Academy of Excellence sends 10,000 meals to Haiti
By Samantha Jones
The Academy of Excellence is giving a helping hand to those in need.
On Saturday, Nov. 16, the school came together to pack 10,000 meals to send to Haiti as part of the Feed the Need mission. Pastor Chad Hill said the event is a fundraising effort for the school, a faith-based organization located at Faith Christian Family Church on Huntsville Road in Eureka Springs.
“We are going to send these 10,000 meals to Haiti to the refugees there and to the children there,” Chad Hill said. “We always try to do a fundraiser in the fall and we thought Feed the Need would be good this time of the year, with Thanksgiving coming up.”
His wife, Christine Hill, said the school focuses on teaching students how to help others.
“We really want to teach the children how to give back,” Christine Hill said. “We felt this was a mission-driven fundraiser, so they could participate in the fundraiser and learn how giving back at a young age is the right thing to do. We felt like it was a great fit for the school.”
The reason the meals are going to Haiti is simple, Christine Hill said.
“The Haiti government is under a lot of strain right now and they’re actually having trouble feeding their country,” she said. “The food is going to Haiti because it’s the biggest need right now.”
Chad Hill said the students have been talking about the fundraiser for weeks, saying they are looking forward to giving back. Almost all the students showed up to help pack the meals, he said.
“They’ve been really engaged,” he said. “They’ve done a terrific job. It’s been very, very exciting this morning.”
Fifth-grade student Marin Schmidt said it’s important to help others.
“I think people need help and you should help them if you can,” Schmidt said.
Fellow student Annabelle Capps agreed.
“It makes you feel good to do something that has a purpose,” Capps said.
Schmidt said she loves attending the school, saying it’s the perfect environment for her. One of her favorite things about the school, Schmidt said, is growing in her faith.
“I really like the facility and all the nice people who work here,” Schmidt said. “Without God, you can just drift away. You need to be close to Him all the time. The people here are really nice and we learn about God and we love Him.”
Capps said the small size of the school means there’s a lot less chaos than you’d see at bigger schools.
“It’s really fun,” Capps said. “It’s a Christian school, so we learn about God as well as other things.”
What makes the school such a wonderful place to be, Chad Hill said, is the people there.
“There are great people at the Academy of Excellence,” he said. “They really love being part of the school and serving other people way across the world. We try to teach missions to our children and how God wants us to be a giver, to be generous.”
He continued, “This event teaches them not only to receive for themselves but to be generous and give unto others. We’re pleased with that and they are, too.”
The school continues to grow its STEM program, Chad Hill said, and will focus on that in 2020.
“We’ve added to our curriculum some STEM classes,” he said, “and our art department has been growing. We’ve been working on teacher workforce development –– just continuing to do the same thing but better.”
Christine Hill agreed.
“STEM is a big deal,” she said. “We’ve been putting funds toward improving our science program and our computer-based classes.”
The school wouldn’t be successful without the help of community partners, Christine Hill said, including those businesses that donated to Feed the Need.
“We’d like to thank the businesses that supported the event,” she said.
“We’re just very, very appreciative of the community and their support,” Chad Hill said. “We’re going 26 years strong now. We’re just very pleased to be part of the community and we want to thank everybody that has been a part of what we do.”
For more information on the Academy of Excellence, visit https://www.myacademynow.com/.