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Letter: Many worked to build private school

Here’s a story that hasn’t been told in a long time.

The year 1969 (?) my youngest of five children, Vernon Bell Taylor, had just turned five years old. Mr. J.H. 1Jeep; Johnson had just retired after many successful years as superintendent of schools in Andalusia.

Mr. Johnson came to my husband, Riley Taylor, and asked if we had any plans with new laws coming into effect. Of course we did not. Mr Johnson suggested that’s going to be difficult years enforcing new laws in public schools. Public schools would be handicapped. Mr. Johnson suggested I think we need a private school and you, Riley Taylor, would be the person to do it.

Riley assured Mr. Johnson he knew nothing about administering public education.

After much consideration and talk, Riley accepted the challenge – with the provision that it be a Christian school and enrollment available to all children in the county.

With a small group we went to’ work and secured the beautiful old Gills house on South Three Notch Street,  making it ready for kindergarten through third grade with the very able educator Mr. Ronnie Driver as principal and teacher.

My five-year-old son started kindergarten there – after two successful school years and with enough dedicated and brave souls, we were ready to expand. Land was donated by Daisy Buck and her husband Frank Buck, and MONTEZUMA ACADEMY was build by many dedicated people with plans to go through eighth grade, and add a class a year.

We had a football team, cheerleaders, and we played other schools in the state.

With zeal and determination Ben and Sadie Mason, Bill and Margaret Till and many more names J can’t remember. There were many bar-b-q’s held, many fall festivals, selling rag dolls and quilts, and much more to raise money.

The school operated successfully for several years and all five of my children went to Montezuma Christian Academy.

The building now houses a home for disabled people.

The work and dedication of many people stand as an addendum to education. Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson died soon after the school was organized.

Yes, Virgina, there was a private school in Andalusia, and it was a very good one.

Edith B. Taylor

Magnolia Springs

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