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With construction almost complete on its new facility, School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school of College of the Ozarks, has selected all of its student body for the upcoming fall. The school’s mission mirrors the university, offering free tuition to students who may not otherwise be able to afford a private Christian education. Seventy students were chosen out of hundreds of applicants. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark files this report.
According to Elizabeth Hughes, spokesman for the university, the lab school is ready to open its doors.
“We’re just putting the finishing touches on the physical part of the building which is located in the third story of the Good Memorial Center. The faculty has been hired, the books are ordered, some are here, some are on their way, the students have been selected. Now we are just a couple weeks away from actually seeing everything come to fruition and the first day of classes beginning.”
The students, all high school age, include: 25 freshmen, 20 sophomores, 19 juniors and six seniors. The senior class had fewer applicants, but Sue Head, Dean of Character Education at College of the Ozarks, says that group of seniors will be graduating exactly 100 years after the first original graduating class of the first School of the Ozarks in 1913. That school, over time, grew into what we know as College of the Ozarks today. In the words of Head, the new lab school is history just repeating itself.
Head says the main difference between School of the Ozarks and College of the Ozarks is that the high school students will not work on campus in exchange for free tuition like the college students.
“Our students are high school age, so they don’t have the same work requirements our college students do. However, their school day is packed with a rather rigorous curriculum. They will be doing chores related to the school. They’ll also have a student industry which is going to be raising bees and marketing and selling honey.”
Some of those chores include students cleaning up their own classrooms and lunchroom.
Head says that if the students choose to go ahead and apply for College of the Ozarks after they graduate, they have a pretty good chance of getting in.
“Do School of the Ozarks high school graduating seniors have a better chance of getting into College of the Ozarks? We would respond by saying, we’ll certainly know a lot about them and about their work character and their work ethic from observing them in the high school setting. I’d say, the chances are pretty good they would get in, but of course, no one is guaranteed.”
Aside from the selection of students, five full-time faculty members were hired to teach, along with a few other professors lending their expertise. One professor, a former bugler from West Point, will be assisting the student drum and bugle core.
Head also mentioned that many of the admitted students are not from the Point Lookout area. Some students are coming from Springfield, Berryville, Forsyth, Reed Springs, Spokane and Harrison, AR. The school does not board students, so they will be commuting to and from the school every day.
The first day of class is August 16.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.