POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -- As students head back to school this month, some will be going to a brand new school in the Ozarks. The S. Truett Cathy Lower School is opening on the College of the Ozarks campus.
Dean of Character Education Sue Head says the Kindergarten through Sixth Grade school goes back to the College's roots - having started as a grammar school.
"We remind our students often that it was someone else's giving that made this possible," says Head.
The Dean of Character Education says 139 students will learn that very lesson, among many others, this year.
"The high school opened in 2012, and it was soon after that, that parents starting asking are you going to add the lower grades?"
Head says the school interviews the families of more than 300 students for the tuition free school, that only requires families to pay for uniforms and books.
"The sad part is we couldn't take them all," says Head. However, she says the mission of the college - helping out those who might not be able to afford this type of educational setting - was kept in mind.
"We think a kindergarten through College mold is unique to our students," says Head. "And they are certainly going to know how to work hard."
Head says work appropriate chores will be required of the students, like vacuuming or cleaning up after lunch.
She says another unique aspect of the Lower Schoo" is that the set up of the school has been worked on by students at CoO. Head also says the new school will allow college students, who are studying education, to interact with the elementary age kids.
"What a great laboratory for them to have, on working with little ones," says Head.
Younger students will also combine with high school students at times for announcements of awards, or what high school students have been accepted to college.
"We think it's very important for our little people so see the big kids excel, taking responsibility and having leadership roles."
But the most valuable lesson, she says, is the one that won't be found in text books.
"We want them to be influences for Christ, in this community, and in the world," says Head. "And we feel like this is a great way to do that."
Head says the goal is to add seventh and eighth graders next year, potentially allowing a student to start school and later finish up their college degree, all on the same campus.
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