Meadowview turns 40

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Forty years ago, when Meadowview Christian School opened its door to the public, the current success of the school was only a dream.

“There were some kinks that had to be worked out,” said Ann Walker, guidance counselor and independent consultant for Meadowview. “We had some problems with scheduling. There were just a lot of little things that had to be changed in the first few weeks.”

Walker is also the wife of the late Rev. Paul Walker of Meadowview Christian Church. Her husband served as a key founder of the school, and minister of the church at that time.

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More than 500 concerned parents met at the Selma Armory to discuss the creation of a new private school. After Orville High School closed in January 1970, parents wanted to find a place to send their children because, at that time, Morgan Academy could not house all the interested students.

Members of Meadowview Christian Church then gathered to further discuss the creation of a Christian school. Merging these two ideas, Meadowview Christian School was developed.

Rev. Walker “wanted a school where Christian education would be taught,” Walker said. “It is my mission in life to help children in a school setting.”

The purpose of the school was to nurture students mentally, spiritually, physically and socially saturated with Christian teachings.

The school opened its doors to parents and the community, with John von Sprecklesen as headmaster, for an open house Sunday night before school starting on Sept. 7, 1970.

“I remember that we had to use the church for classrooms,” Walker said. “We has to use all the buildings in the education part of the school and the church.”

Claude Holbrook, current board member for Meadowview Christian School, helped to form the school.

“I was there from before the beginning,” Holbrook said.

He and the other board members met in each other’s homes to plan the forming of the school.

Meadowview Christian Church donated the land for the school to use, although the land required prep work before anything could be built on it. The swampy ground needed 10,000 yards of dirt to bring the land up so it could be connected to the city sewer.

Groundbreaking occurred on May 5, 1970, and four months later, students graced the halls. The school paid $110,000 to what is now Cooper Brothers Construction to build the skeleton of the school. About 50 parents volunteered to do all the other work, such as painting and setting up lockers.

Both Walker and Holbrook enjoyed working with headmaster and football coach Bobby Wadsen.

“Meadowview always ran better when we put the two jobs together,” Holbrook said.

Wadsen and John Nibblett were the only two people to fulfill both positions at the same time.

Wadsen helped to turn the school around. He wanted to run the school in a 1950s fashion, when the biggest issue straining schools was gum chewing, Holbrook said. “By the 1970s, dope had entered the schools,” Holbrook said. “Girls were coming to school without bras. He made sure that wasn’t going to be how a school would be run.”

Holbrook now serves on the board, after taking a seven-year break from the position. Current board members asked and voted that he return to the board to offer his wisdom pertaining to the school.

“We started as a good solid school,” Holbrook said. “We’re there only by the grace of God.”

Graduates from Meadowview have gone on to become physicians, physiologists, chiropractors, teachers, attorneys, ministers, entrepreneurs, coaches, a professional golfer and Mr. Arkansas in a weight lifting competition.