It’s groundbreaking. It’s inspired. It’s just the beginning. In 1991, a Williamson County church answered a distinct calling to become the catalyst for lasting change in the low-income neighborhoods of Franklin. To aid in that mission, the church enlisted a young schoolteacher, Paige Overton. Paige knew that the long-term effectiveness of empowering the poor demanded more than mere crisis intervention and began to investigate innovative methods of prevention.
The epiphany came in the form of an eight-year-old boy, Marquise. When asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, he responded, “Play football.” “What if you can’t play football?” Paige asked. “Play basketball,” he replied. “Suppose you can’t play sports,” she continued. “What do you want to do?” He shrugged his shoulders. “I guess I’ll work at McDonald’s.”
More than ever, the truth of Proverbs 29:18 rang clear: Where there is no vision, the people perish. Convinced that education was the key to ending the vicious cycle of poverty and resignation, Paige and her team of volunteers saw new clarity in the focus of their mission.
After years of prayer and planning, New Hope Academy became incorporated as an independent not-for-profit, non-denominational elementary school. Fall of 1995 and Spring of 1996 incorporated a flurry of activity: recruiting an exceptional faculty and staff, developing a challenging academic program, and initiating plans for long-term support of the school. The fall of 1996 marked the first semester of New Hope Academy, with 33 students enrolled at the historic campus of Battle Ground Academy in Franklin.
In March 1996, New Hope Academy acquired approximately nineteen acres of property on Downs Boulevard. In November 2000, New Hope Academy broke ground for a 33,000-square-foot building that would serve Pre-K through sixth grade with sixteen classrooms, art and music rooms, a library, and an extended learning lab. That service continues to this day.
The community of visionaries that has emerged to define New Hope Academy continues to ignite hope and transform the culture in which we live. We stand prepared with open hearts and minds for God’s plans to bring a revolution that will renew even more willing hearts to empower the financially disadvantaged in our society and in our world.