BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A Message from Kenny Lyons, Chairman of the Board
May 29, 2019
Dear Mars Hill Family:
What a year it has been for Mars Hill Bible School! Mars Hill has always been a special place. T.B. Larimore believed that children excel with a Christian education and a school filled with the love of Jesus Christ. And excel they have: the 2018-19 school year can only be described as exceptional. As we reflect during this first week of summer break, it seems appropriate to share just a few of the year’s exceptional victories with you.
This was a year of exceptional academics. On Sunday afternoon, 43 students graduated from MHBS in a moving ceremony. These seniors collectively earned over $4.1 million total scholarship dollars (an average of almost $95,000 per student). Ninety-eight percent of those students are college- or military-services bound, with a broad spectrum of plans for careers including ministry, science, and medicine. Their collective ACT scores were also outstanding, with 26% of the class scoring 30 or above and 46% percent scoring 25 or above. On top of these remarkable scores, 91% of our 2019 graduates completed dual-college credit classes from Mars Hill. These numbers are impressive and exceptional by any measure.
For our students returning in the fall, there’s more good news. Our students took a collective 760 hours of dual-college credit courses this year, placing them in a strong position as future graduates preparing for transition to university studies.
The school is aggressively pursuing STEM certification, and we are on track for a visit this Autumn from an AdvancED assessor. The momentum will continue through the summer, with a new elementary STEM camp, a middle school robotics camp, and a host of other summer learning options. Earlier this Spring we conducted a day-long Crime Scene Investigation activity involving the entire high school. It was a fun and educational opportunity for both students and faculty, and we’re planning more exciting events like this one in the future.
This was a year of exceptional heart. The Mars Hill family has had more than its share of adversity during the past school year. First grader Cole Kelley, assistant principal Lisa Grossheim, elementary principal Kim Chandler, and student resource officer Larry Martin have all faced significant health issues, and with each of these, it has been truly incredible to watch students and parents rise to the occasion. We believe and do not shy away from the power of prayer when challenged in this world, and we ask that you pray for not only these individuals, but our entire school family regularly. Our administrators are intentional in prayer for each of your children, because as a school of believers we are family.
I could give you a hundred examples of how prayer and selfless giving make a difference at Mars Hill, but this one stands out in particular. As Mrs. Grossheim prepared to travel to Houston for leukemia treatments, the student body expressed a wish to help with the significant travel expenses the treatments would incur. A coin drive was organized school-wide, and in only three weeks, our students had collected over $9,500! The giving and sacrificial spirit on this campus is palpable, and it is beautiful to witness our faculty using their example to lead the way.
This was a year of exceptional athletics. After the historic football season we experienced last fall, many dubbed the 2018-19 school year “the dream season.” Little did we know that our dream season had only just begun! The spring athletic season brought two more blue maps home to Mars Hill. Our baseball team completed a perfect 10-0 run through the playoffs to win the Class 1A state baseball championship. The following weekend, the softball team earned their place in history with their first ever state softball championship. Both the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams had great seasons that went into the playoffs, and the girls’ golf, track, and fishing teams all made it to the state tournaments.
These students have shown an exemplary level of dedication, diligence, and character, and we couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments. Perhaps the best quote of the year, though, was from baseball coach Jay Mitchell: “They’re better kids than they are baseball players.” Athletic success is wonderful, but our primary goal is always to instill integrity, work ethic, and eternal truths into the hearts of our students. That, for Mars Hill, is the true measure of success.
This was a year of exceptional spiritual growth. Of all the areas I’ve mentioned, spiritual growth stands tallest. The proof is in the daily spiritual nourishment during chapel and Bible classes, the Christ-centered worldview present in every subject taught on our campus, and the continual emphasis on teaching every child to think like Jesus.
This year, we intentionally wanted to dedicate a day to community service, and hosted what we intend to be an annual Student Service Day for high school students. They spent the entire day serving our community through ministries at Isaiah’s Call, Cross Point Friendship Center (Partners4Africa), Habitat for Humanity, Lauderdale Christian Nursing Home, North Alabama Christian Children’s Home, Crossroads Community Outreach, UNA Christian Student Center, Heritage Christian University, and the Blue Door. The day made such an impact on our students that we added a service day for our middle schoolers a couple of weeks later. Even our kindergarteners got in on the action with a service project for Isaiah’s Call during their Bible Day two weeks ago! Big days like these, though, are only the tip of the iceberg. The real magic happens in a thousand small daily moments that are forming our students into the people God has called them to be.
The simple truth of the matter is that this exceptional year is no exception. Every year seems better than the last, and I believe that the best years of Mars Hill are yet to come. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Nathan Guy as our new president on June 1. We look forward to growing through our summer activities. And we look forward to welcoming many new Panthers to Mars Hill in August. Thank you for your prayers and support as we strive together to make an eternal difference in the lives of our children.
Chairman, Board of Directors
Mars Hill Bible School