 other guests. The Granades have had connections with the academy for several years.

The school had its start in 1947 as a project of the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Mission Board. Mary and H.P. McCormick, who had spent 20 years in Nigeria, were given the assignment. There were less than 1,300 Baptists on the island at that time and one "standard" public school. The McCormicks were to build a campus (from army barracks) and start classes of the seventh and eighth grades. Classes opened on September 7, 1949, with 36 students and a year later with 122. Enrollment in 12 grades in 2007 reached over 1,200.

Campus growth of the institution has not been steady. The Virginia Woman's Missionary Union came to its rescue about halfway through its history as it had in the early 1950s. However, it now has two very attractive campuses with the purchase of a middle school for $14,000,000 from Catholic Sisters of the Sacred Heart who had been offered $6,000,0000 for the property. The new high school building is modern in every respect and is located in a beautiful natural setting. The academy president had significant business experience before taking office.

Students from every major religion in the world attend the academy, yet Bible is taught in every grade and last year more than 100 students professed Christianity. Hawaii is only one per cent Christian. The academy is widely preferred, highly respected and over 99% of its graduates enter colleges and universities, mostly on the mainland.

The faculty is exceptional, being highly educated for public school positions, with many having military experience and having widely traveled throughout the world.

A Mainland Advisory Council of supporters was established in 1977 and over the years has been a great strength for the school, several members are alumni. This year more than 70 were in attendance for the annual meeting, visiting and sightseeing. The vibrancy of the faculty and students in such a stimulating environment is an inspiration.

The Granades have been part of this for a number of years, as have Henry and Tina Whitehead. Henry is the Atlanta architect used by many Baptist churches, including First Baptist of Washington-Wilkes, and who designed a couple of campus buildings. Other couples from the Atlanta area, representing a number of different professional interests, were also in attendance.

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