The Seventh Day Adventist Church and School has been a part of the Great Bend community for many years. However, after a fire burnt down the school in the early 1990s, it has taken a lot to keep things afloat. “The local church was originally founded in 1948 at 12th and Madison,” says board chairperson Doris Reile-Kneller. “Then in the early 80s, we moved to our current location west of town and added the school.”
After the tragic fire in the early 1990s, the school was rebuilt from the ground up by Doris’ family. “I helped my parents build the school from the ground up, so I have a huge emotional investment in the school and its students,” Reile says. “So when our board decided they needed computers, I was on board 100 percent.”
The new computer lab lets all fifteen of the students, grades 1-8, learn basic computer skills through common softwares, as well as some proprietary ones written by their teacher, Dr. Mary Burton. “We are so very blessed to have Dr. B here at our school,” Reile says. “She is a lifelong learner, and is fluent in English and Spanish. Her many skills and areas of expertise make her an invaluable asset to this institution.”
The school is funded by private donations through a partnership between the Spanish and English Seventh Day Adventist churches in the area. Students pay tuition, similar to the system used by other private schools, but the cost per student is far less than others in the area. “The students here learn the same material they would learn in any other educational setting,” Dr. Burton says. “The difference is that we incorporate God into everything we do.”
Burton is assisted by retired school teacher Clarice Brining, who assists with the education of the younger students. “All of our students learn in the same classroom, so it’s important that we give them the individualized attention they need,” Burton says. “Mrs. Brining helps provide tutoring for the younger students while I cover more advanced subjects with the older children.”
For more information, contact SDA instructor Dr. Mary Burton at 620-617-7055.