Continuing to Thrive
Fifty years ago in September, Smoke Rise Baptist Weekday School was founded with Sue Laird at the helm. Sue penned a letter entitled ”Memories,” 16 ½ years later, detailing the birth of one of the many wonderful ministries here at Smoke Rise Baptist Church:
People with a dream and determination… that was my first impression of Smoke Rise Baptist. It was 16 ½ years ago when a small church with no more than 250 members saw a need for a weekday preschool program. They invited me to come talk with the Kindergarten Committee about their dream.
It was late May, and they wanted a kindergarten to begin in September… they had no children registered but they knew that they would come … they had no adequate room but they would knock out walls … they had no equipment but they wanted the best … they had no playground but a beautiful site for one… What a dream!
Truly they were a determined group and they worked hard … and they were right… the need was real, and the children came …. more than could be accommodated.
For 8 years new classes were added until we reached our capacity – 235 children!
For many years parents would come before dawn on registration day. One mother in labor came on the way to the hospital because she was told that we had the best school in the area. What a great history we have…. excellent teachers, involved parents, creative curriculum, special events, parent seminars, and a cooperative church…truly the dream and determination of the that small group of people paid off… hundreds of families have felt the impact of our preschool program.
And the children grew and continued to come. Our church responded and added a Nursery Coordinator and Children’s Minister. These added staff members help plan and coordinate the Mother’s Day Out Program, Kindergarten, camps, VBS, special events, parent education classes, and Sunday School. Our church has accomplished much but the dreams and determination to minister to families continues. We can celebrate the past and look with hope and expectation to the future.
As the new leaders of this great school, Rebekah Edmonds and I are very grateful for the strong foundation upon which the Smoke Rise Baptist Weekday School was built. Because of the leadership of Sue Laird, Pat Tooke, Paula Reeves, Valarie Coe Lowder, Christa Fox, Deborah Reeves, Stacey McNiel and Harrison Litzell, we are able to take the baton and continue on the path to greatness in serving the Smoke Rise Baptist church body and the surrounding communities. We are especially grateful for the long-time commitment of church members as teachers and volunteers in our school. These include in particular, Lisa Mixon, Glenda Giles, Edna Free and two super substitutes in Martha Abner and Sheila Dean.
What Ms. Laird wrote is correct. The cooperative church body here at Smoke Rise Baptist Church and the determination to minister to families continue to this day. The Weekday School thrives due to the support of you, the members of SRBC. The educational and spiritual foundation that we are privileged to provide for the children that come through our doors is so important. It is evident from the testimonies of families who return to tell us how their child has the highest reading level in their class, or how they are leaders in the eyes of their peers, or how their shy child blossomed from being nurtured in an environment full of love, encouragement and care. These stories not only warm our hearts, but also confirm that even the difficult days during the school year are worth it, and that God is pleased with the work that we do here!
On behalf of the staff at Smoke Rise Baptist Weekday School, I want to say thank you to everyone connected to SRBC, past and present. Our school could not have made it this far without you, and I pray that we continue to grow and thrive together!
– Rashette Walker, Weekday School Director
Pictured from left to right: Sue Laird, Susie Middlebrooks, Pat Tooke
Weekday School Director, Rashette Walker
Weekday School Assistant Director, Rebekah Edmonds