On a normal day of school, the students of Boyd Buchanan would be dressed in uniforms and quietly sitting at their desks, but today is a special day. It’s Valentine’s Day. Students dressed in red, white and pink colors scurry from room to room, finishing special activities. But it’s not just Valentine’s Day that’s been a special day this school year. The 2012-2013 school year is the 60th year celebration.
The school first opened at a mansion on Vine Street in Chattanooga after several visionary men came together, and with the support of members of the Christian community, established the school known then as Chattanooga Bible School. On May 8, 1952, these seven men signed the charter with the State of Tennessee to open Chattanooga Bible School in the fall. Among those who signed were L.R. Boyd and Paul Buchanan.
Within 10 years of its beginning, the school had outgrown its original facilities and changed its name to Boyd Buchanan to honor two men that had greatly influenced the principles with which the school was founded. Boyd- Buchanan rests on a modern 52-acre campus, somewhat hidden on Bonnieway Drive in Chattanooga. Its student body has more than 900 students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade.
To begin the 60th-year celebration, the school commemorated the day the charter was signed. On May 8, 2012, the entire student body gathered and watched as seven men re-enacted the signing of the charter, with historical facts presented about each man. Some of the men were relatives of the original signers, living in the area.
During the current school year, Boyd Buchanan has enjoyed many events for the celebration. In September, they acknowledged the birthday of the school with the dedication of the Nave Gymnasium to the Nave family for their many contributions throughout the years. Legacy families, which are families who have had 3 generations attend Boyd Buchanan, were also honored at the birthday party. Over 1,000 cupcakes, complete with candles, were included in the festivities as well as the students sang “Happy Birthday.”
For Homecoming in October, the alumni cheerleaders from the past 60 years were invited back to be honored and cheer at the game and in February, the alumni basketball players were invited back to the varsity boys game to be recognized and honored. They also had the opportunity to play a game and whoever reached 60 points first, won. With a few more events planned for the remainder of the school year, administrators are looking forward to continuing the party for this milestone.
“Sixty years shows a lot of stability,” President Jill Hartness says. “The way God has blessed us is amazing”
To acknowledge the growth in the last 60 years, one must also acknowledge that the 60-year time span isn’t the only thing worth celebrating. Jill Hartness is the first female and alumna president of Boyd Buchanan. She has served on the board of directors for the last five years. When the position opened, she felt a draw towards it.
Students come from all over to attend school—Dalton, Cleveland, and Chattanooga. “We’re kind of hidden away, where people might not know we’re back here,” Hartness exclaims. “But there are so many happy parents.”
Allison Creasey, a parent of a middle school student, describes the school as “Chattanooga’s primer college preparatory school.” There is obvious pride for the school from administrators and teachers to parents and students. “We pride ourselves on having a top-notch college preparatory program, while still maintaining a Christian atmosphere on campus,” Hartness says.
Not only is Boyd Buchanan preparing high school students for college, but it is also educating the elementary and middle school students using advancing technology, and because of this, all students have access to iPads.
With technology advancing so quickly, school administrators thought it would be a good idea to invest in the iPads. “We were the first school in Chattanooga for all of our classrooms to have them,” Hurst Rogers explains.
She goes on to explain that the deciding factor was once the administration saw how the Pre-K and Kindergarten students already knew how to navigate an iPad—better than some of the adults did—they knew they had to get on board.
At home, the students usually just play games on the devices, but when they’re at school they learn how to research, play educational games and how to create movies.
It’s a well-rounded campus. Boyd Buchanan has many athletic and fine art opportunities that students are involved in. The school’s mission is to offer a loving, Christ-centered environment nurturing the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical potential of each student.
“We want people to be aware that we are here,” says Hartness. “It’s like a hidden gem in Chattanooga.”
For more information on Boyd Buchanan, visit www.bbschool.org .
Story by Lauren Brooks
Photography courtesy of Boyd-Buchanan School
This story was originally published in the April/May 2013 Issue of Chattanooga Magazine.