COLUMBUS/TRYON SDA SCHOOL
In 1959, 22 dedicated charter members of the Columbus SDA Church were busy planning and building a church/school building on property donated by Janice and Art Kennedy. This small school located on Fox Mountain Road commenced in September. As soon as there were walls, doors, and windows, Mrs. Artie Robinson-Derting began teaching five students: Allan and Jimmy Kennedy, Johnny and Susan Underwood, and Linda Robinson. The building was erected by members volunteering many hours of labor. Dr. Arthur Pearson and others from Fletcher came to help. Matt Brownlee lost his glasses in the bottom of the well. Art Kennedy's daughter, Ann, lost a shoe in the cement block wall. When Dr. Roy Morgan came to help, since there was no phone on the site, he arranged with a nearby neighbor to hang a sheet on her clothesline as a signal if he was needed at the hospital. This system proved effective at least twice.
When school began, there were no bathroom facilities. Students and teacher walked to the Kennedys' home to use their bathroom. A small oil stove served as the heat source. A furnace came several years later. Although the Carolina Conference initially disapproved of the site location, in after years it was voiced numerous times that this was the most beautiful setting for a school in the conference.
The school grew. Teachers came and went, students graduated. At times two teachers were employed with student census hovering around 20.
In 1992, members voiced a desire to move the school to the present property. The building was no longer meeting state building codes. The gym was at Tryon. Over the next 30 months, lots of talk and little action was the rule. Then in December, 1994, the church in business session voted to sell the old school building and build a new building on the Tryon property.
Early in 1995, Dr. Charles P. Blomeley, a local Adventist physician, drew sketches of what would eventually become the new school building. Architectural plans were drawn and work was begun in mid-summer of 1995. The enthusiastic members built the building. Fund-raisers, including clipping garment hangers, were entered into by virtually the entire membership. Doctors, pastors, builders, retired workers, housewives and enthusiastic students erected the building to the glory of God. Construction took approximately one year. Dedication of the debt-free building took place in August, 1996. The cost of the building was approximately $150,000, just half of the estimated value of $300,000. At the time of this writing, the building includes two large classrooms, a computer science room, principal's office, storage room, kitchenette and two large restrooms. Enrollment for the 2000-2001 school year was 25 students with two teachers and a teacher's aide.
By 2011, enrollment was at 38 and the staff included three teachers. In addition to a full academic curriculum and Bible classes, students enjoyed piano lessons with Mrs. Oliver, band lessons with Mr. Steven Green, and bell choir with Miss Wanagwa Dever.
Due to increased student enrollment and a vision for the future an expansion was begun. The new wing of the school building nearly doubled the size of the school and includes two new classrooms, beautifully blended into the existing building. The new building was dedicated in 2011 debt-free before it was finished.