Improving on a strong foundation at Benton AcademyBy JAMIE PATTERSON,
With the previous school year concluded and plans already in motion for the future, success is the foundation for Benton Academy.
Facility improvements, technology advancements and dedicated staff will provide the local academy with the tools necessary to continue its history of quality education. And school leaders strive to maintain the family atmosphere among its staff, students and patrons.
Our greatest strength is our people,” said Headmaster Steve Flemming. “There is so much school and community pride. People want what is best for the school and do not mind working hard to achieve a goal.”
Flemming said he is extremely proud of the success left behind from the graduating Class of 2019. He is also excited to see what the future will hold for the recent graduates, adding that their journeys are a reflection of Benton Academy.
“Our senior class will be greatly missed, but we know they will make us proud,” he said. “We love to see them return and give us positive remarks about their time here.”
Last year, a number of changes occurred at Benton Academy that will serve as positive foundations for its future with instructional, athletic and facility upgrades.
“We have had a very successful year in several areas,” Flemming said. “Our ACT scores continue to improve. We had our gym floor completely reworked, and it looks fantastic. And our high school girls won the track district title.”
Much of the school’s recent success comes from improvements within its technology department. Outside of instruction, the faith of its students and staff has also contributed to its success.
“I think improving our technology department and retaining an excellent staff helps us grow in many areas,” Flemming said. “Our high school English classes have gone completely online. And I think our school has also grown spiritually.”
Flemming said the school will be upgrading its elementary computer lab over the summer. He also hopes to add more Smartboards within its classrooms.
“We are planning on repaving our lower parking lot, and we are nearly finished with the new softball dugouts,” Flemming added.
Of course, there are always challenges within small academies. Flemming said lack of funds is an issue among many private schools.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our facilities and finding funds to do so,” he said. “We are continuously reaching out to the community and beyond for donations and gifts, as well as having patrons working on projects.”
But despite the challenges, the biggest reward behind Benton Academy is the family atmosphere felt among its patrons.
“We all care for each other more than we care for ourselves,” Flemming said. “We accept new faces very well. There is so much school and community pride, more than I have experienced anywhere else.”